Director Jim Jarmusch, 63, On Unlearning What They Told You

Photo by Inez and Vinoodh

Photo by Inez and Vinoodh

AV: You went to NYU's film school. Would you advise would-be filmmakers to attend schools like NYU, or to use the same money to make a film?

Jim Jarmusch: That's a hard question, because it's such an individual choice. It depends on what their intentions are. I went to graduate film school at NYU, and at first I didn't get a degree, because I took a scholarship that was supposed to pay my tuition, and I used it to make a film. For the longest time, I never actually graduated. And about 70 percent of the things I learned there I had to unlearn, but 30 percent was really valuable. It's like Mark Twain said, "Don't let school get in the way of your education." But everyone has teachers during their schooling that change the course of their lives, and I had Nicholas Ray. [Ray directed In A Lonely PlaceJohnny Guitar, and Rebel Without A Cause, among other classics. —ed.] I was fortunate enough to be his assistant in my last year there, and that was incredible for me. I learned so much from him just talking about anything—certainly about movies, but other things, too.

Interview via A.V. Club