A chat with director Robert Luketic (“Paranoia”)


Director Robert Luketic has worked with some of the most well-known actresses of our era, from Jennifer Lopez to Jane Fonda, and has directed them to box office gold. However, the Australian director known for rom-coms such as “The Ugly Truth” and “Legally Blonde” has his sights on taking over other genres. In the tech thriller “Paranoia,” Liam Hemsworth faces serious ethical questions while engaging in corporate espionage. The outspoken director sat down to discuss his journey in making the film, as well as his future career plans.

BE: One of the most mysterious characters in the film is Dr. Judith Bolton played by Embeth Davidtz. How’d you come across her?

ROBERT LUKETIC: She’s a friend of the producer, Alexander Milchan. I remember seeing Embeth in “Schindler’s List.” She’s just a nice, classic, kind of WASP-y woman. It’s very much what the character is based on. I wanted someone who could be icy and evil, but not tip the hand too much. I wouldn’t want a person that we really couldn’t read. I met her for tea in Beverly Hills. When I walked in… you know when you read something and that you imagine in your mind? I said, “You actually look like Judith.” I called her Judith from that day on.

BE: You’ve done films like “Legally Blonde,” but you’ve also done films like “21.” As a director, is it hard to switch genres?

ROBERT LUKETIC: I started out in film school making dark, thriller kind of stuff. Finally, I made a musical comedy and that sort of branded me, which is what this town does. The next 15 years, it became all light and fluff and screaming girls and wedding dresses and stuff, which really isn’t me. I’ve been fighting for many years to break that and get out of that. It’s a challenge. It’s like they don’t think of my name when a studio gets a new script and goes, “We’ve got to get Robert Luketic for this thriller. Yeah, the ‘Legally Blonde’ guy. We’ve got to get him.” (LAUGHS)

BE: What kind of movies would you like to make?

ROBERT LUKETIC: I want to see what it’s like to make those movies that those big budget guys get. The ones where there are no limits. Those people that get unlimited resources, like whatever they have here they can put up there. That would be such an incredible experience because my movies have been generally on the smaller side in terms of budgets. What you find is that it’s constantly compromising. Everything is a compromise. Every goddamn thing is a compromise and that hurts, ya know? That gets you after a few years. I’d love to know what it’s like to do an “Avengers” or “Dr. No” or something.

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