When I was thinking about The Lion King, I said, we have to do what theater does best. What theater does best is to be abstract and not to do literal reality.
You know, I went to Oberlin. At that time, grades were - you elected to have them or not. It was all of that era where grades were out the window. But I did very well in school. I didn't really study the arts; I practiced the arts.
I received from my experience in Japan an incredible sense of respect for the art of creating, not just the creative product. We're all about the product. To me, the process was also an incredibly important aspect of the total form.
We took Beowulf, the epic poem in Old English, and put it right together with John Gardner's contemporary retelling. If you bring it into today, we really feel that it has something very fresh to say now.
One of the reasons I love to jump back and forth between mediums is that film does allow me to be more literal. I can go to the real place. I can go to the Coliseum, and I don't have to fake it.
And I just think that to introduce an unknown Shakespeare is thrilling, too - not to do Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet, to do the richer Shakespeare. People will come to this and not know the story.
But I don't think there has ever been anything written on the nature of violent man as deep and as thorough as Shakespeare's Titus. I think it puts all modern movies and modern exploitations of violence to shame.
We have often been attracted to the story of the other, the outcast. And he and I just loved working together, so it just kept happening, and our relationship is completely bound up with our work. We enjoy each other's art.
I'm not going to spend two years on a film or four years on an opera if I don't feel like I can put my own self into it. That doesn't mean it has to be about myself.
Americans in particular are myopic. They're not traveling as much. When you were a college student, the next thing you would do on graduation was to take a year off and travel. That's what I did. I went to Indonesia.
I have directed good actors and have gone through the process which is more detailed in theater in a way. You have to get people to stay for two or three hours in a performance. They need more talk and rehearsal than in films.