With Eagle Eye, director D.J. Caruso has enjoyed his second consecutive box office hit with leading man Shia LaBeouf. The two collaborated on last year’s thriller Disturbia and plan to continue the successful partnership with an adaptation of Y: The Last Man sometime next year.
Caruso got his start working under famed 80’s director John Badham (
Saturday Night Fever,
), a man he feels was truly inspirational to his current success. Starting small and eventually branching out to make his own films, Caruso made his debut with
The Salton Sea, a gritty revenge thriller starring Val Kilmer and never looked back. He has occasionally worked in television, primarily on
Robbery Homicide Division, but his heart lies in film. Part of the process he learned from Badham was to do what you love at any cost and it’s a life lesson Caruso takes very seriously from his mentor.
“John was a great mentor, he really let me be hands-on from the moment he knew I wanted to be a director to letting me shoot inserts to telephones ringing," Caruso told B OXOFFICE. "He was very trusting and very instrumental and very confident to let me do these things in a time when people were very insecure about that stuff. I worked very hard and he rewarded me with that and taught me a lot and gave me the opportunities. I’ve got a couple people who work for me and feel the same way about, I want to give them the opportunities. I think everyone works that way, we all learn from each other but there are so many other times when filmmakers are very closed off and threatened by other people. What I loved about John was he was so enthusiastic to see me succeed that he was a great mentor.”
As far as the connection Caruso feels is necessary to working with actors, it’s all about being professional. That is what’s responsible for his current working relationship with Shia LaBeouf and there is a deep respect between the two men. Now that they’ve worked together twice there is an understanding that makes things easier on set and helps the movie as a whole.
“When you have this great shorthand with someone you can trust and work with you can see why these filmmakers do it over the years, whether its Scorsese and DiCaprio or John Ford and John Wayne. Trust me I’m not putting myself in that category, they’re just examples of how comfortable you can get because you know that’s one of the aspects of the movie you don’t have to work hard on. You don’t have to worry about them showing up and doing a great job. It helps you concentrate on other aspects of the movie knowing you have a partner who’s in it just as much as you.”
Eagle Eye is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray
CLICK HERE to listen to our entire interview with D.J. Caruso.