I was trying to talk about where we are right now as a society, and talk about the fear we all live in, and certainly since 9-11, how it's affected us and the world.
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'Crash' came from personal experience. I saw things inside me from living in L.A. that made me uncomfortable. I saw horrible things in people and saw terrible things in myself. I saw a black director completely humiliated, but the three people around me just thought it was funny. 'No,' I said, 'that is selling your soul.'
'Crash' was incredibly personal to me. So was 'In the Valley of Elah.' There were things in 'The Next Three Days' that were questions I was asking myself but couldn't answer, like how far would you go for love? Can you believe in somebody who can't even believe in themselves? But this is highly personal.
All my work is partly biographical. I mean, 'Crash' was absolutely that, absolutely. But you just wouldn't recognize me in most of those characters. But I was in every single one of those characters in 'Crash,' because those were all fears that I had felt. Things that I had thought in my deepest, darkest heart.
I wrote an episode for 'thirtysomething,' and a producer said, 'That's really good, but what is it about? What does it say about you? What questions are you asking yourself?' I had never thought about that. This comment changed who I was, because it made me look at my own soul, the dark corners in my soul, and accept that dark side.