William Friedkin

Rules Of Engagement

Interviewed by Film 2000 with Jonathan Ross

It seems "Rules Of Engagement" is an entertaining movie but there is also a subtext on the politics of war. How do you feel about touching on issues that obviously are going to matter to the American populace and the world?

The most important issue to me, is that [the film] deals with the goodness and evil that is in all people at all times and that there’s a constant struggle for our better angels. That's a theme that attracts me and is very prominent in this film. What I think is most important for an audience is the way it’s portrayed by these two great actors.

Potentially you could say there is a negative representation or negative image of Arabs because nearly all of the Arabs in the film are involved in terrorism. Are you worried about how people might respond to that?

Let me state right up front, the film is not anti-Arab, is not anti-Moslem and is certainly not anti-Yemen. In order to make the film in Morocco, the present King of Morocco had to read the script and approve it and sign his name [...] and nobody participating from the Arab side of things felt that the film was anti-Arab. The film is anti-terrorist. It takes a strong stand against terrorism and it says that terrorism wears many faces [...] but we haven’t made this film to slander the government of Yemen. It's a democracy and I don’t believe for a moment they support terrorists any more than America does.

William Friedkin talks about the development of "Rules of Engagement".