MOMENT OF ARRIVAL His English-language writing-directing debut, ”The Others.” The elegantly sinister summertime sleeper starred Nicole Kidman as a mother haunted by — well, that would be spoiling everything, wouldn’t it?
HOW HE GOT HERE By making a fan of Tom Cruise and Miramax execs Harvey and Bob Weinstein. After wowing the megastar with his 1997 noodle-cooker, ”Abre Los Ojos” (”Open Your Eyes,” which Cruise turned into his newest film, ”Vanilla Sky”), the baby-faced yet very serious Spanish auteur (who also scores his films) sent Cruise the screenplay for his follow-up. Soon, he was in New York sealing the deal with Cruise, Kidman, and the Weinsteins. ”At first, you couldn’t help but be impressed,” laughs Amenábar. ”But they’re so obsessed with the work and quality, you quickly forget to be starstruck — you have to work hard!”
WHAT SUCCESS HAS BROUGHT A healthy wariness of Hollywood. ”Right after the release of the film, I ran away to Spain. I felt a lot of respect for Hollywood and its possibilities, but I also want to be careful. So I just stayed here and began thinking in a very relaxed way about the future.”
WHICH IS? Undecided. ”Before I start writing, I consider what my next project will be. I can’t start writing until I know, This is going to be the one. That’s where I’m at now.”
ON HIS PENCHANT FOR TRICK ENDINGS ”I always like it when some big surprise happens to your main character. So since I always tell stories from the main character’s point of view, it’s a big twist. I just can’t help it!”