Esquire profiles Paul Thomas Anderson, focusing on the director’s early years and how he came to make Cigarettes and Coffee, Hard Eight, and eventually Boogie Nights, which was based on a film he made as a high schooler called The Dirk Diggler Story.
Although Anderson is one of the most autobiographical filmmakers of his generation, drawing heavily on his childhood in the San Fernando Valley, most stories about him offer some variation on “very little is known about his early years” or “little is known about Paul’s childhood.” He has stopped talking to most of his friends from those years, and none of them can say whether he just moved on naturally or broke with his past for some secret reason.
“When he did Magnolia,” Stevens says, “I sent word through someone who worked with him to tell Paul it would be great if he could come back for a visit. I’d love to see him. And the answer came: ‘Paul doesn’t go back.’”
You can watch The Dirk Diggler Story on Google Video.