Stephen Gaghan Copyright 2005 Warner Brothers Pictures

Writer-director Stephen Gaghan’s new film, Syriana, is a look at the politics of oil – and much more. In a interview in San Francisco, Gaghan spoke about politics, art, the dealer-user paradigm for drugs and petroleum, and how if he’d written a movie about his experiences researching Syriana, he would have wound up with something that looked and felt like Dr. Strangelove. Gaghan was more than willing to digress – about if ‘running the gantlet’ or ‘running the gauntlet’ is correct, Congressmen who live on boats paid for by defense contractors and how Turkish coffee can ruin your film crew and perhaps how he shouldn't have had that last Caramel Macchiato  – and his thoughts on oil and chaos, politics and art were bursting out of him at a fever pitch, as crude and refined and combustible as the resource that fuels his film. This is the first part of a two-part interview; if you're sensitive about profanity, you may not want to click further.

(Gaghan is asked about a remark he's made about the genesis of the film -- specifically, Executive Producer Steven Soderbergh's quote in the
Syriana press notes that "Steve Gaghan once said to me that he thought oil was the world's crack addiction, and I knew he would find a novel way of exploring that idea. ")

‘Oil is crack?’ Who said that? Oh. I was mis-quoted. Well, what I was talking about really was the dealer-user paradigm; and what I mean by that is not some fancy phrase, because I’d had experience around drug dealers during my voluminous 19-year research for Traffic...