Sam Raimi, Sam Mendes

Downsizing in Hollywood isn't the same as downsizing for you or me. Four A-list directors decided to downsize their latest productions by choice, according to Rachel Abramowitz in the Los Angeles Times. And to hear Sam Mendes (above, right), Ang Lee, Sam Raimi (above, left) and Steven Soderbergh talk, they made the choice in order to save their own artistic souls after working on creatively-draining big-budget projects for years.

  • Sam Mendes (Away We Go): "I loved having to work fast again ... You can get into the habits when making bigger films where you sort of expect everything to be there for you. You don't have to work for it ... there was even less conspicuous consumption ... There aren't as many people, and you feel less guilty because you're not spending as much money." Estimated budget: $17 million.
  • Sam Raimi (Drag Me to Hell): "I realized all these toys I'm used to are wonderful but not always necessary ... All I really need is the actress." Estimated budget: $30 million.
  • Ang Lee (Taking Woodstock): "I faced a lot of pressure [making Lust, Caution] . . . It gets to be too much ... Spiritually and philosophically I was yearning to do something warm." Estimated budget: $30 million.
  • Steven Soderbergh (The Girlfriend Experience): "Employing non-actors, by design you are building the piece around them ... It's a good way to work, you're constantly adapting to what's in front of you."Estimated budget: $1.7 million.

I loved Drag Me to Hell and enjoyed Away We Go, so maybe they've got the right idea. What other big-budget Hollywood directors should consider doing a downsized project for the sake of their own artistic souls? McG? Brett Ratner?