Hearing an audience laugh, cry and applaud in unison while watching his movies is one of the most pleasurable things in life for veteran film director James Foley.
So hes waiting to see if his new film "Confidence," a slick crime thriller featuring a team of conmen (led by Edward Burns) scamming a local mobster (Dustin Hoffman), is a hit with movie audiences who are otherwise chomping at the bit to catch sequelitis this summer.
"When I read the script the first time, I felt like I totally got it," Foley says. "Ive learned to base my decisions on the gut feeling I have the very first time I read a script, rather than having to think about it or re-read it. Thats because the audience is only going to have one shot at it. So whatever reaction I have the first time, is what the audience is going to have."
In the tradition of "Pulp Fiction" and "The Usual Suspects," "Confidence" is a flashback-laden drama where nothing is as it seems.
"Its a fun run with underline themes," Foley says. "Who do you trust? Who do you believe? Who is loyal and who is betraying whom?
Foley explains his characters are put to the test when money is involved and where there is a pursuit of money.
"Also, its something I like exploring, when you have a group of guys who are kind of a gang, and then you introduce a woman into the group, and how that affects the whole dynamic of it."
Foley explains that its really hard to make a flashback laden movie such as "Confidence," because you cant lie to the audience. And you cant deliberately mislead the audience just for the sake of misleading them.
"Youve got to be telling the story straight," he says, "and everything that youre seeing adds up and is being done for a reason."
Foley adds that storyline may not be apparent when the audience sees it happening, but it all comes together in the end.
The film also stars Morris Chestnut who has limited screen time, but his role as an enforcer for a corporate banker is pivotal to the films surprising plot twist.
"I had a bunch of meetings with Morris," Foley says, "and I really loved the fact that he was willing to do that part, because its not the biggest part, but it was for somebody who had a certain presence."
Foley says he has a list of actors which he keeps in his head and in mind, regardless of what anybody else thinks or whether theyre hot or not.
"Its the Foley list of players," he says. "Its people Id like to sign to a contract, and have them in my stable. Morris Chestnut is one of them. I really feel like were going to be doing something else.
"He had to stand out there all night long, night after night. And in LA it got really cold at night. Hes a real trooper. He never complained. My only regret quite honestly is that the part is not much bigger."
And how big really is Tom "Tiny" Lister Jr. who also stars in the film?
"Very. Very," Foley says. "Actually, hes a funny guy. I liked him a lot. Hes his own wacko character. All you have to do is wind him up and he goes. I didnt have to direct him very much."
Foley says the great thing about working with Dustin Hoffman is they constantly rehearsed. And by the time they started filming they had really explored his character.
"We did it really fast and we finished half a day ahead of schedule," Foley says. "I said, Wheres the difficultly? Wheres the problem Hoffman?"
"Confidence" is purely character driven, the kind of movie that Foley is drawn to directing.
"To me the most exciting thing in a movie is do a close up of a great actor having a great moment where they are saying one thing and feeling 20 different things behind their eyes," he says. "You can feel it and you can relate to it."