Asked to account for his own longevity in an industry famous for putting older filmmakers out to pasture, Lumet (who is already in preproduction on his next film) is more circumspect. "As we know, most people's best work is in the beginning," he says. "I don't know why I've kept working, and if the work is getting better — and I don't know that it is — I don't know why, either. I approach each thing for the sake of itself. I wish I could do in my life what I can do in my work, which is to really live in the moment. In my life, the past frightens me, the future frightens me. When I'm working, I'm all there."