Ed Burns: Big movies help pay for my indie films

Edward Burns on "CBS This Morning."
Edward Burns on "CBS This Morning."

Edward Burns broke into Hollywood's mainstream 17 years ago when his movie "The Brothers McMullen" was picked up at the Sundance Film Festival.

His little film that cost $25,000 to make took in more than $10 million. He was its director, writer and star.

Burns hasn't strayed far from his indie roots, but now does mainstream studio movies, as well.

"I think I've been lucky enough to find this formula that works, where I get to go act in these studio films and you do a few (indie films too)," he said. "You know, Paul Newman had a great quote talking about his choices, saying 'one for them, one for me.' That's kind of what I've tried to adopt here. Like, I'll do the studio acting gigs -- that helps finance or give me the creative freedom to make my little indie films."

In the recently released studio movie "Man on a Ledge," Burns plays Jack Dougherty, a New York City police detective who is trying to get a desperate man off a ledge. It's in theaters nationwide.

Burns also recently completed a film with a $9,000 budget called "Newlyweds." The film, according to the Internet Movie Database, has shown at one theater and has earned $4,584.

"It is the most exciting time right now," Burns said. "If you're a kid coming out of film school, when I was trying to make 'McMullen,' it was hard. That point of entry was so tough, because that film cost ($25,000,) and it was just tough to get those films made. These digital cameras now -- we shot this film on a camera that I bought for $3,000. The look of the film, 'McMullen' looks like a gritty, grainy student film. This film looks like a professional film. If you're a kid coming out of film school now, (it's similar to) the way a novelist needed the word processor or the typewriter or the canvas and the oils for the painter. Now, filmmakers are afforded that same creative freedom, so it's exciting."

For more with Burns on his films and how he promotes them, as well as tidbits about his family and his life with supermodel Christy Turlington, check out the video in the player above.