Since I joined Bleeding Cool in the summer of this year, we’ve been lucky enough to get a series of good, film-related interviews. Here are some of the best bits, with links back to the interviews in full.
A few of these (Inception, Gulliver’s Travels, Love and Other Drugs) are from press conferences we attended, but the vast majority were from face-to-face chats. We’ve already got some more good interviews lined up for the new year too, so don’t touch that dial.
Right, then. In no particular order…
Tom McGrath on Megamind:
At least in the superhero movies I’ve seen, they’re going hi-tech with the polycarbon fibre suits so, to me, it was like this: if there were superheroes they’d be like celebrities, rock stars – Alice Cooper versus Elvis Presley. So that informed the leather and spikes and the fringe and the rhinestones which, because it was a comedy, we pushed a little further, made a little absurd. Also, the music felt like it was in character with the Alice Cooper versus Elvis idea.
Jackie Earle Haley on the new Nightmare on Elm Street:
Sam [Bayer, the director] sent me this book about a thousand serial killers just to start poking through and there was no real direction, he was just saying “Food for thought”. I started poking through it and I keyed into this one guy, Ed Kemper. I was looking at him, looking at his life, trying to work out what made him tick, I’m poking around on the internet and I saw “Look, they made a movie on Ed Kemper” so I clicked on it and I watched the trailer. It was a slasher movie, and it pissed me off but it immediately made me realise “Dude, this is not a character study, you are not playing a serial killer, you don’t need to dissect this guy and see what makes this guy tick, you are playing a Boogieman. You are playing the main character in a campfire story”.
Eli Roth on The Last Exorcism, his upcoming projects directorial indulgence:
There’s that one shot in Atonement that goes on for eight minutes, you’re so constantly being reminded that you’re watching a movie. Everyone’s like “Look how great this shot is” and I say “That’s not a great shot because you’re aware of it”. I hate it. It’s rare I watch a shot where I’m more impressed by the assistant directing than the directing. You could just feel them congratulating themselves on how amazing their shot was…
Ed Zwick, Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal discuss Love and Other Drugs. Here’s Anne:
I did a lot of research into the side-effects that Parkinson’s medication has on the human body and I actually found that in the majority of the cases it caused people to lose weight so that was my jumping off point for how I was going to look in the film… And had the medication caused people to gain weight, I would have gained weight and still done the nudity.
Noel Clarke on 22.214.171.124:
People – I won’t even mention names – but certain directors can put out films that do no box office at all and they’re fucking applauded and it’s like “Oh, aren’t they the next best thing” but actually, no. People want to talk about what I do because I want to do something different. My films make box office. 126.96.36.199 has made a million, Adulthood made 4, Kidulthood made over half a million on 40 screens and you know what? When it comes down to reviewers and all that kind of stuff, they can sit on their high horses and have their opinions, it’s the public who go and watch the films.
Jack Black, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Billy Connolly and director Rob Letterman on Gulliver’s Travels. Here’s Connolly:
She was the reason I did the movie, Catherine Tate. The rest of the actors I couldn’t give a shit about.
Stunt performer Kimberly Shannon Murphy:
Obviously, it’s kind of a man’s world. There’s fewer movies you see of women doing action and there’s more movies of men doing action, though I think that’s starting to even out and there’s more women doing action movies that centre just on them. That’s definitely exciting to see, so I hope that continues and becomes a bigger thing.
Mike Scotti on This is War: Severe Clear:
I was a young marine and I told my men that we were going in to find weapons of mass destruction because that’s what I believed. It’s not a political film in any way – I’m not anti-war, I’m not pro-war, I’m just… it is what it is. I did my job and I’d do it again.
The statement is that war, obviously it exists, but when you send people off, it’s human beings. It’s the youth of a nation that goes off and fight, they joined the military and they want to be good marines. By making the film and to show the human side of the whole thing, I hope maybe it can say “Look, before you send people off to fight a war next time…” even though it’s never said in the film, “These are my friends that are being killed.”
Joseph Kosinski on TRON: Legacy:
I think my comments on Clu were taken a little out of context. I’ve learned doing all this press that there are these kind of trick questions. Someone asks you if your film is perfect and if you say yes the line is “Director thinks his film is perfect” and if you say no it’s “Director thinks his film isn’t perfect”. The truth is, I couldn’t be more proud of all of the work on the film and all of the work of such talented artists doing something that is the hardest thing there is to do in all of visual effects: creating a digital human to play with other actors. Obviously, I’ve said from the beginning, it’s our biggest challenge in some shots he’s better than others but overall, I’m very pleased with what we were able to do on this movie.
Will Ferrell on Megamind and more:
Anchorman is like the first movie that we decided, “Okay, let’s…”. I started thinking about all the Oceans 11, 12, and 13 and I’m like, those guys just like go off and do another sequel just because they like hanging out with each other and they don’t care about any of the press going “Here comes another Ocean’s 11…”, they just do it and I thought “Wow. We should have that same fun.”
So we, you know, we went to Paramount with for the idea of Anchorman and they’re kind of not interested right now, they don’t wanna do it. So we’re encouraging everyone to flood them with 70’s ties in the mail to force them to make the sequel.
Michael Apted on The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and the film’s controversial 3D conversion:
Joe [Dante] spoke out of turn. He’s a good friend of mine. He had no idea that it would be picked up. We shot it in 2D, but we were already making the digital elements 3D, the animals and all of this, and then it was confirmed that we would do it in 3D. But what was good for us was that we had plenty of time to do. During the whole post production, really – I got to London in January and I delivered it two or three weeks ago – we were doing the 3D all through that. For me, it was exciting really. It was interesting to see what we could do.
Ralph Ziman on Gangster’s Paradise: Jerusalema:
I think you realize when you make documentaries that you don’t really need a lot to make something really good. Sometimes just having you, a camera and a cameraman is actually just enough. You don’t necessarily need all the bells and whistles. That was certainly the way we went about making Jerusalema was to take everything as reality, take it as you find it. I think that all the years of doing music videos gives you a lot of confidence. You’re used to the medium. You feel you can go out there with yourself and a camera, and make something happen.
Sharlto Copley on The A-Team, Men in Black 3, reuniting with Neill Blomkamp and what’s good in South African culture right now:
If you’d gone and copied Mr. T’s performance exactly, I don’t think that would fly today. I think you needed to do something different there… but Murdoch had a kind of a caricature in a theatrical, caricaturish, entertainment way, that I just felt would still be achievable today. The first draft of the script I read he was cooler, if you will, rather than just genuinely nuts.
Oly Ralfe on his Mighty Boosh movie, Journey of the Childmen:
The subject of the film is capturing the Boosh as people I knew, floating through a storm of popularity and having fun with the creative freedom the film offered… I filmed it myself with no soundman. They didn’t want anyone else there. Inevitably the odd off-camera comment may be quiet but the main audio is fine. It’s the pay off for the intimate style of the film and it is a film that may be worth watching a couple of times to pick up on all the dialogue… Hopefully you can feel our friendship in the film and people have said no one else could have made this film apart from me.
Robin McLeavy on The Loved Ones:
I would never play a victim role because I think women are too often portrayed in a passive way, and I don’t like to see women being sexualized unnecessarily either. It was a really unique opportunity to portray a character whose on the verge of a sexual awakening but the way she’s operating is distorted. She’s been raised in a violent household so the only vocabulary she has for being intimate with someone is through violence and intimidation.
The kind of twisted upbringing she’s had is completely hinged on being mentored and instructed in violence by her father, yet there’s this intense love and familial relationship between them that starts of teetering on the edge of taboo.
Rodrigo Cortes on Buried:
In my way of working, directing and editing are the same. When I start to think about the film, I think of the final result so I’ll get the material I need to get it. So in my case, shooting and editing are two steps of the same process.
And if you shoot a movie in 17 days you better shoot it with the brain of an editor. You’re not going to have time to get every possible angle to let you choose afterwards, you need to get exactly what you need to make the puzzle.
Max and Dania on Streetdance 3D, their next projects and the inevitable Streetdance sequel:
We’re working on the sequel. At the moment, we’re writing. Jane English who worked on the first one is writing again. We’ve been working on an outline, but I can’t divulge the storyline yet, there’s no point saying anything until we’re all sure about all of it…. We’ve already started casting and are looking around for fresh dancing talent. We’re going to be filming next year. What we intended to do is to give a platform to all the UK artists over this side. We’re giving a voice to the UK dance world and giving the kids here a taste of their own… We’ll be watching all of the American films and improve on what they do. We’ll be inspired by them.
Meir Zarchi on I Spit On Your Grave aka Day of the Woman:
It’s very peculiar. I know that they cut more mainly from the rape scenes than they did from the revenge. I don’t understand why – in the revenge scenes she’s naked and using her sexuality. Her crawling away in the rape scene I think is a horrifying scene – how can you touch this kind of scene? It seems like these bureaucrats are trying to justify their position, they’re afraid to be unemployed, so they have to do something. They can’t even justify why they’re doing it. Nothing bad would happen in Britain if they left the whole movie untouched.
Charlie Picerni on his life in stunts, and his new movie The Bleeding:
Although its great to have an actor who is physically coordinated and able to do some action, the acting is more important to me than their stunt ability. I can always stunt double them. Yes, most actors do have stunt doubles. There is a line between an actor doing a “physical action” or doing a stunt. To define a stunt, a stunt is not a fight scene or an actor running from an explosion, anybody can do this. I wouldn’t have an actor do any difficult stunts such as a car turn over or high fall, those are real stunts per definition. Also as a director I wouldn’t give a stunt man 5 pages of dialogue to do either. The only people who did their own stunts on The Bleeding were the stunt performers who had small acting roles.
Tom Six on his Human Centipede movies:
I saw a lot of horror movies from the 80s, and a lot of the time it was about naive American girls getting into trouble. So I wanted to use that cliché in this film, and I really love Japanese horror films. So I definitely wanted a Japanese actor for it. I put him at the head of the centipede because I didn’t want him to be able to communicate with the Doctor. The girls can’t talk, and so can’t the guy in the way it is now. I chose a German character because when I wrote the story and thought, “I need a surgeon,” I immediately thought about the crazy and notorious Nazi doctors from the Second World War. So that’s how I created all of those characters.
Reg Traviss on Psychosis:
Yeah, I mean, I’m happy with the film because it is what it is. It came out how I wanted it to come out… so in that respect, as a “genre piece” I’m very pleased because I think it works [as that]… you have films that are quite wide in their appeal, and the way you may appreciate them as a filmmaker you think, “It works on every single level… it all works as a composite piece,” and there are other projects like Psychosis where you… look at it in a certain way. It’s not realism, it’s not a big commercial thing that’s going to appeal to everybody.
Chris Nolan, Leonardo Di Caprio, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Ellen Page, Emma Thomas, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Cillian Murphy on Inception. Here’s Ellen Page, taking a little detour:
I think I just saw the most traumatic thing I ever saw in a documentary… in the film Earthlings… a fox that was skinned alive and was still alive now it’s been skinned.
Carlos Brooks on his trapped-in-a-house-in-a-hurricane-with-a-hungry-Tiger thriller, Burning Bright:
It’s not a Who Dunnit but a You Know Who Dunnit. Just from the economy of characters you know “It must be that guy”. Not showing how the tiger was put into the house left a question in the audience’s minds. The shot was added late. I drew the frames and the movement of the camera and told them “You’re going to take an X-unit and shoot exactly this”. The shot immediately following, which I call prowl cam, played differently once you knew how the tiger got in.
Vincenzo Natali on Splice, Neuromancer, High Rise and more:
Of course I’m not the only one. There are countless film makers who have gone though this experience with the Weinsteins. This is when the Weinsteins ran Miramax. I think what had happened really was they had produced a couple of films that had a similar vibe. They did Equilibrium, which actually is a good movie, and a movie called… a Philip K. Dick adaptation. I forget the name… they all failed, and then we finished ours, and they just said ‘We don’t want to release another intellectual, cold science fiction movie’, so they just put it in a vault. Literally. So even though they only controlled the US rights, that had a ripple effect throughout the rest of the world, you know. Everyone looks to America, or the American distributor for leadership, and when there isn’t one, or the distributor’s waffling, it sucks all of the air out of the foreign distributors.