Appearing briefly at Frightfest this afternoon, Alex Garland was in the house to show the 3D trailer for Dredd and take part in an onstage Q&A. It’s possible that Alan Jones, throwing the Q&A, was not clued-in to the behind the scenes controversy on the film, but he still managed to ask just the right questions to get ssome very interesting of answers.
For one thing, Garland quite openly stated that they were some weeks into production before the role of Ma-Ma Madrigal was cast, and that he came to London himself “in desperation” to fill the role. Garland painted picture of a production in chaos with just a couple of brief, light strokes. I think he was saying a lot more than perhaps he realised.
I wish I had the audio – and I implore Frightfest to release the video, if they have it – because Garland’s tone spoke volumes.
But not quite as much as his silences.
For example, Jones asked why the producers had chosen Pete Travis to direct. Garland honestly didn’t know what to say.
So Jones went on. Was Travis a fan of the comics?
Garland answered bluntly, “No” but did add that this wasn’t him trying to slate Travis, and that he didn’t think there was any reason Travis needed to be a fan of the comics.
It was a rather awkward moment, though.
Jones went on to praise the film’s visuals and credited Travis for the slo-mo sequences, but Garland was at great pains to stress these were integral to the script before any director was involved. And when discussing how well the slo-mo scenes worked, he gave ownership of these visuals to the DP and FX team and did not mention Travis at all. Indeed, Geoff Barrow of Portishead was credited, for providing music specifically for these shots – and sending this music directly to Garland, by the sound of things – while Travis still went unmentioned.
All in all, it was a very awkward few minutes but also very interesting. Thanks very much to Frightfest for yet another sit-up-and-pay-attention treat. Really – it was fascinating.
I saw Dredd back in July and I think, when all is said an done, it’s a pretty successful film. With Travis pretty much absent from all discussion of the project, it’s hard to know just what he contribute. It looks, though, that he made some very sensible decisions in the way he mounted the production.
Crikey. What I wouldn’t give to interview him and get to dig into his plans and concepts, give him some credit where it’s due.
Dredd is released in the UK on September 7th, in the US on September 21st. Go see it.