Christopher Nolan on Man of Steel, Heath Ledger, James Bond, and iMax
Ottway Ducard stashed this in Movies
Yes. Yes. Yes.
iMax = amazing
Liam Neeson = convincing
Bond = used to be relevant
Man of Steel = should be good.
On producing director Zack Snyder's upcoming "Man of Steel":
Producing is a lot easier than directing -- I'm doing it as we speak. [Laughs] I think Zack Snyder is incredible -- ["Man of Steel" is] something I've never really seen before, it's a very new, fresh take on the character. It was pretty amazing to watch him take it on. I think people are going to be really thrilled!
On merging the IMAX format with traditional filmmaking:
I grew up watching museum presentations of IMAX…and it's simply the most immersive film format that's ever been created. But it'd never been used in a feature film. On "Batman Begins," we did the conversion…and on "The Prestige," we shot our visual effects using an IMAX camera so I could see what the thing was, how big it was. The frame is enormous, the cameras are enormous, but when you project it on one of those eight-story-high screens, it is the sharpest image imaginable. So, what we ended up doing in "The Dark Knight" was shooting the opening prologue and then about 30% of the film using the cameras. Dialogue scenes didn't really seem practical -- the camera is enormous. When it came to "The Dark Knight Rises," we were determined to do all the action that way. We shot about half the film that way.
On the process preparing for and the reality of Ledger's transformation into the Joker:
We cast him before the script was even ready, so he had a very long time to obsess and think about what he was going to do. I sent him some material, I had him read "A Clockwork Orange." I had him look at paintings of Francis Bacon. Then, once he had the script -- which was very scary, my initial reaction to having him read it, because by this time he was so committed and knew what a high-wire act it was going to be, and if he hadn't liked it I think it would've been extremely difficult. It would've been very uncomfortable! [Laughs] But…he really felt it delivered what we'd talked about. Like a lot of artists, he would sneak up on something -- you couldn't really sit and say, "Okay, you're going to do Joker." He'd throw in a little bit of a laugh, but never kind of saying, "Okay, this is it." As with any great performance of showing you something very different, there were moments where you kind of go, "Wow, that's exactly right." There were other moments where you go, "I hope this is good." I had no idea -- he was so unpredictable. The voice certainly frightened me at first, because of its weird shifts in pitch. Just as in his physical movements -- you don't know how he's going to move, you don't know what he's going to do with his hands. It's always a surprise. The actual tone of his voice was always a surprise, too.
In discussing Liam Neeson's work on the Batman films, Nolan delved into the double-edged sword of Neeson's convincing delivery:
The great thing with Liam…is he can sell you anything. The scene [in "Batman Begins"]…they [Neeson and Bale] sit by the fire, and there's this line that I wrote in the script that he's [Bale] rubbing his arms and Liam says, "Rub your chest; your arms will take care of themselves.' After we shot it, I pictured boy scouts all over the world freezing to death because I made up this thing. [Laughs] I don't go camping, I have no idea! And you just believe it! He says it and you go, "Absolutely!" …Just, the gift of how he can take one of my lines like, "Your antics at the asylum" and actually make it sound good, just -- thank you! [Laughs] But he really means it as he's saying it, and to me that made him more threatening.”
The Bond films -- back in the 60's when they started making them, they were very specifically about Cold War fears. They were closer to things people worried about at the time. There was a very real threat they were dealing with that people were concerned about, post-Cuban Missile Crisis and all the rest. If you look at "Thunderball," if you look at the novel, particularly -- it's actually pretty edgy in its own way. I think that, one of the things -- in taking on an action film set in a great American city post-9/11…if we were going to be honest in our own fears…in terms of what might threaten this great city of Gotham, then we were going to come up against the idea of terrorism, what that might be, how that might feature in the universe of Batman. So we approached it, I think, with a great degree of sincerity. That is to say, we really wanted to try and create a credible villain whose philosophy looked at through one end of the telescope made a lot of sense, was very appealing to this young man who's lost his parents and has all of this rage. We really wanted to try and find an antagonist who could manipulate that anger.
You gotta admit, Daniel Craig is a decent Bond.
Best since Connery. Now we just need to get him a better script...