Rather than just come out and call V a terrorist, I think you have to look behind the veil and see what creates people like that. Then if you take that line, is it right to call Nelson Mandela a terrorist? Is it right to call Che Guevara a terrorist? There’s been a lot of historical figures that, at the time, depending on what regime they’re fighting against, are called a lot of different things. I think V falls in that milieu of lots of different people
"It was terrible trying to fund Crash. No one wanted to do it. First of all I was an unknown director. I had directed for television but that's actually worse. It would have been better if I had been a complete unknown. Also, it's very hard to tell the tone of the movie from the script, because it could have come off as really preachy, or rather the characters preaching and being didactic, which I didn't want. I wanted to lampoon these characters who were saying these great, wonderful things. So we took it out of the studios, no one wanted it, and we took it to quite a few financiers, and they liked the script but didn't want to do it with me as the director. And then, finally, we found Bob Yari and Cathy Schulman, and they said, 'Yeah, we'll put up a little bit of money to get it cast.' So it took us a year and a half to get the right cast that worked for them so they'd put more of the money up. All the actors worked for nothing. We all waived our fees.”
“This is the moment where Truman Capote got everything he ever wanted in life. And the moment he had it, and he celebrated himself with his black and white ball at the Plaza, that’s the epitome; the rest is a spiralling into hell. He did what he was attempting to do from the time he was a child, which is he wanted that praise and recognition; but I think once he had it, it’s almost like he resented the world for having that opinion, which was so inconsistent with his own. There’s so much self-hatred there.”
We did a lot of casting, a lot of casting. Everybody will tell you casting is so important. The agents in town were all very supportive, particularly since there is not much out there for young actors. There are TV soaps and other drama series or a bit of fringe theatre – even that is very competitive – so if you approach with a film and their actors like the script, often they will be very helpful. Agents take on a lot of actors straight out of drama school and most actors find it very, very tough to get work, especially in those first three or four years. So I saw a lot of actors and they all seemed to like the project and then also, I had Andy Serkis on board from very early on in the lead role. Of course all the actors had heard of him and respected him, so it wasn't so much for me that they wanted to do it, it was for a chance to act with him [smiles]."
...he did a lot of his hunting at night, when there was no light to see by, except for the moon. But then he preferred not to go out on moonlit nights because just as he could see his adversary, so his adversary could see him! The real battle of wits was between him and the animal he was tracking and the amount of… well there were times he would start tracking a maneater during the day and by nightfall, he had come so far, it was impossible for him to get back to where he had set up camp, so he would be compelled to spend the night up a tree. You just can’t help but admire the courage of this man, who knew that there was a maneating tiger in the district and in fact, very, very close to where he is, because he is tracking it.”
Oscar-nominated director Ashvin Kumar on Jim Corbett, the hunter who inspired his high-suspense film drama Forest, heading for Cannes in May.
"From your childhood, you just kind of go, ‘I love the book. I love the book.’ And then you read it again as an adult, and you go, ‘It’s a lot smaller than I remember it.’ It’s like visiting a house that you lived in as a child. I think largely it was because it was very empowering. You know, you think about it and these kids are disempowered in World War 2, they have no control over the situation, they’re being thrust around, and they go into Narnia and they’re greeted as kings and queens of Narnia, everyone is in awe of them, everyone’s waiting for them to solve all of their problems. While it’s a big shift in responsibility, I think responsibility is empowering for kids; it’s basically saying, ‘We trust you. We trust you to make the right decisions.’"
“In this case, the strangest thing is the bulk of this film, Paul says it’s 90%, I don’t know how you put a thing on it, is true. But events that we show, particularly in the hotel, are exactly how they went. That was the attraction to me. The events, as they say, were stranger than fiction. Roger going next door and finding that the neighbours are dead, the Hutu workers taking over the luxury suites, the whites leaving, the convoy leaving, even the family hiding in the bath, all of those were the way it happened. For me the things that I had to do for the film were more compilation characters. All the whites are basically compilation characters of various UN officers and journalists and Red Cross workers. Then I think the only big creation was that trip out to the warehouse and the dead bodies on the road. Paul did encounter that level of corpses on the road but it happened after he escaped from the hotel, when he went to drive south with Tatiana, to try and find her family. But I needed at that point to take the audience out into what we call the heart of darkness, the middle of the genocide, to see the systematic slaughter and the reality of this notion to wipe out the whole Tutsi population.”
When Gremlins director Joe Dante was given carte blanche to make an hour-long film for the made-for-cable series Masters of Horror, he and Batman screenwriter Sam Hamm chose to make a political statement about the Iraq war. Based on Dale Bailey's short story Death and Suffrage, Homecoming sees soldiers killed in an unnamed "evil" war rise from their coffins in a bid to vote out the president who sent them to their deaths for a lie. The film received a rapturous reception at last year's Turin Film Festival and has been hotly debated and argued about on the web.
"I think every time, to me, not to talk bad about filmmakers who do these male films, but usually when a man does a fight film or a violent film, there’s no vulnerability in the character, it’s very macho-macho. I think that’s part of the guy thinking, ‘That’s how I want to portray myself. That’s how I want to portray the guys’ whereas I say, ‘No, no, let’s open the curtains. This is what’s really going on because this guy actually has a heart. He’s actually afraid and he has worries.’ I think that’s what being a female filmmaker making these kinds of films makes it unique, because I don’t have to stand up for machoism. I don’t have to defend the hood."
You grew up in Germany. Where is home now?
“I live in Los Angeles, Hollywood Hills.”
What’s the attraction of London?
“I think in my heart of hearts I’m still European. So, when Americans get on my nerves, and I need, actually, conversation with substance, some newspapers in the morning, and some good news on TV that’s honest – I like being back here. I never really liked Germany too much, for some reason. London has both, you know? There are people who are artsy and they’re film people but it’s less pretentious and still kind of real. So it’s a good mix. It’s a good mix for a European filmmaker to be in London.”