Last week, we asked /Film readers to provide questions for a special question and answer blog with director Alex Proyas (Dark City, The Crow, I, Robot, Knowing). We sent Alex the submissions, and he has personally picked nine of the questions to respond to. Read the answers below.
1. TerrenceV: “Mr. Proyas when you are developing the visual style of your films with the various camera angles, framings, and lighting do you storyboard heavily with your cinematographer so that you reach your vision, or do you find that you improvise more? Are your visual choices pretty instinctual?”
I do storyboard, but not with my DP – these days I usually throw away the boards on the set and go for something more spontaneous. My choices are in fact based mostly on instinct – but every scene in a movie is different and requires a different approach so some are more structured than others.
2. JordanFRAV: “Alex, in one of your last posts, you spoke about the influence the film and the William Blatty novel ‘The Exorcist’ had on you as an aspiring film-maker, I was just wondering if you had considered creating a ‘supernatural horror’ or a film in the ‘horror’ genre in the foreseeable future?”
Yes I’d like to do a horror movie as many of my films have elements of “horror” in them. I’m working on a script based on a Heinlein story, THE UNPLEASANT PROFESSION OF JONATHAN HOAG, which I see as a horror movie.
3. Pentarix: “What comparisons would you draw between Knowing and your previous work?”
Similar themes, very different execution. A man looking for answers to his existence.
4. MickJ: “What are your thoughts on the ever-growing craze of Hollywood remakes/reboots, since now even original ideas for sequels are hard to come by? How much control does a creator have over his own work, i.e. how much control would you have if (god forbid) some idiot decided to remake The Crow? Would you ever allow one of your movies to be remade? Are there any films you would like to remake (those that actually deserve one)?”
Unfortunately I have no control over someone attempting to remake THE CROW (or any of my movies for that matter!) as I do not own the rights – the studios funding the films do. I generally hate (with unbridled passion) the current trend of remakes, sequels, etc – anyone who has the courage to make an original movie these days should be celebrated…
5. Ben Pearson: “Hello Alex. How did you feel when The Matrix came out so soon after Dark City, sharing similar plotlines and themes? Were you angered, shocked, amused, disaffected? Thank you.”
They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery…
6. Max: “How was it working with the Red One? And how did you find the workflow to be”
The camera itself is fantastic and I’ll definitely use it again – the workflow was eventually ironed out, though it did pose some initial challenges. As with any new technology there is a learning curve. I had a great crew on the movie and they sorted everything out quick smart and the guys from RED were extremely responsive to our production’s needs. RED is the future of movies as far as I am concerned.
7. Garrett Appleton: “As a film maker do you find yourself adapting your technique and your conception what things can be done, meaning how is the newer technology pushing you as an artist, or do you feel it does not affect you?”
Technology definitely effects the kind of stories we can tell. I usually embrace it if it means I can come closer to the vision I have for something
8. George: “If you had to spend the rest of your life as one of your characters. Which would you choose and why?”
Probably Freddy or any of the characters from GARAGE DAYS – that film has really been my only true happy ending…
9. Infrafan: “So, if you were giving free range and an unlimited budget with no restrictions on cast and crew, what project would you love to tackle. And given the trend of comic book movies and your success with The Crow, what comic book property would you love to adapt?”
I think most of the cool comic book characters have been done – I have a fondness for SILVER SURFER but will sadly never do that one. As for what project I would like to tackle given total freedom? My answer: the next one.