Quint does the press line at ShoWest and chats with M. Night Shyamalan and Wolfgang Peterson!!
Published at: March 21, 2006, 6:16 a.m. CST by staff
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with another ShoWest report. Going into ShoWest, I was thinking I was going to be getting one on one interviews with Natalie Portman, Bryan Singer, Wolfgang Peterson and Brandon Routh. By the time the day came, Singer had gotten ill and wasn't going to make it, Portman was "V'd out" I was told and Peterson was jetting off right after the presentation.
Oh well, I had a seat for the big Warner Bros presentation and that's what I really wanted to see anyway. I showed up about 45 minutes early to check in and I was ushered inside with the IESB and LatinoReview guys, who had spots on the press line. Before leaving Austin I had been asked if I wanted to take part in the press line, but the red carpet style interviews didn't seem to sit well with me, so I had declined. Turns out they never accepted my refusal and when I stepped into the room, looking to check in, I was led by the press lady to a spot in between Hollywood Reporter and Canal Plus, right onto a little white sticker on the ground that said "Ain't It Cool News (AICN)." I was the only person there without a camera, it seemed.
So, imagine how out of place I felt.... Around me are two man teams, one cameraman with camera, either shoulder operated or on a tripod, and one reporter with a microphone. I'm standing there with my legal yellow notepad, on which I'm scribbling a few desperate last minute questions, and my cheap Sony micro-cassette recorder that is all scraped up from traveling with me around the world for the last 3 years or so.
M. Night Shyamalan and Wolfgang Peterson were doing the line, one starting on each end. I was in the middle. The Canal Plus guys were crowding me out of my space, but the reporter, a dude named Ramsey, made sure to let me know that as soon as they got their chance to talk, he'd make room for me. It was clear that Shyamalan was going to get to my space in the line before Peterson, so I steeled myself and got ready.
The lady escorting M. Night down the line told the Canal Plus guys, on my left, that they'd be the last interview and there would only be pictures after them. I started to back my way out of line, hoping to make it over to Peterson before he was pulled out, too. Ramsey stopped me as Shyamalan was taking pics in front of a giant standee for LADY IN THE WATER and pulled me back into my spot. "Where are you going?" he asked. I said, "Well, she said you'd be the last interview..." He shook his head and pointed to the camera on my right. "He will have to do Hollywood Reporter. Just make sure to put your arm out before they do..." He demonstrated with his arm, holding the microphone. So, I stood there, waiting with micro-cassette recorder in hand, as Shyamalan finished his photos and headed in my direction, towards the Hollywood Reporter guys.
"Now... put your arm out," Ramsey told me. I did and a split second later the Hollywood Reporter guy did the same, but then pulled his arm back as Shyamalan stopped in front of me. I was a little taken aback, honestly. It was like a magic trick.
I introduced myself to Shyamalan, not sure how he was going to receive me as Moriarty has written some harsh shit about the man. Luckily for me, he seemed very warm and happy to talk to me. I only got a few questions, which are kind of last minute filler stuff, so don't expect to be blown away here. I love to sit down and just pick this guy's brain at some point, but I did the best I could under the circumstances. Here's my brief chat with M. Night Shyamalan.
QUINT: Hi, I'm Quint from Ain't It Cool News.
M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN: Oh, hi! How are you? Good to meet you.
(He grabs my yellow legal note pad and shakes it)
The note pad! I love this! This is earthy! It's so...
QUINT: I can't work without this. I don't know why that is, but if I don't have a good, sturdy yellow legal notepad I just don't feel like I'm prepared.
M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN: (laughs)
QUINT: From what I've seen so far on LADY IN THE WATER, the aspect that most intrigues me is the fairy tale side of things. I was just wondering how much of that was honed while reading the story to your kids...
M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN: Actually, it was kind of the reverse. I was like, "Those are the elements." Regardless of how difficult it would be to put those elements in a movie, those are the elements. That was kind of my own internal law, you know? That's the bed-time story. And then I could do whatever I want as a reaction to the bed-time story, but that's the bed-time story. So, when Paul (Giamatti) will get told this story, in the movie, and he'll come to learn about it... Yeah, so the elements, however absurd they were when they came out of my mouth in that bedroom at 10pm, that was the law. I just held on to that.
QUINT: How much did that change, though. I mean, you didn't tell the story, piece by piece, and then go run to your computer and type it in...
M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN: No, no, no, no...
QUINT: When spoken stories are passed down or repeated, they tend to get embellished and get more detailed...
M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN: Well, as I said, the foreground story of the super intendant's building was kind of the frame-work for him to hear the story that I told my kids, you know what I mean? So that gave me some freedom. Then I retold it to my kids. I retold the whole thing to my kids as we were doing it, so it became the second iteration of it.
QUINT: So, what are you doing next?
M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN: I still got to finish this thing, you know? I still got 6 weeks of heavy, heavy cutting to do on the movie, you know? Where I'm just alone at home with the editor and we just focus on it when I get home. Then we score it, you know and all this stuff.
QUINT: Thanks for talking with me.
M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN: Take care.
And he was pulled away. Ramsey next to me kind of gave me a smile that said, "See, told you it'd work."
When I had finished talking to Shyamalan, Peterson was wrapping up with Hollywood Reporter, so I didn't have to wait long to have my own couple of minutes with him. He seemed really happy and warm. His accent was a little thick, but I did the best that I could below to transcribe it faithfully.
QUINT: I want to start off saying I'm a big fan. I grew up on NEVERENDING STORY.
WOLFGANG PETERSON: Oh, yeah!
QUINT: I'm looking forward to POSEIDON, but I have to say my main interest in seeing the movie is seeing your cast work together. I love seeing big ensemble pieces because they rely heavily on the actors chemistry with each other. Is that chemistry something you took pains to work out with your cast or was it something that was spontaneous when you get a great group of actors together?
WOLFGANG PETERSON: It was long, long process. Basically, you have 15 actors together and see if they are all working together nicely. I love these ensemble films. Same way I did with DAS BOOT, same I did to a certain degree also with THE PERFECT STORM where in addition to what you have with all the effects around the sets and the story points and yet you can really go off on a group of people with their dynamics. It's very complicated to do. It's very hard. It's also not easy to shoot because 12 actors... let's say 12... they're all characters. You have to deal with that and you have to see that they all work.
But sometimes special tensions between them sometimes happen along that you can work with that tension, so it's like in real life. When you work with a group of people things that go a little bit in that direction of tension, you can use it. The other thing, there's sympathy and love... you can use that. It's interesting. It's beautiful. I like it. I'm very much at the moment not too much into going to that one superstar and the others... they are not really there. I like very much to take every single person very seriously, you know? Because they're all people like you and me and they all deserve attention.
QUINT: I noticed you did that with George Clooney in THE PERFECT STORM, where he was no bigger a character than his shipmates.
WOLFGANG PETERSON: Yeah.
QUINT: What are you working on after this?
WOLFGANG PETERSON: I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. Get this out of the way, but I am more than willing to dive right into... (laughs) Not necessarily dive into the water, but dive into the next project soon! Because I love it so much!
So, that one was a bit confusing, but I hope you can tell what he was trying to say. Right after chatting with Peterson, I made a bee-line right into the auditorium to grab my seat for the big WB presentation. My review of the SUPERMAN RETURNS footage from that presentation can be read by clicking HERE! and I'm currently working on wrapping up my coverage of the other footage shown at the presentation, including the above filmmaker's movies, LADY IN THE WATER and POSEIDON as well as George Miller's HAPPY FEET. Keep an eye peeled for that!
There you have my first (and probably last) foray into the world of "press line" journalists. A bit too high strung and stressful for my tastes. I'll take a sit down interview any day of the week. Speaking of sit-downs... I should have my only real sit-down interview transcribed and up for you very, very soon. It was super. You'll like it. See ya' soon!