Sunday, 19 October 2008

'There will never be a Female Bond' - Interview with the Director of Quantum of Solace

These are out-takes for an interview with Marc Forster written for Sight & Sound, the excellent magazine for the British Film Institute.

How were you approached to direct Quantum of Solace?

I like Bond films but I was never a fanatic. My agent rang me up about Eon productions and I said look, I don’t want to meet them. There’s no script. If it doesn’t succeed it really harms my career and if it does succeed it means I can make other big
Hollywood blockbusters, which I’m not that interested in making anyway. This is crazy. Then Amy Paschal from Sony rang up and said look can you just meet them out of respect, as a favour to me, so I meet Barbara Broccoli.

So you had to think about it?

I went home after the meeting and happened to read an old interview with Orson Welles where he expresses regret for never having made a commercial movie. We were still cutting Kite Runner and I mentioned the offer to my DP and editor. They said, are you crazy? We have to do it. It’s a piece if history!

Then what happened?

On the third meeting I met Daniel Craig and we really clicked. He really understands the character. He reminds me of Steve McQueen.

Then you started working on the script with him in Pinewood?

I worked on it and then the writers strike started and we knew we had enough material till early April and then, if the strike continued, we’d be really screwed. We began the film not knowing we could film the ending.

And you brought in your own team?

I brought in my crew and all the people I collaborated with before. The former Bond crew did six of the Bonds and I needed to do my own look. I said to Barbara and Michael look if you really want me to make this movie I need to bring my own people otherwise I can’t do it

This is a dark Bond

Is Bond really good? You now longer know whether the government has the best interests of the people in mind. Now the villains and the good guys are a mish-mash. There’s not only darkness is there. You can’t take it too seriously – Bond is damaged and he is needs to keep his humour and the lighter side.

And the villain is an environmentalist

I thought the villains should change he should just be this normal guy and he’s this environmentalist on top of this. There’s an overlay between Bond and Greene. All the topics and stuff I threw in there which weren’t relevant last year suddenly become relevant now – the price of oil, access to drinking water, problems in Venezuela and Bolivia, the economic downfall of America and how they have to keep up a front.

Don’t you think that Matthieu Almalric who plays the villain Mr Greene looks like Roman Polanski?

He told me when he did the Diving Bell and the Butterfly, of course Emmanuelle Seigner was a co-star and she lives with Polanski and he visited the set. One day Polanski was standing in front of him and it was very strange for him – they looked the same.

You controlled everything down to the material of the suits Bond wears, which was a rare material

I’m pretty much of a control freak – its not the material of the suit but the colour, style and look

And what were your reference points?

I loved the early Bond movies, the retro-look on the one hand and juxtapose it with the modern world. I always thought Hitchcock always had an influence on from
Russia with Love and I wanted to take North by Northwest and throw something like that in – and Parallelex View, and use those as a references.

What changes did you make to the Paul Haggis draft you had?

For example, soon after the beginning, it was scripted originally that Bond runs into
Siena cathedral and has to fight there way up. I thought that was really unspectacular and not very interesting.

What did you do?

I thought it was much more interesting to start in the belly of Siena, the Roman water cisterns, pop up into the centre of the square with the annual Palio going on, chasing through 50,000 people into the horse stalls, up a stair and onto the roof and along the roof and into the tower, crash through into the glass dome and have a fight hanging on the ropes – a firs
t, I think

Will there ever be a female Bond?

No, I don’t think so. Bond is such an icon – it wouldn’t be the same.

Why did Amy Winehouse get dropped from singing the theme tune?

I met with her but she didn’t feel so well, she never wrote anything she never delivered a song so we needed to move on

What’s Your Favourite Bond Movie?

I love from
Russia with Love – but maybe because it’s set in Switzerland. But my favourite is George Lazenby’s On Her Majesty’s secret service – it’s just a cool movie

Is it true you were on the kidnap list for the Baader-Meinhof Gang when you were just 12?

Yes it’s true. My Father was an industrialist I grew up in a wealthy environment. That’s why we left
Germany and I grew up in a mountain resort in Switzerland. Later he lost all his money.

No comments: