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I also wanted to ask about the international element of this film, because it is something that we’ve actually seen growing in blockbuster entertainment recently. Part of it is because of the growing importance of international box office, but as an international filmmaker yourself, how you feel about the globalization of major films like this?
For me, the interesting thing was to actually show the staple characters on an action movie like this on a different light, like Charlie Day is the strangest type of scientist you can find. You almost never have a leader quite like Idris Elba with a real North London accent. Then, when you get an Asian girl in an action movie, it’s a sex object. And you’ve never seen a character like Rinko and you always end up with a forced love story, you know. All these choices are to go counter, but still use the sort of staple characters of a movie like this.
Even to see most of the movie set in Hong Kong is a big change-up.
Well, let me put it this way, instead of destroying New York, we go and have the main battle in Hong Kong. I wanted the movie, from the get go, I said to them, I don’t want to make a war movie. I want to make an adventure movie, and one of the things I loved as a kid was The Jungle Book, Zoltan Korda’s The Jungle Book and I loved the exotism and I said I want to take this movie and set it in a Slavic locale. I’d rather set it up in Hong Kong, Tokyo, blah, blah, blah and take them to places adventure movies normally don’t go.
You largely avoid the Roland Emmerich thing. You destroy cities, but you don’t necessarily destroy big landmarks.
And I think that was done earlier by King Kong or Ray Harryhausen. Ray Harryhausen took the Golden Gate Bridge. King Kong takes the Empire State Building. It’s very linked to monster movies. Monster movies you always need a landmark to be destroyed.
I also do want to ask about your future projects as well, because you have Crimson Peak in the works right now. You’re planning on beginning next year, right?
So you’re starting to build that world.
Well, we are halfway through the preproduction of The Strain. We start shooting that in September. we already opened offices for Crimson Peak. We already are in the middle of designing the house. I have a full art department. Wardrobe comes in two weeks from now and I’m going to be prepping Crimson Peak while shooting The Strain and we shoot Crimson Peak in January.
Your work ethic is absolutely off the charts. How do you not burn out?
I don’t know. I’ve always been like this. Now it’s very public, but this is the way I did Cronos and when I did Cronos, I was still doing makeup effects. My company was running. I was sculpting, I was painting, I was servicing movies, storyboarding for other movies. I was doing a lot of that stuff. So same with, when I did Pan’s Labyrinth, I was writing the screenplay for Hellboy II, to give you an example, and I was preparing The Orphanage as a producer.
And you were writing The Strain during Hellboy II, also, right?
I was writing The Strain after Pan’s Labyrinth, during Hellboy II, during The Hobbit, and so forth. it’s always been like this and this morning, 4:30 am, I finished polishing a script of The Strain, send it to Carlton Cuse. Tomorrow morning, I am writing Dark Universe, polishing the outline.
I really don’t like daily life that much. I really don’t. I’m socially inept. I don’t enjoy nor am I good at social interactions. Monsters are my pals.
Over this entire time that you’ve been working on this project, you’ve constantly sung the praises of Legendary and you were even talking earlier about how they kept saying yes to all of your ideas. At the Mountains of Madness, have you pitched them on that?
Yeah, we almost made it this year. They picked Crimson Peak because they didn’t want to do two big movies in a row with me, Pacific and Mountains. Crimson Peak is much smaller. It’s about a quarter of the cost, and it’s about 50 million, and they said they’d rather gamble on that and then after that, maybe Mountains, you know.
So, it’s just a maybe at this point?
It’s a maybe, but I’m going to get it made. Don Murphy, who does some producing with me. Don never gives up, I don’t know if you know him, but Don is like a force of nature.
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