Dan Attends BFI’s Movie Con III
Dan made a surprise appearance today at the ongoing BFI Movie-Con III, and spoke to attendees about the end of Potter, who he’d play in a Potter remake, and making scared faces for Woman in Black.
For the complete article, and the transcript of the panel with Woman in Black director James Watkins, Hammer boss Simon Oakes and writer Jane Goldman, click the read more.
Thank you to Carole at GRA for the link.
Are you done?
“Yes, we finished. I promised myself it wouldn’t end on green screen but inevitably it did. The last shot was us jumping through the screen onto a mat.
Were you in bits?
“Not then but afterwards. I’ve never seen Rupert Grint cry before; it was weird. It was like seeing your Dad cry. But now we’re on to new things and I’m looking forward to the future. I’m very excited about The Woman In Black. I think James (Watkins) is great; he’s going to be the next Chris Nolan I think.”
You’re going to have to be scared a lot.
“Yes, but that’s OK; I’m good at scared faces.” [demonstrates his scared face, which is admittedly accomplished]
What was making this double Potter like though?
“It was hard. Before, the producers and directors were very good at taking all the pressure on their shoulders, but this time going into it we were slightly more nervous than we were before, because we didn’t want to screw it up as the last one. It was a long shoot, near enough 18 months, but a film set is the best place in the world as far as I’m concerned. The first part is a very weird road movie kind of thing. The first part is slower paced, but only compared to the second part. There’s more of an exploration of the relationships between the characters, that’s tested for the first times. And you’re not in Hogwarts, which gives it a very different feel from the other movies. It’s a road movie, in a weird way, and it’s hwo the characters function outside those familiar surroundings. The second part starts as a heist movie and then turns into a war. It’s epic. The thing they did on the last day was to play us the trailer, and there was a collective sigh of, “Phew, it’s going to be really good”. This is the first time I’m genuinely excited to see the film. Because it was filmed over such a long period, I’ve genuinely forgotten what we shot early on.”
Have you watched the films on DVD?
“I do, but I rarely watch them. I have two friends – just two! – and one wants me to play the Lego Harry potter game with him, and the other wants me to give him an uncensored commentary with them sometime.”
So a Potter-thon?
“No! I do get really embarrassed watching the early one. I was talking to Emma on set once on set and saying how bad we were, and we were on mike, and suddenly I heard Mike Newell shout, “You got it because you were both BLOODY ADORABLE”.
Since then it’s been David Yates – has it helped having him all the way?
“I think whoever directed the sixth had to direct the seventh; you needed to ensure that there wouldn’t be a distraction there, of a change in style. I’m thrilled that David did them all, he’s the loveliest man, so quiet and soft-spoken, but he has an incredible vision for plots. He can see the entire film in front of him. He can come up to me when we’re doing scene 328 and reference something we did in scene 8, and I’ve got no memory for those things.”
What role do you have your eye on if they remake this in 30 years?
“I don’t! But if I have to, Sirius if they do it in 30 years, and Dumbledore if they do it in 50. But Sirius is the part that everyone wants; Ian Hart had just read the third book on set of the second movie, and he was kicking himself that he didn’t get Sirius. But of course I was glad that went to Gary Oldman, because as you all know he’s my true love.”
“I don’t think so, but only because Alan Rickman is so indelibly printed on that role for me and I can’t imagine anyone else doing it.
The convention was also treated to a panel with Woman in Black director James Watkins, Hammer boss Simon Oakes and writer Jane Goldman.
Why the Woman In Black?
Simon: “Well, it’s a classic British ghost story I suppose. The play is an adaptation of the book, and it’s very well done, but we felt it was a fantastic project to draw out many of the ideas that Susan touched on in the book but didn’t really draw out.
Jane and James, how are you going to keep it scary?
James: “Well, we’re just trying to write a scary film then shoot a scary film.”
Jane: “Well, I think it’s a scary story, and what’s great about the play is that it managed to conjure that up with very little beyond the imagination.”
James: “There’s a lot of film grammar you can draw on. Jane’s written a wonderful script, and it’s basically my job not to screw it up. I don’t want to get technical, but the way we shoot it, the sound design and all those things will contribute. Recently we’ve had those great films like The Others or Guillermo del Toro’s work, but there hasn’t been a British ghost story, so I think there’s an opportunity to make a great British ghost story that’s classy and scary but has some of the feel of those films.”
What’s the story?
Jane: “It’s the story of a young solicitor who’s given the rather duff job of going to sort out the estate of a lady who’s just died in a remote village. He gradually begins to uncover a story that happened there long ago, which the villagers still know about – that’s a terrible description but there you go.”
How did you persuade Radcliffe to come onboard?
James: “He read the script, he loved the script, and we met in LA –which is weird since we both live in London – and he loved it. He’s obviously finishing Potter and he’s just looking for new things. He’s a very smart guy, very talented.”
The original Hammers have a really distinct feel. Are you trying to emulate that?
Simon: “Hammer was a broad church as you know. They had their mini-Hitchcocks in the late 1950s, the Draculas and so on. I think it’s a broad church in terms of themes, and what I’ve done is look at how the DNA would transfer to now. Obviously those films were overtaken by the urban myth films coming out of the US in the 1970s, Exorcist and so on. So now we’re not trying to do remakes, we’re asking what would Hammer be today. So Woman in Black is a classic story, and it’s the right time to bring that sort of thing to the fore.
Jane: “I’ll be wearing a white nightie on set in tribute. I think what Simon’s intending to do wtih the new Hammer is to bring in filmmakers with their own vision, and each will have their own look rather than a house style, but that’s something that evolves organically.
Simon: “Hammer had a house family of actors and so on, but the world has changed in that way. From the point of view of creators and writers, I’d like to think we can have the same sort of thing, in terms of creative family.
The play’s very much built around having just two people in the cast, and the shock ending ties into that. How is that translated into film?
Jane: “The theatre adaptation is absolutely tied into the idea that it is a theatre production, but in that way the book is different, but without that framing device, which is just done for the theatre.
Jane, can you tell us anything about Kick-Ass 2?
Jane: “I wish I could. At the moment it’s still incredibly early days. Mark Millar has completed the comics. In terms of the movie, everybody involved would love to do it, but we’re waiting and seeing.
The Woman in Black film that’s already out there scared the bejesus out of me as a kid. One of the things that made it scary was that it was all in camera. Will you keep that or use CG?
James: “We probably don’t have enough money to have lots of CGI. From a personal point of view, I think it’s more interesting in camera. Christopher Nolan, Danny Boyle and so on do everything in camera. Just look at the difference between 28 Days Later and I Am Legend. They’re worlds apart. Flesh and blood every time.”
How about X-Men: First Class?
Jane: “I think it’s in my contract that I actually get killed if I say much. It’s going really well and I am very excited. I watched a bunch of pre-viz yesterday and went home feeling so excited. We start shooting in about three weeks. We have an incredible cast and we’re all very excited. When I came to visit this set the other day, they’re across Pinewood, and there were X-Men people walking around in bathrobes.”
How about Let Me In? Simon, you’re a producer on it.
Simon: “That finishes mixing the sound tomorrow at Skywalker Ranch. Our version, we probably have to win you over, but it’s going to be wonderful. It opens at the LFF, but Chloe Moretz is wonderful, as is Kodi, so we’re very much looking forward to it.”
Jane, when you’re adapting a book, what’s the mechanic? Lots of underlining?
Jane: “I actually write down a breakdown of the source material, scene by scene, and then I go through that document. But I don’t write on books, I don’t deface them. It’s probably having lots of library books as a kid. But in a document you can move things around and that’s useful.
You met the book’s authorSusan Hill?
Jane: “Yes, she’s been so supportive and so complimentary. I absolutely adore her, she’s been great. She’s a great woman and a force of nature.”
In terms of reinventing Hammer, are you looking to British actors, or foreign stars too?
Simon: The truthful answer is we’re driven by script and talent and directors, so we don’t pre-cast. I think the idea of a house style is more difficult to achieve these days, but we’re very open-minded. We’re making this film in the UK, but we made two in the US last year, Let Me In and The Resident. The latter has Christopher Lee in it, which was a symbolic moment.”