Russell Crowe talks about directing.
I like capturing the moments in what is sometimes quite a banal setting. I think you can say so much about a character in lots of subtle ways.
Krzysztof Kieślowski (June 27, 1941 - March 13, 1996)
The film doesn’t exist without a viewer. And the viewer is most important. The art for art’s sake, form for form’s sake, falling down under the weight of self talent or sagacity — these aren’t things for me. I want to tell a story which touches people.
You reach a point where you’re sick of the movie, you can’t see it anymore
The overriding thing with shots like this one was to throw them away. You’ve just got to shoot it as if it was part of a contemporary action sequence rather than holding on to the beauty too long. Treat it all as if the camera had been taken back in time to what was very familiar to these sailors. We fired the cannon in the tank and in New Zealand. But it was never really entirely effective, so ILM added more flame and more smoke. I wanted it to look like stabbing tongues of fire. I wanted to make it look deadly.
The set for the gun deck was built on a cliff near the tank [in Baja] so we could see the sea and sky out of the cabin windows. I’m one of those directors that would rather have a set be realistically designed and have the camera crew solve any problems, rather than making room for the camera. So there were no breakaway walls. Some of the grips wore football helmets because people were always banging their heads. We had all the sets on massive gimbals so there was always a sense of movement. To warm everybody up before shooting I would play a recording of an approaching cannonball and its impact.
I think of it as something closer to music. I’m after a kind of energy more than anything that’s cemented in logic or traditional structure. I’m trying to achieve something more like a feeling. So, when I’m cutting the film and putting it together and experimenting, it speaks to me—rather than the other way around. I end up discovering the film as I go along. As it develops, I start to feel, okay, this is what the film is going to be, this is what it needs to be, this is how it’s going to shift. The creation, in many ways, is an intuitive, responsive game.
I think that it is very important that in this moment in time to remember that dramaturgy and how you structure a story is something very personal, and it is not something that you can really learn from a book or you can abide to any of the rules that you hear. I think the way you tell it, the way that you pace a story, the way that you choose to represent it through very particular scenes that is a lot about your personality, and you should allow it to be rather than to make something with the correct turning points and the expected structure. I think really what movies need today are people that try to do something. It could be catchy, even though it’s original. There is not a dichotomy where you either you apply the right rules and it’s exciting or you don’t and it’s boring and it’s difficult. I think there is stuff to be explored there, to push films further. And I also think the most personal thing you do as a filmmaker is where you put your camera, how you perceive things, how you see them. And I would say mise-en-scène is the most important aspect of it. It’s the choosing of the characters in casting, how you portray them, how you approach them visually. I hear a lot of young filmmakers talking about “I’m all about performance, the camera can just be around them.” That worries me. There is a great possibility for thematic treatment and emotion in where you place the camera and what lens you use, your lighting. All that stuff that is more sensuous, more tactile. I think those are important things to sustain in filmmaking at the moment; even though we’re shooting digitally, there are wonderful possibilities of doing something beautiful still.
I think a lot of people missed the point of this shot: If Deckard had said, ‘Please don’t let me fall,’ Batty probably would have stomped on his hand. But it’s Deckard’s defiance that impresses Batty, so in a flash he grabs Deckard’s hand and stops him from falling. For this scene, we had Harrison hanging on a cable. But I think we may have managed to do a bit of cable removal. You spray it black, or sometimes you mottle it so that it’s black and silver, until you find that for the speed of the shot it’s mostly not there.