7. Awaking Emotions
Transcription by g3po
The gun kata. Ok. So, I invented the
gun kata in my yard, basically. After I would make sure that my family
was out of the house and my neighbors weren't looking over the fence
and I would, I developed it in the grass behind my house. And I
remember thinking, "Wow, y'know am I crazy?" "Do I actually have the
balls to hang a movie on this concept which may not work at all? Which
may fail completely and if it fails the movie itself will fail?".
The reason I did, I think, it grew out
of frustration and love of, simultaneously, of gunfights on film.
Y'know, about ten years ago, or more actually, Hong Kong invented the
great idea of having two guns in your hands when you shoot. And
Hollywood quickly caught on and soon everyone was holding two guns and
blasting away. And then Hollywood came up, sort of, with their own
urban variation on that which was to turn the gun sideways when you
shooting. And then Hong Kong reabsorbed that, but that simply seemed to
be the end of gun fighting for several years. And it was frankly
getting pretty damn boring. And I asked myself, "Y'know, in a thousand
years, is this really what we're going to be looking at in terms of
gunfights?". And, I just wanted to see something new. And, so I
invented the gun kata.
I remember when I first showed it to
my stunt coordinator Jim Vickers in the hallway in Germany, and I was
going down the hall doing this. He was the first person to ever see it,
and how silly I felt actually and I don't know what he actually thought
when he was watching it. He never said, to his credit, he just embraced
it and he flew with it. And I think together, given our limited
resources, we actually did a pretty decent job of conveying this
cinematic fiction. And it is obviously a cinematic fiction . I tend to
think that the thing most suited for film is dance. I would actually
love to do a musical one day. This is sort of my version of combining
the two and translating them to film.
scene was supposed to take place on his roof. He was supposed to wake
up and be so overcome with emotion that he runs upstairs bursts out
onto his roof and sees the sunrise. But, as usual, and I'll be flogging
this all throughout this commentary, budget, budget, budget! As usual
we didn't have time or the money for several locations were moved.
Interestingly enough, I then reasoned, "Okay, well, they wouldn't have
the need for clear windows in Libria because you wouldn't need to look
out of a window, they were simply there for transmitting light.". So it
led to this idea of tearing this skin off the window, which I think
actually sort of thematically works better as a substitute for the
drama of running up the stairs.
We have the digital cityscapes were
created by a company called Digital Firepower and a guy named Charles
Darby, a very talented painter.
For the life of me, I don't know why,
I didn't have Christian run with greater urgency here but it bugs me
every time I see it.
So I love shots like
these. But I got to tell you, for those of you who are first time
filmmakers, or about to be first time filmmakers, this is what they
call the "shoe leather". These are the shots that are the first to go
when you're trying to get your 2 hour and 25 minute assembly down to a
brisk 90 or 100 minutes. It's interesting if you start paying
attention, which you do after you have to loose a few of these scenes
and it breaks your heart. To veteran directors, when they have shots
like these, there's something going on in frame that is essential to
propelling the story forward that makes it so it's not "shoe leather".
Keep that in mind, you love 'em, but ultimately, you gotta loose 'em.
Dion and I made the decision to not
gel the fluorescents in this which is the sort of decision that freaks
out producers and has them on the phone to the lab trying to find out how bad the film actually looks. It turns
it a little green, but, I don't think it hurts it at all. In fact it
has the effect that we wanted and I think it works quite well.
Critics laughed at this scene and I
for the life of me don't know why. I think it's a nice scene. Very
difficult to light though because the only place you can put the lights
is either behind this crowd of people, or steeply up looking down,
which in this case led to these great shadows, these very dramatic
shadows on Christian. But, it was a very difficult scene to shoot
because you can only do it on Steadicam, and the focus is almost
impossible in that kind of lighting, with a Steadicam moving on a set
This is the main platform of that
subway I was talking about. You can see, if you go back, the lines for
the train, train tracks on either side. It's underdressed only because
of budget, but the space itself, I think, gave us a good amount of
production value considering our modest film.
I always regret not
using a more strident sound cue to introduce Taye there. These are the
things you tend to obsess about after the fact. Little things that
drive you nuts.