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Newell and Bruckheimer Talk Prince of Persia

At a recent press junket in London (conducted virtually with local online journos) director Mike Newell, said he looked at everything from The Thief of Bagdad to Lawrence of Arabia to Raiders of the Lost Ark in making Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (May 28, Disney).

At a recent press junket in London (conducted virtually with local online journos) director Mike Newell, said he looked at everything from The Thief of Bagdad to Lawrence of Arabia to Raiders of the Lost Ark in making Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (May 28, Disney).

"They were all very important to me, but I also reckoned that if what I could do was to make a great, big, booming five ring circus of a movie, it also had to have an anchor of a very intimate, frank, tender, emotional truth."

Meanwhile, Newell added that working with producer Jerry Bruckheimer was like making a western with John Ford. "Now when we shot it, cast it, did all the preparation work, he was very, very hands off. And then we moved into post-production and I showed him the first cut and then he began. Jerry's a very generous guy and he's very un-egotistical and at the same time he's like a terrier… and he said don't forget that if I could I'd have this movie play at four-and-a-half minutes long -- and he would too: he's got ADD… and he knows that the audience has got ADD as well."

Meanwhile, Bruckheimer, in response to a question from AWN about raising the VFX bar, said, "Well, I think, you know, every time we approach a movie, the computer graphics and power becomes stronger and doubles and triples. So we can do a lot more things that we couldn't do in the past. And it's easier to do and, fortunately, gets a little cheaper. So, you know, there are more artists that we have joining that field and we're getting better computer graphics because more talented people are doing it."

He added that the sand of time effect (by Double Negative) was difficult to pull off. "There was a lot of debate. You know, how many times do you use it? How do you do it? It took us months and months and months to come up with the right dynamics and the right design for it. We went through a lot of different designs; a lot of different visual artists worked on it and a lot of illustrators worked on it. So we finally got something we're very comfortable with that Mike really loved."

Prince of Persia game creator and screenwriter Jordan Mechner suggested that the main difference between a videogame and a movie adaptation is that you can never transfer the game play to the movie. "All of the elements of filmmaking have to work on their own merit regardless of the fact that it was once a game… So I think in any kind of adaptation it's really key to understand the medium that you're creating in, to respect the strengths and weaknesses of that medium."

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