8. Signs Of Remorse
Transcription by g3po
The guy coming down the stairs is Mike
Smith, the Assistant Stunt Coordinator, who is also Christian's double,
championship diver. Actually, Christian didn't really need to be
doubled more than twice, I think, for two flips, but that was it. Mike
was a great guy, a lot of fun, a very positive presence to have on set.
This kind of action here, this chaotic
action, because it is sort of secondary, it becomes hard to shoot
because it becomes chaotic in and of itself. I look forward to the time
when hopefully I have a bit more in the way of resources, and I can
actually choreograph and plan this action out with the detail that we
planned some of the other action out.
This is interesting. This guy was just
an extra I pulled out of the crowd because I liked his face.
But, being an extra doesn't mean that
you're an actor. And, actors generally tend to act. Eventually what I
did, after a couple of tries not working, I told him, I had to
translate, "Listen, hold you breath.". So he holds his breath and after
about 30 or 40 seconds of holding his breath I called, "Roll film!".
And then we had action, and by that point he was less concerned with
acting and more concerned with breathing. And I was able to get the
correct, I think relatively correct, expression on his face there for
what's essentially the hero moment.
This scene here, this was actually
another one of those sort of fortuitous screw-ups. Originally Christian
was supposed to walk down the hall and intuitively sense a door that
had been hidden in the wall. Well, the art department halfway into the
day that we were to use it showed me the door and unfortunately it
wasn't hidden at all and an infant could have found it. So, that wasn't
going to work so I had Mike Lindsay, my on-set prop guy who is always
reliable, go with a hammer and make what are ostensively bullet holes
in the wall. I have Christian walking down feeling the bullet holes and
sense the light coming through one that appears through the wall, and I
actually think it works a lot better than my original idea. Otherwise,
I should have pushed in on that shot there.
Ok, this is the scene where he
comes in and listens to Beethoven for the first time. Now I saw a lot
of people online write in and say that this scene affected them. I
think they even mentioned it on Ebert & Roper. And that surprised
me, actually, because I always thought, and I still do, I feel that I
failed, to a large degree, in this scene. That it doesn't have the
power or resonance that it could have or it should have. I've obviously
looked at this scene a lot and there are other scenes in the film that
I feel, like, could have been done better. But, all those scenes I know
how I would have shot them differently, or how I would shoot them
differently if I could go back, but this is the one scene where I have
no idea how I could have made it better. I just know that it could have
been better. I just think I sort of reached the limits of my filmmaking
ability in this particular scene. I would really like to see how a
great filmmaker, like Milos Forman or somebody like that, would shoot
this scene. Part of it does have to do with the music, however, I do
have to say.
Some people, critics, criticize
the fact that I used Beethoven's Ninth here saying that it was strictly
a un-thought out rip-off of 'A Clockwork Orange'. That's not the case
at all. The reason I used, I don't think by the way, that the first
movement shows up in 'A Clockwork Orange' at all. But, the reason I
used it is because it's the only piece of music that I know that has
this kind of power. It starts essentially from nothing, just from
sounds like an orchestra tuning its instruments, and in 30 seconds it
reaches crescendo in a convincing manner. There are very few pieces of
music that can do this and do do this, and this was the only one that I
knew of. And obviously I couldn't spend three minutes or four minutes
or more on this scene having this piece of music develop, so that's why
I chose to use the piece of music that I did.
This is one of the few shots that I
went back to get again. I generally didn't have time even if I wanted
to, there would have been plenty more I can promise you that, but it
was just one that I wasn't satisfied. It was very hard because I think
it was a boom-up-dolly and zoom-in. Actually, it was a rack-focus
boom-up-dolly and zoom-in, and obviously there are tremendous focus
issues when you're doing something like that.
Now, when I first started, before I
even sold the script I had selected this piece of music. This was going
to be Karajan's arrangement of the Ninth Symphony, done I think by the
Berlin Philharmonic, and I carried it with me all through production. I
even used it when shooting this scene. It wasn't until the very end of
pre-production that my Post-Production Supervisor and Associate
Producer in no time came to me and said, "You've selected the most
expensive arrangement of this music in the world. It would cost $75,000
to use the 90 seconds you want to use.". Well, figuring we had $65,000
in the budget and we might be able to stretch it I said, "How much do
we have?" and she said, "$1500.". Well, there was no way I was going to
make that leap. So, I was forced to basically scratch around the
bargain bins until I found another arrangement that sort-of worked, and
I had to re-cut the scene, and lay that what I'm sorry to say is an
inferior piece of music in. And, the scene, it never really worked
quite the way I wanted it, but it works less good now.
This is my favorite piece of
Christian's acting right there.
That physicality that he uses, he does
so much with so little. I mean, especially in a part where he really
isn't supposed to emote that much, I think he did a wonderful job. I like this speech
from Taye, particularly because of the way he delivers it. It sums up
his character, and it actually makes him slightly sympathetic. I think
he does a really good job in this film.
Dogs. Hard working with dogs, getting
them all to bark. Yeah.
Here's a good example of why you
should light the guns in the foreground.
This is obviously a difficult scene to
do, a delicate scene to do. I'm quite certain there are plenty of
people out there who would argue that I did it indelicately, but the
trick ultimately was to make it effective. To push the limits of what
the audience could take in terms of the off-screen brutality of these
dogs, whom obviously the audience loves, getting slaughtered. And yet
have it still retain the impact that we need in order to make the end
of this scene and the scene later in the film, where he saves the dog,
Interestingly enough my very
talented sound editor Steve Flick's entire balloonist library of dog
sounds really just didn't contain the kind of character I needed for
the dogs. So, what we ended up doing was hiring a woman whose job it
is, and she's a professional, is to characterize dogs for movies. And
we came in, and I essentially directed her to be a puppy so all these
sounds you hear, the puppy here, are in fact this woman acting like a