Lucas - This is in the underground of the Potsdamer
Platz. This is a different subway station.
Kurt - Right. They have great subways.
Lucas - This one is actually finished and working.
Kurt - I saw that ceiling in a book of arcetecture and
it's one of the reasons why I wanted to go look at Berlin
was just to having seen that ceiling. And it's kind
of interesting how, you know, twelve or thirteen months later after
having seen the picture in a book you are shooting that. You're
reproducing it on film.
Here's my first AD Brian. (Man running trace on gun.)
This is interesting. This is a scene among many other
scenes...you know I first cut this scene together. It uh...it
I mean in conveyed the information but it really didn't work
and you know I tested it and sat there with the audience and it really
didn't have any impact. So I went back in with William and recut
it and you know it's really extraordinary the alcomy of
editing...juxtaposing images. We seriously recut the scene and
then played it for an audience and they went nuts. They started
applauding and it was an amazing lesson for me and William and I
applied it to everything else in the film in terms of maximizing, you
know, what we had to work with and squzzing every last bit of audience
reaction out of it. I think that you have to be careful at some
point not to be too calculating particularly when you are shooting the
It's one thing that Dimension appreciated about me-slash-us
was that I was one of those few directors that actually really liked to
test films because first of all, you know, they are giving me an
audience. Every seat in the theater is full. I mean how
great is that? But to this day...I think we tested this five
times...to this day I remember every testing & every nuance of the
audience at every point, at every frame of the film and I paid close
attention to it. And when they reacted to something I tried to
figure out how I could pump up that reaction. When they didn't
react where I thought they should I had to figure out, try and figure
out what was wrong. And it was a very valuable process and
Dimension actually really appreciated that because at the end of the
day they are a very bottom line studio. They are not making films
for them. It's not a vanity exercise for them where it
basically's their only concern that I listen to what they say.
They want to make a movie that makes money, that the audience is going
to like so at the end of the day that was always the cord of last
resort. I could always say if there's a disagreement, "Well,
let's test it." In fact, I think they got to the point where they
wanted to stop taking my calls because they knew I was going to say,
"Let's test it." (Laughs)
Lucas - (laughs) I think you are...
Kurt - Which is 25 thousand or 30 thousand dollars.
Lucas - ...you may be the only director that they have
worked with who actually kind of took the process and applied it to
Kurt - Yeah.
Lucas -... as opposed to them applying it to you.
Kurt - Actually that's right. (laughs)
Lucas - Every...you know, typically the studio makes the
director test the movie and it's always a moment were the producer and
the director kind of gasp. Like "Oh my god. What's gonna
happen and what changes are coming?"
Kurt - This kangaroo court could possibly comment on my
Lucas - (laughs) Exactly, but we kind of took that and said,
"Oh yeah, let's do it again."
Kurt - But you know what? For me...listen...I'm not
David Lynch here. I'm not making...David Lynch shouldn't test his
films. He's making movies for himself and he does a brilliant job
at it. This is a genre film. I'm making it for the
audience. I really care they have to say. And ah... a very
useful process testing.
I have to say having said that the focus groups are
completely useless. They're a very strange animal that can be
controlled or go out of control and they can be very damaging.
But sitting there in the dark and listening to the audience, the
audience doesn't lie. You know, they forget you are there after
two minutes and they are 100% honest about whether they like something
or they don't.
Lucas - Yeah, you can literally just watch their
heads. You can watch whether people get up to go to the bathroom
or not and you can pretty much tell when they are with a sequence or
Kurt - When they are shifting or paying wrapped
attention. And by the way when they jump up and cheer ...(laughs)
Lucas - (laughs) Yeah.
Kurt - You know you are doing alright and I have to say in
this movie they did it a lot. I mean we were all amazed that
pretty much after scene 75B, which is the scene where he saves
the dog...um...you know, we had people regularly laughing and clapping
Lucas - It's a great feeling when the audience is with your
Kurt - Nothing better...
Lucas - ...and participating.
Kurt - ...nothing better.
Lucas - Mathew Harbor, scary little kid.
Kurt - Yeah.
Lucas - Great kid. Did a good job.
Kurt - I mentioned him on the other
track. Did a really good job and I also said that he was the one
guy/kid/person that the studio made us hire and they were right.