Kurt Wimmer &
4. A Heavy Cost
K: ...Of course, there's so much money in West Berlin right
now. After they had that sort of unexpected windfall of a huge piece of
land in central Europe, money just started pouring in there, like it
was being sprayed in with fire hoses. And the horizon of Berlin is
nothing but cranes. They have spared no expense in bringing in the best
architects from all over the world to come and create some of the most
magnificent architecture you could ever want. And that is one of the
reasons why we chose to shoot there. Because it had not only the Nazi
architecture, but it had also had some 19th century architecture which
I wanted a bit of. And also it had this fabulous new architecture.
L: This was a kind of cool building that was also in the
East. That was sort of a ruined building that we essentially made in to
K: It was a church.
L: Yea, but we made it into a more artfully decorated ruined
church. Those bricks weren't there before. We put them there. Those
bricks in the background.
K: Right, and some of the colored glass in the windows and
the trees sticking through it. I had mentioned on the other track how
you are the one that advocated Sean and how happy I am that you
ultimately prevailed in that choice.
L: He's really got a sort of some kind of
weight that's hard to explain. He's only in the film, this character
that is so important to the movie, he's only in the movie in 3 scenes,
or 4 scenes, but it was so essential. We had to get somebody who you
just, you know, believed.
K: That's right. And I always thought that this was a very
important part, and it was interesting that a lot of people, you know,
sort of larger, mid-level actors came in. They weren't interested in
this part because it didn't much page count to it. But I said to them
"I think you're crazy this is, this is the role".
L: Yeah, we had some amazing readings from actors, but at
the end of the day when we were casting in London, they just didn't
want this role, because it seemed insubstantial some how to them. And
we kept saying, "You don't understand, this guy has the best lines"
K: That's right. And Sean, he came in and he nailed it. I
got so lucky with actors on this film. I have to say, I'll never, I've
exhausted, I'm certain, all of my actor karma in making this film.
L: The goodwill that you have collected.
K: But seriously, because I got great actors... And let's
face it, this is a relatively small budget, genre effort from a genre
film studio. And I got top-notch actors. Not only that, but they came
in with no attitude, completely professional, with no desire other to
do anything other than make this world seem real. They all wanted to be
directed. They all immediately incorporated direction and advice.
L: They were very responsive, it was really amazing.
K: Yeah, especially considering I'm a first-time director.
There's no reason, there's no proper reason why they should have ever
listened to me. But they did, and you know, whether it was to their
credit or not, history will be the judge.
L: Little things you may notice are the Yeats book in this
scene. When we squibbed it, we actually did it on a larger copy so it
would read better on film.
K: Yeah, that's right. We did that a number of times; it's
sort of a game we play. Like, the ampoules of Librium, or I'm sorry,
Prozium, that Christian, or Preston, has throughout the film. It struck
me that we may need one that is three times the size of the ones that
are actually in the delivery device. I'm glad I thought of it, because
we would have been kind of screwed otherwise. You sometimes just need
to create bigger things to play to camera.
L: This car...you know, one of the problems that Sci-Fi
movies have, and this was a real problem for us. We have limited
resources, and we needed to have a fair amount of picture cars. This
car, we ended up getting this fairly well known American car and having
some German car guys, basically the picture car coordinator. We told
him "Make it white. Make it white inside, get everything to be white.
Cover the seats in white, the door panels, everything". And he was, he
did it, but he thought we were insane.
K: And we were. It looks sort of like the ultimate
pimpmobile. But you know, I think it works. I think I mentioned this on
the other track; it was really hard to find a large-sized sedan in
Europe. They just don't have them except Mercedes and BMW. And I sort
of made the decision early on that I wasn't going to put money in cars
in this movie. Because that would have sucked up money, and if you pay
attention, you'll notice that there are no cars in this movie. People
do a lot of walking in Libria. Well, there's no fat people in Libria
either, so it makes a certain amount of sense. But the only cars you'll
see are Preston's car and the sweeper tankers. Yet, I feel, and it's
hard for me to be objective. I feel that you don't...nobody walks away
from this film feeling there’s a vacuum...a motor vacuum in this movie.
L: The screen that we are watching this on, by the way, was
a nice expensive piece of hardware that we had to ...
L: ...we had to buy this piece of Plexiglas, special
Plexiglas that we could mount and project an image on and all of that.
It was really a fairly big deal to actually organize that in Germany.
K: Yeah, it was, and the fun thing about it, though, that I
believe as I recall was that it was a surprise expensive...
L: Yeah, everybody thought it was no big deal, and it turned
out to be $40,000.