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Old Jul 8, 2006, 04:30 PM   #1
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Sin City: Interviews

Clive Owen, Brittany Murphy & Rosario Dawson Interview

By Sean Chavel in Los Angeles

Below, Sean reports on Brittany Murphy, Rosario Dawson, and Clive Owen as they talk about their upcoming flick, "Sin City," opening this weekend. Stay tuned tomorrow for more from Jessica Alba and Benicio Del Toro tomorrow during our "Sin City" celebration.


MURPHY: Well, in order... How did I get in shape for the film? Robert cast the part on what we looked like before we started filming. (To Dawson) Anything you want to add to that?

DAWSON: Something about giving her a thing of flowers when she decided she was going to actually wear the outfit . . . fabulous, yeah, just unbelievable.

MURPHY: Down to the slightest minute detail and this man knows how to shoot women stunningly and beautifully and like them in a way that their bodies look unique and you can't see into the parts that don't work (laughs) . . .


DAWSON: Are women going to want to see it specifically for that reason? I think absolutely. When she's standing there and he actually punches her across the face, and she actually tries to chop his pecker off . . . all the women working in Old Town — we take care of ourselves. We are very control of what we are. We know what our assets are. We make money off of it. We call the shots, which I think is really powerful. It's a very even keel sort of strength between the men and the women. The guys get their balls ripped off and the girls get to do it and will. It's a pretty tough town on both sides.

MURPHY: I thoroughly agree with everything Rosario just said. If you look at the undertones of Frank Miller's writing, there’s a balance to everything. . . also moments with Marve and Carla’s character when she’s crying and he says women just need to get it out. I love that part . . . because I find it true and I'm proud to be a woman and femininity is part of — one of my greatest strengths and assets.


OWEN: I was just thrilled to be asked to be involved. Yeah. Robert sent me the graphic novel with a 10-minute thing that he's already filmed and it looked hugely exciting. I wasn't familiar with Frank's work at all, and I read the graphic novel, ‘The Big Fat Kill,’ and thought it was the wildest most imaginative thing I've come across in ages, so I was just thrilled to be asked to be involved with it.


DAWSON: It was just incredible I think, the green screen. You're standing there in this outfit, just completely naked and vulnerable to everything and this crazy dialogue — okay, I'm just going to trust. With Robert's experience — I was kind of lucky because I came out on the very last segment of shooting, so I was there three months into it and actually saw a lot of other footage, so I got the benefit of being able to look at it and go — okay, this does look really amazing, I'm just going to do whatever he tells me to do. We had to move, not the cameras. Normally everything moves around you but we would have to do everything and go along with what the actual framing was. And he had this computer effect where he would actually take the actual framing — the books themselves became the storyboard. And every single thing we ended up shooting were exactly to the proportions and standing and distance as to what the actual frames were. So yeah, I did the shot with Mickey Rourke three months earlier they had thrown handcuffs on him, and I was never in the room . . . and it was just amazing, the entire process . . . the magic of talent and the understanding of the technology and that's where it really becomes — a lot of people are using this technology stuff in order to do really cool special effects and things like that. They’re using it because they don't really understand film, they don't understand story, and they use it as a crutch rather than a tool. And this is one where it really just blew me away.

MURPHY: Frank Miller — it was great having him there. I mean my Uncle Gus is a comic book artist, and we'd go out for beers and . . . and all of a sudden it would just turn into talking about like blue pencils and paper textures and like I'm, um, completely ignored in the background, and he'd draft something out and next day — this is actually a good shot and he’s set it up, and what was amazing about it, is it really enveloped completely into his vision. Sin City is in his head and in his body and how he draws. He breaks pencils all the time, he is so into it. And we were able to — every single thing that he wanted to do — it was how does this look in your head — how would you have drawn it if this is the direction you wanted to go with it. So it stayed completely true to what Sin City is and should be.

OWEN: Having Frank there was absolutely essential for everything. He's the god that conjured up this sort of crazy world. I saw the film yesterday for the first time, and I have to say I think this guy is a genius. I was blown away by it. It's that world. I felt at the end of the movie like I'd been taken to some extraordinary place I'd never been before, and I think Frank's vision and world is that, and this guy has just gone and created it on film.


OWEN: No, I think everything is happening around my career. I don't really think about it that much. I just go from — as I said before, I was just thrilled to be involved. I had the most fantastic time, I've just seen that film and I said to Robert last night as I was watching the movie, I was so blown away by it, I was actually intimidated about coming into the movie, thinking god, can I walk into this? This is extraordinary. And I was just thrilled to ask to be involved, and I think it's a groundbreaking, amazing movie.


OWEN: I, obviously, had a fantastic time. I hung out in Old Town every day. I had a fantastic time.

MURPHY: Clive’s a stunning actor. My first day on the set, you (speaking to Clive) were there. Benicio was shooting with me too. But, Benicio and Clive were the only actors who were actually in the room with me when I was there. What a joy to work with Clive Owen (looking at him) I mean really. Any girl…or any boy would. He’s an extraordinarily talented man and I learned a lot from him.

DAWSON: It was wonderful. When I saw you (to Clive) in Closer afterwards, I completely understood because your sense of humor is just wicked. I just had so much fun working with you. It was such a crazy character, such crazy dialogue. We both laughed about it then went gung-ho for it. It was funny. The first time I walked out in my outfit, I had this robe on and everyone was being really good about covering up. I remember, I was taking it off and you were like (indicates him looking her up and down). You’re like ‘Okay, so I’ve got to act with that?’ and I’m like, ‘yeah, exactly, I’ve got to act with this as well’. We’re doing these scenes and he’s backhanding me across the face and it was so amazing. He was so game. I was so game. It was awesome.


OWEN: I was a concern when Robert called me to ask me to do it because it was a few weeks’ time and I started to be concerned about how much voice over there was but Robert was very cool about it and said ‘listen, there’s a huge amount of voice over. Don’t sweat it. Just concentrate on the dialogue. We’ve got plenty of time’. He was so sort of healthy about it that felt completely fine about just going for it. Also, the thing about those graphic novels is it’s easy to underestimate them. Frank Miller is not only a fantastic artist, but the language he uses, the dialogue that we lifted straight from the book, is really fantastic dialogue. It has the right rhythms. It’s very smart and very witty. So, the whole thing was really easy because you’ve got such strong guidelines and the rhythm of the dialogue is dictated by what’s on the page. You read it and you know how to speak it because it’s got a very classic noir rhythm to it.

MURPHY: Very Howard Hawks.


DAWSON: Not straight after. It was a few months later. Refreshing (laughs). It was a strange thing because it felt epic in the exact opposite way. Because we were actually on location in Morocco and Thailand and we had camels and elephants. Suddenly, I’m in this room with absolutely nothing but my outfit which was more than what I wore in Alexander. It was the most opposite thing you could have gone through. And, having two directors, I mean it was really amazing.


OWEN: The same as always. There’s nothing to it whatsoever. That’s just people writing about it. It’s not substantiated at all.
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Old Jul 8, 2006, 04:31 PM   #2
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Re: Sin City: Interviews

Jessica Alba & Benicio Del Toro

Q: Your character was topless and bottomless in the comic book. Why play the character?

JESSICA: I wanted to do this movie because Robert Rodriguez was directing it, first and foremost. I didn’t really know it was a comic book when I read the sides, when I saw that he was directing something. I just tell my agent every month what is Robert doing? I want to do something with him. And Lee, one of my agents, has a really good relationship with Robert and said, “You got an opportunity.” And I was like, “Excellent.” So I took that opportunity and ran with it. I auditioned the old fashioned way, went in for the casting director, put myself on tape and he had to approve. And it was like a week of “Does he think I suck? I just don’t want him to think I suck. I don’t care if I get the role. I just don’t want Robert to think I suck.” And I he didn’t think I sucked and he came down and I read with him and I looked at the, by that time, I looked at the graphic novel and all the pictures. I then found out she was a stripper and was bottomless and topless and, nudity was an option. We could have done it if we wanted to, I just felt too—it absolutely was an option. Robert said that we could do it if we wanted to and obviously it would have been more authentic. I just felt like dancing around with a lasso and chaps was gonna be sexy enough, I think being nude, for me, would have been distracting and I really couldn’t be bottomless for my dad. He would really—I don’t know, he would disown me and freak out.

Q: How do you explain your character's, Nancy's, relationship with Bruce Willis' character? Is he almost a father figure to her?

JESSICA: Nancy doesn’t think of him as a father, she thinks of him as her knight in shining armor. So I just came at it from that point, so she just waited till she was old enough to be with him and have that relationship completely. I think she always looked to him as her soul mate from the beginning. She’s kind of an old soul from when she’s a little child, talking to him and reasoning with him, saying that she’s trying everything and she’s going to write him and so, I didn’t think it was creepy at all.

Q: You have three major films opening this year. Does this change things for you?

JESSICA: I’ve been doing this for 11 years so it defiantly isn’t an overnight thing and if people then know about me, I don’t entertain or act for myself or else I would just act in front of the mirror, so I actually like having an audience and people being effected by stuff that I’m in. I love entertaining and they all happen to come out this year and the more, the merrier.

Q: Benicio, how did you approach your character?

BENICIO : I was approached by Robert; I think we met at the Vanity Fair thing and she said something really strange, like, “Don’t cut your hair.” And my hair was pretty long, he goes, “Don’t cut your hair.” I go, OK. Then I met him here at the Four Seasons and he showed me—he had done a trailer of the opening sequence of the movie and it just looked amazing. I wasn’t familiar with the books; I was familiar with Frank’s work in Batman and stuff and since then, my preparation was really talking to the Wizard about—he got that nickname, I gave him that nickname. We just walked in and everything was green and I had seen how it looked already cause he had shown me the beginning of the movie, the opening sequence. It was like being in the office of the Wizard of Oz thing.

Q: How did it affect your process as an actor to take direction from both Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller?

BENICIO : One at a time. That’s it basically. I mean, I think that .I’m attentive to like put a face with the director. I, for the most part, I turn to the wizard, cause he hired me. But I did have conversations with Frank, and Frank did have input on stuff; a lot of stuff.

JESSICA: It was very self-indulgent I think, because we just kind of got to talk each director’s ear off about our characters, and we kind of really like talking about characters we play and ourselves cause we’re all sort of narcissistic.

Q: What's it like for Latin American actors in Hollywood these days?

JESSICA: I don’t know Benicio’s experience, but it’s a lot different for me cause I only used to get breakdowns for Maria, the Janitor’s daughter messing around with the white kid and it was such a classist bizarre thing cause I grew up in the US. My mother’s white, my father’s Mexican and my father is very dark and my mother is very fair and I came out how did and they always want to pigeonhole you and it’s bizarre and we’re just people living in society. And I never think about it and people make me think about it. And this industry has definitely made me think about me being a Latin girl, up until I was 18 and did "Dark Angel" and Jim basically, “You are the future of the race.” And that basically what "Dark Angel" was that you are basically a mixture and you’re not going to talk about it. It’s done and you are just a human being going through the struggle of whatever you are going through on your journey. Now it’s very liberating working with people who aren’t going to pigeonhole you as the janitor’s daughter.

BENICIO: Not only in the acting, there’s a lot more filmmakers than probably when you started which is saying some class. There’s a lot of Latinos right now, a lot of filmmakers and writers that are Latin too.

Q: Does filming in front of the green screen allow you to be more creative?

BENICIO: For me, it was intimidating when you walk in and everything was green and it looked like puke. But after that it was like, it reminded me of theater—I trained as a theater actor and you had a bare stage and you had to pretend, one prop and you are in the middle of 8th Ave. and traffic is just going by. So it reminded me a little bit of that and that made it fun, going back to basics in some ways for me.

JESSICA: I’m not very experiences in theater. The only training I really had was David Mamet’s theater company, the Atlantic Theater company. And that’s all I did was go on these little stages and imagine things, but they were in small rooms so the difference is you still had to shout and project your voice, but everything was little bit bigger and the same with Robert, it’s very specific. He fine tunes your performance so its kind of a marriage of film and theater I felt.

Q: For the two of you, after doing all the work, can you talk about seeing yourself in that environment the first time; the first time you saw how the wizard put it all together for you, and can you also say if you've got a favorite scene from the movie?

BENICIO: : You know, it met the expectations when I saw the movie. Surpassed it. You know what happens when you're in a movie, for me, like I just do come in and work for five days, and I'm out. We just basically know one story. We usually look; when I see a movie, is the other stories that attract me more than my story. I'm looking at my story going, "Oh no ooooh". But, it's the other stories and; it's just hard to pick one moment. I really enjoy the under water stuff. I don't know, it was something about it. The movie has such a world that grabs you; it was a ride. You just took it and enjoyed it.

JESSICA: Yeah, I just felt like I was a little peak; a little line in this music, this piece of music that was beautiful like from beginning to end. I wanted to rewind it and see the whole thing all over again, cause I don't think I got to really like have all the images that I want in my mind. It's so much, you know, it was so visual and overwhelming and all the characters were so specific. And it's great.
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Old Jul 8, 2006, 04:32 PM   #3
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Re: Sin City: Interviews

Robert Rodriguez Interview

By Sean Chavel in Los Angeles

Robert Rodriguez (director of "Desperado", "Once Upon a Time in Mexico") convinced author Frank Miller against all odds to adapt his "Sin City" graphic comic book novels into a film. Then he convinced Miller to co-direct it. And they landed a big cast. At a recent press junket in Los Angeles, Rodriguez appeared first before Rosario Dawson, Brittany Murphy and Clive Owen joined him for a panel discussion on the film. (Press shy Bruce Willis was a no-show, Miller was reported sick and was unable to attend). Rodriguez is the head honcho; the cast seems indebted to his ‘genius.’ It’s true that it took some genius to adapt what seemed like an unadaptable comic book to the screen. Rodriguez is a master of technical explanation, as the recent interviews proved. And he is a master of dodging the more pernicious questions from journalists that seemed bothered by the violence. Rodriguez was a personification of cool.



RODRIGUEZ: Very carefully. It's probably the hardest I've worked on a movie. I thought it was going to be easy — hey, just copy what's out of the book, and there you go. It is a lot of work. I think somewhere near the end I realized — it's funny because it's sort of a trilogy all released the same day, so it was kind of like doing three movies in one.


RODRIGUEZ: Nah. Actually, we had no problems with MPAA or anything like that. I think it had to do with the stylization of it and also the comic — when you read the comic book, the stylized world and abstract nature of some of his ways of depicting violence or action translated directly to the screen, and we had no problems because it became so stylized and such it's own world. I mean you really go into Sin City when you watch the movie and then get transported to that world. That's why I felt it important to visually make it as much like the book as possible, because that was the effect of the book. I found it very easy to read and very powerful.


RODRIGUEZ: And that's what the beauty of the books were — that Frank never drew them with the intention that some day they would be on a movie screen, and that was what was so pure about them. That’s why it didn’t sound like screenplay dialogue — the shots were different. And there were some things where you'd go: Well, in a single panel this is fine, but with as much dialogue as we have we're going to be there for quite a while with this oratory… ‘Do you think we should really do it that way?’ Mmm… it would be distracting. Maybe we'll just continue the shot . . . some things you adapt to. Mostly I really wanted to keep it true to what was there in the book because it was that pure.


RODRIGUEZ: Some of the things were decisions for keeping the sexiness of some things, but necessarily being it. It's like it is in the book. They're single panels but when you go to the movie, it just keeps going and going. After a certain point, it would look like — were just filming for our own pleasure rather than telling the story at that point.


RODRIGUEZ: I was a fan of this one. People thought such a great idea to make it into a movie. It took me years to figure it out. I've been buying it since 1992, and I always wanted to do a film noir, and I never put two and two together that this should be the thing until just a couple of years ago when, after doing the Spy Kids movies, and worrying so much about lighting and technology, that I realized I could make this movie now. The time was right to make it and look like the book, and the more I looked at the book to adapt it, I realize it didn't need adapting. It was visual storytelling and it worked so well on the page, I thought it would work exactly the same way on the screen so my idea was — seriously, what would have happened is that if you liked the Sin City book, you take it to a studio, they'd buy it, they would give it to a writer who would then change it, because he would have to earn his pay on it. Wouldn't do what I did, which was put the book up and transcribe it directly word for word and then edit it down to pace; we'd just get further and further away from what you like to begin with. So I said: let's not change anything. Let’s not develop it. Let’s start shooting right out of the book. There won't even be a screenplay, let's shoot right out of the book. And Frank was like — What? What planet is this? He was so thrilled and when it started working, he saw how the translation was working and yeah, I think it's the same visual storytelling mediums and that's what makes the movie so unique, because it doesn't feel like a movie. And I didn't want to make a movie out of Sin City. I wanted to make movies into the comic. I wanted to turn cinema into the comic. Not take it and suddenly turn it into a regular movie. It just wouldn't have been right.
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