Phase9 Entertainment


Movie Interview by Neils Hesse

How did you get involved?

John Davis was developing it and he kept on trying to get me to do it and I love survival pictures. It's a story that gets everyone in the audience asking themselves what they would do in that situation. We started in February 2002 then it slipped a little bit but then finally we started again.

Have you seen the original?

I haven't seen the whole thing. I decided that I didn't want to watch it, I respect it and I know that some people will not agree with any remakes. The original is very stagy, back then they had that dramatic device, the war, the fact that they had a German ordering them around worked then but it wouldn't work now.

Was the script based on the book or the movie?

Probably both. The writers had a harder job this time. You do a remake and you sign up for a lifetime of comparisons. I say don't hate it just because it's a remake.

What was it like?

Well we wanted to build an actual flying phoenix out of composite material but the insurance company was a real problem. The material had to be reformulated and because we had used an experimental compound it could not be insured. In the end we used an American drag racer car to drag our radio-controlled model for the flight sequence.

How did you do the crash sequence?

We used miniatures and we used a spider-cam and we crashed the miniature. Then we took a fuselage and we had a wheel around it with a steel cable attached to a truck to make it move. We then used an abandoned fish warehouse but we couldn't rehearse it so we just had three takes with all the actors themselves in the fuselage and we got it.

Seeing as this is only your second major film, how did you feel around the cast?

I felt that there was going to be a mutiny. With BEHIND ENEMY LINES it was mainly Owen Wilson and he is a very relaxed guy. This time I had 10 to 12 different people stuck together filming out in the Namibian desert. Dennis Quaid was a real help he is very cool so he made everybody feel at home, so eventually they all bonded.

What happened to your film on Chuck Yeager?

I was almost about to make that into a film but it wasn't dramatic enough. Also you need fairly straight people to make inspiring stories about, Chuck is definitely on the wild side.

Who inspires you?

Tony Scott is a revolutionary, I'll happily pay to see his movies.

Would you consider doing a love story?

Yes definitely but at the end of everything just when the guy gets the girl I'd have everything blow up.

Which actor would you want to work with?

I would love to work with Gene Hackman again, he is great. I had heard a lot about how he was this and that but when he came on set he just got on with it. Some film star agents just pump up the wrong hype about some superstars.

Looking forward to anything?

I am looking forward to seeing THE AVIATOR and JARHEAD from Sam Mendes.