Three influential directors walk into a room… and thus began one of the most under-the-radar panels of Comic-Con 2013. Needless to say, Edgar Wright and Alfonso Cuarón are a pair of the most talented, visually-inspiring directors of our time – Marc Webb is still young in his career, but a visionary nonetheless. In the span of just under an hour, SDCC attendees were treated to a conversation between three directors and what their take is on the future of the film industry. Learn what the trio had to say about action sequences, 3D filmmaking, their own futures, and more after the jump.
Seeing these three titans of the cinema together in one room was enough to make my mind explode. Although very different directing style, each of these directors have their own unique vision that has affected the industry in one way or another. Moderated by Entertainment Weekly‘s Anthony Breznican, it was awe-inspiring to listen to these three men discuss their ideals of filmmaking and interact with their fans. Here are just some of the highlights I was able to jot down during the panel discussion:
The reason Marc Webb ((500) Days of Summer; The Amazing Spider-Man) chose Electro – played by Jamie Foxx – is because he wanted to bring something out of a hero we haven’t seen before. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will show how Spidey will have to creatively deal with him in an interesting way. How does he get out of the corner? Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man will learn how to empathize the villain to understand Electro’s angst. Webb explains that there has to be some sort of an emotional component with the conflict relating to the villain in order to make the movie more appealing.
What Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World; Shaun of the Dead; Hot Fuzz) wanted to do with The Word’s End and fight scenes, is shoot without cutting, and avoid obvious stunt doubling. He designed a way to evaluate the cast members strengths, and adds he was lucky to have the actors he had. Out of the three movies, The World’s End has the most punishing action of the three. All of the actors did their own stunts. Simon Pegg actually broke his hand, but kept going because he was a producer on the film. Wright says it comes down to relating fight scenes and single shot takes with music, and the ability to sell your performance. It was a lot of fun designing the fight scene in the pub bathroo.
Marc Webb called Alfonso Cuarón the King of the Long Take.
When asked about long takes, Wright responded that he enjoys seeing everyone on the crew so invested in all the action, that there is a thrill that brings a different kind of excitement. Cuarón says when you do a single shot, you are observing everything in real time and it makes it more invested in what you’re watching. Cuarón revealed that he had to shoot the famous long shot in Children of Men in 12 days and it took 10 just to set it all up.
Webb says that one of the best parts about being a filmmaker is the joy of being surprised by actors that throw in bits that are unexpected.
Wright adds on to the conversation regarding filmmaking that if you want to write, you should do every job: produce, write, direct, act, etc. And he continues to state that if you do, you’ll get a sense of what everyone else is responsible for. He then encouraged all future filmmakers to see how it feels and that you could learn so much you might even find another calling.
A fan asked who inspired the each of the trio to become a filmmaker:
Marc Webb gives credit to a guy at Sundance, Doub Pray, who taught him how to edit when he moved to LA. He did a lot of music videos and really valued what he learned from editing. Understanding and appreciating that form has been incredibly helpful.
Cuarón, growing up in Mexico, went from boom operator to assistant directing. He was inspired by Sydney Pollack.
And Edgar Wright said his drama teacher, who was in Hot Fuzz, Peter Wild, encouraged him to make it more than a hobby and more of a passion. Sam Raimi also inspired Wright when he saw a documentary of the making of The Evil Dead.
Since this was a panel on the future of filmmaking, the topic of 3D was put into question:
Alfonso Cuarón stated he flat out hates 3D and that it takes away the blacks, the whites, and the resolution. Although, he does prefer 3D for Gravity because it was designed for it. (It took the director four years to finally get it out in theaters). Cuarón says that 3D as a tool is fantastic if used correctly, but it needs to be universalized and with a reason.
Marc Webb claims that the delivery of 3D needs to be maintained when it gets in the hands of theaters. He continues to argue that theaters need to adhere to screen brightness and filmmakers need to keep in mind how exhibitors play their work. Webb ends by saying 3D is frustrating, but an incredible format. It can be exquisite and terrible.
But Mr. Wright on the other hand is on the other side of the spectrum. “You see too many bad ones that are after the fact and too many bad experiences that have had people fed up. If it’s done well, there is a reason. But people are tired of it when it is slapped on to every film each week.”
What is in store for the future of these visionaries:
Wright says he will be doing Ant Man and that’s about as far as the conversation goes. Why it took so long? He wanted to do it with 2015 effects and it will be worth the wait. Wright also states that he would definitely like to work with Simon and Nick again.
Webb wants to hit more Spider-Man, but would also like to dabble his hand in musicals or do a physical comedy piece.
And when Cuarón said he would like to do a horror movie the crowd went crazy.
Edgar Wright’s The World’s End hits theaters this August 23, Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity debuts later this year on October 4, and Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be in theaters April 17, 2014.