The only thing commercial helmer turned feature filmmaker Tarsem has never been lacking is ambition. His first film, “The Cell,” found a film delivering a serial killer through the prisms of Damien Hurst and Alejandro Jodorowsky. His follow-up was a more personal effort, “The Fall,” a visually dazzling fable. This weekend he brings Greek myth to life with the 3D “Immortals” and ever busy, next spring Snow White gets pitched through his unique lens in the colorful “Mirror Mirror.” There is no doubt that Tarsem has firmly stamped himself a filmmaker with an eye-popping visual flair, but it looks like he’s ready to broaden his palette a little bit.
While he hasn’t officially signed on to any new films — who has the time when you’re shooting two effects-heavy movies back-to-back — THR caught up with Tarsem earlier in the week and he revealed what he would like to do once he’s wrapped his Snow White movie. “I want to do a talking-head movie like ‘My Dinner with Andre‘ or like an early [Roman] Polanski like ‘Knife in the Water.’ I want to go there because now all everyone wants to think is that I want to do visual films,” he explained.
Well aware that it’s his cutting edge visuals that help pay the bills, Tarsem nonetheless wants to shake up his reputation around town. “When you do something that they think is in your style, people will write a big check for you, and if it’s not your style, they’ll go, ‘Oh, no, he might sink us’ and cut your rate. But if you don’t change it up early in your career and force people to redefine how they see you, when will you?,” he asks. And he kind of has a point. While it would be easy to be cynical about Tarsem wanting to do a quieter, less showy movie, the fact is we’ve never really seen him go down that road, so who knows. Perhaps he does have an ace drama up his sleeve.
But as we all know, getting a movie like ‘Andre’ or ‘Knife’ financed — even in the indie filmmaking world — with today’s climate is no easy feat, so Tarsem has another idea. “I love ‘Samurai Jack.’ I would love to direct that,” he tells the trade about the Cartoon Network show. “It’s brilliant. The speed, it embraces where it comes from. I find that comic strip films are halfway grounded. They don’t play my chord. But I love ‘Samurai Jack.’ I love the animation.”
It’s an idea that is actually possible. Of all people, Brett Ratner was once attached to bring a live action adaptation to the big screen but thank God that never happened. There is something weirdly appropriate about Tarsem helming a samurai cartoon movie (or live action version). Though only if it were less shouty than “Immortals.” For comparison sake, we’ve included a bloody battle scene from “Immortals” below along with the trailer to ‘Andre.’
But for now, Tarsem is busy with one movie moving into theaters and another on the way in four months. “Mirror Mirror” will hits theaters on March 16, 2012.