No matter what you think of his movies, there aren’t many people who give it to you as straight and unfiltered as Joe Carnahan. He’s already shared his pitch reels for “Daredevil” and “Gemini Man,” and he’s frequently on Twitter sharing his thoughts on almost anything. So he’s a pretty good choice for CineFix‘s “Hollywood Trenches” web series thing, and for the first episode (which is aggravatingly being portioned out in seven parts), Joe Carnahan sits down to candidly talk about his career. And so far, so good.
Even though there are only two segments thus far, they are chock full of pretty fascinating material, and one that caught our attention was his comments on the mess that is the Keanu Reeves martial arts flick “47 Ronin.” As you might recall, the movie made headlines last fall when it was revealed that the studio was stepping in to help guide reshoots and editing on the troubled picture which has seen its release date moved more than once. Talking about the expectations that come the higher the budget for your films get, Carnahan points to helmer Carl Erik Rinsch — a commercial director who is making his film debut on the Reeves movie — as someone who simply should not have received such a huge budget for his first feature.
“Carl’s a lovely guy and an extraordinarily talented guy — he never should’ve been given $200 million to make a samurai film. He should’ve been given $3 million and you figure it out,” Carnahan said. His larger point is that a bottomless budget stifles creativity and problem solving that you’re forced to contend with when your resources are smaller, and it also keeps too many cooks from getting in the kitchen. That kind of mega budget, he says, put “an ungodly amount of pressure on someone” to deliver, since the movie has to be a major hit…and nothing less. And not only does he lay blame at the studios, but also at filmmakers whom he says should push back, if it’ll mean a bit more freedom when it comes to crafting your film.
And Carnahan is not above using himself as an example. He goes into his troubles on “Mission: Impossible III,” a film he was slated to direct and worked on for nearly a year-and-a-half before he quit, unhappy at the direction it was taking. His account of that time is pretty fascinating, as is the revelation that he videotaped himself calling Tom Cruise to walk away from the movie.
All told, this is pretty great stuff so give it a click. [Movies]