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by Todd Gilchrist
October 3, 2013 1:09 PM
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Elijah Wood and Eugenio Mira Talk About Their Musician Thriller 'Grand Piano' And the Appeal of Making Movies Outside Hollywood

Eugenio, now that you've made a crowdpleaser, what are your next steps?

EM: That's a fascinating subject. And I have to tell you because I'm very open, meaning that I love this kid [Elijah], and I hope to work together. It's not only something that I have to think about, it's something I want to think about with him. Even if he's not in the movie acting, it's just about the future. It's part of my therapy. Because I've been very, very fortunate, compared to the people in my generation in Spain like J.A. Bayona -- “The Orphanage” had great success, and then after that he made "The Impossible," and it was like three times that. But I’m doing my thing. I love to direct stuff that other people make, and I love to write stuff for other directors and producers. There's multiple things that I'm interested in and I don't close any door. But when it comes to me, I'm starting to feel like, because of the great reception -- that the first step is that I'm starting to think about things that I can do just because of this that maybe are not the things I want to do. So I'm very keen on reevaluating myself all the time and let's see what happens. I think it would be, in my opinion, a total mistake being like five years out of this going to something to match "Grand Piano" in the same rules – [people would say] I don't give a damn.

EW: Well, you've done this.

EM: Maybe if I made like two more like this before I die, but it's not like I don't feel the urge to match expectations at all because I had zero expectation with this movie.

EW: Part of it was making it [outside the studios] to a certain degree. We made this movie in Spain, so there were no outside expectations on the film; therefore, all we had was our own personal expectations of being able to accomplish what we were trying to do.

EM: And that's the kind of production that I feel comfortable with, and that I'm starting to get involved now and being an active producer. That's like saying, "OK, forget about my wages, I'm going to write this from scratch on the spec." If you like it we go for it. You're going to have this salary, I'm gonna have this salary. What I feel comfortable with and I will sign, it's not making movies with iPhones, but it's not necessarily making movies like "Grand Piano." Like $6 million or $7 million with stars. When I say stars, I mean the John Cusack thing, like you need a name to [open a film]. I'm very fortunate, don't get me wrong -- but if I can make movies from Europe, internationally speaking, gathering money from little territories here and there, we can make a movie in a way that we are not going to be judged by the money we make, but by the money we're not losing.

I was talking to a friend about how happy I was when this guy from New Zealand was produced by Robert Zemeckis, the director that I loved that was there because Spielberg trusts him to make something like "The Frighteners," that super complicated mainstream movie.

EW: If he's tried to make that movie today…

EM: That's impossible. You're not gonna make it with that money…

EM: Not that budget. No way. A Universal studio picture?

EM: Yeah, it super misdirected of the demographic. I mean, it was like an "An American Werewolf in London," too scary to be a family movie and too funny to be scary, but in a very interesting way. I love that movie because of that. Even people say it's a mess. I love the movie.

EW: Nowadays it's an anomaly, but I think that movie’s incredible.

EM: Anomaly is a word that I embrace.

EW: Yeah, I love it.

EM: So getting back to that, yes I will be seduced by people like – the last time that I felt like, "Oh my God, I so much would like to do that," is when Spielberg and Zemeckis produced…

EW: "Tintin"?

EM: No, Gil Kenan, and he made “Monster House” for that because it was like a post-Amblin Entertainment movie with 50 percent Amblin and 50 percent a different thing. And I felt like, "Yes, I want to sell 'Grand Piano' to this master and say I'm the kid you want to hire to make something. But we live in a different world. As I said from “Jurassic Park 4,” they're not looking for a director like me. They're looking for a guy who made "Safety Not Guaranteed." Somebody that talks to the actors because they got everything designed.

EW: Part of the problem is I don't know that at the studio level for those kinds of films they're actually looking for directors at all. I think that they're looking for people to facilitate.

EM: To be on the set and something like that.

EW: But with someone like a genuine artistic vision, it's a very small percentile at that level.

EM: But that's the thing -- I mean, Kathleen Kennedy did a great job.

EW: Not to take away from any of those people doing that because there's servicing and making good films.

EM: I'd like to be like Rian Johnson, because Rian Johnson is already fighting his ass off for it. I love his work, he belongs to my generation. I saw “Brick” and I loved it…

EW: Rian Johnson's really doing it, too.

EM: He's doing it, but it's not like he's stepping into to a place because that place does not exist anymore. If Rian Johnson were working 20 years he would be Peter Jackson, he would be Robert Zemeckis. Then of course you've got David Lynch, the Coen brothers, and Cronenberg, of course. But you cannot do "Lost Highway" with a video camera. So I’m not very seduceable, but I will be eventually, and only if it comes from the right people.

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