Fantastique: Interviews With Horror, Sci-Fi & Fantasy Filmmakers Volume 1 edited by Tony Earshaw (book review).

December 19, 2016 | By | Reply More

Saying journalist Tony Earshaw edited ‘Fantastique: Interviews With Horror, Sci-Fi & Fantasy Filmmakers Volume 1’ is a bit of a misnomer as he actually interviewed the 30 directors in this book. Rather than look at all their careers, he discusses specific films that they are famous for. Most are A-listers and I suspect you would have seen most of the films covered here so will know what is being discussed.

A lot of the information I learnt tends to come off tangents within these interviews. With Spanish director Alejandro Amedábar discussing ‘The Others’ (2001), his lead actress Nicole Kidman was finishing off scenes for two other films during filming. If you ever thought that each film had an exclusivity to an actor’s time might need to think again although I suspect I can see the reason why that’s put into their contracts.

According to director Paul WS Anderson, Milla Jovovitch actively pursued the lead role in ‘Resident Evil’ (2002) and ultimately was the only one seen. Anderson also wants to turn other computer games into films.

Something that came out of the Luc Benson interview about ‘The Fifth Element’ (1997) is that actor Gary Oldman has a very good long term memory and quoted ‘Hamlet’ from ten years earlier to him.

Although we British know that directors can’t have streets closed for filming as in America, relying on the support of the public to do so, I suspect the normal American fan doesn’t know this. You will glean this from the Danny Boyle interview about ’28 Days Later’ (2002).

The interview with director Tim Burton over ‘Sleepy Hollow’ (2000) shows the same pov as other directors that working in England distances himself from the suits but he also likes our craftsmen from the quality of their work.

The interview with creators Roland Emmerich and actor James Spader about the original ‘Stargate’ (1994) reveals they were originally planning to do a sequel. In many respects, these interviews feel like time capsules except we know what happened next.

I have to say I’m a little confused with the interview with director Jon Harris on ‘The Descent: Part 2’ (2009) is way before director Neil Marshall on ‘The Descent’ (2005). Granted the book is in director order but in this case, I think I would have made an exception to the rule than read out of context. Something that came out of the Harris interview is that the Americans imposed a cut for a happy ending with the first film but reinstated the UK ending by fan demand with the DVD release. It just goes to show that our American fanbase doesn’t like being mollycoddled. Is having a happy ending such a necessity all the time? Having that little scare at the end that things could still be waiting out there for you is good for the adrenalin.

The interview with Neil Marshall about ‘The Descent’ (2005) covers much about ‘Dog Soldiers’ (2002) as well and I’m amazed that Earnshaw didn’t cover the film here as a separate entry.

Director Frank Henenlotter on ‘Basket Case’ says he was influenced a lot by Hammer horror films and started a lot younger than he should on many of them. Director Peter Jackson, while discussing ‘Lord Of The Rings’ ((2001) gave insight why he wanted to meet all the key cast, not so much for directing but ensuring that they were nice people to be around for 15 months.

I suspect the treasure for the ‘Star Wars’ fans is an interview with a certain director. George Lucas covers areas of the franchise as well as ‘The Phantom Menace’ (1999). An interesting fact is where he references his own and three other San Francisco based studios is how they each use different things to raise money to make movies. So if you drink wine or records from San Francisco, you might actually be helping the movie business. Lucas’ side-line, by the way, was merchandise.

The interview with director Christopher Nolan and actor Christian Bale about ‘Batman Begins’ (2005) about making the Dark Knight the centre of the films than the villains belies what happened with the sequel, ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008) with the Joker. I was also glad to know that Bale’s rasping Batman voice had some enhancement than to sound like he was that way all the time.

Something that connects Eli Roth with ‘Cabin Fever’ (2003) and Barry Sonnenfeld with ‘Men In Black’ (1997) is both their producers, David Lean and Steven Spielberg respectively, was that neither of them wanted to dominate these films. Indeed, David Lean took his name off Sonnenfeld’s and the only thing Spielberg did was ensure sufficient studio funds were provided. Respect.

I’m just picking out bits and pieces. There is a lot of film coverage here and according to the sources at the back of the book, some of these interviews haven’t seen print before. If you’re into film and directors, then you’ll love this book. Tony Earnshaw doesn’t do the standard journalist questions and I’m sure the directors appreciated it.

GF Willmetts

December 2016

(pub: BearManor Media. 405 page illustrated indexed enlarged paperback. Price: $28.00 (US), £19.81 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-59393-944-1)

check out website: www.bearmanormedia.com

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Category: Books, Fantasy, Scifi

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About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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