DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Price Search Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray/ HD DVD Advertise
DVD Talk
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
International DVDs
Theatrical
Reviews by Studio
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
DVD Savant
HD Talk
Horror DVDs
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum

Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

Columns



Ridley Scott / Jerry Bruckheimer - Black Hawk Down Interview
by Phillip Duncan

Ridley Scott / Jerry Bruckheimer - Black Hawk Down Interview

Director Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Hannibal, Legend) and Producer Jerry Bruckheimer (Pearl Harbor, Armageddon, The Rock) had a theatrical hit on their hands last year with their war documentary/film Black Hawk Down. The film will be released to DVD on June 11 and both contributed to the DVD in various ways. DVDTalk staff writer Phillip Duncan and other online and print sources were able to attend a press conference with the two filmmakers regarding the upcoming DVD release.

Both filmmakers seemingly support the format wholeheartedly with the numerous special editions of their films and the extra material they provide on these releases. This conference confirmed that opinion and questioned the filmmakers on their favorite films, DVDs, and recent world events.

DVD Report Magazine: How important is the DVD release to you as a director and a producer?
RS: It's very important on several counts. First of all, one gets a second shot if you're at all serious about the material that you've done. In this particular instance, I and we were. It gets a shot at the audience that didn't really either venture out to see it or venture in to see it.

I think there was a lot of word of mouth gathered about the film, but I think certain audiences were still nervous about going to see it. I think the DVD gives you the second wave and second opportunity for audiences who normally wouldn't want to go in for various reasons will probably now venture into their living room and take a look at it, and of course I think they should.

Secondly, purely from an artistic point of view it's a way of maintaining the integrity of the movie as it was seen in the show prints and large release prints. DVD is a path I can do, once again, to maintain all the qualities in both picture and sound so they are getting a very high quality shot in their homes. Which is about as close a thing as you're going to get going to see it in a prime time cinema. Listen to the reply...

JB: I think it's another way to enjoy the movie you can have in your own living room. You can study parts of the movie, you can rewind them, and you can listen to the filmmakers talk about what they did. It's a great teaching tool for kids to see how the film was made, to see how we did it. It also gives you another sense of history, it fills in some of the blanks that a 2-hour move can't give you because you talk to the author of the book and you talk to some of the soldiers. So, I think it gives you a real background in the making of the movie.
Listen to the reply...

DVD Report: Will there be another version of the movie on the DVD or will it be the same?
RS: Fundamentally, I always find that most of the films that I've put out are essentially the director's cut. Part of the process with a director's cut is the leaving behind of certain aspects of the movie that we don't feel necessary because they aren't part of the dynamic of the story. Therefore, what issues forth from the DVD, particularly for the real film buffs, is they get to see why we left it out, what we left out, and of course that's an educational process. But for the most part, you pretty well seeing the director's cut on anything I do. Listen to the reply...

DVD Review Magazine: If you could return to any of your earlier films, which ones would you like to with DVDs and what would you like to do with them on the format?
RS: You want to go first Jerry?
JB: Yeah sure, I'd love to have all my movies on DVD. I'm chagrinned that some of them still aren't on DVD because it be great to visit some of these films that we made back in the 80's that haven't been done on DVD. First of all we could get the sound a lot better because of the digital technology that would allow us to digitally remix the films. I would love to able for kids to view them and adults to view them and to see the process from a historic standpoint, at least from the filmmakers. Listen to the reply...

RS: I'm actually going back through all the films now for reprint and remix and I've actually got as far back as the first film. The Duelist is actually being digitally remixed and we revisited the original negative and it was all like yesterday. Listen to the reply...

DVD Review Magazine: I understand you're working on Blade Runner as well, is that correct?
RS: Yeah, that's done. That'll come out probably, I hope, as a three-disc pack which will have cut one, which is 79, cut two is 81, and then the version now which will have certain additions and the removal of the voice-over. In there, one of the discs covers all kinds of interviews, which are really interesting. I don't know how they managed to dig in to all of that old material and find all of these people, some in the woodwork. So, that was fascinating. It's sort of like a manual or library inside the disc. Listen to the reply...

DVD Review Magazine: Can you tell us what both of you have contributed to the Black Hawk Down DVD?
JB: We did commentary on the disc and we go into more depth of what we did, why we did it, and Ridley can explain how he laid a lot of the things out. Listen to the reply...

RS: The film making process is, as you can imagine, a day-by-day, minute-by-minute, sometimes second-by-second procedure; albeit, certainly in initial stages of pre-production planning it's always one of the most interesting areas to get into from a DVD viewer to get into the minds of the film producer / director teams that put these films together and follow them down the roads of logic, problems, cause and effect, what they have to do, what they've got to cut out on a daily basis to maintain a budget, let alone the creative processes. You're suddenly seeing, getting in the backdoor, and staring over the shoulders of the people making this material, which becomes very educational. Listen to the reply...

Sound and Vision Magazine: David Putnam, who produced the Duelist, said in the early 80's, in the future films would be released in cinemas still, but mainly as a showcase for advanced publicity of the video release. Do you believe we've arrived at that point?
JB: No I don't. I still that that movie-goers like the experience of leaving their homes and going to have a communal experience, especially in comedies or interactive things where you can get an audience reaction to. That's one of the reason's that Spider-Man was such a huge success. People wanted to be the first to see it. I think that will always be around as long as kids want to have dates and get out of their parents home there will always be cinemas. Video is another way of seeing movies. Some movies you don't get a chance to go see at the cinema because of other reasons in your life you can't go out so you get to get caught up. Also people use it for seeing it over again, they love the experience. Certainly it's helped our business enormously because a lot of actors and directors, who chances are an audience wouldn't see in a theater, get exposed on DVD. Listen to the reply...

RS: Putnam was saying that at a time where it certainly looked like it was all going in that direction. I think also at that time, certainly in the European territories, which were less significant than they are today in terms of cinema grosses, going hand in hand with that you've got to acknowledge and look at the cinema condition of the exhibiting auditoriums changes in the last 25 years. They've simply gotten better, more comfortable. Certainly in the UK, I know the exhibition houses have changed dramatically in 20 years because the exhibitors finally got it. You've got to make the idea of going out to the cinema the same as the idea of going out to the theater and therefore it's go to be a teeny-weeny of an event. I think that's what they done and it's certainly showed that in terms of the box-office which is now probably in world terms, 60 percent foreign against 40 percent US. Listen to the reply...

Sound and Vision: The second part of the question was do you believe a film like Black Hawk Down, whose sound was so important to the intensity of the experience could actually work better in a good home theater environment where you have the perfect seat in the house compare with cinema.
JB: I think that's an individual thing. It all depends on your system and what kind of reproductive system, what kind of speakers you have, and what kind of amps you have. You know the state-of-the-art theater, usually a normal home couldn't afford. Listen to the reply...

RS: You can actually, if you have a teeny bit of knowledge, you can apply to extending what little bit, half reasonable pair of speakers or four speakers and a digital projector you can have a cinema inside of your house which will you give an average room a 6 foot by 8 foot screen. I've witness these things and I was stunned at the quality for an expenditure that to the normal pocket's a lot, but a lot of people can afford to put down a couple of grand to have a cinema in their living room and all you need is a big white wall, you don't need a screen that pulls down or anything like that and you have an 8 foot screen. I was amazed at the quality. It was almost as good as the smaller theaters in Westwood. Listen to the reply...

DVDTalk: Mr. Bruckheimer, your producing style has been described as a patriotic or Americana style and Mr. Scott's films lean toward a documentary of foreign style. Considering this was an American story, do you think your styles clashed or complemented each other?
JB: No. I think the patriotism comes from the director, as well as the producer and the writer. If the films are patriotic, if you consider Top Gun patriotic, it was done by Ridley's brother, who's also a foreigner. It was a combination of what Tony and the writer and everybody else saw in the movie. Our styles didn't clash at all. Ridley made the picture he wanted to make and I'm obviously very proud of the movie he made and I'm thrilled with his work. I think it's brilliant. Listen to the reply...

RS: What you do when you get the script to where you need to have it, everything acknowledges that blueprint. The blueprint will dictate what you are doing. Technique, of course, comes into play. The route we took this down was to go at the more uncompromising, almost documentary fashion as if you're literally putting an audience member as part of Chalk Four, Chalk Five or Chalk Six. You get to put on a helmet and carry a rifle if you watch this one. Listen to the reply...

DVDTalk: As a director, which style do you prefer, the reality based, documentary style or fantasy and science fiction?
RS: Everything, everything, anything. It depends on what the order of the day is. Depending on what the piece of materiel is, what the subject is. I like a film such as American Beauty and I like Spider-Man. Listen to the reply...

DVDTalk: What DVD is in your player right now?
JB: I'm traveling, so I haven't been watching anything. So, I'll leave this one up to Rid at least. Listen to the reply...

RS: Currently, right now, I was watching Billy Liar last night, John Schlesinger DVD. That's interesting, because I can now review history and I'm still sitting here talking to guys who really ought to know better, gals who ought to know better. I was sitting with a director the other day at the DGA, who was 32, and I'm talking to him about films and he started to look blank. I'm not talking about Eisenstein; I'm talking about films since '59. So I sat and I said get your pen out and get a piece of paper, write these 12 movies down and you won't leave a DVD player all next weekend. That's what it does. Instead of looking at some creaky old print in some gloomy little theater stuck somewhere, which is the only place it'll ever play; you can watch Billy Liar in its absolute form that it should be watched. You'll find it as entertaining today as it was then. Listen to the reply...

DVDTalk: So you watch the commentaries as well?
RS: I know John and I like to flick and see how John talked about his film then. I know, of course, all the reason why, how it came about, because John was essentially a documentary filmmaker. It really keeps the whole business alive, which is the business that we've given our careers to. I think anything we can do to do that is correct and appropriate. Listen to the reply...

Baker and Taylor: In expanding on that last question about style, I was wondering if you two could talk about the sense of responsibility you had in telling this story faithfully since it was based on a true incident.
JB: We were very fortunate because we had a terrific writer come in a document the situation for us via his book. Mark interview over 150 of the soldiers that were involved in the operation and got all different sides to the story, so he really found the truth. If you read the commentaries from the soldiers who were in the operation in his book, they all say it was a very accurate portrayal of what happened. Ridley and I felt that we should be true to the book and true to what happened to those young men and true to that incident.

We tried to stay as close as possible and, in fact, we hired advisors who were actually there, Mark Bowden being one of them, who wrote the initial screenplay and was in Morocco part of the time with us. We hired Lee Van Arsdale, who was the commander of the Delta Force, and actually walked in front of the tanks to get his own men out. We also had Tom Matthews, who's the head air operations and was in the air for 18 hours during the battle. They were with Ridley all of the time during the filming to make sure he was as close to getting accurate as he possibly could in a recreation. Listen to the reply...

RS: I think what it does to the filmmaking community here, because I've had more surprising reactions from fellow producers and directors, who've called up--and that never happens. Basically what we did was rattle the cage. Which is fundamentally saying you don't necessarily have to take the safety factor about reconstructing history at a safe distance of 30 years, 100 years ago.

Actually, while we're looking at the news today, and actually making, cause God knows what's going on in the world today is as interesting as it ever has been, and I think we should be looking at material that is far more recent. Because the audience for cinema is a captive audience and therefore the more instructional, or the more opinionated we can be, in a good way (and for mainstream movies, not documentaries necessarily), and I think that's what we did. We put out there what's essentially a big, mainstream movie--and we must acknowledge Joe Roth and Sony for going down that route because they knew exactly what it was going to be. This was not going to be a film that has a love story and conventions of a drama. It was, in a sense, a film that would take on the form of a documentary. Listen to the reply...

DVDFile.com: Do you think having all of these DVDs available and being able to learn from everyone else's techniques advances cinema more quickly or does it lead to everyone pinching the same techniques, rather than looking for more innovative or fresh ways of getting what they want on film?
RS: It's a bit of everything really, but you've really got to go back to-I prefer to use the term insolence rather than pinch-for the most part Jerry's films, my commercials, my brother's films and commercials, over the years have been very influential. We tend to try and think that we lead the way. Listen to the reply...

JB: It works both ways. The director's who want to be innovative use the DVD as a tool to see what people have done in the past and you have other people who will actually take from better directors and that makes them better directors. So, I think it works both ways. Listen to the reply...

DVDFile.com: What film, if there is one specifically, that made you want to become filmmakers?
JB: I'm a big fan of David Lean, so Bridge Over the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, and Doctor Zhivago are seminal films with me when I was growing up. I admire the filmmaking and the storytelling of Lean and Robert Bolt. That's what I look towards. Listen to the reply...

RS: Because I was a kid from north of England, the only films I had access to was not alternative cinema, which in those days would be foreign cinema, I would be looking at all the Hollywood movies that arrived at my High Street. The ones that were most impressive were to me, always the Western. I was absolutely embedded in the notion of being in that world. The ones that tend to hold their head high above anything else always tend to be this guy called John Ford. At quite an early age I started to notice the difference, although I never analyzed it. I was a big fan of his. Listen to the reply...

BN.com: Ridley Scott had mentioned earlier John Schlesinger's work on commentaries, which is extraordinary, and I wondered do you think there is an increasing sense of competition among producers, directors, and your peers to create DVDs that take a step ahead and try to make something that's better. Is it a new competition medium, as well as performance medium?
JB: I think all of us like to do things to the best of our ability and it has nothing to do with competition factor, it has to do with quality. When you make a quality movie, you want a quality DVD. If there are ways we can be inventive, how to inform an audience better, or to show them better what we do and the painstaking process that we have, we want to exploit that. Listen to the reply...

RS: I agree with Jerry about the quality. Once you go down any route, whatever it is, DVD is certainly this very valuable outlet that has been discovered and realized over the last few years, you may as well make it as interesting as possible. It's really become the alternative to, unfortunately, picking up a book. I would really like to think that kids do pick up books still. I think they tend to go up to the shelf and slide out the DVD. I think, in a way, I used to believe that was the lazy route, but now not, I think it's two alternatives. In fact, if you see a great DVD about a film or story it might promote you to go and find the book and pick up the book. Listen to the reply...

Wireless Magazine: Mr. Scott, you mentioned earlier about world events and things that were going on in the world right now, in retrospect, do you think the events that happened on 9/11 had any kind of effect on the release of the film and are there any other subjects going in the world right now you like to explore in a film?
RS: Very interesting actually, because the result of 9/11 did affect huge discussion in every facet and every walk of life. I think certainly ours, where the immediate response Jerry and I had was once we recovered, if that's the word recover, was of course we have to-as Bush said-get back to work. The best thing to do is get back to work, so we resumed the process of saying what do we do with the movie. Should we put this movie back 11 months and obviously within 24 hours we looked at it, which included Joe from Revolutions, saying this film is entirely relevant and why don't we get it out as fast as possible. What we did was bring the film forward essentially.

Where does film start to run parallel to journalism, because last night (May 16) you have a huge discussion with this new revelation that the government knew and that someone dropped the ball heavily in the FBI. Where was the ball dropped on some critical information where they were told in August that this was afoot, there were pilots being trained and who the hell actually would not take that seriously! I cannot believe that any president, whoever he is, from whatever side or faction, would not take that kind of information as very serious indeed and not simply follow through. Somebody in the program was talking about the FBI needing an update on technology, and I thought holy shit, I thought they were right up to speed. What's the matter with picking up the goddamn telephone and saying to somebody, did you read this, this morning. Right there, to me, is a film. How close do you start, life is always far, far stranger than fiction. Listen to the reply...

Wireless Magazine: Are you working on anything now?
RS: I'm working on two things now. I filming one in July called Matchstick Man (a the film is the story of a con-man with an obsessive-compulsive disorder whose life is threatened by the reappearance of a daughter he never knew existed) and I've got a team preparing a film called Tripoli (during the Jefferson presidency, U.S. diplomat William Eaton joined forces with a king to overthrow the lord of Tripoli, in what is now Libya) for February. Listen to the reply...


Advertise With Us

Review Staff | About DVD Talk | Newsletter Subscribe | Join DVD Talk Forum
Copyright © MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use

Release List Reviews Price Search Shop SUBSCRIBE Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray/ HD DVD Advertise