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Quantum of Solace Director Marc Forster on the Dark Side of Going Green

Quantum of Solace Director Marc Forster on the Dark Side of Going Green” width=”560″/>

Monster’s Ball and Finding Neverland director Marc Forster talks to about slipping on a tuxedo for his first action movie, Quantum of Solace.

Q: Why did you decide to direct a Bond film, which is so drastically different from your previous movies?

A: At the beginning I didn’t want to. Casino Royale was the most successful Bond ever, so the expectations were huge. It took me a month to come around, but I thought it was an interesting opportunity to make a commercial film that more people would see than all my other films put together.

Q: Quantum of Solace is the first-ever direct sequel to a Bond movie. So how did you pick up where Royale left off, but still make the movie your own?

A: I was worried I would have to subversively inject my artistic vision into it. But then when I sat down with the producers I said to them very clearly, “I need to hire my own people, I want to redo the graphics, I want to throw out all your MI-6 sets and modernize the whole thing.” And they just said yes to everything. So basically I said, “OK, what is the Bond film I always wanted to see?” And I went through the criteria — visual criteria, emotional criteria — and threw out what I didn’t like and included what I love.

Q: Such as?

A: I loved the early Bond films. I wanted to bring in some of those design styles to create a retro look and then modernize it as well. I felt the last five minutes of Casino Royale where they left Bond was an interesting place to start for a sequel — to have this character and feel his emotional pain and feel this devastation. This guy is, emotionally, a mess. And I thought it would be interesting to create a Bond girl who he doesn’t sleep with, who is more like a mirror image to him, more like Bond than anything.

Q: The other Bond girl meets her end with a clear reference to Goldfinger. Talk about that scene.

A: I loved those old Connery movies: Dr. No, Goldfinger, From Russia with Love. I always loved that moment when we find the girl covered in gold, and I thought it would be a nice little homage. I actually took the same frame and printed it out and placed the camera in the same corner angle.

Q: You also left out some of the James Bond staples, like the gadgets and his famous catchphrase, “Bond. James Bond.”

A: I didn’t want him to have so many gadgets. We have so many gadgets in our lives, and I feel gadgetry just reminds me too much of these comic heroes right now. I wanted Bond to feel real, so if he has the gadget, it’s just there and I don’t have to make a big deal out of it. The famous line I did shoot, but basically it was in the only scene I cut. The scene didn’t work, and the line went as well. As Bond constantly reinvents itself I think it’s OK to keep the line out. It turns things upside down a little bit.

Q: Speaking of which, you turned the gun barrel sequence upside-down by placing it at the end of the movie.

A: When I first mentioned this to the producers they were like, “What?? Our signature sequence?” I felt it didn’t work at the beginning. I wanted to get right into the car chase, and putting the gun barrel there would taken me emotionally in a different direction. But putting the gun barrel at the end leaves you at a perfect place: It wraps the movie up.

Q: Does that mean you don’t see there being a third part of the story?

A: The producers could do a trilogy if they want, but they could also go in a totally different direction. My goal was just to wrap the story up, and that’s exactly what putting the gun barrel at the end was about.

Q: It was your idea that the villain be an environmentalist. What are you trying to say?

A: Being green is so fashionable. It’s like, “Oh if you’re green you’re good.” So I wanted to create that into the villain. You read that Chevron is green, and that totally doesn’t make sense. People see the capitalistic angle in it, they realize there’s money in it, so they decide to become green. And I just think that people are often very gullible. I think they should be careful, and that creating a Bond villain called Mr. Greene will maybe wake some people up.

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