got a very big cast in there with Cuba Gooding Jr and Max von Sydow and
Annabella Sciorra. Did you have any influence as to this main core group?
But I’d been on the film for 3 years and before we could even make
the film I had to find a way that it would work as a film before
it could even get financed. We developed a figure with MGM, and then we
went to a company I’d been in business with on another script with this
guy from Polygram and they went ahead with it. I’d never do a film I couldn’t
cast, though the studio has approval rights.
I wanted Robin; he responded to the script; it just came together surprisingly
easily. The way it works is the studio had to be completely behind it and
prepared to make what they call a pay-or-play offer, so whatever happens
they have to pay him a
12, 1996… Robin Williams has signed [to read for] the lead, scoop correspondent
‘Lumiere’ reports to CA. The scooper also reports that Vincent Ward is
slated to direct, while the production designer is Eugenio Zennetti.
Filming is scheduled to commence September 1997.
“All I can say about the story is that it’s the ultimate love story… surreal
and beautiful,” ‘Lumiere’ comments.’ [Internet scoop and project announcement
sent in by ‘Lumiere’.]
large amount of money before he can read the script; it’s like putting
your money down in a poker game. And they did, and he read it, and he loved
it, and he
yes. We had to meet a couple of times and we even read the script together
and so on, imagining if we would work together well.
11, 1997… Robin Williams is officially announced in the project.
Budgeted at $US65-70 million.
“Comments: Although at first glance the film’s premise sounds suspiciously
reminiscent of 1990’s Ghost, the What Dreams May Come script
veers away from being a typical romantic- or fantasy-themed film. While
the love shared by the two main characters (a husband and wife) centres
the story, the framework surrounding the tale is about what destinations
lay beyond the grave and how the choices we make shape our destiny.
“The script ranges from moments of extreme beauty to ones of sheer nightmarish
horror. If fully realised, the effect sequences could [literally] knock
one’s socks off. As the project stands right now, director Vincent Ward
(The Navigator) and actor Robin Williams (The Birdcage)
are attached to the project.” ’ [Internet scoop by FraggleMom, Maverick,
H.B. and anon’.]
wanted to be in the film. I tried casting the part as it was originally
written, with a Caucasian role in it; none of those actors seemed to be
able to pull it off - it was almost too straight-ahead, the way it was
written - and I found the same thing with Max’s role: it was originally
written for an American Clint Eastwood type, and I thought that that was
too cliched, so I cast it by having Max von Sydow in that case. And when
I brought in African-American actors and Puerto Rican actors, Hispanic
actors, it seemed to lift the character more, and gave it a little spin
and had a little more character to it, and I really didn’t want the character
to be a goody-two-shoes that it could have been; I didn’t want it to be
a higher-than-thou character, I wanted it to be kind of funny, have a sense
of humour, have a kind of puckish, mercurial quality, all of which Cuba
has. He actually wanted to be another part. And I said, “You know, Cuba,
that’s way too small for you;” he wanted to be Max’s part, and I said,
“You’re completely wrong for that, but this part you could be fantastic
for.” And we worked together and I was very pleased with what he did. He’s
a good guy; he’s a very good-natured guy to work with. He comes with what
he calls his ‘pozzy’, it’s all this baggage from school; they hang out
in the trailer. If I want a beer at lunchtime it was the only place I could
sneak into… particularly with the Californian wholesome lifestyle. The
man is just someone I wanted.
scoopers tells us Gooding has signed on to play Williams’ tracker, who
takes him to Hell’s door, for $1.5 mil. Apparently “Show me the money!”
worked! [Internet scoop by ‘Sylvester’ and ‘Josh the Sandman’.]
of the Human Heart there was Alien 3-
that was before that. It must be the press, because everyone keeps saying
that. Everyone thinks that, here and in Australia but they don’t anywhere
else… Before Map of the Human Heart; while I was developing it,
did Map of the Human Heart; after that there seemed to be a brief
always seems to be 4 or 5 years. It was perhaps a year longer than normal.
I get offered a lot of material, working in Los Angeles, always have, but
most of it’s not very good - it maybe has a technical or generic ability
but it never has any originality, and there’s not a lot of drama that’s
written, not a lot of drama gets made.
Do you find yourself still gauging the territory, just waiting for the
right projects to come?
and also you develop material yourself; it’s hard to find good material;
it’s hard to develop good material. And I’d rather just hold out for things…
I only want to do stuff that I really believe in. There are some film-makers
who do a film every year or two and inherently you’ve got to be much more
of a ‘gun for hire’ and I really don’t want to do that.
also did a cameo in Leaving Las Vegas.
Yeah, I did three films. I started off with one of the four leads in an
independent film: I played a kamikaze screenwriter that kills the producer,
which was a comedy, I’d a lot of fun with it.
In a comic way, although at the time I thought it had its tragic. I work
as a film producer some times, so it could be self-criticism. I had to
audition for it; I had to do everything else everyone else has to do.
Zealand Listener reported that Vincent Ward was finding it hard to
make ends meet in Hollywood following the so-so box-office returns of
of the Human Heart. He had for some time been attempting to develop
a film of the Beowulf legend without success and had been resisting
more commercial offers. (Another source reported to the scooper that some
of the projects that Ward had turned down had been Robocop sequels
and The Never Ending Story III). Ward had been forced to take on
directing commercials and even a bit acting part in Leaving Las Vegas
to make ends meet. It was only due to the A-list name of Robin Williams
that Ward was able to get Dreams off the ground.’ [Internet scoop
was very independent, low-budget, much more low-budget than even Vigil
was: when we film on the streets of L.A., cops would come, we’d move quickly,
we’d move comma quickly – because we didn’t have any permits – and
you get two takes, generally. You know if you’re half-way through your
second take and you’re not happy with what you’re doing, you have to do
some really bad thing so you’ll get a third take: the strategy for a low-budget
screen-actor. A stunt-guy told me that: if you’re going to screw it up,
really screw it up. Oddly enough, I find myself that I’m respectful of
what other directors do; I find generally I’m the most supportive person
of the director on the set, because I just want them to have their chance
in every way. Mike Figgis – I went up for an audition and he said, “Look
you don’t have to read,” when I came in, and he gave me this small part
in Leaving Las Vegas, which was fun. I walked into the scene; it
was a lot more intimate than certainly the lines had indicated… and I think
the two actresses and myself got a real surprise - none of us knew each
other, and the scene becomes more intimate; that took ten hours, that one
that one up on purpose?
was certainly not my intention. But it was fun. The actresses in that scene
I had in the opening scene of What Dreams May Come, in the paediatrician’s
office: she’s the kid’s mother, and she’s been in a lot of films. What
was that Ridley Scott film about the two women that go on the road–?
I had quite a good part in that. I did another part in another film by
Mike Figgis, and the main thing about it - One Night Stand - is
I feel it makes me more empathetic with my actors and more available to
them and it keeps me on my toes, it forces me to work on accents, it forces
me to be somewhat more knowledgeable about them as a director. I used to
do improvisation when I was 15, in classes – I found I’d done just on 2
years’ worth of them at 3 hours a week; but this is not like before, this
time I was really putting myself in the front line; it’s scarey.
Is there any contemplation of you doing something like Clint Eastwood and
Kenneth Branagh where you direct and star?
thought of doing that; I don’t know if I’d ever do it now. If I maybe got
into it another 5 years ago, maybe I would. I don’t see myself with those
inflated— in that illustrious company.