Latest Horror Movie Headlines

CAN: A Scanner Darkly

06.01.2006by: The Arrow

As I was being driven to the glamorous Hotel du Cap outside of Cannes to interview the cast and director of A SCANNER DARKLY (hitting screens on July 7th), the fanboy in me started to kick in. Yup, I’m a huge fan of Keanu Reeves (POINT BREAK, baby, POINT BREAK), Robert Downey Jr. (LESS THAN ZERO rocks!) and Richard Linklater’s BEFORE SUNRISE/SUNSET films. I was excited! When we got to the Hotel, I was totally taken by its lavish beauty and it formidable view of the Mediterranean Sea. WOW! And then the talent came in and I had to subside the fanboy energy that was oozing within me and be, nay... "act" professional. Here’s what came out of the interviews...

View from the Hotel du Cap! A place to hang a hat!


Very laid back, Richard Linklater was the first up to bat and here are a few interesting things he had to say about his new film A SCANNER DARKLY.

  • He’s not a huge sci-fi guy, but he’s a Phillip K. Dick guy. Much like he’s not a huge “comic book guy, but he's an “American Splendor” guy.

  • A Scanner Darkly demands to be taken as a comedy he thinks, then a drama and lastly as a total tragedy. It’s several stories on top of one another.

  • He envisioned Scanner Darkly as being animated after making Waking Life (which was translated with the same software). He felt that the look really worked for this story, in the way that from the viewers point of view, it is analogous to what the characters are going through. He thinks this animation is the best way to feel this story and what the characters are going living.

  • The Phillip K. Dick book was written coming out of the Nixon era in the 70's. He feels that the movie is also relevant today. For him, making this film really started going in his mind after 9/11 and the application of the Patriot Act.

  • He always thought that Keanu Reeves would be perfect for the lead role (Bob) because of his qualities. He says that you care about Keanu, he’s a deep thinker and big-hearted guy, and he feels the world in a way that works for this character. Keanu is the kind of guy that would call you at 2 in the morning he says, to discuss the film and his research (Keanu actually had the German passages in the book translated to English).

  • The film was a collaboration between him and the actors. “You rock and roll with somebody and get somewhere that you wouldn’t have reached on your own”.

  • He planned the shots like he did any other normal movie, but the animation process, gave him more freedom. They could deal with all the imperfections (technical) later and just focus on the performances throughout the shoot.  

  • This story spoke to him, especially taking into account the climate of our times. A Scanner Darkly feels more relevant now. It seemed like its moment had arrived.


As opposed to the chilled Richard, Keanu Reeves was wired. On coffee? I don’t know , but his eyes were wild and his movements big. A great man nonetheless and a positive presence to be around! He gave us a lot of juice about the film and a “he wants to do it” in terms of Constantine 2. Here’s Keanu!

  • He didn’t know Phillip K Dick until he was 26 years old. Dick is a pretty influential cat in his opinion in the realm of sci-fi.

  • He feels that the film reflects today’s society as we’re being watched and evaluated. A Scanner Darkly is a story that relates more to people who live in cities.

  • Working with the cast and crew was very stimulating for him. He had two weeks of rehearsals, working with the script and then the cast. They all shared a nice chemistry and played off each other very well. Once on set it was really fun for him.

  • He’s very pleased with the way the animation feels. If you relate to it, it can be a very haunting and melancholic film he says. The animation served the performances well in showing the details and movements of each character.

  • Richard Linklater used a different lens and came in very close when it came to the “morphing suit scenes”. That amplified the impact of those scenes, as it seemed to capture a lot of the internal process within the character.

  • The intimacy of the lens and the opportunity to dramatically communicate the moment made the “morphing suit” scenes so poignant in his opinion.

  • The only time he would think of "the animation process" as to his performance on set was when playing Fred and Bob-- which is when he would make bigger arm movements. But mostly, the animation was not an issue in terms of how he played the role while shooting.

  • He feels that the film is for everyone. He’s sure that it has a lot that would be enjoyable for many. Hopefully it won’t be marginalized and described as “it's for them” i.e. “high brow” crowds.

  • Constantine 2? He hopes so. They’re trying to get a script going for that. Hopefully he says.

  • He’s trying to do different kind of work, tackle different kinds of genres. He really enjoys making films. There’s a misconception in his opinion that a large budget, Hollywood picture is a different experience than making a small budget film. In terms of process, it doesn’t really change for him from one to the other.


The first thing I asked Robert Downey Jr. when he showed up at our table was: “Hey! How ya doing?” To that he retorted (well, yelled out): “AAAAarrrghh!!" -- a playful dog-like growl. That's when I knew it was going to be “that kind" of sit down…in a good, Bobby Jr. special kind of way. Yes, the man was cracking jokes left and right, didn’t take himself seriously and was just having fun with the whole thing. Here's his two cents on the flick...

  • He jokingly said that he was up at 6:30 AM and did the five Tibetans steps: Chain smoked cigarettes, checked his e-mails, farted around, called the missus and went to the Gym. He just wants to be efficient.

  • He thinks Phillip K. Dick is great but he’s a Gen X guy, he knows the books because he saw the movies.

  • The director and the rest of the cast is what attracts him to projects. When he’s the first person cast, he already likes who’s in it, hence he’s interested in the project. Note: This guy is hilarious!

  • He likes doing broad stuff. He started in WEIRD SCIENCE and BACK TO SCHOOL. He wasn’t "method" then, he was just big and fun.  

  • He hasn’t fully figured out his character (of Baris) in the movie yet. He knows that he thinks he’s smart, on to something, a tweaker and a propeller head. He reminded him of people he grew up with: strung out, without jobs, living in shacks, yet still believing themselves to be King of the Castle.

  • He loves sci-fi, it gives him permission to really animate his own landscape. For him, you’re kind of co-creating when reading a sci-fi book.

The fanboy in me broke! I asked Bobby Jr. for a pic! He was cool enough to say "yup"!

  • He got really picky since his second chance in Hollywood. Like ZODIAC with Fincher, he says. He wasn’t satisfied with his life (obviously, allusion to his drug days) after his nomination for CHAPLIN. He didn’t care in terms of pissing it all away. Now, he's just a little more sensitive, he wants to be an artist if he can, it would be fun.  

  • He would do Chaplin again. Then again, in his opinion, it would be kind of dumb, kind of like Pacino doing Scarface Part 2: The Afterlife.

  • He lived the life of a monk in Austin Texas, which would have been one a hell of a town to waste energy, get new tattoos and chase pussy…since he had so much dialogue to memorize for A SCANNER DARKLY.

  • Working with Keanu was a blast. They lived in rooms next to each other and both worked 12 hour days. He’d hear Keanu do research in his room, or translating something from German or whatever. And he’d be staring at his own hotel wall with a big poster board on it with his dialogue for the next day. Like 1175 words. Since his character (Baris) is never "not" talking, he decided to learn his lines as one big sentence, because his character is never listening to others anyways, he’s always about himself.  

  • When asked if KISS, KISS, BANG, BANG would be the closest we’d see him being an action hero, he jokingly answered: “No, I’m getting gunned up, will get my black belt, go to Hong Kong and kick some ass." Seriously though, he’d like to do something “action hero like” sometime down the road.


And last but certainly not least, I had a little chat with producer Tommy Pallotta. The man was cool, collected and very endearing. Here's what came out of it...

  • When he and Richard Linklater were filming WAKING LIFE five years ago, they talked about Phillip K. Dick a lot. Even in WAKING LIFE there’s a reference to Phillip K. Dick. It started there.

  • A SCANNER DARKLY was a $8.5 million-dollar movie. Everybody took a pay cut, and they had to do two films! Shoot it and then animate it. The latter took 18 months to do. They had 50 full-time animators working full-time on the movie.

  • It was meant to be an animated film form the beginning. It would be a great way to get into that other world, semi-futuristic, alternate reality. Also for design issues, like the “Scramble Suit”, it was going to be a design problem no matter how you filmed it -- it would always have to be animated in some way. It felt like a natural solution to animate the film and the best way to tell the story.  

  • The first actor attached to the film was Keanu Reeves and that helped a lot in locking the financing and getting the studio on their side.

  • When asked about who the target audience was for this film, Pallotta said that from the beginning, he was very hesitant in aiming for THE MATRIX audience. Instead, he said that they are aiming for the Phillip K. Dick fans, the Linklater fans, the animation fans, sci-fFi fans, the Keanu fans, the Downey Jr. fans -- all of the actors in it have a very strong fan base and he thinks that all those elements together makes for an interesting movie. He suspects that college students will really love this movie.  

  • BLADE RUNNER was a commercial and critical failure when it was initially released, said Pallotta, and now it is one of the all-time more respected sci-fi movies. When they started this project, they really tried to stay away from production design or music that would date it down the road, because they really wanted it to be a movie that people would be able to enjoy 20 years from now.

  • For him, movies are made right now for the opening weekend. For them, they were thinking long-term the whole way. If you’re really trying to express something and tell a story, he says, it’s a valid approach.

  • Since he’s met with Phillip K. Dick’s daughters for this film, they got friendly and they might be doing more work together in the future. For him, it was a respect issue as he informed them as to what was going on with the film and invited them to witness the process and they appreciated that. In the past, they never really had that opportunity when their father’s work was made into films, but nowadays, they’re hooked and want to be more involved in the movies and take a much more active role in their father’s legacy.

  • The dedications at the end of the film were in Dick's book and were always in the script. It was fitting, as A SCANNER DARKLY was ultimately Phillip K. Dick’s story.


Source: JoBlo.comAITH



Latest Movie News Headlines


Featured Youtube Videos

Views and Counting