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Ghost Ship interviews!

10.21.2002

The Halloween movie fest will be in full effect in a week, and to prepare Warner Brothers recently set up press interviews with the cast of its new sea-faring screamfest GHOST SHIP. So, as usual, I got a chance to sit down with the movers and shakers that brought this “SHINING by the sea” to the big screen. But first things first, a little about the movie. After the initial 10 minutes of the film, my thought was “Man, this could be damn good.” Unfortunately, it let me down. But the cast was decent, and included Julianna Margulies and Gabriel Byrne…so that was pretty sweet. And Joel Silver produced, so you know it should make some dough.

Anyway, enough of my babbling, on with the show. Here are some snippets from my chats with the Julianna and Joel. Gabriel spoke with me briefly, but it was only about world peace, politics, and corruption. For my sake and yours, I’ll leave that story to the people at Newsweek….

First in line was Julianna…pretty, fun, and full of life. Needless to say, she’s known for her role as Nurse Carole Hathaway on ER. But she has been in some flicks as well, including WHAT’S COOKING, THE NEWTON BOYS, and one I’m sure many JoBlo readers loved (wink, wink) A PRICE ABOVE RUBIES. She talked a little about ER, her role in GHOST SHIP as the ass-kicking, Ripley-like Maureen Epps, and her future film role in THE MAN FROM ELYSIAN FIELDS, starring opposite Mick Jagger and Andy Garcia. Here’s more from Julianna…

Did you notice the Ripley similarities in your character?

They mentioned that. But never in my wildest dreams would I compare myself to Sigourney Weaver’s character because that was a phenomenal role. But I think, unlike TERMINATOR where the woman became this buff, gun-toting chick, I think Ripley is closest to Epps only in that through survival of the fittest she becomes a hero. They both have certain skills to begin with. She mans a spaceship, I man a salvage ship. And then they’re put in these situations where they become heroes.

Did you have to work out for this role?

I did. Before and during. But I got lucky. When I got the film, I was on my way to Dublin to do a film with Pierce Brosnan called EVELYN. And Pierce had all these trainers there because he was about to go do BOND. And EVELYN was a holiday for me, I was only doing 2 days a week. So I asked if I could borrow his trainers while he was working on the film. So I started with these trainers in Dublin…and then when I got to Australia for GHOST SHIP, they gave me a trainer from the same company come with me and I trained 2 hours every morning so it looked like I could carry what I the other guys were carrying. I wanted to look like I could do what I was doing.

What was your worst day shooting on this film, considering all the spooks and sets?

That laundry room scene, when she opens the thing and, well, you know (don’t want to ruin it for anybody). That took us about three days. And you have to understand that what looks like 5 seconds on screen takes forever.

Do you believe in ghosts?

I do.

Have you ever had a ghostly encounter?

I grew up in England, and the first house we had was from 1348 and had been an old barn converted into a house. Me and my sisters used to share a room. And we knew there was a presence there….I always felt like there were spirits there. I mean, we were in England, and ouiji boards are illegal there, in case you didn’t know that. So what does that tell you? People have gotten into terrible trouble there.

When you first saw this movie, what did you think of the opening scene?

What I loved about it was that when I watched it, I thought hey, it’s violent. And gory. And I’m not a big fan of gore, but I thought it was pretty effective.

Do you worry that audiences aren’t going to allow you to go beyond your role as Carole Hathaway on ER?

I don’t. I’ve been really lucky so far. With ER, I got lucky. You can’t really put that character into a category like just sad, or just funny, or just messed up. You just can’t. She was everything for 6 years. And so far I’ve been really lucky. The roles I was doing in film while doing ER were varied as well. So it hasn’t felt that way for me.

So it wasn’t like a Woody situation on CHEERS, where he’s always the dumb, funny guy?

Right. It was a great springboard. And I think sitcoms are a much more difficult situation, as far as moving onto something else. So I’m so grateful for the way it all happened.

How was it working with Gabriel?

He was great. He really saved me. Him and Ron Eldard saved me. Gabriel is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. Truly hilarious. I asked him when he was going to do comedy. Enough with the serious stuff! He can imitate anyone. It’s really genius. But he really helped me not take it so seriously. He’s done a lot more of these kinds of films. And when I’d get more literal, he’d say, “Julianna, you gotta laugh. This is a popcorn movie. Make it as real as you can, but have fun.”

Did you have any down time during this movie?

I didn’t really have much. That’s the only time I’d get testy, when Gabriel and Ron would be like “What’d you do today?” and I’d tell them I was up at 4 lifting weights. But on weekends, since we were on the Gold Coast in Australia, it’s a little vacuous on culture, but we’d go to Sydney or Melbourne on the weekends.

JOEL SILVER

Next, I spoke with producer Joel Silver, a person many consider to be one of the most powerful in Hollywood. He was a madman. Talks fast and furious, and loves chatting about his films, past and present, which of course is alright by me. He did, among many others, THE MATRIX, COMMANDO, PREDATOR, DIE HARD, LETHAL WEAPON, CONSPIRACY THEORY, and SWORDFISH. His pet is obviously THE MATRIX, and hyping up the next two sequels are definitely his top priority. Anyway, here’s more from Silver…

What makes a good horror film?

My partner Bob Zemeckis always says horror is the most cinematic of any genre. Its all about the filmmaking, the camera, the music, etc. You need all the elements working together to make people the most uncomfortable. And I think that if the audience is scared, that’s what is important. We add to them to make them funny sometimes, and often try not to take ourselves seriously every time.

How does your company, Dark Castle Entertainment, do these films? Does it have a formula…considering its done HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, THIRTEEN GHOSTS, and now this?

These movies are one set pictures. We start outside, go inside, and once we’re in there we lock ourselves inside this place they are unable to leave from and we have the connection to shake it all up.

Last year you said you’d have a horror movie for every Halloween. Still true?

Absolutely. Next year is GOTHICA, but we’re still trying to figure that out. We also have a werewolf movie we like called HOWL. But it’s just a question of, we have an X amount of money we want to spend, and we want to do movies that are affordable. We like the movies that allow us to build one really great set. But the idea is to have these pictures available to the audience at the same time every year. And I feel like this is a Halloween party. And we want everybody to come to this party and enjoy themselves.

Do you still like making big movies as much as you always did?

Oh yeah. The process is great. I love the process, but it changes. When we made DIE HARD 2, which was in 1990, we were devastated we couldn’t find snow anywhere. Now it wouldn’t even be a five-minute discussion. In 10 years the biggest problem in that movie wouldn’t even be an issue. There’s more changes everyday. There are things in the second MATRIX, that people will have no idea how to deal with. Just the blending of what we can do and what is possible and what you can accomplish is unbelievable. And it makes the process exciting and interesting. And we’re learning and experiencing with every picture. It’s never the same old thing.

Is there any truth to the rumor that you were trying to pull Arnold, Sly and Bruce all into the same film. Is there any truth to that?

No. That wouldn’t be me.

Where do you stand now with THE MATRIX RELOADED and THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS.

RELOADED comes out May 15th. And it’s amazing.

You talked about REVOLUTIONS coming out that following October. Still true?

Yeah. It’s going to be Fall. We have to see. There are enormous visual effects issues for that picture. So it’s just a matter of when. It’s going to be 2003. And there isn’t a HARRY POTTER that year, which is good.

Why have them so close together?

Nobody’s going to want to wait. This is really one movie that’s cut in half. You’re going to be asking for the third one after the second. It won’t be like, “Oh, the movie’s over.” You’ll be asking “When can we see the next one?” The boys wanted the movies to come out in the same summer, but I just don’t think it would be technically possible…they think that you’ll want to literally stay in the theater an say, “Ok, can you please run the next one now?” That’s what they think.

And Warner doesn’t want me to say this, but we won’t have to advertise the second one. They won’t have to say a word. Just tell people what time it’s playing. It isn’t possible for people to not be drawn right into it. And the story is just fantastic. And I’ve made a lot of sequels, and a lot them were not the most successful ventures. Even though they were successful in the theater, the first movie ends and they expect a second. So you have to figure out how to tell the story again, and it can become a real painful experience. And when you see the movie, it just doesn’t work. But these guys figured out this movie a long time ago. It’s a full story they want to tell. The first movie kind of sets up the world in which their story will take place, and now it’s time for the story.

-------------------------

That’s about it. I’m sure I got all you MATRIX nuts all worked up. Well, take a cold shower, and wait until May. It’ll be worth it.

Thanks to the WB folks again.

To rail me, email joblo@joblo.com. To hail me, email me at johngunn@joblo.com.

Laters.

Source: JoBlo.com

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