Director Martin Campbell talks high-def Casino Royale and turning down Bond 22
"GoldenEye" and "Casino Royale" director Martin Campbell spoke to this week to HollywoodInHiDef
about the Blu-Ray edition of Daniel Craig's debut outing as 007, the impact of the technology on the industry and home users, and turning down Bond 22.
HiHD: You are unique in the world of 007 for having launched the eras of two different stars in the series with the introduction of Pierce Brosnan in the role in âGoldeneyeâ in 1995 and now Daniel Craig in âCasino Royale.â Were you previously a fan of the Bond movies?
CAMPBELL: I love them. Like everybody else, Iâve always loved the Bond movies, beginning with âDr. No,â which I took my mother to see in New Zealand because Iâm a New Zealander (now living in Malibu). I avidly saw all of them. So, basically, Iâm a fan. It was a kick to actually direct now two, but certainly when I directed Pierce it was my first one and it was a kick.
HiHD: We spoke to you prior to the announcement that Marc Forster would be directing the next James Bond film slated for November 2008 and you said you were not interested in helming another one at this time.
CAMPBELL: I feel that after the Pierce Brosnan one, I sort of said that was it, I didnât want to do anymore. Then, because it his was based on the book, this one, and it meant there was a change of tone, then I did this one. But, really, the problem is, you sort of then start to repeat yourself. The characterâs pretty much set and you just feel youâre sort of doing the same thing again, only different, you know. How Sam Raimi does âSpider-Manâ is beyond me.
HiHD: Your "Casino Royale" became the first high-def (Blu-ray Disc) title to ship more than 100,000 copies.
CAMPBELL: That was a kick too. They just sent me my Blu-ray disc of âVertical Limitâ and of course I immediately put it on and it was fantastic. Looks beautiful on Blu-ray. Those are the only two (of my movies on Blu-ray so far). I wonder whether theyâll do âZorroâ (âThe Mask of Zorroâ and âThe Legend of Zorroâ)? Iâm not sure if they will. I hope they do. Eventually I guess theyâll do them all on Blu-ray. I suppose itâs just a process of elimination. They probably do the latest titles first and work there way back and cherry-pick they good ones.
HiHD: You were quoted as saying the comparison between standard DVD and Blu-ray is "quite stunning and quite transparent to the master." I assume you mean the master film print.
CAMPBELL: Yeah, I did see a comparison here. They were very kind and took me up and for a couple of hours we were sort of comparing it. To be honest, Iâm not technical in that sense. I sort of sat down and said to them, âOK, impress me.â I was impressed. It does look phenomenal; you canât get away from it. Itâs simply staggering, the difference. You always think that the last whatever innovation -- like DVDs were to tapes â you think itâs gotta stop somewhere. How much better can it get, you know? I donât know how you could get it better than Blu-ray. Iâm not even sure youâd ever want it to be better.
HiHD: Are there any specific scenes in the film that you felt transferred particularly well to Blu-ray?
CAMPBELL: I watched the whole film from top to bottom, which is unusual; I donât normally. But I watched it because the quality was so terrific. I think that just about every scene transfers wonderfully. Even on the dullest scenes, you know, like office scenes, which are normally pretty boring to actually shoot and really they are functional scenes. They stand out incredibly. You see detail.
HiHD: Did you find your eye wandering to the backgrounds?
CAMPBELL: I did, simply because I knew it was Blu-ray and I was just, sort of, interested in how much all you could see in detail that was there. Itâs interesting, I think weâre going to have to, when I direct my next film, itâs something you have to take on board. You have to be a little bit careful with make-up, clearly, and especially youâre your green screen and anything youâre doing with visual effects. I tell you, itâs pretty mercilous on that if you havenât done it right; you know what I mean?
HiHD: It will expose any tiny flaws, I guess.
CAMPBELL: It will, it will. And on the actorâs faces, Iâm thinking, âMy God!â If thereâs any sort of blemish at all, boy, youâve got to watch it. So it is something I think you have to take on board with you when youâre making a movie.
HiHD: How familiar are you with the additional features of Blu-ray, such as the interactive components? Are you working on, or have you already created any Blu-ray-specific bonus features for what we assume will be an upcoming special edition of "Casino Royale?"
CAMPBELL: I hate to say I donât know. All Iâve done is watch the movie. Iâm fascinated by the quality of it. But thatâs about as far as Iâve gone. Iâm sort of busy at the moment looking at other projects.
HiHD: Do you get involved with the bonus features at all?
CAMPBELL: Well, certainly I have to OK the scenes that have been cut out. Thatâs good. I think people are fascinated by scenes that are cut out and I put most of them back into disc. I hope thereâs going to be an extended documentary because they (documentary film crews) are with us all the time, doing interviews all the way through. The documentary on the existing movie (DVD/Blu-ray discs) is just a little short. I just wanted more. Whether anybody else wants more, I donât know. It fell a little short for me. They are there every day so it could just be a little longer. Even the âGoldeneye,â I think, one was more detailed and longer. So I hope they are goinf to extend that.
HiHD: Iâm sure itâs a marketing strategy to give consumers a little taste now and then come back with a more elaborate special edition.
CAMPBELL: Yes, well Bond is peculiar in that they release every other title, just before âCasino Royaleâ came out, they released, in England anyway, a sort of silver suitcase, with all the digitally remastered Bond films. They all looked fantastic, by the way. So they have editions and then special editions and special editions of the special editions. So they milk them, and why shouldnât they? People buy them and thatâs great.
HiHD: How important do you, as a filmmaker, think it is for the mass market to embrace high-def in general?
CAMPBELL: I think itâs incredibly important. I think weâll all be high-def, wonât we? Obviously thereâs a war between Blu-ray and high-def. I think Blu-ray will win it. But the truth is, I think everything will be high-def.
HiHD: Why do you think Blu-ray will win?
CAMPBELL: Well, itâs back to the Beta/VHS thing, isnât it? I thought Beta was a much better quality than VHS. But, of course with the marketing and everything else, VHS won through. Quality difference here is minimal between Blu-ray and high-def (HD), although I did look at them both and, whether psychologically or not, I thought Blu-ray looked better. Iâll be buying high-def DVDs, no doubt about it.
HiHD: "Casino Royale" is available in Blu-ray but not HD DVD since it is from Sony. How important is it for the industry to unify behind a single high-def disc format?
CAMPBELL: I tell you, I think they should. Look at all the mess that went on with Beta/VHS. Itâs infuriating sometimes. Itâs like you get these different regions for DVDs and so forth. It would be so great to have one system that is unified right across the spectrum.
HiHD: Is there anything that the creative community do to help make that happen?
CAMPBELL: Iâm not sure. Itâs not so much the creative community but more the commercial pressure to have one system or the other. Iâm sure it will be Blu-ray because something like four of the major studios have embraced Blu-ray and thereâs (two) studios that have embraced both and, Iâm not sure, but I think there is just one studio that has embrace (exclusively) HD.
HiHD: Would you be disappointed if the industry decides on one or the other and it ends up being HD DVD?
CAMPBELL: Absolutely, itâs gotta be Blu-ray because Iâve already bought the machine. (laughs).
HiHD: What is your high-def device of choice at home and/or in your office, and what high-def toys do you enjoy (satellite channels, plasma/LCD monitors, videogame players, etc.)?
CAMPBELL: I do have a high-def TV. I flip to the HD channels on DirecTV) when I can do that. Such a difference. Weâve all gotta embrace it.
HiHD: How do you see high-def impacting the evolution of new video delivery systems such as video downloads and mobile phone video?
CAMPBELL: I think clearly people are going to want to have this. When the quality is that much better, I think people will embrace it.
HiHD: Which movie would you like to see on Blu-ray?
CAMPBELL: âLawrence of Arabia.â I would love to see that on Blu-ray. A film that hasnât been digitally touched. There isnât one visual effect in it. The whole movie as shot. I would love to see a movie that was completely virgin from visual effects. Itâs a Columbia Picture, so no doubt we will get the Blu-ray version.
Thanks to `Q` for the alert. Discuss this news here...