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Interview with Charlie De Lauzirika, producer of the `Die Another Day` Special Edition DVD

15-Jun-2003 • Die Another Day

The previous 19 Bond DVDs were largely created by John Cork and David Naylor, of the Ian Fleming Foundation. But for Bond`s latest DVD adventure, "Die Another Day", top industry proiducer Charlie De Lauzirika was given the mission.

DVDFile.com recently interviewed De Lauzirika about his involvement with 007:

The previous 19 Bond DVDs were largely created by John Cork and David Naylor, of the Ian Fleming Foundation. This is your first Bond DVD, so how did you come to be involved with the Die Another Day project?

I`ve been a huge Bond fan since I was a kid, and I had worked with MGM on previous discs like Hannibal and Thelma & Louise. I knew they were prepping Die Another Day, and I had gotten a hold of an early synopsis so I had a sense of what the movie was going to be about. I aggressively went after it, and pitched myself very enthusiastically and wrote a fairly detailed proposal. I just tried to sell myself for the project as best I could, and I got it. This was way before production began. This was very early on in the process, and I was hoping that that would help in the production of the disc, but it didn`t. (laughs) It didn`t help at all.

Did you go back and look at any of the previous Bond DVDs for inspiration?

I had already been familiar with the other Bond DVDs just as a fan. I certainly had seen all of John Cork`s work and what he did with David Naylor. I was well aware of what had been done before. I didn`t go back and look at them specifically because I didn`t want to copy anything, but at the same time I did want to carry over some things. For example, naming the documentary "Inside Die Another Day," which was my tip of the hat to John Cork.

Was it always intended to be a two-disc set?

I don`t know specifically when that became official, but that was always my goal. For whatever reason, I just can`t do a one-disc set. (laughs) it is really tough for me to do. And with Bond, I thought, Why not? It is the 20th film, the 40th anniversary of Bond, why not go big with it? And MGM seemed to agree. That wasn`t a hard sell.

Given how huge the Bond phenomenon is, how did you decide what angle to take with the supplements?

Based on my first proposal, I was pretty clear on what angle I wanted to take, which was to do something really different with a Bond film. On the past DVDs, especially the Cork documentaries, they all have a historical perspective. They can always look back and discuss each film`s impact on the fans and the period. You can`t really do that with Die Another Day, because there is no perspective yet. So I figured, why not just focus on the hi-tech quality of the movie. The effects, the stunts, the action. Everything that makes a Bond film a Bond film.

But what I didn`t count on was that it would be very difficult to get access to materials in a timely manner. Again, you think it is a new movie, it is fresh, you can just easily access this stuff. But then again, Bond is a very protected franchise, a venerable institution. You can`t just start raiding the vaults and say, I`m taking this for the DVD. You have to go through negotiations with Eon and the people on board and explain to them what you are doing before you can get access to it. A lot of the stuff that we got access to came very late in the game. I almost hate to say it, but the disc almost kind of formed itself based on what we had available.

Was there anything you really wanted to include that you weren`t able to?

Deleted scenes. (laughs) That was kind of a bummer. Even though they aren`t fully finished, there was some green stuff, such as a scene where Bond is on a British Airways jet coming into London. What you don`t see in the film is that he actually exits the plane from the landing gear, and all that stuff was shot but never finished. So I think that Eon felt then why include it on the disc? But as a fan, I don`t care if isn`t finished; I just want to see it.

So, things like that, deleted scenes or any abandoned sequences that were worked on early and dropped. There was another sequence early on where Bond is reunited with Wai-Lin, Michelle Yeoh`s character from Tomorrow Never Dies. We had storyboards from that, but I think maybe things like that they don`t want to let out just yet or that they want to save for another movie.

I think fans were very happy that you were able to get Pierce Brosnan to contribute a new audio commentary to the disc. How approachable was Brosnan and the talent?

It was pretty straightforward. Pierce told me that he had never been asked to do a commentary before (for another Bond DVD). Which I`m not sure I totally believe, but maybe such a request never got to him. So once we got a hold of him, it was easy. And he was great. I had the sense, when I was in the booth with him, to have a list of topics to hit if he ran out of things to say. But I ran out of those topics pretty fast. I realized that this guy has talked about Bond nonstop since GoldenEye, probably before GoldenEye, when he was being considered. I thought he was totally talked-out on Bond, yet he still gave it his all.

Although it is hard with a lack of hindsight, but where do you see Die Another Day ultimately falling in the pantheon of Bond films?

You know what, in some ways, I think it is almost Pierce Brosnan`s Moonraker. It is the time that they decided to go with a really over-the-top, eye candy approach to the movie. Now, hopefully, they`ll decide to bring it back down to Earth and we`ll get sort of a For Your Eyes Only. Which would be great. The Bond films are just cyclical that way. They get big and dumb and then they get cool and down and dirty. That`s just the way it goes. It was definitely a very successful film, and some people really seem to like it. But a lot of people, myself included, had problems with it. I really appreciated the first act of the movie, which was a nice departure for Bond. But I would like to see less visual effects, frankly. One of the things I like about the old Bond films is that they found these crazy stuntman to go out and do these phenomenal gags. That is what I think Die Another Day was lacking. None of it felt real to me, except for maybe the hovercraft chase and the sword fight. Otherwise the big action scenes just felt so synthesized. I hope that will change.

Click here for the full interview on DVDFile.com

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