Time to put together your 'Dream Team'
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Well, Day 5 of the Olympics came and went and my country still hasn’t won a freaking medal. While other sport powerhouses like Togo and Tajikstan have managed to get at least one medal our Canadian athletes are failing to bring home the hardware.
The Olympics are funny in a way when it comes to their Dream Teams. Since 1992 every Summer Olympics the focus is on the USA Men’s basketball team – though it is interesting to note that the Toronto Raptors up here in Canada have the most players from any NBA team on Olympic teams! Then starting in 1998, when the cold winds of winter come whipping through our lands, everyone in Canada pretty much goes mental when the Canadian Men’s Hockey team plays.
So is it any coincidence that I am reading Douglas Adams’ The Salmon of Doubt this week and there is a section of that book called The Dream Team. The first selection is his Dream Film Cast: Sean Connery as God, John Cleese as the Angel Gabriel, and Goldie Hawn as Mother Theresa’s younger sister, Trudie. With a guest appearance by Bob Hoskins as Detective Inspector Phil Makepiece. I’ve been reading a lot of Adams lately. That’s damn funny. I don’t get some of it, but it is damn funny.
So what about film? What if you had a movie and you could hire whomever you wanted to fill any role in your production? Who do you want to direct? Who do you want to do the special effects? Who would create kick-ass stunts for your movie? If you were to name your cinema Dream Team who would be in your starting five? As the great philosopher Dane Cook once said, ‘It can be anything you want dreamers… Dream it you fucking dreamers’.
Dream Director – Takashi Miike: Hands down if there was one director I would want to direct my film it would be this man. Name any other director who has as diverse a portfolio as this man and I may reconsider. Not bloody likely, but I may. With very few misses on his resume this man has made films that have made me laugh, cry, recoil in horror, cheer and scratch my head in bewilderment. On more than one occasion I've even talked to my TV screen, 'Oh no you just didn't do that?' Granted he really has had nothing to do with the content of his films in regards to screenplay but the films that he has made have been so diverse, yet still have familiar central themes between them [see Tom Mes' book Agitator] I feel I could throw anything at him and he would be able to do it.
Visual Effects – Richard Taylor and WETA: The little effects company that could. Things really took off for WETA after the LOTR saga completed. Since then they’ve dabbled in other favorites Narnia, Black Sheep and King Kong. They can do it all. Digital and Practical. If I need hordes and armies fighting it off on the plains of some mystical or far off land they can do it. If I need a giant were-sheep with super snarling action they can do it as well. I have a soft spot for the little guys who step up and can take on the big boys. WETA has done that. They’ve been picking up Oscars, BAFTA and Saturn awards for their visual effects. And they’ve also been integral in furthering visual effects over the years. The Kiwis would be my first choice.
Action Choreography – Yuen Wo-ping and Donnie Yen. I’m going to go old school and new school with this because both men deserve credit and my love. Starting with Yuen, the man is an artist. Every fight he choreographs is sheer poetry. His obvious skills have made him one of the most sought after action choreographers from an international standpoint. If I want it to look pretty I want Yuen Wo-ping to do it. But, if I want my action to have an impact and leave the viewers breathless then I want Donnie Yen on my team. Yen has really diversified over the last couple years and has done more to bring exposure to more fighting styles than anyone else; most recently introducing MMA to cinema in Wilson Yip’s Flashpoint. It looks reckless. It looks dangerous. It looks awesome.
Director of Photography – Christopher Doyle: So I’ve handed over my project to Miike but I feel I need that extra something that will make my film all the more pleasing to look at. I should look no further than Christopher Doyle to be my Director of Photography. The man simply shoots stunning film. And he has worked with some of the best in the business: Wong Kar-Wai, Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, and Zhang Yimou to name some. If I couldn’t get Doyle I would fall back on Spielberg’s right hand man Janusz Kaminski. Involved with virtually every Spielberg film he is just as much responsible with harnessing the power of light and shadow as Stephen is. His work is really strong as well.
Guys with Pencils – Alan Lee and Steve Skroce: I fancied myself as a pretty good artist once. Never gave a thought to making a career of it because I couldn't bear the thought of being creative under someone else's guidelines and deadlines. But if there were any artists out there I would want on my production I would want to highlight both of these guys. I think Alan’s work on the LOTR films was superb. He carried over that brilliance from LOTR onto King Kong and the first Narnia film. I don’t know what kind of world I would need created but Lee appears to be fairly capable of doing anything. And if I need a good storyboard artist then I would ask Steve for his help. Not only because he did the Matrix films and anything recently related to the Wachowski Brothers [V for Vendetta and Speed Racer] but because we went to high school together and took art classes together. With Steve’s background in comic books I know if I need a really strong visual reference for a particular scene he could help envision it.
So what about you? You don't have to stick to the categories I have here. Who would you want to work on your film in whatever capacity. Speak up, chime in, and be nice.