Director Joe Carnahan Talks Creative Control and Why Too Much Money Can Be Problematic
You can always expect Joe Carnahan (Narc, The Grey) to tell it like it is, and he’s always very forthcoming about his life and his career. We’ve been lucky enough to see a sizzle reel for his Daredevil project that never got off the ground, as well as another for a film called Gemini Man. Carnahan sat down with Cinefix and Director Jack Perez (Some Guy Who Kills People, The Big Empty) to talk candidly about the role a director plays and some of his personal experiences in a new web series called “Hollywood Trenches.” Check out the first two episodes below.
His comments about Carl Erik Rinsch and 47 Ronin are really interesting, and they can really apply to people on any budget level making a leap. Here is an excerpt from IndieWire:
“Carl’s a lovely guy and an extraordinarily talented guy — he never should’ve been given $200 million to make a samurai film. He should’ve been given $3 million and you figure it out,” Carnahan said. His larger point is that a bottomless budget stifles creativity and problem solving that you’re forced to contend with when your resources are smaller, and it also keeps too many cooks from getting in the kitchen. That kind of mega budget, he says, put “an ungodly amount of pressure on someone” to deliver, since the movie has to be a major hit…and nothing less. And not only does he lay blame at the studios, but also at filmmakers whom he says should push back, if it’ll mean a bit more freedom when it comes to crafting your film.
I know personally at this point in my career I would have no idea what to do with $3 million, let alone $200 million. As an artist I think it’s important to feel comfortable with the expectations that come with specific amounts of money. A first time director will probably have a few more people looking over their shoulder if they working in the millions, whereas a movie thrown together for $10,000 can probably be made without any interference. It’s also not just about wanting to be a control freak. Putting a movie together is a miracle in and of itself, so the more people talking in your ear, the more you may second guess yourself, and potentially lose sight of the finish line.
The Carnahan interview will be 7 parts in total, so we’ll post them when they are available.
Do you have any experience moving up from a little budget to a monstrous one? If so, what was that like and how did you make it work?