Saturday, July 14, 2007

An Assignment: Compare And Contrast.

I recently read two interviews on Entertainment Weekly's website with hyperkinetic director Michael Bay (most recent triumph: Transformers) and famously non-commercial German directer Werner Herzog (most soon-to-be-recent triumph: Rescue Dawn). Here's a sample from each:

Entertainment Weekly: I'm told [Executive Producer Steven Spielberg] worked a lot with the Transformers' screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci to bring a certain innocent tone to the film. The motto seems to have been, ''It's about a boy and his car.''
Michael Bay: "Yeah. That was the hook to the movie. But I added a stronger military thing at the beginning to make...the stakes higher. But originally the tone was very suburbia. We kind of changed that and made it edgier. I like the idea of the suburbia. I specifically shot this a little bit more suburbia, meaning, like, I would never put actors at a Burger King, but it's what people do, you know what I mean? Or in [lead character Sam Witwicky's suburban] house. It's not a sexy house. But it's identifiable, and more accessible."

Entertainment Weekly: You did have some commercial success recently with the documentary Grizzly Man. But you were snubbed for an Oscar nomination for the movie, perhaps because you've alienated yourself from a lot of people in the documentary community for the liberties you take in your nonfiction films, like scripting lines for your subjects.
Werner Herzog: "That's okay. We need a new approach to reality. Cinéma vérité is basically the answer of the '60s and, in my opinion, just the accountant's truth. We are in a situation now where there is a huge onslaught on our notion of reality, from reality TV, virtual reality, the Internet, digital effects, Photoshop, WrestleMania — all these things pretending to be reality. Since the early '70s, I've been working towards a new form of dealing with reality, going for something that illuminates us, something that is like an ecstatic truth. Whatever departs from facts is wonderful. I'm not so much into facts."

Your assignment: Check out the complete interviews and find the similarities and (rather glaring) differences between these two very different directors. Post thoughts to the comments section. Links are as follows:
Michael Bay Note: this interview contains mild swearing.
Werner Herzog

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