|Antoine Fuqua Interview |
By Sam Enrico Williams 2012-04-27 22:10:22
(TRAMP Magazine) -
In The Director's Chair - Tramp meets up with Antonine Fuqua to taste a life that's all knights, round tables and mega-mega-stars...
Antoine Fuqua has come a long way since making music videos for MTV. Over the past decade he’s stretched into a directive force to be reckoned with, working with mega stars such as Chow Young Fat and Mira Sorvino on ‘Replacement Killers, as well as Denzel Washington, who he directed in his Academy Award winning performance for ‘Training Day’. More recently he’s hooked up with Jerry Bruckheimer to produce the likely blockbuster ‘King Arthur’. With a line up of stars including Clive Owen, loan Gruffudd and uber-babe Kiera Knightly, boasting a tale to speed the pulse and melt the heart, the film is already guaranteed success. Tramp met up with the mogul to discuss love, life and movie making.
T You’re known as an action film director, what attracted you to this epic-adventure?
A As a young man you grow up watching big epic movies and then you see ‘Gladiator’, ‘Lord of the Rings’, and someone comes to you with a chance to make another big movie like that. It’s great because, unlike ‘Training Day’, which was more the world IU grew up in, it feels like you are in a completely different world.
T How authentic is the storyline in your version of ‘King Arthur’?
A This really deals with Arthur as a man, as opposed to a myth. In my story, his sword is pulled out of his father’s grave not a stone. The stone is more a magical idea from another story teller.
T Tell us about the casting for ‘King Arthur’ – are they your original choice and, more importantly, are you completely satisfied with their performance?
A Yes, I’m very satisfied with them, and they are all my original choices. I didn’t want to use any American actors in this movie because this is such a British story, and I felt like the actors here deserve to do a film, a big film in America, that they normally won’t get the chance to do. This is perfect for them and it’s their story. They did a great job.
T Has working alongside talents like Jerry Bruckheimer and Kiera Knightly made you more confident regarding the ensuring success of the film?
A I have producer Jerry Bruckheimer working with me, and that’s a big advantage from the start. On ‘Training Day’ it was just me, Denzel (Washington) and Ethan (Hawk), so it was risky. But, now I’m not worried, because I have Jerry on my side and he knows how to put movies out there, and present them to the audience in the best possible way.
T Do you ever envy your actors?
A Sometimes I’d be in that dark room and my actors would come and say, ‘Let’s go out and have fun!’ but I can’t go. I’m a director of the movie and just can’t do that. Those are the days when I wish to be them. Not because of the fame. I don’t need the fame. I can walk on the streets of LA without the fear that paparazzi will follow me around or crash into my car or endanger, in any other way, me or my family.
T How does your busy schedule effect relationship with your wife, actress Lela Rochon?
A I don’t have as much time with my family as I would like. I miss my daughter, I have a beautiful little girl Azia, I miss my son Zachary, and yes I miss my wife. It’s tough.
T Have you and Lela ever worked together before?
A Not on film, but I’ve directed a music video with her as a leading lady. Five years after that, I met her again and married her.
T We all put personal marks on the things we do. How much are your movies saying about you?
A What happens is, you do it with your heart, put your thoughts and soul into it, so, when you watch that film, you can see a lot about yourself in it, and discover yourself again and again. Through my films I’ve learned about me – whether it’s who I am, or some demons that I’m fighting, or who I don’t want to be – like ‘Training Day’, a film that I see and think, thank God I’m not that person anymore. And there are films like ‘King Arthur’, when I think, I would like to be him.
T Do you believe life is all about putting it on the line for the things you believe in?
A Absolutely. You have to live for something. Every day, in everything, you put your life on the line in some way – when you have fun. When you drive a fast car, when you marry someone. When you believe in something, you have to have a sort of commitment – you have to, otherwise there’s no point in living.
T Of all the people you are surrounded with, who do you trust to show your movie to first?
A My editor.
T Do you think that box office success is synonymous with quality?
A No. Defiantly not. That’s a complete bullshit.
T Tell us what’s happening with your production company, Real Power?
A I’m due a story about Enzo Ferrari with Al Pacino in leading role, a documentary about the evolution of banging, gang banging, called ‘Bastards of the Party’. That documentary is almost finished. Besides that, I have four more scripts being written as we speak.
T We’ve also heard you’re about to start work on another new movie, ‘True Blue’.
A Yes, Steven Zaillian, who also wrote ‘Gangs of New York’, wrote the script and F. Grazer is producing it. It’s something like ‘Godfather’ meets ‘Scar Face’. It’s a film is about Franc Lucas who was a heroin dealer, the biggest black drug dealer ever in late ‘60s and early ‘70s, during Vietnam War. He used to smuggle heroin from jungles of Vietnam to The States and earned so much money that he became bigger than mafia.
T Don’t you think that this type of story has been told before?
A Well, you never saw drugs being brought from Vietnam in caskets of dead soldiers! And it’s not just that. There’s a story about corruption in America at that time. It raises a lot of questions about corruption, politics, justice and people who ought to protect and then used it (power) for other reasons. It’s about the American dream and how far people are prepared to go to reach that dream- the result of it.
T What’s the hardest thing to do when you set out to make a film?
A Everything is hard. That’s why you’ve just got to love it. It takes out all of your energy, all your attention and focus. It’s fun, if you love it but also very demanding and causes you losing sleep at night for a year or so. But the hardest thing, is the last few days of filming, because you are exhausted.
T Like you look right now....
A Exactly! And your heart starts to break because it’s over and it’s your baby! You are exhausted and ready for it to end. It’s like a break up in a relationship. You feel relieved and hurt at the same time. After realising, the movie doesn’t belong to me anymore. It belongs to people. To its audience.
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