This one is for the real cinephiles. Empire asked Bond director Sam Mendes to guest edit the "Spectre" issue and he launched a massive Q&A with fellow A-ist directors, talking to Steven Spielberg, David Fincher, Ang Lee, Edgar Wright, Alfonso Cuaron, Joe Wright, Paul Greengrass, Joss Whedon, Rob Marshall, Sofia Coppola, Susanne Bier, George Clooney, Alexander Payne, Roger Michell, and Christopher Nolan. He got those famous names to candidly (and often hilariously) answer questions including...
- "Have you ever walked off a set in a temper?"
- "What is the most common phrase you use on set?"
- "Music or no music on set?"
- "What's the most takes you've ever done?"
- "How many cups of coffee a day?"
- "What's your best-ever day on set?"
Here are the "most takes" responses:
Spielberg: I did 50 takes on Robert Shaw assembling the Greener Gun on Jaws. The shark wasn't working, so I just kept shooting to make the production report look like we were accomplishing something and to keep cast and crew from going crazy from boredom. It was a strategic indulgence.
Nolan: I never pay attention to the number of takes.
Edgar Wright: I don't think I have ever gone Kubrick crazy. So maybe 20 or so... But it's usually six or seven takes.
Payne: Probably around 26. I'm normally a four-to- seven kind of guy, but every so often, when the actors, the operator, the dolly grip and the assistant cameramen must all work in sync, it might take a while to get right.
Marshall: I try not to do more than seven or eight. It can become counterproductive.
Cuarón: The long takes process doesn't allow for that many takes. In the past I have shot over 50 takes of different shots. Sometimes you end up using take 64, sometimes take four.
Michell: Like current Australian batsmen... Very rarely double figures.
Lee: For acting, 13. For action, 36.
Bier: Twenty-five, I think. Which, if you're trying to get the best performance, is way, way too much.
Joe Wright: Thirty-seven maybe, can't really remember. I'm usually in the range of 12 to 16 unless it's a very technically challenging shot.
Coppola: I can't remember, nothing too crazy, because we never have that much time in the schedule.
Whedon: On an elaborate shot, 30. On a bit of dialogue, I've seldom gone into double digits.
Greengrass: I don't count over ten.
The hard copy issue had more questions, and Collider shared the responses for "What's your worst-ever day on set?"
Read more at Empire. Who tried to punch Joe Wright, director of the new "Pan," "Atonement," "Pride & Prejudice," and "Hanna"? And do you think Fincher was just joking with the 107 or was that the exact highest number? The "Fight Club," "Gone Girl," "Seven," "Benjamin Button," "Social Network" and "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" director is known for being a perfectionist, so it wouldn't be a shock if the real number were even higher.
Joe Wright: The day an actor tried to punch me. I'll say no more.
Whedon: Buffy presentation. My first gig. Whole thing was a nightmare. At one point there was pure chaos and a total lack of confidence from all involved. I stood outside the set, wanting to slink off home and realising that if I did, if I didn't walk in there and somehow take control, I was going to be an increasingly miserable script doctor forever. So I walked in. Worst day ended up not so bad.
Edgar Wright: Too many. I can remember a low point on every shoot. Shaun, it was in the pub finale; we were up against it and had to cut action. Hot Fuzz, we were rained off, lost the light or night shoots went abysmally slow. Scott Pilgrim, I think there was a complicated, disastrous day of effect cues that sent me into a deep funk, and then on World's End I remember a day where nothing went right where we ditched an entire sequence. Cue my transformation into The Sulk.
Payne: I abhor when the actors don't know their dialogue cold. When I have to spoon-feed dialogue to a lazy actor, I think of all the great Russian novels I could be reading instead of wasting my time. It makes me want to turn exclusively to documentaries — no hair and make-up, no second takes, and everyone knows his or her dialogue.
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