Long-time readers might remember that ComingSoon.net spoke to director Nimród Antal way back in 2005 when he was in New York with his feature film debut Kontroll. Back then, we claimed you’d be “seeing more of this talented young director in the future.” Next Friday, Antal’s third movie, the crime-thriller Armored starring Laurence Fishburne, Matt Dillon, Jean Reno and Columbus Short will open nationwide and he’s already hard at work directing Robert Rodriguez’s Predators, which will relaunch the franchise next summer.
Earlier today, ComingSoon.net got on the phone to talk to the director further about his transition to Hollywood filmmaker, a conversation that also included a few tidbits about Predators, for which he has roughly a month left of filming.
“So far, it’s been great, and I think that the fans who may have been underwhelmed by the last two AVP films, I think they’re in for a very pleasant surprise,” he told us tentatively when asked how it was going.
Since the movie’s title seemingly will include Robert Rodriguez’s name even though the Austin-based filmmaker isn’t directing, we were curious how involved Rodriguez was in the actual making of the movie. “Robert hired me, so obviously I’m very grateful for him giving me a shot. He is involved in the screenplay and we’ve had a lot of conversations, and any big decisions I want to make, I always speak to him about, but he’s been very gracious and he’s been letting me do my thing. He’s really let me perform and he’s let me dance, so again, I’m grateful to him for that.”
“I think ‘Kontrol’ was the reason that Robert gave me a shot,” Antal answered when asked how he and Rodriguez first hooked up. “I think when the question came up regarding ‘Predators,’ I made it clear that I was excited about that and I could do something like that and I had met with Robert a few times. He had seen ‘Kontroll’ and he had watched ‘Armored’ and I think based on those two films, he gave me a chance.”
While Rodriguez has embraced doing things using CG animation, Antal has preferred the aesthetics of doing things practical and in-camera over the years, so we wondered whether they were able to find a happy balance there. “I think we both recognize that the original film was as good as it was because of the practical, because it was a guy in a suit, because it was the jungle, so we stay true to that. We were in Hawaii for a month in the jungle, so there’s going to be some pretty impressive locations.”
While Antal has also been working with a lot of Rodriguez’s crew, he was able to return to his Hungarian roots by having his Kontroll Director of Photography Gyula Pados shoot the film. “He was someone who I really wanted and he’s someone whose talent is enormous, so I was lucky to have Gyula come back on this one.”
From talking with the director over the years, we know he’s a fan of all movies but especially those of the ’80s and Predator was no exception: “Let me tell you, I was so much of a fan that I stood in line when I was 14 and I had the poster on my wall. I was a huge fan,” he responded enthusiastically, so we wondered how hard it was going to be not to be so faithful to the original that he’s not able to bring any of his own vision to it. “Again, it was a challenge in finding a balance. I think when we cast Adrian, there were a lot of people going, ‘What?’ but at the same time, if we cast a Vin Diesel in that role or if we cast anyone who is Arnold-esque, we would have been attacked for doing that. So we decided early on to go in a very different direction as far as the casting process, but it turned out fantastic. He plays a mercenary in the film and if you look at the guys in Iraq and Afghanistan today, they’re not ‘yolked-out’ Schwarzenegger-looking guys. They’re all very wiry and thin guys, and I think it’s going to play well.”
He did get a laugh when we asked him directly whether Arnold himself might make an appearance, maybe because we prefaced it by mentioning McG’s own dilemma with how to answer that incessant question while promoting Terminator Salvation. Wisely, Antal remained coy, only saying, “Time will tell. We’ll see, but we are trying to stay with the original as far as the monster and the atmosphere and the tone of the film, but we are trying to do something new and contemporary and feels fresh.”
Before we wrapped things up, he did confirm that Predators was being shot to be an R-rated film, so if nothing else, that should make a lot of fans happy in the long run.
Look for our full interview with Nimród sometime next week leading to the opening of Armored on Friday, December 4.