I interviewed director Tarsem Singh ahead of this weekend’s premiere of “Mirror Mirror,” the first PG-rated movie from the filmmaker who gave us “The Cell” and more recently, “Immortals.” It was an interesting conversation that covered a lot of ground, including lots of talk about “Mirror Mirror” and some of his earlier projects (like REM’s “Losing My Religion” music video). He also told me why he probably won’t make a comic book movie, but does want to make a movie out of the “Samurai Jack” animated series.
Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
What about the dwarves? Your take on them is something I’ve never seen before (which isn’t surprising), so how did you come up with the idea to have them fighting on the bouncy stilt-like contraptions we’ve seen in clips?
In the beginning, everyone was very hesitant to use real dwarves. I said we should use real dwarves because I don’t have the time and money needed to do something like Lord of the Rings where you shrink people. I want the dwarves to be real, and I don’t want them to look at all articial, no matter how good the technology is. Once we learned that there was a competing film and we didn’t have the time to spend on shrinking people, they let me have the dwarves. But they still said the dwarves had to fight. That was a problem, because it’s really hard for people with the particular handicaps of dwarfism to do that type of thing. Everyone who I liked could barely walk fast, so I had to come up with a completely different technique. I decided to solve it through wardrobe and make these guys giants when you first meet them. They fight on stilts, so it’s fighting that can be done with stuntmen in masks. And once they’re done fighting, the way they become small again is this sort of collapsing, accordion-like machine.
Now if this was for adults only, this would be hard, but because it’s for families, they will buy that magic. Like I said, “charming” is a very hard-to-define word, and means different things to different people, but that’s what this film is: charming. It’s not taking itself too seriously, and it’s expecting the adults to understand that yes, those are stuntmen — but the children, they don’t question stuff like that.
You can read the rest of the interview at IFC.com.