I’m a sucker for a film noir with a strong visual sense, and the recent Blu-ray release of the neo noir thriller The Big Bang, though flawed in certain aspects, is worth a look. The story centers on an investigator (Antonio Banderas) whose search for a missing woman gets even more complicated by the minute.
Hollywood Outbreak interviewed The Big Bang director Tony Krantz, and he talked to us about working with Banderas, the Blu-ray release, and hiring The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr to score the film.
Outbreak: So this movie is a film noir which also deals with particle physics? How did you decide on creating such a complex story?
Krantz: Film noir is about opposites. Light and dark. Shadows and light. Good and evil. Life is weirdly, according to physicists, about a duality of things. About the fact that everything is both a wave and a particle at the same time, literally. People are shades of grey, pieces of good and evil, even parts of them are male and female, black and white, left and right. Opposites. This movie at its core is about opposites. It’s about two stories that you think are completely opposite that turn out to be in fact to be connected and the same story. The movie is a search for a missing woman, which is a classic noir movie, but it’s also a search by the Sam Elliott character for a missing sub-atomic particle and you discover that these two stories are the exact same thing. What the Antonio Banderas character is looking for is love and what Sam Elliott, the physicist, is looking for is literally that particle that gives mass to energy which is also called the God particle. One might say he’s looking for God itself. Antonio Banderas is looking for love and in our opinion, as filmmaker,, are the same thing. Love and God is the same thing. And we did a detective story that blended with particle physics to say that.
Outbreak: Are there any films that inspired you for the visual look of The Big Bang.
Krantz: There was a movie I loved called Hud that Paul Newman was in. The director of photography won the Oscar for that movie, a guy named James Wong Howe. And I loved how that movie looked. The sort of long horizontal vistas punctuated by telephone poles in west Texas. And so I wanted a similar kind of organizing principle. If you look at The Big Bang and what it is and you look at it all across the movie, you’ll see the same kinds of ideas.
Outbreak: Can you talk about casting Antonio Banderas as the private eye?
Krantz: We live in a multi-cultural society. And the idea of the white male, hard bitten detective which was sort of immortalized by people like Humphrey Bogart in the classic film noirs of the 1940s and 50s isn’t necessarily applicable in the multi-cultural world we live in today. You look at America, America isn’t one color, it’s every color and that’s what makes America so great. The idea of today, doing something like having a Latin lead as a classic American icon felt very right to us. It felt like it was actually the right kind of choice for a movie that’s set in the world today. So when Antonio responded to the script we knew that we had our leading man and we were thrilled that Antonio joined us.
Outbreak: How did the Johnny Marr collaboration originate?
Krantz: Johnny Marr is the guy who did all the music in the movie and he is known as the co-leader of The Smiths with Morrissey. My roommate in the early part of my career was the manager, believe it or not at the same time, The Smiths, UB40, and the Simple Minds. Johnny came and spent a couple of weeks with us in our little house in the Hollywood Hills when we were living there and we remained friends. When I was thinking about the music for this movie I was listening to Johnny Marr’s album Boomslang on my iPod and I thought ‘This is the sound of The Big Bang.’ We got a hold of Johnny and it turns out his favorite movie is Mulholland Drive, which I had produced. And the rest is history, but he is a genius and one of the greatest guitarists, I think, that has ever lived.
Outbreak: What do you think movie fans will get from The Big Bang on Blu-ray?
Krantz: I think they will get a beautiful looking movie, first off. People who are fans of visual pyrotechnics and beautiful movies on their home theaters will love the look of the movie. The movie, in many ways, is better seen in a great home system than some of the funky prints I’ve seen in theaters, honestly. I think with the Blu-ray they will get the pristine version of what the movie is. There are a number of extras that we put in the Blu-ray. There are extended scenes, an extensive making of documentary, commentary, and that kind of thing.
Outbreak: What are your favorite film noirs and why?
Krantz: I’ll answer that question by not answering it. I’ll tell you what my favorite film is. Apocalypse Now is a masterpiece. The first two Godfathers are up there, and weirdly, The Conversation. If you look at those movies, all directed by Francis Ford Coppola, they were all directed one after the other. They were all works of art, all of them masterpieces in many ways. I would also say that even though it may not be considered a noir film exactly, but recently No Country For Old Men has to rank as one of the great sort of thriller, detective movies I’ve ever seen. I thought that movie was masterful. The storyboard artist of No Country For Old Men, J. Todd Anderson, did the storyboards for The Big Bang and has done the storyboards for the last twelve Coen Brothers movies. So for fans of the Coen Brothers, even though this movie movie is different, they will appreciate that the same storyboard artist for those movies was the storyboard artist for this movie.
Outbreak: How hard is it to make a film that has a specific and complicated vision like The Big Bang?
Krantz: It is difficult for movies like this to find an audience because they rarely get financed because they are risky and they rarely get marketed because it is expensive to market a movie. Unless a movie is a four quadrant movie, which is a movie that appeals to men and women, old people and young people. It’s a movie where, if you’re spending 40, 50, 60 million to market a movie, you better be sure you get back that investment. Because you know that the movie will appeal to that broad audience. The Big Bang doesn’t on the surface feel like a four quadrant movie. It feels like a movie college kids would love or more of an indie crowd would love. But I think there is something in this movie for a lot of people. But I think the target audience for it is a different target audience than Fast Five. It is hard to get movies like this made in the marketplace but I think it can get kind of a cult following. With a little luck people can see and discover what we did with The Big Bang.
The Big Bang, now out on Blu-ray and DVD, co-stars William Fichtner, Sienna Guillory, Snoop Dogg, and Delroy Lindo.
(If you want to check out our giveaway for The Big Bang, click here).
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posted by Greg Srisavasdi