Q & A with Clash of the Titans Director Louis Leterrier

With Clash of the titans due out on Blu- Ray and DVD on 26th July we’ve managed to get hold of  a Q & A with director Louis Leterrirer. Now I’ve still not watched the film yet so I’m looking forward to seeing what I make of it now that all the hype has died down.

QUESTION:  What was it about the project that made you want to do it?

LOUIS LETERRIER:  Greek mythology in general, that universe that I grew up reading about, watching movies about, Ray Harryhausen movies, Clash of the Titans, the original in particular.  I mean, in France, Greek or Roman mythology is so important.  As much as I love the original and being afraid of messing it up by doing a remake, my love for Greek mythology was so strong that I even dared looking this project into the eyes and saying “okay, I’ll try to tackle you giant beast.”  It’s enormous.  It’s a gigantic project and you can only be excited when you’re offered this as a director.

QUESTION:  What was your vision for the movie and did it change at all as you were making it?

LOUIS LETERRIER:  My vision – no.  I wanted the scope to be as big as possible because that’s a big world.  I wanted to bring the audience on this journey and to make it as fun and diverse as possible.  I didn’t want to do an action movie.  I really wanted to do an adventure movie.  An adventure movie means that there’s action but there’s also a lot of storytelling and a lot of moments where people are just eating and breathing.  You want to get to know these people.  You see them getting hurt.  That’s what’s exciting about adventure movies.   Did it change?  Of course it changed but it changed for the better, by adding new crew members, new producers, new cast members, you just make the project better.  You never compromise.  You just build on the basis of your imagination.

QUESTION:  Can you talk about your decisions in casting the key roles?

LOUIS LETERRIER:  Well, you always start with Perseus obviously.  Before finding anybody else, I wanted to find my Perseus because a different Perseus could have changed everything.  The first screenplay I wrote with Matt [Manfredi] and Phil [Hay], Perseus was more of a doe-eyed Luke Skywalker-ish sort of like anti-hero – younger, a little bit more unsure of what his destiny was, feeling that he was different but accepting it.  And then I met Sam [Worthington] after meeting a lot of actors that I really loved and could have been a great Perseus.  I met Sam  and he’s absolutely fantastic– fantastic as a human being, fantastic as an actor.  I’d seen him in only one movie, Somersault.  I hadn’t seen Avatar, I hadn’t seen Terminator Salvation.  I saw bits of Terminator Salvation just to see the physical side of him.  I sat down with him and we start talking and I was talking to my Perseus.  I was talking to the Perseus I wanted to put on screen.  And I have to be honest.  I mean, really that’s not the Perseus I had imagined at first.  He brought Perseus out of his shell and onto the big screen, you know, in a big, big, big way.

QUESTION:  Hades has a distinctly contrasting look from the other gods.  Can you talk about he came to be?

LOUIS LETERRIER:  Hades is the god of the underworld.  He was cheated by Zeus and Poseidon when they divided the world and he was cheated into accepting the ruling of the underworld.  There are three kingdoms: Earth, Heavens, the Sea.  Poseidon and Zeus have the rest of the world, and Hades was tricked and went to the underworld.  Well, the underworld full of sulfur, full of lava, full of all that soot and grease and toxic air.  After thousands of years even though he’s a god, it takes a toll on him and his wonderful armor gets sort of like eaten away by the sulfur, the soot of the underworld, the smoke of the underworld, it seeps into his cape, into his hair, into his skin, and cracks his skin.  So yeah, he will have started looking like one of the three gods – beautiful, magisterial, wearing beautiful metal, but then after thousands of years in the underworld he becomes what he is.

QUESTION:  After so much great action scenes throughout the film, how difficult was it to make the Kraken scene the climax and the biggest and best scene of the film?

LOUIS LETERRIER:  It was so tough–so tough.  In the hour and a half of movie that we’ve seen until then, there’s so much action, and we have CG technology coming in and interacting with the actors.  How do you top that?  How do you make the Kraken the biggest thing you’ve ever seen?  How do you make actually, because it’s the same screen you have whether you shoot a scorpion, a harpy, or the Kraken.  How do you make it big?  How do you frame it so you imagine it’s huge?  And also quite frankly, the technology was not ready for the Kraken.  Something that big with so much water, with so much interaction, no one had done something like this ever before and put it in water.  So doing this and on top of that having Harpies and Pegasus flying all around, made it very, very, very difficult.  But MPC were amazing doing so.

QUESTION:  Can you talk about the Medusa scene?  How difficult was that? Obviously that’s the scene that viewers are more familiar with.

LOUIS LETERRIER:  Very difficult because that’s the one scene that has stood the test of time.  That scene is absolutely amazing still now.  You look at it in the original movie, it’s very suspenseful, the music is great, the ambience is great, Medusa looks fantastic.  So how do you make it different?  Not better, just different.  How do you make it so it fits within this movie?  I imagined this world where her lair is good for her.  I mean, it’s perfect for her, it’s a jungle gym for her, but terrible for human beings.  Before us, even the crew members, it was horrible to shoot on because everything was off at an angle, stilted.  Like M.C. Escher, you know, that painter that paints those never-ending staircases, it does tricks for the eyes.

So we wanted that, but then how do you make it on several levels, how do you make it manageable? So we had a multi-layering approach and designer came up with this great plan of two levels that you could switch around and make it look like four, six, and switch it around so there can be a big, big chase within.

And I came up with this sort of path for Medusa and Perseus to run through.  And that was really fun to do.  It was really like a dream come true.  That’s the same game I was playing when I was playing in my parents’  library and I was like moving my fake Medusa against my little action figure.

QUESTION:  Can you talk about how exciting it’s going to be for the viewers to view Clash of the Titans on Blu-ray?

LOUIS LETERRIER:  Blu-ray is fantastic because that new technology on top of everything we’ve added before, in our movie, just adds and adds and adds and the package is fantastic for movie lovers like me.  It’s exactly what you’re waiting for.

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