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April 1, 2009
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SJP


Director wants 007 to lighten up
By BRUCE KIRKLAND - Sun Media


Marc Forster has declined to helm the next James Bond film, but hasn't ruled out a return to the franchise some day. (Craig Robertson, Sun Media)

Daniel Craig's dark period as James Bond may be over.

The next 007 movie should lighten up and re-introduce some of the charming rogue quality of earlier Bond pictures, according to Quantum of Solace director Marc Forster.

"For me," Forster tells Sun Media, "Quantum was a continuation (of Casino Royale) with a little darker, harder Bond."

Craig's Bond, already tougher than any 007 since Sean Connery, goes on a vengeance mission in Quantum after the death of his traitorous girlfriend in Casino Royale.

"But," Forster says, "I was thinking that, in the next one, Daniel should go into the direction of lightening up. Bring back a little more the humour. Bring back the lightness. I think it would be really interesting!"

Forster, the German-born, Swiss-raised filmmaker who is now based in Hollywood, will not be directing the next Bond, the 23rd in the "official" catalogue of 007 pictures. Instead, he is developing a zombie movie, World War Z.

"They offered me to do it," Forster says of the next Bond, "but I said to them that I would rather go and do other movies and explore other genres. But never say never again."

He is riffing on the title of Sean Connery's final Bond movie, the maverick 1983 re-make of Thunderball. So, is it possible he may return to the franchise in the future. "I'm not planning to but you never know."

Not so coincidentally, the Never Say Never Again: Collector's Edition DVD came out last week, on the same day Quantum of Solace made its DVD debut. Quantum, of course, exploded into the DVD market. Never Say Never Again is a niche title.

Forster, who phoned Sun Media to keep the Quantum DVD push going in its second week, says it was a pleasure to have been involved with the franchise, even if he never comes back. "Because, I must say that Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson, the producers, have been just wonderful to work with. In that sense, it was a really positive experience."

Forster had been wary of signing up in the first place. His background did not suggest that he was ready for a $200-million production to be shot in six countries for months on end.

Forster's credits range from Monster's Ball (2001), the race drama that garnered an Oscar for Halle Berry, to Finding Neverland (2004), Stranger than Fiction (2006) and The Kite Runner (2007).

"It came to me out of left field as well, when I first got the call that Barbara and Michael wanted to use me," Forster admits now. "It took me a month to decide whether I wanted to do the movie or not and, ultimately, Daniel Craig really inspired me.

"He is such an interesting actor and he gave Bond this humanity and this emotional texture that would make it an interesting film to do. Daniel's interpretation of Bond goes back more to the way that Ian Fleming wrote the character. He makes him a little more harder and grittier (than other actors have), I think.

"And I wanted to do an action movie, as well. So I thought: 'Let's try this!' Looking back now, I'm really happy that I went on that journey and I'm pleased how the film turned out. But it's been quite something that I've never experienced before. So it definitely was an interesting learning curve."

Part of that learning curve involved a commitment to have a full-time DVD video crew in the production offices and on set. Some directors, as Forster has in the past, find this to be a distraction.

"I used to be much more vehemently: 'Why do I have to endure this?' But, when I signed onto the Bond picture, I was very aware that there would be a crew around 24/7 -- that everything would be just captured. And, after a while, it didn't bother me any more because we get used to everything. And it was absolutely fine."

The results on the first wave of Quantum DVDs and Blu-rays are mixed. But there is more to come -- lots more.

Forster working on better DVD

The first Quantum of Solace DVDs and Blu-rays were good, not great, and director Marc Forster knows it.

He is now working on elite versions for his James Bond movie, Forster tells Sun Media.

"With this first DVD (last week's Special Edition on standard DVD, plus the similar Blu-ray), it all happened pretty fast and I didn't really have the time. I was only a little bit involved. But I will be working on the second DVD. I will be much more involved in that, putting pieces on."

Among bonuses, there will be commentaries and new behind-the-scenes featurettes. "It is much more in-depth," Forster promises.

He is, however, in a quandary about exactly how much to reveal.

"It used to be that cinema was magic for us," Forster says, "and we really didn't know how certain things were done. It was the sense of this mystery box.

"Today, because of DVD, people are so aware of how everything is being realized. And I think there are still certain things that should remain a mystery because that makes it interesting."

For example, he is debating whether to include the coda that was shot to extend the current ending. It happens to have that famous introduction, "Bond, James Bond."

"It wasn't cut because of that sentence," Forster explains. "It was cut for other reasons. I think it worked but it is still better how it is. It's not on this DVD and we are still discussing whether we should put it in the next one. On one hand, I think it would be cool for the audience to see it. On the other hand, I think it would be more interesting to keep it a mystery."



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