De première van Blind date, woensdagavond in Vlissingen, was één van de hoogtepunten van het film festival Film by the sea. De Amerikaanse remake van de film van Theo van Gogh werd geregisseerd door Stanley Tucci, die zelf ook de hoofdrol voor zijn rekening neemt. De vrouwelijke hoofdrol is voor Patricia Clarkson. Ter gelegenheid van de première in Nederland vlogen Tucci en Clarkson naar Nederland. Een gesprek met een gepassioneerde filmprofessional die zijn hart verloor in die kleine Nederlandse film uit 1996.
Tucci, onder andere te zien in het door hemzelf geregisseerde Big night (1996) en films als The terminal en Road the Perdition, is een professional en het is duidelijk dat hij ook bij het regelen van de interviews de regie in handen heeft. Hij is dan ook naast acteur een begenadigd regisseur. In de VIP room van Film by the sea staat hij de pers te woord. Heel ontspannen want, zo laat hij grinnikend weten, in Amerika gaat dat allemaal heel wat hectischer. Hij steekt van wal met een hommage aan de kustlijn in Vlissingen die op dat moment knap winderig is onder dikke wolken. Hij blijft dan ook liever even binnen. Uiteraard vragen we hem hoe hij in aanraking is gekomen met het vrij kleine Nederlandse filmproject Blind Date, dat toch alweer teruggaat tot 1996, het jaar waarin Tucci in Amerika zijn regiedebuut afleverde met Big night, die tijdens het festival ook nog te zien is.
Tucci: “I was talking to my friend Steve Buscemi on the phone one time and he told me he was making this remake of a Dutch movie and that they were looking for other directors and actors to do two other movies. It sounded interesting so I got in touch with them. I talked to them and we met. We hit it off and this was the movie I chose from the two.”
CH: “Nowadays we hear a lot of complaining about the vast amount of remakes that are being made in and around Hollywood. If you had to qualify your version of Blind date, what would it be: a remake – a re-imagination – a reboot or perhaps something else?
Tucci: “Well it is off course a remake but I’d like to call it an re-interpretation. I actually think it’s the kind of movie you can make over and over again in different interpretations. It’s almost like a play in that regard.”
CH: Where lie the difficulties in giving something that already exists as a movie your own interpretation, as a director?
Tucci: “Well you have to work from the script, you know. There was an adaptation that was done by a fellow that was good but it wasn’t the way I wanted, it wasn’t the way I saw the film. So I also asked for a direct translation of the film. And then taking those two, piecing them together and adding my own stuff I ended up with this. So it really has to come from the script. And watching the original film there were things I absolutely loved but you know you can never recreate. There were certain structural things I thought I could change. Some emotional arcs that I could just differ to make it al little smoother.”
CH: Do you think it is important to make it more suitable for an international audience?
Tucci: “No not really, I just made it the way I wanted it to be.”
CH: The main part of Don was originally for Tony Shalhoub. You worked with him before in Big night and Monk, amongst others. Why did Tony leave the film?
Tucci: “Well it was a scheduling problem. He wasn’t able to do it. We were supposed to direct the movie a couple of years ago but then all the money fell apart. So once the money fell apart we had to find the money elsewhere and I said to Gijs (van de Westelaken), the producer, wherever you find the money it doesn’t really matter because where we shoot doesn’t even matter. It takes place in one room. So if we can find the money in Holland and shoot the movie in Holland, that’s fine with me. I’ll go the Holland, no big deal. Whatever is best as long as we can make this movie. But by the time we got the money together Tony couldn’t do it because he was doing his Tv show (Monk) so I decided to play as well.”
CH: It’s commonly known that is was Theo van Gogh’s dream to make films in America and make his own movies in America again. It’s quite a sensitive subject because actually you’re reliving his dream. What do you thing about that.
Tucci: “Well I think that was one of the reasons why we did it. You know Gijs (van de Westelaken) knew him very well and this was what he always wanted to do. We want to help bring that to life somehow and I was more than happy to facilitate that because I think he really made some interesting movies. I think that people should see Theo’s films to begin with and if they want to see our interpretation next, that’s great.”
CH: Well I have to admit I’m not a great lover of remakes…
Tucci: “me neither, haha.”
CH: But I mean when it’s done well I can appreciate it very much, sometimes more than an original film because it’s much more difficult in adapting and translating something that already exists.
Tucci: “Yeah you’re right, I don’t believe in remakes myself but when I saw the original movie I saw that it was absolutely perfect to be remade. It’s like a play you can do over and over again, as I said earlier.”
CH: We’ll be hearing you next in The Netherlands in the animated movies Tales of Despereaux and Space chimps. What’s on the horizon for you as a director?
Tucci: “Well, I’m working on a new project. In the next two weeks I hope to find out if I have the money for it. Patricia Clarkson, Pierce Brosnan. Julianne Moore and Rosemary Harris are in it but we trying the get the money together for months and I really hope we can start soon.”
CH: Shouldn’t be too difficult with a cast like that…?
Tucci: “You would be surprised, the movie industry can be awful.”
Foto’s en interview Constant Hoogenbosch
©Movie Machine 2008