Know better the job director with Olivier Megaton
olivier megaton, director, réalisateur, the transporter 3, transporteur 3, colombiana, taken 2, taken 3, the champion, rallye car, artiste, artist, peinture, paint
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Know better the job director with Olivier Megaton (2/2)

Know better the job director with Olivier Megaton (2/2)

How can we explain so many reboot, remake, sequel those last years?


Ideas of script exist but there not exploited because the development of a movie is very expensive and especially we hesitate to take risks. When you do a remake, 30% of your idea already exists whatever the quality is. You can look for a financing, giving as a reason the fact that it’s the sequel of a movie which did great at the box-office, so the sequel will do better.
It’s always simpler than coming with a new idea for which you’ll have to argue and convince. Budgets are less and less important but it’s a complicated situation; there trend to restriction for average budget movies but on the other hand there are more and more big budget movies.
Marketing and public expectations have also changed. From now on, we can’t take the liberty to develop a movie during three years. People working at the marketing department believe in statistics and only see cost-effectiveness because it’s their job. But unfortunately, they don’t understand the ins and the outs related to the movie creation.
Somewhere, it’s normal preferring making a financial success than a failure even if you win awards with it. Today, each firm invests in personnel having clear marketing necessities. For five movies proposed only one will be developed and theoretically cost-effective. In the US, this risk taking is still present but in France it has totally disappeared.
Here, when you look at the budgets allowed to developments, you’re not surprised to have mediocre scripts but from time to time we have some luck like for Intouchablesor The Artist. The French mentality is to congratulate ourselves once the success instead of asking why we didn’t have faith in this project at first.


Is it the only difference with the Hollywood cinema?


No, in the US they arrive to finance the projects associated to your name – synonymous of success.
In France, in order to have only 10 000 euros, you have to be very persuasive despite the fact that this amount is nothing compared to the global budget.
If you want to sum up, it’s: 100% profit, O% risk. It’s only possible with a scenario on which you don’t have to work and from time to time you can have some luck with Intouchables.
We don’t take a risk in France whereas in the US it’s still present although we like to make it easy by directing remakes. However, I talk like that but I’m the first to do it even if it’s not my main objective.


Then, why did you accept to direct Taken 2?


I didn’t want to do it first, but between the opportunity to work with Liam Nesson and the fact that there was a challenge in this movie like developing elements none used in the first Taken, I finally accepted.


Will it be very different from the first Taken?


The first idea was to propose a new one, developed on the same basis or it wasn’t worth it. But regarding the audience for the first one, we know that everybody won’t be satisfied. For Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis, you get bored during the whole movie, as for me, unlike 21 millions of spectators. Colors and tastes can’t be discussed.

Some people will enjoy it because it’s another movie, besides this is the challenge I accepted and we had to make everything clear. I’m not here to have prizes; I just hope there’ll be plenty of spectators to go see it. If they don’t like it, I can’t do anything and I don’t have to judge: initially when you make a movie it’s for you, so you’ll see it only with your consideration!

Do you have projects after Taken 2?


Because I can’t do several things at the same time, I’m focused on the way to finish this movie the best I can while paying attention to it.


Did everything go smoothly during the shooting?


It was above all complicated, the shooting in Turkey was very hard and I only had 70 days of shooting. In the end I made it.
I’m very bookish when I’m directing, I have the capacity to shoot quickly as I can handle a problem. However, the producers can take advantage of it and that’s when you have to say stop: if we had an agreement about something, I’ll do what I can to make my engagement.
On the other hand if I see that I won’t be able to handle it, I prefer to let know quickly in order to avoid any troubles for the people who I work with.


Are there any projects already released in theaters, which you wanted to do?


Yes, notably one very famous which was released last year. One day when I was in the US, somebody talked to me about a movie I used to work on during three – four months. Because I read a lot of scripts, I didn’t attach any importance to this because the movie was released.
Later I had the opportunity to see it and then after the three first shots, it was a big surprise! It was Drive…
At this moment, I said to myself “oh…shit”. I admit that my heart missed a beat when watching this movie, but this feeling was diminish because the version proposed by Nicholas Winding Refn is the one I would have proposed shot by shot with a slow rhythm of narration and focused on the main character. The only differences with the script were: Shannon the garage mechanic who didn’t get killed, the end was slightly different and a couple of things which weren’t working.
I couldn’t direct it because of the script but only because after spend three months working on it then realize that things were getting slow (and I didn’t live in L.A), I decided to do something else. Then the producers met Ryan Gosling… Having said that, it’s a good thing because I watched a movie I’d love to realize and which fits perfectly to my vision without having the troubles related to the movie production.


On a project, are you free of doing everything you want, or do you have to follow the studios orders?


When you make a movie, everything is settled at the beginning. If there is a disagreement, you work on it in order to find a compromise. For my part, I say things the way I think it because I’ll be responsible of it when the shooting will begin: that’s why I want to clarify things as much as I can from the beginning.


Has it happened to you that the studios changed their mind during a shooting?


Not during a shooting where it’s “war”. On the other hand, when it’s the editing phase, the producers can foresee a new potential in your movie for example: you find yourself to modify two – three things or you recreate a scene so the spectator can understand, regarding the fact that he didn’t read the script many times.
In the end, it’s only some adjustments, but it never happened to me because everything is clear from the beginning. However that may be, you support your movie even if there are things you couldn’t do: on La Sirène Rouge, the script was torn to pieces before the shooting. In the end, I had to consider that problem in order to direct the movie with a budget reduced of a third.
The reality is that I had to deal with timid producers (even if there are people I appreciate because they permit me to make this movie) who wanted to delete or modify the actions sequences, the only things that had to be avoid.
Now that I have a mature mind, I can determine what I should be able to do at this time, but I always assumed my movies. La Sirène Rouge didn’t cost that much and we earn a few with this movie, but not as much as Exit or Transporter 3.


When you’re editing a movie, is the editor free to propose some ideas?


Considering that I shot a lot knowing exactly what I want, the editor just have to adapt himself but he is welcome to make some propositions about changes on some sequences.
What is pleasant with Camille Delamarre or Vincent Tabaillon, it’s this ability to change the subject if we’re not agree but letting the possibility to come back on this point later: it’s seems that having ego is very French. However, it’s something that we (Vincent, Camille and I) haven’t when we work together.


How many time does it requires to edit a movie?


On average, it takes fifteen to twenty weeks. For Taken 2, we had to do it in less time, because we had two editors working with them non-stop, which is something you should avoid… There are specifics schedules defined by the studios which plans fixed release dates.


Do you supervise the Blu-Ray Discs/ DVD conception of your movies?


I supervise everything from scratch because I’m a relentless who harass all the time the studios for this part.
Although they complain about it, they are reassured by the fact you have a vision of your movie. I come up against political, strategic problems but it’s also part of my work to find some arrangements.
I have a profound respect for people who comes to see my movies, regarding the paid price for a DVD or a Blu-Ray Disc, the least I can do is to put some material to watch after the movie. I always try to put all the things I can on the discs: if there are 100 people over 1 000 who are interested, it’s ok for me, but I still keep in mind that some people buy it only for the movie.
I think that people at Europa likes a lot the way I work with them because I help them as much as I can instead of letting things goes on, not because I have some ego but only because I’m the first one to criticize this part.
However, from time to time it’s not possible to put everything because there is no more free space of the disc. My actual concern is to put music, to provide material getting rarer now.


Olivier, many thanks for answering my questions and I wish you all the best for the editing but also a good continuation.
Taken 2 with Lian Neeson, Maggie Grace and Famke Janssen will be release on the 3 October in France.
In this new movie, Bryan and his ex-wife will be kidnapped by Murad, father of one of their daughter’s kidnaper. She’ll have to save them, using all the technics she learned from her father.