INTERVIEW BY BRYAN CRANSTON PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOM HOOPS ASSISTED BY DAVID TERRAZAS MORALES & AMI LERTPRICHA STYLING BY LINDA CHAROENLAB ASSISTED BY TUMM SOITHONG & PALOCH LILITTHAM MAKEUP BY KITTY KITTIYA ANJIMAKORN SUIT BY PRADA CLASSIC
BRYAN CRANSTON—What’s your favorite color? Wait, damn it! I just wasted a question!
NICOLAS WINDING REFN—As I’m color blind, I would say red.
BC—You don’t drive a car or even have a license, which of course makes you the perfect candidate to direct a movie featuring driving. How did your involvement in Drive come about?
NWR—Bryan, it’s the only question I can’t answer anymore – please don’t force me, pal. I will only say that my film Drive came about because Ryan [Gosling] and I wanted to work together and we had a strange dinner just the two of us that led to a very mystical night drive through LA. Ryan turned on the radio and REO Speedwagon’s Can’t Fight This Feeling started to play and I started to cry in a mixture of emotional instability and being high as a kite. All those magical feelings gave me a vision of Ryan driving a car at night through LA listening to pop music and wearing a satin jacket.
BC—When you offered me the role of Shannon [in Drive], you told me that I could do whatever I wanted, and say or not say whatever I wanted in your film. It shocked and intrigued me. True to your word, several times before the film began shooting you asked the principal actors to meet in your living room to discuss our roles and pitch out what our characters would say or do, how they’d look, etc. It was a very empowering feeling as an actor. I felt invested in the storytelling as opposed to just being a hired hand for the film. Is this your approach on every movie? How can you maintain control over the finished product?
NWR—It’s how I make all my films. Even though filmmaking is a director’s medium you still need the collaboration of your creative partners, meaning the actors, and the more you engage them the more they will give of themselves and the better the movie will be. It’s not about controlling or not controlling because in the end a “good” director is the author of any film.
BC—Though you’ve made several cool films, Drive marks your “Hollywood” debut. What are the benefits and pitfalls, from your experience, in making a studio movie?
NWR—Drive never became a “Hollywood” film because all the studios passed on financing it so in the end it was an independent film, which was good because that was much closer to the world of filmmaking that I was used to in Europe. But making the film within the Hollywood industry was absolutely terrific. Within the LA community, you have the best resources to make a movie: the best crews, the best actors, the best writers, etc. And I will be honest, I did arrive in LA with my knife sharpened in case there was a show down but when I left Hollywood to go to Cannes with Drive I had made the film exactly how I wanted it to be. So in hindsight, I had a fantastic, first-class, super-cool Hollywood experience.
(Excerpt from Issue 05)
Enjoy more of this on thelabmagazine.com, coming summer 2012!