Last summer, MTV News brought you the first-ever peek at the big budget remake of “Clash of the Titans” when we visited the Wales set , checking out epic battle scenes, CGI setups and star Sam Worthington in armor and a leather skirt. As we enter the new year, director Louis Leterrier is still hard at work on the project, a reimagining of the 1981 original loosely based on the Greek legend of Perseus and filled with gods, monsters and sword fights. And we couldn’t be more juiced about what he’s throwing together.
The French-born Leterrier, who also directed “The Incredible Hulk,” called MTV earlier in the month to give us an update about the progress of his upcoming film, due out in March, some creatures we should be especially excited about and what other creations have influenced him along the way.
MTV: Where are you at in the production right now?
Louis Leterrier: We are reshooting … we are juggling chain saws on this one. It’s exciting. We were shooting the movie while we were prepping. We were shooting and posting at the same time. It’s such an enormous movie with tons of visual effects, so we have to do everything at once. It’s not only the number, it’s the size of the visual effects. Our Kraken [sea monster] — he’s not a small or medium Kraken, he’s the biggest Kraken ever! We have water, boats, interactive people, everything. I don’t want to do this on every movie, but I got used to shooting, posting, writing, rehearsing actors, writing the music all at the same. I never stop. I work 20 hours a day, seven days a week and it’s fantastic.
MTV: Relative to “Hulk,” which was a big movie, has this been an even bigger challenge?
Leterrier: “Hulk” is the story of one guy running away from two other guys and he’s in love with one girl and he turns into one monster. That’s it. Here I’ve got, like, 20 monsters, crowds of thousands — it’s “Ben-Hur” with monsters. Everything becomes extremely complicated. Not to mention the complexity I added on in the beginning. I wanted to shoot in real places, not against a green screen. We moved 800 people to a small island called Tenerife, which is south of Morocco, flew helicopters and cranes all over, then went to Wales, went back to London, a crew went to Ethiopia. We were shooting all over the world. It made it very complicated, but when the dailies were coming in, it was amazing. It’s because we went to the right places.
MTV: From the trailers, it seems like there are some epic set pieces. Do you have a favorite?
Leterrier: I don’t like to have a set piece, then you start to tell a little bit of the story, and then you go on. I try to mix everything up. You have some exposition while you are running away from a monster and then you go to another thing. Then you stop, and when you think you’re gonna rest, you get attacked by another monster. It’s fun. You keep the audience surprised all the time. I’m surprised all the time as the director. When you get such a great cast of actors and you have so many people interacting together, you just get magic on the screen.
MTV: What about the tone? Is it light and fun or does it have some grit to it?
Leterrier: It’s fun and light. I don’t like those clean movies. We were looking at “Gladiator,” we were looking at “Braveheart,” “Saving Private Ryan.” I was looking at those movies more than I was looking at “Troy.” I was looking at grittier, dirty movies, which for me, and maybe just me, they feel more real. I know that Maximus [in “Gladiator”] is suffering because it’s cold at the beginning and then it’s so hot and he’s in pain. These are the movies I love and that’s what I tried to do. You see the people suffering, they get wounded, they stop and eat, they are exhausted, they have to rest because they won’t be able to go on. It’s real stuff.
MTV: Do you have a favorite monster?
Leterrier: I love the Kraken. It took so long to design the Kraken because we wanted to pay homage to the original movie, but at the same time I wanted something so huge, so massive, so unlike anything you’ve ever seen and also something that could move and interact and have a destruction pattern that was different than anything before. The scorpions and the harpies are amazing. We have new creatures that are like alerted humans — lots of prosthetics in our movie. Connor Sullivan, who did “The Dark Knight” — he’s the guy who designed Two-Face — he did an amazing job on the Acrisius character played by Jason Flemyng. Lindy Hemming, who did the suits in “Dark Knight,” she did our suits. I’m really proud of the design of this movie.
MTV: Do you know what the rating is going to be?
Leterrier: Triple X! No, PG-13. Because the blood of the monster is black, so it’s fine. I can get away with it. I’m smart that way! No, it’s such a big movie, and also a fun movie, but it looks gritty. It’s hard PG-13.
MTV: With the movie coming out in March, do you know what’s coming down the line for you in 2010?
Leterrier: So far, it’s all about “Clash.” I’m not the kind of guy who can do two movies at once. I love to just throw myself body and soul into one project. With “Clash,” we are coming to the end, so I am starting to poke my head out of the water and see what’s out there. But in terms of what I’d love to do, I’m not there.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Clash of the Titans.”
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