Returning to directing after a few years of absence is Rob Cohen, who is choosing to stage his comeback with the highly anticipated Alex Cross. Based on the character created by James Patterson, we’ve already seen Cross brought to life by actor Morgan Freeman in Kiss the Girls and Along Came The Spider but Cohen is set to bring us a new, darker take on the famous detective.
At the film’s Los Angeles press day, we sat down one on one with Rob Cohen and discussed with him all things Alex Cross. He told us why this was the film that pulled him back into directing, the casting of Tyler Perry, working on a smaller budget and much more.
Check it out below.
We Got This Covered: This is your first film since the third Mummy movie, what made Alex Cross the film that you wanted to go back to directing with?
Rob Cohen: Well, in the intrum, between The Mummy and Alex Cross, I had been develeoping xXx 3D and a movie called Medival. Both film were in excess of $100 million budget and both movies, after eight months on Medival and six months on xXx, both movies fell apart.
So I was looking around and saying, “the studio thing is just not working, they’re not making the movies I want to make.” The process to making movies has become different once corporate America got into it. There’s too much directing from the back office. So when Bill offered me the script for Alex Cross, I was interested because I’ve known Bill (Block) forever. And plus, after thirty studio movies, it was time to do more of an independent film.
We Got This Covered: Alex Cross has a budget of $23 million. What’s it like going from something like The Mummy to a film like this, where your budget is so much lower.
Rob Cohen: It’s different. It’s almost two completely different experiences. In The Mummy, you have everything you need and more. In Alex Cross, you don’t have enough of what you need. So you have to re-fashion the story and think really carefully about every dollar you’re spending.
That’s an interesting discipline because you go back to what you loved about filmmaking in the beginning. There is a real one to one effect between filmmaker and film. The shortness of money makes everybody solve problems creatively because you can’t solve them with money. In a big movie, if you hit a problem, you just get more money. In this movie, you can’t throw money at a problem.
We Got This Covered: Some critics have said that films like Along Came A Spider and Kiss the Girls, the portrayal of Alex Cross isn’t as close to the novels as they would of liked. Was your intention to make the character closer to the books?
Rob Cohen: My intention was to be truer to Jim’s characters, to have freedom with the plot and to make it more contemporary. When Bill called and asked, are you doing it again with Morgan [Freeman], I said no and told him that we were talking to Tyler Perry. I had met Tyler a year earlier and I had kidded with him backstage at a performance that he could be an action star. He laughed and told me to find him a project. So when I heard they were talking to him, I was very excited.
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