WGTC: Going back to some of your early work, movies like Die Hard and Predator, if you compare those films to action movies of today, how would you describe the evolution of the action genre?
Joel Silver: When I started this, we were making B-Action movies with an A cast. I was working for Larry Gorden at the time, and 48 Hours could have been any AIP picture at that time, but by putting Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte together – I always like to say as a producer I always brought something to the table. I always contributed. That had an interesting urban quality and I loved. It was a fresh take at that kind of buddy cop movie which has been around forever.
As that evolved into movies like Predator and Die Hard, the visual effects got bigger because the audience demanded that. Then after The Martix, we just threw out the bar. We did things no one had ever dreamed of doing, or could. I believe that was a demarcation line. After The Matrix, every movie was different. The ramping up and down of the speed changes – all that stuff was very different.
A movie like Sherlock Holmes, which I’m very proud of, and they’re some of the most successful movies we’ve ever made, the only way the visual effects in those movies ever exists is in the backgrounds. The scene structure. It isn’t Iron Man, it isn’t RoboCop. Yes, we had to re-create London in 1891, and it does have ramping up and down of speed and everything, but I think I like the idea of not making movies that are so dependent on visual aesthetic effects.
Look, I saw The LEGO Movie last night – it’s a great movie. It’s very existential movie. My 8 year old is an existential kid – he’ll love it. It’s an all CG movie, but you have brilliant storytelling and that’s really effective.
WGTC: What are the next movies that we should be excited about coming from your camp, and do you have any surprises for us?
Joel Silver: The Sean Penn movie, The Gunman, is very complicated. It’s Sean Penn, Javier Bardem, Idris Elba, Ray Winstone – it’s a very interesting politically charged picture. Sean has never having done something like this before. It’s a kind of sweeping piece – it takes place in Africa, London, and Spain. But there’s a lot of things I’m working with now, that I’m playing with, that I’m excited about. I always try to do things that I think move what we’ve done and go in another way, and I’m going to continue doing that.
That concludes our interview but we’d like to thank Joel very much for his time. Be sure to catch Non-Stop, now playing in theatres everywhere.