PERFORMANCE is certainly a very high-profile film for Dolph."
Dolph had a particular idea of how where he wanted to make the
cuts or was it open so that he could have as many editing options
wanted to allow a lot of editing options yes, so we had a minimum
of two cameras we ran all the time. Sometimes we ran three, five,
sometimes we even ran seven cameras, and that was to get that
documentary feel. Because let's say you're in a real world situation,
and you are actually shooting a documentary, you only get one
chance to shoot something, you don't get seven times to do it.
That's why sometimes we ran seven cameras, if we ran three cameras,
for that very reason. You don't get three takes at a lion jumping
out of a bush in Africa and attacking a crocodile, that happens
once! That doesn't happen three or four times, so that was the
idea of how we wanted to shoot this.
it helps giving a more organic feel to it...
yes! We didn't want it to look staged, we really wanted to get
away from that. And you know a few outsiders, personal friends
of Dolph, were looking at it and going: Wow it's almost
realistic, it's not a film about Joe Reynolds, it's a film about
Dolph Lundgren, that's almost what it felt like, it was that
real. And that was the earlier response we got and that's
when we knew we were on the right track.
much did you collaborate with the production designer?
heavily, Carlos [Da Silva] and myself spent a lot of time working
together, on the concert particularly, which was a huge set up,
the military sequences which was massive as well. And also all
the underground sequences were the location and the corridors
of the film are set in, were quite long and narrow, we had to
do a lot together to work in lighting and cameras. We worked
very very closely together, I think I worked more closely with
Carlos than anybody, I mean I worked very closely with the costume
department as well but Carlos more particularly than anybody.
And I think that for any film the person the cinematographer
is working with more than anybody aside from the director is
the production designer.
for a movie like this one!
totally. I think Carlos did an amazing job and I feel very fortunate
to have worked with him, because he was able to do what Dolph
and myself wanted and we were able to work with him very closely
and I think the three of us made a good team.
he's used to work in Bulgaria with Nu Image on tight budgets
and making the most out of it...
very good at that, I thought he was incredible with what he did.
He gave us a lot of stuff which is great, a little bit unexpected
but very good.
were the most difficult scenes?
most difficult was the concert. We had Dolph and his band CMF,
which was performed by D2, we had Melissa doing her sequence,
we had Piligrim and Irson from Russia and those two were big
set-ups too, so we spent quite a lot of time photographing all
those elements to get them on the screen. The next biggest things
were the military elements, in terms of scale, so you had tanks
and armored vehicles, hundred of extras and all that sort of
stuff. That was quite challenging. But also I mean the intimate
stuff as well was very challenging. Trying to get that documentary
feel on intense dialogue is very difficult. We spent a lot of
time doing that, we could play the scene, we'd look at the dailies,
we'd look at the edit, we decided we needed something more, we'd
go back and re-shoot, we'd look at it again, we'd get back and
re-shoot. We spent a lot of time re-shooting and I think that
that was a major benefit doing all those re-shoots, because we
wouldn't stop until we got what we wanted, and what was to have
that realistic feel about it.
yet you didn't go over schedule?!
didn't go over schedule, we finished two days short I think so
we finished two days early, and we finished on budget so that
what is amazing, you managed to both shoot the footage schedule
and still had time for re-shoots in a 12-hours day.
had an extremely good first assistant director Mark Roper, who
just offered up that. Some days we'd even finish an hour or two
early and go home, and with half page extra off script chopped.
So Mark was a huge asset to the production, he was such an efficient
firs assistant director. Dolph and myself could get what we wanted,
plus more. That's a very very rare circumstance to get these
days in filmmaking.
you didn't have to make too many compromises?
think it was pretty rare that we compromised. On most films,
occasionally you will make a compromise some way here or there,
but it was extremely rare on this film. Having a good team like
that, a good director, a good 1st A.D., was really important
you planned to do some work on the post-production like color
but I don't think it needs any drastic changes because the film
stock I used I was very happy with, and all the Kodak stock,
which is the first diffusion stock, 5279. It's 500 ASA and it's
got beautiful contrast, beautiful latitude and saturation, so
I'm very happy with the results of that. When you look at the
edit of the film, the film looks very nice the way it is. So
yeah I always do play part in the color correction. I don't know
if color correction is the right term, it's a grading process.
Wherever it feels you need to match things up because we shot
a lot of stuff, we picked up a lot of stuff...
was the shoot in Moscow?
(laughs) Moscow was interesting, it was a shoot like I've never
experienced before, we had a lot to do in a very short period
of time. We had a lot of material with Dolph riding around on
a motorcycle, we had to film in Red Square, we had to film at
Kremlin, it was a very very tight schedule. I think we just pulled
it off and I'm pretty happy with it, pretty happy!
think it was planned as a one-week shoot that became one day?
became two days, yeah, it was tight (laughs)! It was tight that's
for sure. But it was good, I'm happy with the results!
back to working with Dolph, you're quite young did you grow up
watching his movies or did you have any preconceived ideas about
him before you met him?
didn't have preconceived ideas, but I did grow up watching his
films. When I was young I watched MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE,
ROCKY IV, THE PUNISHER, that was his film in Australia, and
even UNIVERSAL SOLDIER. Those are films that I enjoyed
a lot as a kid, and I was very young I was when I watched those
movies, I was only 10 years old. Still I'm only 25 years old,
so you know I'm still quite young to be doing what I'm doing.
But it was quite an honor for me to be able to work with him
because, 15 years ago when I was 10 years old I had a lot of
respect for the guy, and I really loved his work. And I've always
loved filmmaking even though I didn't want to get into the industry
such as Dolph, but I never forgot who he was and always loved
what he did, particularly UNIVERSAL SOLDIER and THE
PUNISHER, they were great films for me as a kid, and it was
such an honor for me to work with the guy who was in those films.
It's hard to explain but I've got an immense amount of respect
for him, because I think he's incredible at what he does. And
I think he's actually a fantastic director, he's a great filmmaker.
I can certainly see him make some even more impressive films
in the next twenty years. And I know that COMMAND PERFORMANCE
is certainly a very high-profile film for him, it's incredible,
I think it's great for what it is.