Doug Liman has directed a number of different films during his career - including Swingers, The Bourne Identity, and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. He has worked with a bunch of great actors, but he has never worked with Tom Cruise - until now. Liman's next film is an adaptation of the comic All You Need is Kill. The director recently spoke with Collider (via CBM) about the film.
He had incredibly high praise for Mission: Impossible 4 director Brad Bird and the skyscraper scene. He tells Collider's Adam Chitwood,
'If you look at Mission: Impossible 4, it’s very hard to do vertigo, and they really did a brilliant job on that movie, when he’s on the side of that building. I’ve done sides of buildings, in The Bourne Identity and in Covert Affairs, and I’ve never elicited the emotional response that Brad [Bird] and Tom [Cruise] got in M:I4.'
The rest of the conversation had to deal with Tom Cruise's All You Need Is Kill. A science fiction film based on a Japanese graphic novel. The story involves a soldier reliving his last day as he battles aliens. He continues to die and then comes back to life. He must use the knowledge from his past failures to defeat the aliens. The moviehas been called the science fiction version of Groundhog Day.
Do you know what film you’ll be doing next?
DOUG LIMAN: I’m hoping it’s going to be a film called All You Need is Kill, for Warner Bros. with Tom Cruise. It’s just figuring out everyone’s schedules, and if we can, in fact, do it next.
What drew you to that subject matter? Is it the fact that it’s so unlike anything you’ve done before?
LIMAN: Well, nothing I’ve done is like anything else I’ve done before, so that is one of my criteria. But, I just fell in love with the script. There is no other formula for me, in this business. If I’m not in love with the script, there’s nothing. It doesn’t matter what you give me. It has to start with the script. And, Dante Harper wrote a really cool script that’s unlike anything I’ve ever read. When you can come across a piece of material that’s totally original and fun and completely satisfying, you jump on it.
It’s the same emotions that drew me into I Just Want My Pants Back. It sounds crazy because one’s 20-somethings in Brooklyn, and the other is Tom Cruise battling aliens, but the decision for me comes down to, “Is the material fresh, original, fun, smart, unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, and satisfying?” Usually those things work in opposition to each other. If you do something that’s really original, you discover why everybody else does it the other way, usually. There’s a reason cliches exist, ‘cause they work.
Early in my career, I started just doing things my own way, and it worked, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t dark moments on pretty much every one of my movies, where I said to myself, “Oh, my god, what have I done?” There’s a reason why there was a particular rule that everybody else was following, that I just ignored. Sometimes rules are there to save your life. And then, I would just work through it.
Is it harder to find original material like that, that really gets you excited?
LIMAN: It’s not that it’s harder. It’s always been hard. It’s not because the material is not out there, as much as it is, on the film side, that the business changed. It’s very hard for a studio to take a chance on a piece of original material. They used to have the fall-back of DVD sales. They had ways in which they could safely make an investment in a piece of original material, and those opportunities aren’t necessarily there anymore.