Video:Brad Silberling Interview - Land of the Lost at Comic Conwith Rebecca Murray
Will Ferrell, Anna Friel, and Danny McBride venture into the world of dinosaurs and Sleestaks in 'Land of the Lost,' directed by Brad Silberling. Silberling's a fan of the classic TV series and kept the source material in mind while making this film.See Transcript
Transcript:Brad Silberling Interview - Land of the Lost at Comic ConRebecca Murray from About.com Hollywood Movies at the 2008 San Diego Comic Con.
Land of the Lost Director Brad Silberling
What's the appeal of bringing something like this to the big screen?
Brad Silberling: "Getting to harness elements that normally aren't together for me, and that is the best sort of comic tools that you can which is Will [Ferrell]. Will's a lovely actor, a great comedian, but then to take that and put with him a sense of genuine peril, that you can do by having the right tools to go and photograph adventure. And in this case we have dinosaurs and we have these elements that spark my imagination as a kid. To have those collide together, for a filmmaker that's about as exciting as it gets because it's sort of I get to take that experience that I had as a kid watching the show and now try to think, 'Okay, time has come and gone and the audience is more sophisticated. How can we try to excite them the same way I was?'"
But not tamper with the memories of the shows that we have as kids, right?
Brad Silberling: "Yeah, well, again, somebody else might have had a different experience. For me, because I watched the show in first-run on Saturday mornings so what was great was I hadn't seen reruns of the show. I saw them back in those three years and that was it. So I realized that when I came on to take the movie on, I realized that anything that has really stayed with me in detail for this long has got to be in the movie, and it's got to be protected - and that was from the Sleestaks on down. So when it came time to do – and I honestly did not see and I haven't seen the second series that was done in the '90s for fear that I didn't want it to… I mean, my memory was whole. So when it came time to design the Sleestaks I said, 'I want any viewer who loved that show then to be able to look at them and say yes, that's the Sleestaks,' even though we were going to bring a level of detail and artistry to their creation that I don't think money and time allowed for back at that point. So that was my own goal was, 'Let me bring these elements, protect them,' and yet it doesn't mean that they can't exist in the environment that we want to put them in comedically and dramatically."
Now I remember the series as being a little campy. Is that tone with the movie or is the tone a little different?
Brad Silberling: "It's funny because whatever kind of camp you remember, some of it is technical. If you go back and look at any of the material now, they were doing stop-motion animation with it and combined with puppets. That's pretty ballsy, only Sid Krofft could do that where suddenly you have a puppet version of a TRex in close up and then cut and he's a clay figure suddenly. They kind of went for it. I thought, 'Good on you.' Now, when it came time to make the movie I said to Will, 'If we were doing a great SNL sketch that would be fantastic for about 5 minutes.' You can't do an entire film where you actually expect the audience to credibly go with a level of stakes. So, but yeah, I wouldn't say that was anything that we tried to preserve. But we took lines of dialogue verbatim out of that show. Like the first time Marshall meets Chaka he says to him – absolutely true – he says, 'Now Chaka, I am a doctor but I'm not a licensed physician.' Which is like, 'Where is that coming from? That's genius.' So that's in the movie when he first meets him. So we were able to play a little bit with some of that camp without having to work too hard."
But people who don't know the series and haven't caught the reruns, are they going to understand what's going on?
Brad Silberling: "Yeah, it's a pretty… I mean if anything, the series was sophisticated. I still think back to what they got away with. They had the bulk of their writing staff was from Star Trek. This was serious science fiction. I can tell you honestly that as a nine year old I didn't realize it was a parallel universe. I realized that they'd gone back in time and there were these interesting Pylons. I don't know that I brought the entire subtext of the sci-fi. I think our story will be very clear. It's understandable. If anything, we get to do that thing you do in a concise two hour movie where you really understand the rules, the science fiction, the stakes, that in an ongoing series it's harder to do week to week. So I think it will be pretty clear."
Did you just let Will Ferrell go or did he stick pretty close to the script on this one?
Brad Silberling: "He's interesting in that, you know, what I find with a lot of comic actors who everyone assumes are all about improv, what I love is that they really want to make sure that they've got a script as a real backboard. So if anything there would be moments where I'd find myself… He's great, because he's so at ease with it from the Groundlings, that you can just cue him – throw him a thought, 'What about? What if?' Take it, digest it while the camera's rolling, boom, deliver it out honestly and truthfully. So he did it every time. The film has plenty of fantastic improv in it but it's still ultimately it's a screenplay-based story."