Posts Tagged ‘Jaws’

Metro In Focus: Spielberg’s skill in listening is what sets him apart.

By Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

You don’t have to overtax the Google machine to find negative comments about being on set with Steven Spielberg. Type in “working with Steven Spielberg” and in 0.57 seconds 20,900,000 results appear, including an article where Shia LaBeouf rants, “He’s less a director than he is a f—ing company.”

LaBeouf’s resume is dotted with Spielberg-produced or -directed films like Disturbia, Transformers, Eagle Eye and, most famously, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, but if Spielberg ever does the same search it’s unlikely they’ll ever pair up again. “You get there, and you realize you’re not meeting the Spielberg you dream of,” LaBeouf told Variety. “You’re meeting a different Spielberg, who is in a different stage in his career.”

But that’s pretty much it for the negativity. There’s a story about Crispin Glover suing Spielberg for using his likeness in Back to the Future Part II and the critical drone that his films are overly sentimental, but primarily it’s LaBeouf against Spielberg and the world. Most of his other co-workers have nothing but praise for the filmmaker Empire magazine ranked as the greatest film director of all time.

This weekend he returns to theatres with Ready Player One, a sci-fi film that brings a virtual reality world called the OASIS to vivid life. Star Tye Sheridan calls the director a great and passionate collaborator who makes everyone feel equal on set. Co-star Ralph Ineson calls Spielberg “one of the most iconic figures of the last 100 years,” adding that it was difficult to takes notes from him on set. “When he is speaking to you your mind vaguely goes blank the first few times because your internal monologue just goes, ‘My god, Steven Spielberg is giving me a note.’ And then you realize you haven’t actually heard the note.”

All directors give suggestions on set, but it seems it’s the way Spielberg speaks to his actors that sets him apart.

Ed Burns remembers making a mess of several takes on the set of Saving Private Ryan to the point where Tom Hanks said to him, “I’ve seen you act before, and this isn’t acting.” Afraid he would be replaced, he got nervous and continued to blow take after take but Spielberg didn’t offer guidance. Two weeks passed. The cast started laying bets on who would be fired first.

Turns out, no one was fired and Burns learned a lesson he would later take into his own directorial efforts like Sidewalks of New York. The actor reports that Spielberg said, “I like to give my actors three takes to figure it out. If I step in after the first take and give you a note, especially with young actors, you’ll hear me rather than your own voice.”

Burns calls the experience “a life changer” adding it taught him that being a director is “about knowing when to give direction.”

The superstar director says the listening lesson was learned early in life.  “From a very young age my parents taught me probably the most valuable lesson of my life: Sometimes it’s better not to talk, but to listen.”

There’s someone else Spielberg keeps in mind when making a film. “I always like to think of the audience when I am directing. Because I am the audience.”


Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 10.14.33 AMRichard sits in on CHUM-FM’s “Roger & Marilyn Show” to talk about summer movies. Find out about “The Shallows” which is described as Blake Lively’s “Castaway” meets “Jaws,” “Finding Dory” with Ellen DeGeneres, the flatulent corpse humour of “Swiss Army Man” and “Ghostbusters,” the most hated trailer ever in YouTube history. (Starts at 19:01)




Warning: Virus films are contagious In Focus by Richard Crouse METRO CANADA Published: September 06, 2011

28CONTAGION1-articleLargeIf Jaws kept people out of the water, Contagion, this weekend’s all-star Towering Inferno of germ movies, will keep them from touching their faces.

The average person touches their face upwards of 3,000 times a day, and in the world of Contagion everything that comes in contact with your skin — an elevator button, a glass at an airport, a handrail on a ferry — could be fatal.

In this world of big diseases with little names like SARS and H1N1, germs are the new Frankensteins.

The movies have used microscopic germs and viruses as bogeymen for years.

In Warning Signs an experimental virus turns people (including Law and Order’s Sam Waterston) into rage filled maniacs, a plot echoed in Resident Evil when a virus gets loose in a secret facility. “The T-virus is protean,” says the Red Queen, “changing from liquid to airborne to blood transmission, depending on its environment. It is almost impossible to kill.”

The Thaw sees Val Kilmer unleash a prehistoric plague when he discovers a diseased Woolly Mammoth carcass. Eli Roth gave new meaning to the term cabin fever in his virus movie of the same name and the movie Doomsday sees most of Scotland devastated by a deadly germ.

Michael Crichton dreamt up the idea for The Andromeda Strain when he was still a medical student. The story of a deadly alien virus was inspired by a conversation with one of his teachers about the concept of crystal-based life-forms. His novel was a bestseller and the author — who would later go on to write the sci-fi classics Westworld and Jurassic Park — actually makes a cameo appearance in the hit 1971 film of the same name. He can be seen in the scene where the star of the movie, Dr. Hall (James Olson), is told to report to the government’s secret underground research facility.

Outbreak features germs of a more earthbound kind. Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey star in this 1995 film about an outbreak of a fictional Ebola virus called Motaba spread in the States by a white-headed capuchin monkey. If the contagious simian looks familiar, no wonder. It’s Betsy who also appeared as Ross’s pet Marcel on Friends.

The sitcom spoofed Betsy’s work in the disaster film by showing the monkey on a poster for a fictional film called Outbreak 2: The Virus Takes Manhattan.