Talented Filmmaker of "Underworld"
Len Wiseman is a talented American filmmaker, born on March 4, 1973. He gained recognition for his work in the action and science fiction genres, most notably for directing the "Underworld" film series. Wiseman's visual flair and innovative storytelling have contributed to his success in bringing captivating stories to the screen, solidifying his place as a prominent director in the entertainment industry.
Wiseman's career began in the world of art and design, which he seamlessly transitioned into his filmmaking endeavors. He rose to prominence with his directorial debut on "Underworld" (2003), which he also co-created. The success of the film led to sequels, establishing a franchise known for its stylized action and unique supernatural elements.
With a penchant for blending action, science fiction, and fantasy, Len Wiseman continues to leave his mark on the cinematic landscape, captivating audiences with his distinct visual storytelling and imaginative narratives.
Science fiction is an extension of science.
As society evolves, people are interested in a new take on an old beloved story.
Some people will always be disappointed.
I think that it drives from an emotional connection with everybody that pulls you through all of those events, whether it's the events or what would be more the action, or I guess the visual effects side of it. So it always starts with me from - emotionally - 'Why do you care about the people who are going through what they're going through?' Because it takes a hell of a lot to put them through that. So you better care for them when they're doing it.
In mine, they were just trying to steal a briefcase of cocaine.* That's it. Some flour that I got out of my mom's cupboard.
A lot of people don't put the numbers together correctly. But Underworld, honestly, the way it came about - the real way it came about - I took a meeting with Dimension, and they were looking to do just a werewolf movie, and I wasn't too interested in doing just a werewolf movie.
I'm not a crazy horror fan. At that time i wasn't really looking to do something like that. But I thought to put a twist on it to put a werewolf versus vampire... 'What's the best opponent for a werewolf?' Became the idea of vampires and what about putting those two together? And ultimately it got turned down. But we loved the idea and shopped it around.
I love helicopters. In fact, my wife and my friends, the myth of the chopper in the sky is that Len's going to stop and look at it. I love, probably, destroying them, yes. You know, It's the big elements, the big toys, the trucks the helicopters, and things like that. You have a few tools to play with.
It's more going back into, I've always been really interested in the MKULTRA program and some of the programs and the fact that we really tried to create an actual, I guess you could call it an energy force of yourself. And you know, there were test subjects that were killed during the process. It have a huge ordeal, this huge congressional hearing that shut the whole thing down.
LSD caused a lot of experimenting going on. And we're thinking, 'Wait a minute, what if we've got...' I always thought, 'What if some of those experiments actually had worked?' And what if they did? We probably wouldn't know that they existed. We heard that they were shut down, but we probably wouldn't be told if they succeeded.
I wanted to do something that dealt with more of paranormal techniques that wasn't a horror movie. It is an action movie that deals with a special operations group. But if a Tier One team went in to take out Bin Laden today, if you had those kind of abilities, of course you would use that kind of group. And it was more going into that arena. And I wanted to make it feel more like, grounded, as if we had this ability.
My family is Mormon. I'm not Mormon, but my family is, and my mom was like, "You're doing a show called Lucifer?! But I will admit, he is handsome, so I'll watch it."
When I started doing television, I thought that I would change the way that I shot, the way that I blocked, and the technical side of it. You're not going to change your relationship with the actors or how you approach the characters. That wasn't any different.
I really thought the process and what I'm used to doing on film would be different. I thought that because I wouldn't have the same amount of time, I wouldn't do all of the tracks that I like to do or the lighting that it takes. And then, I got there and realized that I don't know any other way. I just do all that stuff really, really fast and under a lot of stress.
It was Die Hard in my father's workshop. And so when that opportunity came up, the possibility of doing it, it's more the teenager in me who says that, 'I have to, of course I'm going to.' So that's the fun of reinventing, or just getting involved in things that really, actually loved as a kid growing up wanting to grow up to be a director.
With Die Hard it was just something that I, you know, I grew up with those movies. I made a Die Hard movie with my friends in my backyard during high school. It was terrible.
A lot of these movies are informed by the movies that come before them.
It was practically with people with strings. There was no CG involved, it was just painfully taking Collin [Farrell] and Jessica Biel and putting them upside-down, we built the set upside-down and just try to twist perspective to make it all seem like zero gravity. And it was one of the most difficult things I've ever shot.
Being a fan of science fiction, I collect a lot of science fiction art work and so if you go to my house there's like a library and you just geek out on science fiction material. A lot of the colony worlds specifically are built as a melting pot of different societies, because the world is at a point where there are only two zones that are left inhabitable.
So I was drawing in a lot of the habit district in Brazil, put that together with an Asian influence, so there are a lot of different things in terms of architecture which assisted in the construction. Then every sci-fi movie I've grown up with from 'Blade Runner' to 'Aliens' and 'Star Wars.'"
There are plenty of directors who work with the same actors over and over, many more times than I have. Like I have worked with Bill Nighy more times than I have worked with Kate, but I'm not married to Bill Nighy.
So the question never comes up. I love to work with actors who I feel really confident in knowing what I'm going to get from them. And making a movie is such a risk that it's comforting to build up a good support team in production as well as cast.
Just movies in general. It's such a wonderful business as much as you feel, you are fine tuning your craft, every movie is a completely different challenge. Every fight sequence is different. Every action set piece. I enjoy that.
The class warfare was in the script as well. It establishes what the world is like and what would happen if we really had two zones that were left and everybody had to survive using these two areas. What would our society to do with that set up? I wanted the state of world, in my mind, how it would actually realistically unfold. I drew that from what was in the script.
I had done 'Die Hard' and it was somebody's franchise. I actually just got done with the 'Hawaii Five-O' pilot and I was developing some things of my own. So 'Total Recall' one of those projects that I read wanting more not to like it.
I had made a list of about ten things that I remembered from the original 'Total Recall' before I went back and watched. It had been about twenty years. I wanted to write it out before I watched it again. And I felt if those things stayed with me long enough, those are the things that I wanted to highlight.
The three-breasted woman was very much at the top of my list in [original 'Total recall']. Like I said, I was fourteen! I remember Arnold [Schwarzenegger] pulling that big tracker out of his nose and freaking out about that. I remember going through the immigration booth where their face splits open with that heavyset redheaded lady. So there were a lot of these little moments that I remember.
I had no intention of replacing Arnold [Schwarzenegger]. There were a few things that made me want to do the movie. They were the script which had a different direction to it, and it was a chance to do a very different Quaid. I didn't read the short story until I went to college.Reading the story had a different effect on me of how I pictured him to be and the tone of the story was different. In the story, he's a bit more of an everyman.
I would love to travel to the future to plot out some things so there's no more guess work.
One thing that is very different technically is that you don't get a lot of coverage in television. Not like you do on a film. I know we don't have time for separate set-ups, so I will design a scene where I'm hiding multiple cameras within that set-up. That way, if I don't have time to do five set-ups, I can do four cameras in one set-up. It's a different kind of approach for that. For the most part, a lot of television, in a visual sense, lacks time for the atmosphere and putting you in a place.