Kerry Conron Director Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Recently I had the chance to spend a few moments with Writer/Director Kerry Conran about his new movie “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.
GVK: What influenced you to make this film, as it is obvious that you a re a big fan of the genre as there are references to the “Indiana Jones”, “Star Wars”, and “Jurassic Park” series.
KC: I first had my eyes opened with “King Kong” as to the wonders of filmmaking but it would be “Star Wars” that really got me going. I also used to watch the films of the 30’/40’s growing up in Michigan as the shows would come in from a station in Chicago. I also was a huge fan of older films such as “Forbidden Planet”, and “The Day the Earth Stood Still”, and the films of Howard Hawks as well as the Pulp comics of that era.
GVK: How did the process of making the film come about, as it must have been daunting for a first time filmmaker?
KC: We approached the film as an Independent film as the talent had signed on without meeting me or even seeing the script. The cast turned out to be very down to earth and very gracious people. I also appreciated the risk they took as they signed on to have their fees deferred and took a leap of faith to be in the film.
GVK: Was the decision to shoot all the shots against a screen something that was key to getting the film financed and how did you prepare for working with this format?
KC: The main thing it helped was the economics as costuming ended up being the greatest expense for the film. I had never worked with the screens before but I had one setup in my apartment and I would experiment with friends against different backgrounds. It soon became clear that even with a simple computer and a 3D program, I could create all sorts of backgrounds and this lead to the enhanced world you see in the film. We could not afford to go to New York and use Radio City Music Hall, but thanks to the computer effects we were able to use the location.
GVK: What was the first day of shooting like?
KC: It was like a scene from a monster movie, I came to the sound stage and every head in the place turned towards me. The crowd parted and there stood Gwyneth and Jude in their costumes, which was the first time I had seen them in character. I to this day do not remember how we got started, all I remember is walking towards them and thinking I can do it or I can crawl under a table in the fetal position and hide. Still, I faced the gauntlet and hit the ground running. Somehow it all worked out and we managed to get through the 29 days of shooting.
GVK: There have been rumors of a prequel. How do you stand on that?
KC: This film took about 10 years to develop and really opens in the middle. There is no origin story, and there are many storylines that could be explored. However there are no plans to do so and nothing is written thought I would like to eventually look into doing more.
GVK: What storylines would you like to see developed that you were not able to include in the first film.
KC: Some of the Island scenes were cut, as was a mouse and lion situation where a large creature is befriended who helps out along the way. It was funny as he spoke only in German and we would have used subtitles for this but due to spacing we could not do it, though the scene like all of the others were storyboarded prior to filming. There was a completed scene that was deleted that may surface on DVD where we learn more about what Totenkoph did in Shangri La as well as a alternate reunion scene with Dex. There are also some fun hidden things in the film like versions of props from other movies and such. If you look closely you can see something climbing the Empire State Building to give you a clue at what is hidden, though you will have to freeze frame to see most of it.
GVK: How is “ The Princess of Mars” coming along?
KC: We are moving full steam ahead, we do not have a script yet but we will have more resources on this film and will be using various FX techniques as good as they are computers are not able to do everything and sometimes something like a miniature for example is the best option. Past “The Princess of Mars” I would prefer to work on my own projects. I have a friend, Bob Gordon, who wrote a “Men in Black” film as well as “Galaxy Quest” so with any luck this could be our Magnum Opus, but for now, there is nothing to say on that.
GVK: Thank you.