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November 27, 1984 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1984-11-27

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily

Tuesday, November 27, 1984

Page 5

Hyams tries to top a classic with

By Byron L. Bull
Daily Associate Arts Editor/film
critic Byron Bull met with director
Peter Hyams recently to discuss
Hyams latest film, 2010. The film is
a sequel to Stanley Kubrick's
groundbreaking 1968 2001: A Space
Odyssey, and based on the recent
novel by 2001's co-author, British
science fiction writer Arthur Clarke.
Daily: First of all, why 2010? What at-
tracted you to the book?
Hyams: Two things: one, it was a
chance to make a film that's about, to
me, the most exciting issue in the
world, which is the idea of making con-
tact with another species. I find that to
be the single most exciting concept
about the move. Two, the chance to
make a move that didn't aim just for
people's eyeballs but it also aimed for
their hearts. I just think that so often
films that are fairly ambitious
1 technically tend not to be films of the
heart and I thought this was about
something so emotional... and it was
also, frankly, a chance to make a film
about world peace.
D: I'm curious about that, the
U.S./Soviet nuclear crisis subplot
which is a major theme that was men-
tioned only in passing in the novel by
Clarke, that you elaborated on so much
it ended up being the core of the movie.
H: It's why I decided to do the film
really, because I thought I could put it
in a context that would be relevant to
me. And this is a film... 2010 is a very
fascinating date that Arthur chose in
that it sounds like it's very far in the
future. I'm 41 years old, and I have a 15
and a half year-old son who will be
exactly my age in 2010.
D: Is that why you dedicated the film
to your sons?
H: Yeah, and all young people, all
teenagers who'll see this film, this is a
film about their time. It's a film about
their world that we're either going to
make better for them or hurt for them.
And it's a film that I think is enor-
mously relevant to kids because it's
their future, their time.
D: What sort of future do you think
they'll inherit?
H: I am by nature an extremely sen-
timental and optimistic person. I just
find it difficult to get up in the morning
without believing that things are going
to be much better. That's the only way
to do it.
D: How old were you when you first
saw 2001, and what went through your
mind at that moment, as you sat and
watched it in a movie theater?
H: I was 25 years old at the time, and
I was making documentaries. And I
saw that movie... and I said to
Somebody it was like getting a note in a

The kind of movies that excite me
most are the movies that besides really
entertaining you... I look upon going t
see the movies like going on a roller
coaster.
D: What other filmmakers work do
you admire?
H: The directors that I admire the
most are the directors that everybody
admires the most. It's impossible to
love movies and not really enjoy
movies that Steven Spielberg makes,
and not enjoy movies that Sidney
Pollak makes, and not be thrilled by the
movies that David Lean makes, or
Stanley Kubrick. Those are the people
that I think are great.
D: I've noticed a certain similarity in
texture, you're use of heavy
backlighting, lots of shadows, and a
hazy atmosphere that reminds me a lot
of Ridley Scott.

H: Oh... Ridley Scott has forgotten
more about how to make something
beautiful than I'll ever know. I think
he's in a class by himself, I think he's
really one of the most gifted people
around.
D: Did doing outland, with all of its
effects and technical problems, in any
way prepare you for this film?
H: I think that when you make an
elaborate film that deals with a lot of ef-
fects, if nothing else it is your baptism
and you get through the process... and
you look at your mistakes and try not to
repeat them.
The biggest problem directing a film
like this is not to be waylaid by the
logistics of it. You are in fact telling a
story and the story involves a group of
people, but sometimes just to get a simple
conversation with two people you must
deal with the kind of technology that

can take up a great deal of your concen-
tration and time. So the more familiar
you re with these proceses the more you
can take that, the clothing, the effects,
the sets and lights, the thousand
monitors, for what it is, they're
clothing, not the story.
I think everybody, myself included,
has passed the point where we are
going to just enjoy a movie that is solely
about elaborate pieces of plastic
moving across the screen. That's not
the story, that's not the content.
Audiences have been so sated with sim-
ply staring at pretty images that unless
the film is ultimately a compelling
story it doesn't matter how artfully it is
made.
D: How closely did you work with Ar-
thur Clarke on adapting the novel into
script form?
H: I set up a computer link with him,
and dealt with him every single day for

a year. Because there are some faily
large changes I made, I wanted him not
only to be aware of them, I wanted his
blessing on them and his input on them.
I think that there is a charter you have
when you adapt someone else's work to
the screen and I think that charter is to
realize their intent. It's like being a
tailor, it's somebody elses suit.
I wanted, at the end of this film, for
Arthur to say that's what he wanted to
see on screen. So I would not make any

'2010'
changes of any substance without
talking to him. I just felt that I didn't
have the right to take someone else's
story and change its intent.
I really love starting with someone
else's intellect, especially when it's as
fertile as Arthur's. I'm not as smart s
that, I couldn't have thought of this, so
it's wonderful. I can't think of anything
better than being the dumbest person in
the world, that's the best thing to get
around to.

____WARNING:
Don't touch your lover
until you've read this book!

This is the first and only book to
cover such advanced matters as
Oregon (and how to achieve it);

Impudence (and how to cure it);
the IOU (and how to insert it);
Jellies, Jams, and Marmalades.

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Actor Bob Balaban rekindles moviegoers memories as he descends into the memory banks of the
computer H.A.L. in MGM's '2010'.

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Hyams
... cautiously following in Kubrick's
footsteps.
bottle that said, "Forget what anyone's
told you, there are no limits. None. You
can do, on film, whatever you want. The
only constraints you're going to have
are your imagination." That to me was
such a shattering thing to learn, that
there was this medium that I was so in
love with that was positively limitless. I
mean the size of the screen was
limitless, the depth of the screen was
limitless, it's potential was limitless.
That really altered my perception
about what I really wanted to do with
the medium.
D: You talked to Kubrick about the
project at some point?
H : Yea. quite a lot. Quite a lot.

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