Magazine article Screen International

Frank Marshall

Magazine article Screen International

Frank Marshall

Article excerpt

Veteran producer Frank Marshall talks about shooting The Last Airbender with M Night Shyamalan in Greenland, tax breaks and his philosophy on producing.

Producer Frank Marshall started his career as assistant to Peter Bogdanovich on Targets in 1968, building a CV spanning combining logistically-ambitious productions like the Indiana Jones series, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button and the Bourne trilogy, alongside directorial projects like Eight Below and Alive.

Having produced The Sixth Sense and Signs Marshall reteams with director M Night Shyamalan on The Last Airbender, for Paramount and Nickelodeon Movies. Based on the Nickelodeon show, the fantasy adventure stars Dev Patel and has so far taken over $167m around the world.

Marshall's upcoming projects include Clint Eastwood's Hereafter, Steven Spielberg's in-production War Horse and the in-development Bourne Legacy.

With Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy he formed Amblin Entertainment, leaving in 1991 to form the Kennedy/Marshall Company with Kennedy.

How did The Last Airbender come together?

Actually I was not aware of the show. When Night got interested in it because of his kids he called up and said I'm going to do this big movie and I need you guys. I asked my kids and they said that would be great. I thought, this is wonderful, because if we're able to do a movie where you could take the kids and enjoy it at the same time, and not be looking at your watch, that would be great.

To be able to create a fantasy world, I hadn't really done that in a while. It had a lot of things that interested me.

You worked with M Night Shyamalan on The Sixth Sense and Signs. Is The Last Airbender a departure for him?

Even though it's different, and it's big and it's not his idea, he still has a wonderful imagination and his filmmaking style really complements this kind of story. And I thought it would be interesting to see him stretch himself into a new genre. It's so different. Although if you look at his movies they're fairytales in a way. It had some things that were new, but it also had a basis for him that he was used to.

You shot in Greenland and Philadelphia. How was that?

On Airbender we had three weeks in Greenland and then we had these massive sets on the East Coast. We took over a couple of warehouses and a big aircraft hangar in the navy yard. One of the things I told [Shyamalan] early on was that in these kinds of movies where there's a lot of green screen, and particularly since he hadn't done one before, that it would be important to have as much of the environment be real as possible. Both for him and for the actors. …

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