Magazine article Screen International

Andrew Macdonald

Magazine article Screen International

Andrew Macdonald

Article excerpt

DNA Films co-founder Andrew Macdonald has just completed one of his most ambitious films yet, Dredd 3D.

The Scottish producer of Trainspotting and 28 Days Later has ventured into 3D with the new version of Dredd, which has already made £2.7m in the UK and opens in the US on Friday. Directed by Pete Travis and shot in 3D in Cape Town's new studios, this is a DNA production that was made without the backing of the company's US usual studio partner Fox. Macdonald spoke to Screen about why he decided to revive the Dredd film franchise and his hopes of making a full blown Dredd trilogy.

Why did you make Dredd in 3D?

When we started thinking about Dredd, which was an improbably long time ago, five or six years ago, the idea of 3D was just starting. When the project really got going, it was the year of Alice in Wonderland and Avatar. 3D was generating incredible excitement in audiences and distributors. It was a decision that when we made this type of sci-fi action film that was never going to have big stars in it, that 3D was what everybody was going to want it to be. It was a natural thing to want to do.

Then there was a backlash against 3D.

Yes, 3D is not seen so much as a special thing. I think the biggest problem, which is not Dredd's problem, is the offering of everything that is in 3D on 2D as well. What I found by making the film is that if you're making a 3D movie, you should make a 3D movie and if you're making a 2D movie, you should make a 2D movie.

Why did you go for Anthony Dod Mantle (Festen, Slumdog Millionaire) as cinematographer?

I had known Anthony for a long time. He is one of the great European cameraman. He hadn't really done this type of film before - a pure genre film. He hadn't done 3D and that was what really interested him. When you make a film like this, you have to push all the elements - the directing, the acting, the visual effects - to be as good as they can be, even though you're making a genre film. Somebody like Anthony is the real deal...he has never made a bad looking film!

What is this Slo Mo idea?

It was a very clever idea by Alex Garland. It wasn't in the comic. It's a visual idea. You see slow motion in lots of action movies. In this film, the slow motion is an incredible 2000 or 3000 frames (a second). You can see liquid still. The central idea is that this drug gang have manufactured this new drug in this futuristic city called Slo Mo. Take a hit of this drug and it's like crack. What it does is turn a shitty, horrible experience into a beautiful slowed down experience. We see this through the eyes of the drug takers. We experience what they experience first hand. There are particularly amazing sequences when people are falling hundreds of metres. It works fantastically well in 3D.

How easy for a UK independent producer to put together a 3D action movie on this scale?

It was a South African-British coproduction. It was financed independently but Reliance provided equity through IM Global, which is a a Reliance company. They did a number of pre-sales and there was also a banking element in terms of finance and cash flow. Technically, this was something that had never been done in the UK. There had been some films but not with this level of visual effects. None of the post houses in the UK had done a whole film (like this) from camera to a digital print. …

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