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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Q&A;: Gore Verbinski

    Photo by Greg Grusby / Industrial Light & Magic
    Photo by Greg Grusby / Industrial Light & Magic

    Director Gore Verbinski’s films strain common genres: Southwestern assassin romance/fairy tale (“”The Mexican””), urban tragicomedy plus archery (“”The Weather Man””), and slapstick maritime ghost adventure (“”Pirates of the Caribbean””), to name a few. With his newest film “”Rango”” opening this Friday, he’ll have “”identity crisis/animated lizard Western”” to add to the list. But do these disparate descriptions embody a unified spirit of adventure? During a conference call, Wildlife got a chance to ask Verbinski about his genre-bending love of the frontier (and Johnny Depp).

    You’ve done a lot of work with Johnny Depp. What’s your relationship like?

    Well … we’re the same age, I mean, a lot of similar experiences growing up, a lot of the same musical influences. I met him in London in a restaurant, and we stayed there until like 3 in the morning just talking.

    You come up with a language when you direct actors.

    Certainly with Johnny (Depp) and I doing so much work together we developed a shorthand — a lot of times I’ll speak almost in sound effects and nonsensical words. I’ll go up between takes and underline one line of dialogue and say, “”More fuzz here,”” “”More spank on this one,”” and “”10 percent less here.”” And he knows, you know?

    So on “”Rango”” … there was a tremendous amount of trust … I said, I’m going to work on this animated movie about a lizard with an identity crisis and he just went “”fantastic, let’s do that.”” He was in without reading a script.

    You’re following three consecutive pirate films with an animated Western. How do you choose the genres for your stories?

    The reason not to do another Pirates film was … it didn’t scare me any more.

    I’m lucky to jump into something I’m not sure I can do. And I think that I try to hire people who are really talented but maybe haven’t done that thing either. And we all … get kind of juiced when we’re in those situations. Everybody gets focused.

    Every now and then you’ll bump into a crew member, and you’re like, “”Wow, we got to get rid of this guy. He’s just punching the clock.”” You know, showing up, doing his job and leaving, and that’s kind of tragic because I think there are easier ways to make a living.

    You better love it. And you better be willing to crawl through broken glass to tell your story. And I try to share that with the team so everybody feels like their fingerprints are on the sculpture.

    What’s your favorite genre?

    It has to be the Western; those ‘Pirates’ movies were Western. When I was very young I found Sergio Leone movies, you

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