"Prince of Persia" director worried film may be homogenous

Tue May 25, 2010 11:39pm EDT
 
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Mike Newell has proven one of Hollywood's most versatile directors.

After graduating from TV to movies with such hits as "Enchanted April" and "Four Weddings and a Funeral," the British filmmaker has jumped from a franchise tentpole ("Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire") to a literary drama ("Love in the Time of Cholera") and now Disney's "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," which opens Friday.

JAKE GYLLENHAAL IS AMERICAN BUT HAS A BRITISH ACCENT. DO YOU THINK BRITISH AUDIENCES WILL BUY HIM AS ONE OF THEIR OWN?

Newell: We worked on it very hard. He's got a little twang of a London working-class accent called "mockney" because the character is not royalty. Nobody else in the world will notice that, but I'm not sure yet how the English will feel about it.

THIS MOVIE CLEARLY IS MADE FOR A GLOBAL AUDIENCE. AS A FILMMAKER, HOW DO YOU DO THAT WITHOUT MAKING SOMETHING TOO HOMOGENOUS?

Newell: Making it homogenous is a terrible danger. If I'm in the mood to be hyper self-critical, I would say perhaps I allowed (the movie) to become a little homogenous, but I'm not sure. Then again, I hope people are being entertained at such speed, with such vigor and inventiveness that I'm actually wrong about that fact. Or that they don't notice.

BUDGETS ARE BEING TIGHTENED ALL OVER TOWN. WAS THERE ANYTHING YOU WANTED TO DO BUT COULDN'T?

Newell: There was a chase sequence through a valley -- high in the desert mountains full of tombs -- where all sorts of stuff happens, like people falling down and stone-age machinery going wrong. It was very entertaining but budgeted at $14 million. It was a huge amount of money to spend on what was in the end about a page and a half of script. We took it out and wrote another way of doing it.   Continued...

 
<p>Director Mike Newell poses at the premiere of the film "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California May 17, 2010. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>