‘Immortals’: Tarsem Singh talks location filming, movie titles

Nov. 10, 2011 | 10:41 a.m.
tarsem1 ‘Immortals’: Tarsem Singh talks location filming, movie titles

Henry Cavill, left, in a scene from "Immortals" and the film's director Tarsem Singh. (Jan Thijs/War of the Gods/Relativity Media and Chris Pizzello/Associated Press)

“Immortals,” the new 3-D Greek mythology action movie opening Friday, bears the unmistakable visual stamp of its director, Tarsem Singh. The filmmaker made a name for himself with his preceding two features “The Cell” and “The Fall” (not to mention directing other projects like the music video for R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion”), which teemed with surreal, intoxicating imagery.

His latest, a CGI-heavy movie about a young man with the gods on his side who must stand up to a marauding king does differ from his previous film, “The Fall,” in one key way. For that project, he traveled to exotic locations including India, South Africa and Argentina. For “Immortals,” he primarily filmed inside the confines of a Canadian studio.

“[Francis Ford] Coppola – when he did ‘Apocalypse Now’ – after he came back what he wanted to do was nothing on location. He wanted to do everything in a studio. I kind of had a similar reaction. I’d done 28 countries, loved doing that in ‘The Fall’ and wanted to do something that was all inside a studio, and it was the perfect thing to do,” Tarsem, who prefers to go by his first name, told Hero Complex at the “Immortals” premiere on Monday.

Tarsem’s next film, a new take on Snow White, is shooting in Montreal. Relativity Media announced the movie’s title last week: “Mirror Mirror,” and Tarsem said of the project, “it’s been a legal fight for a while” to get “Snow White” in the title – the movie will hit theaters less than four months before the Kristen Stewart-starring “Snow White and the Huntsman” next spring.

Between his features, the Indian director is still finding time to direct commercials, which is where he got his start – his “day job,” as he calls it.

No matter what the project is, the director loves being on set for a reason one might not expect: “The amount of things that go wrong. You just can’t plan for them. It just keeps you young. You go in there, and nothing ever works like it’s supposed to – that’s what I like about it,” Tarsem said.

“Immortals” stars Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke and Freida Pinto and opens in theaters Friday.

– Emily Rome

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