With the release of The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Vulture Hound got a chance to chat with Director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan about the film and the fantasy genre.
The film went through several different directors before you landed the role. What made you think the Snow White spin-off was the right place to make your directorial debut?
I had already worked with a lot of the crew on the first film, and I loved those guys, and I was there from the beginning. So when they called me, it wasn’t because I had some sort of plan in mind, but because I already was so involved with this world and its characters. So when they called me, of course, the train was already moving. I didn’t have too much time to stop and think about it, and instead I just had to say yes before it passed me by.
You’re no stranger to the fantasy genre, having worked on Pirates of the Caribbean movies and you’re on board to direct the Highlander reboot. Is there something that draws you to these fantasy epics?
I really love the fantasy stuff, and when I was young I really got into it; I would watch the movies and read lots of comic books. I loved the magic and the action, whether it was high fantasy; whatever. I loved it all, you know? It’s a great genre. Being able to make these grand worlds full of magic and beautiful things, it’s great. Of course, that isn’t going to be all I’ll work on in the future, it’s just one of the many things I like, and since I was already involved, I went with it.
It’s funny you should mention comic-books because my next question relates to them. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the film made about $50 million more than its budget, which, while very impressive, falls behind other big pictures, like the Marvel movies, for instance. Do you think there will come a time when the fantasy genre will overtake this super-hero craze we’re currently in?
The thing with super-hero movies is that they’re really popular right now. And I love super-heroes. I remember when I was younger I would have loved to see super-heroes in film, and so when the first X-Men came out, I remember thinking ‘this is finally happening!’
And I still do love them. I’m a big fan of Wolverine and I can’t wait to go see the next one, with James Mangold [the director]. But these super-hero movies, they took a while to come around. They’re really popular right now, but will they be in the future? Will the fantasy movie come back to be more popular in the future? I don’t know.
But at the moment, people love super-heroes. And the thing about super-heroes is that they’re familiar now. People seem to like things that are familiar; things that they have already seen in a different form like a book or a comic-book. It’s like in fantasy with Lord of the Rings. People loved Lord of the Rings, and then there were the three Hobbit films that got made. People just like those familiar things, you know? And maybe there will even be more films set in Middle Earth in the future.
And on a another level, because of that familiarity, it means studios go for things that the audience already knows. They love their franchises, because they know that these stories and these characters will bring in audiences and make money. They don’t want to take a risk, and it’s a shame because it means you are less likely to make something original with a big budget.
The last line of the film [seen in this interview’s title] is quite suggestive; could there be more Huntsman movies in your future?
I think as a film maker you always try to leave things open. At the time, you’re so focused on what you’re making and making sure it’s the best it can be. Will I make another Huntsman movie? I don’t know. But it’s nice to put in those little things that show that it could go on. I don’t even know if the studio wants to make another one at this point, and I don’t know where I’ll go in the future. But it’s nice to leave things open just in case.
And of course, it’s a fairy tale, and those stories will always continue.
The film features some big names. What actors would you like to work with in the future?
Man, I loved all of those guys, we had a great time. I don’t know if I would be able to pick and choose just one of them to work with in the future. When we were making the movie, we were already talking about future projects we could do together, we had so much fun. I said to them, just pick up the phone book and call me up. I’d love to work with them all again.
I would like to see more of Alexandra Roach, because she only had a small role in the film but working with her, she was such an amazing actress.
Rotten Tomatoes, very unfairly, has the film at about 16%. As someone new to the role of director, do you think the words of the critic will affect the way you work on your upcoming films?
The thing about critics is that, they used to be ‘if you liked this, then you’ll like this’ or ‘if you’re into this genre then you should look at this film’, but now it’s all opinion based and everything is being judged so much. When you’re making a movie you already have so much to think about and you just want to give the audience a real romp, you know? Like if you want to make a comedy you want to bring some laughs. You just want a good story and to make something people will like.
And I’m not an expert, but Rotten Tomatoes, it’s based on an algorithm. It goes through all of these workings and math equations to get to that 16%, and it’s still not based on what everyone thinks. As a film-maker, you can’t focus on pleasing the critics, you just want to try your best to make a good film.
So will I be thinking about critics win the future when I’m working on films? Of course not.
Is there anything you can tell us about Highlander?
No, there isn’t [Laughs].
The Huntsman: Winters War is out on DVD on August 15th
Cedric’s short (and original, non-feature, directorial debut) Carrot Vs Ninja can be found below: