Gale Anne Hurd Interview

prodcuer Gale Anne Hurd

CHRIS NEUMER: I don’t see it as a bad thing that you are doing The Coven, which is something different. As a matter of fact I see that as a good thing it seems also like it would be easier [...]

by Chris Neumer

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CHRIS NEUMER: I don’t see it as a bad thing that you are doing The Coven, which is something different. As a matter of fact I see that as a good thing it seems also like it would be easier for you to do something that is more low tech.

GALE ANNE HURD: It’s got Illeana Douglas starring in it.

CHRIS NEUMER:  She’s good too, she’s very good. I don’t think she gets anywhere near the recommendation she deserves.

GALE ANNE HURD: No, well, hopefully now she will, and the exposure.

CHRIS NEUMER: I was even going to say, I also wrote down specifically to tell you how cool Thomas Jane is. I saw him in the Velocity of Gary back in the day and just talked to him recently.

GALE ANNE HURD: Really?

CHRIS NEUMER: He’s just so good, and no one knows any of this, so hopefully next April [with the release of The Punisher], we will see.

GALE ANNE HURD: Keep your fingers crossed. I’ll tell you, if you could guarantee stardom based on hard work, he’d be an international star. Starting in February, even though we didn’t start shooting until August, he started training with the Navy Seals, just to really get the mindset, as well as the physical ability and training to become a former special services agent. He’s fantastic.

CHRIS NEUMER: What first attracted you to The Punisher?

GALE ANNE HURD: I really liked it for the fact that Frank Castle doesn’t have any super powers, and he doesn’t really transform in the sense of, you know, anything that happens to him that actually gives him super powers. What does happen is a catalyst, for him the put the training and the experience, and the intelligence…

CHRIS NEUMER: Sort of like Batman, in that respect, that he doesn’t have any superpowers.

GALE ANNE HURD: But he [Batman] puts on a silly costume.

CHRIS NEUMER: Batman? See, this goes back to my not being that familiar with the Punisher costume.

GALE ANNE HURD: The icon for the Punisher was the image of a skull.  That’s it.  Whether it’s on a T-shirt or anything, that’s the symbol of the Punisher. He doesn’t put on tights, he doesn’t have a cape.

CHRIS NEUMER: Wow, that’s interesting. So this is the second interesting superhero you’ve done in a row, well actually, the first, because the Hulk wasn’t really a superhero.

GALE ANNE HURD: The Hulk was a Super-Id, so to speak.

CHRIS NEUMER: Did you ever think that might be an interesting problem to work around, that he  couldn’t control the anger? Just go out, be green, and angry, and of course all kinds of bad stuff  happens?  Did you find that to be something that needed to be worked around, or was it the hook that drew you to the project?

GALE ANNE HURD: What drew me to the project was the idea that he’s more of an anti-hero than a hero. He doesn’t try to save the world; in fact, there’s the duality in a very basic character, Bruce Banner, trying to control what is inside of him.  He wants to prevent himself from turning into the Hulk and the Hulk has the feeling that Bruce Banner is out to kill him. So there’s certainly an interesting dichotomy there that I’d be interested in exploring more so than the anger.

CHRIS NEUMER: It kind of reminded me of Unbreakable, in that respect. You set it up, you can’t just jump in, and you can’t start with the sequel, because you’ve got to explain certain things.

GALE ANNE HURD: You’ve got to do an origins story.

CHRIS NEUMER: Exactly, it just seemed interesting. As soon as you see Eric down in the Amazon, or wherever he’s supposed to be, you’re just like, suddenly you realize that, and I don’t want to say he’s cognizant, but —

GALE ANNE HURD: Right. There comes a time when, maybe it is something you’re glad to have. There’s the curse of the superpower, that most of Marvel Universe characters have, which is that there’s a price to be paid. And now, Bruce Banner has the ability, of course, upon transforming into the Hulk, to defeat the bad guys. Even though it’s not in his control once he’s transformed, but at the same time, he can save people who are, at least, potentially innocent.

CHRIS NEUMER: He did do that on occasion, in this one. Like when the dogs came after Betty. There was one scene in particular at the end, and I wasn’t sure if I was putting things on, where he’s running  around as the Hulk in, I think San Francisco, and she comes up and starts talking to him, and he goes back down, and I guess you could call me a closet romantic at heart, but it was like —

GALE ANNE HURD: Beauty has changed the beast.

CHRIS NEUMER: I was going to say love has changed the beast.

GALE ANNE HURD: Yes, it is love.

CHRIS NEUMER: More so than just the beauty.

GALE ANNE HURD: Of course it is, I know, and it is love. The Hulk also has feelings for Betty, not just Bruce Banner.

CHRIS NEUMER: It just was such an interesting idea to think that, you know, this real anti-hero, as you say, has a soft spot in his heart for this woman.

GALE ANNE HURD: And he also puts her in the SUV up by the lake.

CHRIS NEUMER: He does.  I remember, during the summer, everyone was talking about how the film really lost a lot of momentum after the first week, from the first week to the second week. Did that in any way influence your feelings toward the project or towards the sequel?

GALE ANNE HURD: No, most of my reasons have to do with the experience. We were hoping for slightly more, but still, it  was a huge opening. It was the biggest opening in June of the motion picture business.

CHRIS NEUMER: True, a fact that’s not mentioned very much along the whole, “now it’s losing its momentum” thing.

GALE ANNE HURD: And it’s very rare that a movie is able to continue its steamroll, when there’s another big tempo film opening the next weekend, and the weekend after that. So, a 50 percent drop, when you have that big an opening, is pretty much expected. It’s far rarer if you don’t see that kind of a drop. And we also were overcome with a lot of difficult things very early, like a cut of the film being uploaded onto the internet.

CHRIS NEUMER: I hadn’t heard about that one.

GALE ANNE HURD: Oh yeah.

CHRIS NEUMER: How early, or how rough?

GALE ANNE HURD: Well, the movie came out in June, and it was the January cut of the special effects movie, temporary special effects. The FBI got involved and it was traced to a friend of someone who worked at the trailer houses in New York, and he uploaded it to the Internet. People began to review something that certainly wasn’t ready.

CHRIS NEUMER: I just don’t understand how someone would get it a downloadable size, even if they’ve got a T1 or T3 line, to get a file that you can watch that’s so small, I just don’t understand.

GALE ANNE HURD: What’s even worse is that the effects were all temporary. There are no sound effects, the effects are all temporary, or, it’s just black leader, because there’s nothing in place for it; there’s no music.

CHRIS NEUMER: Are there that many hard-core fans of The Hulk out there that they need to get an early copy of the film that badly? You can only wonder.

GALE ANNE HURD: Obviously, there are a lot of talented people toiling away, in Ang’s case, seven days a week, 16 hours a day, for many months after that happened, trying to get it as right as possible.

CHRIS NEUMER: That was another thing, I was talking to a friend of mine, who works for the Producer’s Guild, and I always ask the same question, which is “How can you tell, is there any feature or facet of a film that allows somebody to see if it’s been pre-produced, or if good producing is at hand, what is this?” Everybody has a different answer. Some people say, if the overall film is good, then its good producing. And I say well, is there ever a case where you can have good acting in a bad film? And then they think about it, and they have to go back to the drawing board. But one person said that it’s how well a film looks; not how well it ends, but how it looks. And he cited the Hulk as an example. He said, like it or not, there’s no denying that the Hulk looked damn good. And I said that’s true. And then he cited a couple examples, when the guy said, you’ve got the power to shoot the scene in the Southwest.

GALE ANNE HURD: Destroying him in the Southwest.

CHRIS NEUMER: He cited that as an example, and something about the dogs, as an example. He said, that is a direct result of the producing, and then he mentioned your name.  I thought that was a good point.  It certainly pointed me in your direction… and then I walked down the hall to your office!  Can you see a well-produced film? Is there anything that clues you into something being well-produced?

GALE ANNE HURD: There are so many different types of producers, there are times when the look of a film is meant to be gritty, and it’s not meant to be brassy and beautiful. So I think if the look of the film matches the intent, the creative intent, then I think that’s good producing. It doesn’t have to be brassy and beautiful, it just has to be complete, the right thing for the material. You know, like Christine Vachon’s films. She doesn’t have a huge budget, but they’re complete,  they have integrity, and look of the film is serving the vision of the film, and that’s what we producers have to do. To be able to use the money we’re able to get, to make a film that is the director’s vision, in such a way that, even though film making is the art of compromise, the compromise is never too great.

CHRIS NEUMER: As a producer of a film–and you can cite as an example any film that you’ve worked on–what is it? Do you just solve problems for the director, or work hand in hand with him?

GALE ANNE HURD: Each film is different, and each director is different.

CHRIS NEUMER: Are there any facets, and I’m always curious to ask, because it’s ever-changing, and you always get the same credit unless you’re executive producer, or even associate producer on a film. Are there any facets of your job, from project to project that seem the same?

GALE ANNE HURD: Generally, it’s starting with the piece of material, and there have been a couple of times when I came later in the process, but almost always on the original work of the project. I set it up in the studio, if it’s a raw piece of material I hire the writer, and in most cases if the director isn’t attached at the time I attach them as an element. I work with the studio to get the director attached, which is certainly the place for Hulk, and most of the films. So I think the first thing the producer does is control the material, and set them up, set up the project.

CHRIS NEUMER: That’s a somewhat more classical definition of the producer.

GALE ANNE HURD: So from that point on it’s trying to ascertain–just from discussions–that the director shares your vision. Because if the director doesn’t share the same vision, it’s like you’re making two different movies.

CHRIS NEUMER: One thing and I know, because you had made The Punisher with your current husband.

GALE ANNE HURD: Don’t say current, say final. (Laugh)

CHRIS NEUMER: I’m sorry, I feel awkward approaching anything remotely personal, and in your case…

GALE ANNE HURD: And I’ve had a few.

CHRIS NEUMER: But I was talking to Debra Winger a year ago when she made Big Bad Love, which I  really liked, and she made it with her husband, Arliss. She said that working with family and her husband meant that she could be honest without being deemed difficult. And then she finished it off with the statement: “He already knows how difficult I am.” And it just seemed so interesting, that you’re working with someone that you’re close to, you can be honest with, and yet you don’t see it very often. I was just curious to know if you found that to be the case working with your final husband.

GALE ANNE HURD: (Laugh) With my permanent husband. It wasn’t the first time we’d worked together, because he wrote Armageddon.

CHRIS NEUMER: But this was the first time you’d worked with him as the director of the film.

GALE ANNE HURD: It’s the first time he’s directed, too. So the key thing is that, once he was on board as director, I think I was in an even better position to help him realize his vision, because I really understood what he was going for. And  there’s a trust level, he trusted me, I trusted him. I wasn’t waiting for him to look me in the eye, and be passive-aggressive, you know? Which has happened before. So, I knew exactly [where he was coming from].   Jim Cameron and I made quite a few movies together, and I think working with him, he has always valued my  honesty, and I’m fearless. I think I’m nice, but I have a reputation for being very tough, because I am a person of  convictions and if I believe–if I truly believe something’s wrong–I don’t know how to keep my mouth shut.

CHRIS NEUMER: But it also seems like, in your position, you shouldn’t keep your mouth shut.

GALE ANNE HURD: This is becoming a business that’s all about people keeping their mouth shut, which is so different from when I stated in the seventies. I started in 1978 working for Roger Corman. All the way through the nineties, began a period of, “Keep your mouth shut and let someone else be the fall guy.” If you keep your mouth shut, you can always point the finger and say it was someone else’s fault. If you actually stake out a position, it’ll be your fault. I don’t believe in changing because I believe those changes are wrong, someone has to take responsibility.  You can’t please everyone all the time.

CHRIS NEUMER: You just hope that you can please most of the people most of the time.

GALE ANNE HURD: You know, you just try your best.

CHRIS NEUMER: You mentioned Roger Corman and I was looking through some of the things you were  credited with, and I noticed, what was it, 1980, you worked as a production assistant on Alligator?

GALE ANNE HURD: That wasn’t with Roger though, but yes, I was a second unit production assistant.

CHRIS NEUMER: Wow.

GALE ANNE HURD: Yeah.

CHRIS NEUMER: It seems like you walk on your first day as a second unit production assistant —

GALE ANNE HURD: But it wasn’t my first experience. My first experience was with Humanoids from the Deep, when I was  a PA for Roger Corman.

CHRIS NEUMER: It was also called The Monster, I think.

GALE ANNE HURD: I don’t know what else it was called, but it’s on DVD as Humanoids from the Deep. But it was James Horner’s first score; Rob Bottin did the special effects; the head of Gaylord right now, Hunt Lowry, was the UPM. There  were a lot of us.

CHRIS NEUMER: So, it was kind of like a behind the scenes Dazed and Confused?

GALE ANNE HURD: Yes. That was my first experience on a set, and that was the great thing about Roger, he forced you to  start on the bottom. When you start at the bottom you diverge in two different ways. One, you respect every team  member, everyone who is contributing, or you get pissed off and want to punish everyone for the fact that you had to start at the bottom.

CHRIS NEUMER: It seems like both have their healthy aspects, too.

GALE ANNE HURD: The good news is I know what everyone does on the set.  This helps you solve problems when they come up. Roger was so far ahead of his time in the sense that a woman directed Humanoids from the Deep, a woman named Barbara Peters. Women were writing, producing, directing, editing; they served in all positions on Roger’s films, which was pretty much unheard of in the seventies.

CHRIS NEUMER: I didn’t realize, I know you jumped right on the Terminator, but I didn’t realize until I started looking around at articles from ’84 what a big deal it was that there was a female producer for a sci-fi movie.  Not only that, but that it had a female heroine. I saw it in 1992, right before I saw T2,  and I just thought that’s odd. I look at it and it’s just a movie. It was Michael Biehn, no less; it didn’t even register with me.

GALE ANNE HURD: Yeah, it was a huge thing, I didn’t realize it at the time because I worked with Roger Corman, and as a woman there was no impediment being a woman.  At least, according to Roger Corman. Anywhere else, it was a huge liability. It was only when I went to a major studio for the production of Aliens that I realized, and I’m sure you read the quote, after almost a year working on it, some one came up to me and said to my face, “How can a little girl like you produce a big movie like this?”

CHRIS NEUMER: I didn’t read that exact quote, I read the paraphrased version.

GALE ANNE HURD: That’s it, and it had never occurred to me that someone would question my credibility because of my gender, and because I was 5’4″.

CHRIS NEUMER: It seems like you have a perfect example to sort of do a double take and be like, “It’s here, done.” If they had said that ahead of time, if some executive had sat down with you and said I don’t think you can produce this because you’re a little girl, I’d be like, “Yeah, that seems wrong.”  But to be able to see the finished project and then ask you how you were able —

GALE ANNE HURD: Yeah, well I’d done Terminator, and then another independent movie, and the budget for Alien was 18M. So I went from 6.4M to 18M.

CHRIS NEUMER: I know you were credited with co-producing Smokey Bites the Dust?

GALE ANNE HURD: Smokey Bites the Dust. It was something completely different than Smokey and the Bandit. It was Roger Corman’s youth homage.

CHRIS NEUMER: But it seemed liked big steps to go from co-producing a film like that, to doing something like Terminator.

GALE ANNE HURD: The thing was that, at that point, I already had the skills. I had been the assistant production manager on Battle Beyond the Stars, which was the biggest film, at that time, that Roger had ever done; it was a 2 million dollar film, which was how I met Jim Cameron. Even though Roger took producing credit he was not on the set, he was not the person who was potentially pulling it off, so I was quite involved in producing that film.  When I went on to Terminator. So it was tripling, I went from a 2 million, to a 6 million, to an 18 million, and then tripled again [on The Abyss].  And I think [the important thing] is not losing sight of how to make a little movie. I went from doing [The Abyss] to Waterdance.

CHRIS NEUMER: I didn’t think you’d have anything to do with water again, but there you go and do the Waterdance.

GALE ANNE HURD: It has nothing to do with water. (Laughs)

CHRIS NEUMER: I know, I’m teasing.

GALE ANNE HURD: But yes, that was 2.7 million.

CHRIS NEUMER: I did notice that there wasn’t a whole lot involving water after that.

GALE ANNE HURD: Virus. Virus was in water, lots of water.

CHRIS NEUMER: Ten years removed, or seven years removed. Do you feel safe going back there? I just remember reading some of the horror stories involving how you were shooting in a nuclear containment–

GALE ANNE HURD: A nuclear containment.

CHRIS NEUMER: And you had to black out the top. Was it Ed Harris that passed out trying to swim?

GALE ANNE HURD: No, no one actually passed out, but it was Leo Burmester, who almost passed out, yeah. I mean the truth was, no one was going to die because there were safety divers everywhere, they just couldn’t see them.

CHRIS NEUMER: Still, it’s got to be a pretty interesting situation. I’ve heard that if you’re  used to working on land and you want to go underwater, it’s going to make working eight times as difficult. Even if you plan for it; I think most people think, “Oh, it’ll be twice as difficult.”

GALE ANNE HURD: Well, at least we did shoot it in a contained tank instead of out in the ocean.

CHRIS NEUMER: Do people do that?

GALE ANNE HURD: They do, which is really silly.  Look at Waterworld.  Jim [Cameron] knew back when we even made the Abyss.  He said, “We need to find a facility to do this in because we need to control the clarity.  We don’t need to worry about tides; we don’t have to worry about surface chop.”  I mean, look at Lake Ontario today versus yesterday.

CHRIS NEUMER: I think you actually see some waves out there today, not that you see anyone in a dry suit.

GALE ANNE HURD: There’s a huge difference. I can tell you the Canada Geese that were there yesterday weren’t around then either.

CHRIS NEUMER: You’ve  worked with a lot of different kinds of directors. I was looking at this, and you’ve worked with big directors, small directors, directors of indie films. You’ve worked with Michael Bay, Jim Cameron,  Brian De Palma, your permanent husband, Roger Corman, I mean, it’s all over the map. First-timers,  veterans, people who are deemed to be insane by outsiders and people who are deemed to be true professionals. Is there any type of director you as a producer like to work with better than others?

GALE ANNE HURD: The only thing that matters to me is that I work with someone who has a vision, and can communicate it.

CHRIS NEUMER: To yourself, or others?

GALE ANNE HURD: At least to me and the first assistant director. There has to be at least those two people, because we can disseminate out to everybody else. Preferably someone who can communicate it to all the department heads, but failing that, at least to us. That’s key, I don’t mind the difficult directors, but a director lacking a vision is the most problematic, because you can’t fix that.

CHRIS NEUMER: Do you have a hand bringing the directors on?

GALE ANNE HURD: Most of the time, but not all of the time. There are times when the studios basically say, “Hey, this is who we want, isn’t that a great idea?”

CHRIS NEUMER: You nod your head and look just like that, I’m sure. Is there any particular vision?

GALE ANNE HURD: Well, generally, if I think it’s a really bad idea, I’ll tell them, but sometimes, I get stuck anyway.

CHRIS NEUMER: Is there any project that you worked on that you look back on now and say, “Yeah, that came out right.  That came out exactly like we were discussing in pre-production.”

GALE ANNE HURD: A lot of them: Waterdance did; Dick, a comedy that Andrew Fleming did; Hulk was exactly what Ang said it was going to be.

CHRIS NEUMER: It seems it has to be, I don’t want to say rewarding, but seems like less to worry about for you, because that’s —

GALE ANNE HURD: No, it’s not. It depends, it depends on how grand someone’s vision is, and how modest the budget, whether there’s more or less work for me.

CHRIS NEUMER: So the grander the vision, the less the budget, the more work for you? I have to ask, is there a specific film or two you can mention where you sort of worked under the table deals or things like that to try to get the most for your budget?

GALE ANNE HURD: I don’t do any under the table deals. You mean, do I make better deals on some movies than others?

CHRIS NEUMER: Exactly.

GALE ANNE HURD: Yes. When you produce quite a few films you keep going back to the same people over and over again, and I don’t want to name names because I don’t want people to know that they’ll do it for little money, but right now there’s a situation on The Punisher where I called in a favor, a very big favor.  We knew it was absolutely critical on Aliens, Jim’s and my first studio film, that we keep it on budget. Everything was a compromise, you know, I had a meeting with Jim about what we couldn’t afford, and how we would creatively get around it. By using a mirror in the scene where they come out of the suspended animation, we used a mirror because we could only build six of those things that they sleep in, so we used a mirror so it looked like there were 12. I made Jim pay for the laser at the very beginning when they find the Norcisus. That was an idea he came up with about three days before.  I said if you want it, you have to pay for it, and he did.

CHRIS NEUMER: No craft services for a week and a half because I want a laser.

GALE ANNE HURD: No, he personally wrote the check.

CHRIS NEUMER: Oh, he did?

GALE ANNE HURD: Yeah. That wasn’t going to happen again. But every day is like that, and today is going to be like that, except here, I’m more in the position to be the godmother.

CHRIS NEUMER: There was an article that came out, I remember reading that you guys got the name  Armageddon from Warner Brothers, did you have to trade a couple of —

GALE ANNE HURD: No, what happened is, we went in, and it was untitled. Jonathan, Michael Bay and I went in to Joe Roth, who was running Disney at the time, and said, “Do you like this pitch?”  He brought it in the room, and said you have to call it Armageddon. So it was actually Joe’s idea to call it Armageddon,  Then Disney would’ve had to do the negotiating with Jerry.

CHRIS NEUMER: I realize that with any job where you have people you have to work with and you just try to get along as best as possible, is there any sort of producer code of ethics on things like that? I’m sure you’re used to doing, like with Armageddon, you brought it along,  you’ve got the material, you’ve got the script as it is, you’re working on finding people — and then you’re paired up with Jerry Bruckheimer.  How do you deal with that?

GALE ANNE HURD: Once again, each time it’s different. I don’t think there is any routine situation. Once shooting started, I was on the set, and then as shooting developed, Michael Bay ended up — he gets a producing credit too, and there’s a reason it’s a producing credit: he likes to get to be really involved in the kinds of decisions producers usually make.

CHRIS NEUMER: It seems like, with what you said before, with the director being really into it and having a vision that would go along really well with your style of work. Is that correct?

GALE ANNE HURD: There are a lot of directors now that come with producers; it’s very common. When I was starting out that wasn’t the case. Things have changed, I don’t know what Michael is going to do with his next movie, but up until now, they’ve all been produced by Jerry Bruckheimer.

CHRIS NEUMER: Right.

GALE ANNE HURD: There’s going to be a closer bond between people who’ve done three or four movies together, than someone who’s coming in, who’s developed the project, or —

CHRIS NEUMER: Signed on midway through.

GALE ANNE HURD: Yeah.

CHRIS NEUMER: It seems like it goes back again to that trust that you talk about, that maybe it’s inherent in a relationship with someone you know, when you’ve worked together three or four times,  and you go back. It all comes down to the relationships.

GALE ANNE HURD: You can’t quantify anything, really.

CHRIS NEUMER: It’s interesting that when you get to the heart of it all it gets right down to the stuff that you can’t put your finger on, you can’t necessarily describe nicely in words. It makes my job  incredibly hard.  Let me ask you this, then.  Do you ever go back and say, you know, I have a hankering for Dead Man on Campus or anything like that?

GALE ANNE HURD: You know, if the movie is on TV, I will generally try to start watching it, and then I can’t, because by the time it’s on TV, I’ve seen it so many times.

CHRIS NEUMER: Are there any projects though, regardless of whether you’re watching them or  rediscovering them, you look back and you think to yourself, I’m pretty satisfied with the way it turned  out, or I’m pretty satisfied with one little scene in there, maybe something?

GALE ANNE HURD: Oh yeah, there’s something I like in everything I’ve done. But, there’s also stuff that I’ll look at and all I’ll see is the compromise. When I was saying that film making is the art of compromise, when you sit there and all you see is the compromises that were too great that you shouldn’t have made.

CHRIS NEUMER: Is there any specific thing you can mention?

GALE ANNE HURD: No, there’s something in every scene almost.  It’s very hard, it’s very hard to look at. But that’s what I enjoy about the whole DVD commentary; you’re able to relive the making of the movie. Or to say: there’s a reason why we had to do this. And that makes me feel better about it. Because that’s what the DVD commentary is. Talking about why something happened, or what was involved in making it that way, as opposed to just creatively looking at something and thinking, “Oh God, if only…”

CHRIS NEUMER: Is there any one example of anything you can give me that you look at where you feel like something is pricking the back of your ear?  You just want to go back and re-shoot  something and edit that in.

GALE ANNE HURD: There are scenes in Terminator. I think Terminator is a really good movie. But there are scenes in Terminator that I can see the compromise. Like there’s a music cue when the Terminator is in the tunnel, in downtown LA, and there’s a music cue, and I truly want to run screaming from the theater; that I wish we could’ve redone.

CHRIS NEUMER: What is it about it, is it too early, or is it just because it’s there?

GALE ANNE HURD: It’s this electronic, percussive thing, it was early synthesizer, and it sounds like early synthesizer.

CHRIS NEUMER: I’ll bet Michael Mann has a similar reaction every time he sees Manhunter.

GALE ANNE HURD: So, you just… yeah. That’s the fingernails on the chalkboard. But there are also things I see and I say, “God, I would not have changed anything.”  That would be the drowning scene in The Abyss, when Lindsay, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, has to drown. She was dead. But we studied, we researched, and people do get revived, kids longer than adults. They talk about that in the scene. That’s one of my favorite scenes.

CHRIS NEUMER: The realism of it all or the sense of urgency?

GALE ANNE HURD: The emotion of it. Two people who have had trouble, who have problems. Both wanting to die for the other person, and to risk that so the other person can live, knowing that there’s no guarantee that they’ll be able to be revived at all. I think that’s what’s great about the human spirit.

CHRIS NEUMER: I’ll have to quote Robert Altman and say, “I have no clue how actors do what they do, it’s just a magic to create that kind of emotion.”

GALE ANNE HURD: Oh God, yeah. And if you knew how that scene was shot, even more so, because we had to shoot it over the course of three different days, so it wasn’t shot in continuity at all.

CHRIS NEUMER: Wow. Just like end of the day pick-ups?

GALE ANNE HURD: Every day. We’d shoot other stuff, and then we’d have to go back and do that, we worked on lowering the submerse fill, and the crane; it just became this whole thing. It completely blows me away every time I see it.

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