Meenakshi Sinha, TNN
What is your latest film about?
The ‘Ghost Rider’ is based on the classic Marvel comic book. It probably has the darkest hero with Nick (Nicolas) Cage playing the lead, Johnny Blaze. Idris Elba, who won the Golden Globe for best performance by an actor in a mini-series titled ‘Luther’ , will play an alcoholic warrior monk tasked with finding Ghost Rider in the 2012 sequel. It’s mostly shot in Romania and Turkey and comes in 3D and has huge special effects. It is being released in the US and Canada across 3,000 screens through Sony. In India, it releases through Warner Brothers. My company, Hyde Park, releases it in the rest of the world.
As a Hollywood producer for the last 30 years, how do you see it vis-a-vis the Indian film industry?
It’s been an extraordinary journey for me, working with wonderful actors and doing films that grossed over a billion dollars. Things have changed a lot in Hollywood in terms of production and marketing, visual effects, 3D and satellites rights. Both Hollywood and Indian films run on parallel tracks. There are good Indian films with talented filmmakers, actors and cinematographers but they cater to an Indian audience and NRIs who are very loyal.
So Indian films haven’t reached the western audience?
No, they haven’t . It will all depend on Indian filmmakers and stars who are willing to take chances, on writers who understand what a global audience wants and on distributors to take a leap of faith and spend money on marketing their films in theatres that are traditionally English language. Right now, Indian films only go to niche theatres catering to a dedicated Indian audience. There is, no doubt, curiosity about its beautiful costumes, energetic dancing and fun locations. But as the internet makes the world smaller and smaller, Indian cinema will reach a wider audience.
You’ve worked with the best of Hollywood. Share some lesser known facts about any of them.
It’s always fun to work with the beautiful women of Hollywood (laughs). Well, let’s see… Sandy (Sandra) Bullock speaks fluent German. Kate Hudson who is Goldie Hawn’s daughter is cuter than her mother and even more beautiful. Anjelina Jolie was not the movie star that she is today when she met me. She’d just done the movie ‘Tomb Raider’ which nobody had heard of then. But she came completely prepared and took the script apart with suggestions and notes.
Is there any Indian star you like or admire?
(Laughs) I don’t think I’ll go there because you are going to get me into a lot of trouble. Whether it is Shah Rukh, Aamir or Amitabh, they all do terrific work and all the Indian actresses are stunning.
Are you looking for any collaboration with the Indian film industry?
Yes. My company, Hyde Park Entertainment will be globalizing. I have partnerships with the governments of Abu Dhabi and Singapore and my international films division company has a picture in pretty much every film festival. We’ve had robust growth in the last 15 years. My company is also partnering with National Geographic and will be linking films with true events. I look forward to doing something in India as we are in the process of developing some India stories and hope that by 2013, we’ll have something to announce to that effect.