Metal Gear Solid: Philanthropy Director Giacomo Talamini Interview

Tell us your background. How old are you, what do you do, and what got you into film. Education, hobbies.....?

I'm 24 years old and I'm graduating in Science of Communications at the University of Padova, here in Italy. I'm starting to work as a professional filmaker, and that, along with MGSP and other projects I'm working on, is unfortunately slowing my studies down.

I got into film by accident; it was when I was about 16 that I made a horrible short movie with a friend of mine. Despite the result of that effort, I was incredibly excited by the process of developing a collective narrative project, from script to editing. When I tasted that feeling again, with the first phase of MGSP back in 2003/2004, I realised that filming is what I wanted to do for living. Everything else, from studying to "common" working (I always worked during these years, to finance both my studies and my projects) was a sad necessity that I was just impatiently carrying out so that I could go back to filmaking as soon as possible!

What are your inspirations when it comes to film making? Any favorite directors?

My favourite director is Michael Mann (Collateral, Miami Vice, Heat) for his ability to give a soul to the locations and cities he films in. And Mann is the one director in the world that knows how to film violence without being exaggerated, yet maintaining all of it's destructive energy. I don't know how he received that gift and I probably don't want to go through the same experiences he had to receive it, but I definitely admire him.

The other director that had a heavy influence in the work I'm doing with MGSP is Mamoru Oshii. I love his capability to use his movies for stimulating philosophical speculation, and he is one of the few wise directors that have no fear of letting the movie "breath."

I'm not a big fan of the contemporary trends about editing, that are bringing movies closer and closer to videoclips (see for example Man on Fire or Saw). Like Eastwood once said; "my favourite director is John Ford, because he understood the importance of silence."

And yes, I'm a big fan of both Clint Eastwood and John Ford!

How much experince do you have with the Metal Gear games? Have you played Snatcher, Policenauts, Boktai?

I've played MGS, MGS2, MGS3, MPO and tried (but didn't finished) MG2: Solid Snake and the Acid series. I've also played Snatcher, which has a great Blade Runner atmosphere!

What would you say is your favorite character from MGS? Your favorite scene from the games?

My favourite character is definitely Raiden! I know he's not too popular in videogame communities, but I feel Raiden is the symbol of that fantastic mediatic experiment that was MGS2, which is (by the way) my favorite MG game. All the other games have great gameplay, style and atmosphere, but Sons of Liberty was the game that made me realize how much communicative power videogames pontentially have. I really hope that with MGS4 Hideo Kojima is going to delve into that kind of experimental use of the medium. And my favourite scene is the Arsenal Gear section of MGS2, when the game collapses along with GW and becomes nearly unstable! Speaking of mere gameplay, I'd say that the boss fight with The End in MGS3 is probably one of the best in the history of videogames.

Coming from an Italian gamer, could you explain your thoughts and opinions on the Metal Gear Solid Italian translation?

The translation is not only filled with logical misunderstandings, but also with typing errors if you can actually believe that.

But it's nothing compared to what they did with the dubbing of MGS (1998). Looney Toons-wannabe like acting voices that completely ruined any kind of involvement in the storyline. I was lucky though, as I played the American version before I got my hands on the Italian one, otherwise I probably wouldn't be here with you talking about how much I like MGS and how I made a movie about it!

Will you be "returning" certain scenes from the game in the movie?

Like you saw in the trailers we're going to return a high number of typical "MGS situations," especially in the action scenes, while from a narrative point of view...we're going in some different directions compared to a "typical MGS plot."

Many fanfilms in my opinion end up without a great value, because they're simple imitations of what is, first of all, a videogame. And there's no point in watching an imitation when you already have the original. We're trying to make something different here, mixing MGS with our personal influences and visions. Including not just my (influences and visions), but those of everyone else in Hive Division. A movie has different necessities and different features: that is the reason why I wanted to use an original story and screenplay instead of doing the "MGS1 movie" or the "MGS3 movie." And that is the reason why, in this mission, Snake's not going alone.

With some fans losing hope in the movie due to the lack of David Hayter's involvement, do you think that fans will turn torwards your film?

I don't know if MGSP will go that far, haha!

And I honestly don't know how much David Hayter would be important to create a good MGS movie. Hayter is a great guy, but MGS is primarily a Japanese creation and vision. For example, I think that if they could manage to hire Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell) as a director, they could come up with a beatiful movie.

Congratulations on the trailer. It (the trailer) caused quite a stir in the fan community. How did you feel when you saw all of the positive reaction?

I feel relieved, because I'm not quite happy with its quality! We have to work harder to get a final product of absolute high quality. And we WILL work harder.

WHATS IN IT FO YOZE BIG CHIEF?!

TO TELL YOOZ THE TRUF, we knew the accents weren't that good! That's pretty much the best we could achieve, but we're searching for native english speakers to have a great final dubbing for the movie.

I'm currently dubbing Snake, but I would gladly pass on that role if we could find some good voice actors. The point is: everyone imitates Hayter, and that bothers me. I find Hayter's dubbing quite overacted in MGS3. The best would be to find someone capable of doing some kind of mixture between Hayter and Snake's Japanese voice actor Akio Otsuka. I think that Akio is really capable of granting Snake that kind of philosopher/warrior charm he had in the ending of MGS2 and in the trailers of MGS4. Anyone interested in getting the role should really keep Akio's dubbing style well in mind. And that goes for the other characters as well: we're not doing a Rambo-wannabe movie with 15-year-old improbable heroes, we're trying to recreate a complex and fascinating universe, with a culture all of it's own.

If someone from TUS would like to help out with the dubbing, where could they contact you at?

Contact us at info(at)mgs-philanthropy(dot)net!

Kroms from TUS asks: how will you make some of the more advanced special effects in the film?

Every scene needs a different approach, depending on how much 'physical' and close the effect must be. I hear evaluations from Alberto, Alessandro, Diego, Lamberto (Members of Hive Division's SFX team) and then I modify or polish my storyboard planning. Sometimes we can add the effects without any preparation; sometimes we need to setup some markers to help the motion tracking, sometimes we need to place chroma key panels to get a clean remotion of the background, sometimes the effect is just too close and complex to be done with CGI and we have to use real material or explosives.

How did you manage to get the locations seen in the trailer?

North Italy has a lot of those abandoned factories. But make no mistake, much of what you see in the trailer is computer graphics. The long concrete building is real, but everything else is not (the external warehouses, the great tower in the distance, the smoke...)

What can you tell us about the Metal Gear seen in the trailer? Will Snake go head to head with it in the full movie?

The name of that Metal Gear is "Praetorian" and it's a close combat support mech for infantry, just like MGS4's Gekko. Differently from the Gekko, it's capable of kneeling down and assuming a 'hold-the-line' stance, hiding behind it's shield's and minimizing his visibility. The only thing that remains exposed is the modular rail-based weapon system, which can be customized depending on the tactical conditions. The Praetty in the trailer was carrying a Bushmaster 25mm rapid fire cannon and three NLOS missiles, but you'll see many different combinations of armament in the final movie. And yes, Snake and his comrades will have to deal with them sooner or later.

Any closing comments? Release date perhaps?

We're planning to release everything within the end of 2008, but...we're not finished with the year 2007 yet!

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