John Forde unterhielt sich mit dem Star-Produzenten Barrie Osborne (MATRIX), der zur Zeit jeden Tag auf dem HdR-Set verbringt, egal ob es regnet oder schneit.
Barrie Osborne mit Regisseur Peter
Jackson am Set
Osborne berichtet, dass man mit dem Quellen-Material sehr sorgfältig umgehen müsse. Man wisse natürlich, dass es viele Fans gibt, die man nicht enttäuschen möchte, man den Film aber auch allgemein unterhaltsam gestalten möchte. Dies sei nicht wirklich ein Konflikt, aber eine doppelte Verantwortlichkeit.
Die grösste Herausforderung sei es, sowohl die Vorstellungen der Künstler umzusetzen, als auch sich an den finanziellen Rahmen zu halten. Oft müsse man Kompromisse finden. Er habe beispielsweise mit dem Kameramann verhandeln müssen, der für alle Außensets eine teure Stadion-Beleuchtung haben wollte, man habe sich schließlich auf zwei Sets geeinigt.
Ob es regnet oder schneit: Barrie Osborne
The Rings master on fantasy, finance, Fellowship and the real Aragorn
If you're expecting some kind of tantrum-throwing, jewelry-wearing, limousine-riding suit when you take a meeting with Barrie Osborne, you'll be sorely disappointed.
Yes, Osborne is producer of Lord of the Rings, handling day-to-day operations, scheduling and budgets for Hollywood's biggest three-ring circus. But with his bushy beard and ever-present hiking boots, the New Yorker is also a perfect accomplice for perpetually casual LOTR director Peter Jackson.
And while he's worked with the likes of Francis Ford Coppola (Godfather II and Apocalypse Now), Alan Pakula (All the President's Men) and the Wachowski Brothers (The Matrix) in his 30-year career, Osborne is perfectly happy working out of a matchbox-size office for this trilogy.
Which is where we join him at 7:30 in the morning for coffee and a conversation about life as the big daddy behind LOTR.
From a producer's perspective, how important is it to be faithful to the source material?
Tolkien has a very large base of loyal fans, and you don't want to disappoint people. But you also want to create something that's going to entertain and hopefully enlighten. That's not necessarily a conflict, but it is a dual responsibility.
What is the most difficult part of your job?
My biggest challenge is striking a balance between the artistic ideals of the film and the fiscal reality. I think how you do that affects the spirit of the film. I try to encourage finding a less expensive solution to capture the director's vision, rather than asking him to cut back. You can't really succeed if you're challenging the director and not letting him achieve what he was hired to do, which is to bring life to this movie.
Can you give an example of how you find that balance?
A case in point is location shooting. When I first got here and was looking at the locations Peter and his team found, they were in the most remote parts of the country. But the reason we're filming in New Zealand is to capture this. Some people in production said, "This is ridiculous, you've got to get [Jackson] to change his mind!" But I supported filming on location and trying to figure out a way to film scenes economically.
How do you go about filming economically on location?
We found a set in Queenstown called Greenstone, where we wanted to film [Dunharrow], a forest where 6,000 Rohirrim camp. But it was a two-hour drive from Queenstown. So, instead of driving in and out each day, we took a boat over the lake, which cut travel time down to an hour. We also hired seven airplanes to fly the crew in. It seems expensive, but it saved on what we'd spend in overtime on travel. Plus, we got this amazing location, with the scope and feeling of a huge encampment.
How does the planning and budgeting process work?
Budgets are fixed in preproduction planning meetings, and maybe you're right on 90 percent of it. But once production kicks in, you then make adjustments and compromises. When we started, we had fewer people dressing the Orcs than WETA Physical would have liked. But when we saw the amount of overtime it took to dress them with that number, we realized we needed to hire more.
What do you try to avoid?
If something is being asked for that we could do without, I'll try and persuade Peter. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose. [Cinematographer] Andrew Lesnie wanted a stadium light for all the exteriors, but they're very expensive to run. We came to the understanding that he could use them for Hobbiton and Helm's Deep.
What is your working relationship like with Jackson in those meetings?
He is always fighting for the movie. We've talked about this, and he sees his job as trying to catch everything onscreen and then to have options in the editing room. When you think a shot may need effects, you'll always want more shots, which is fine--as long as you're keeping to schedule, which we largely are.
What do you find yourself defending?
Well, I think I defend the movie, too. My analogy that I pitch to a studio or a director or department heads is you have a big pie. If you allow one department to take too big a slice, you diminish everyone else's contribution, and that affects the quality and success of the film. So, I see part of my role as being honest and up front with people about what can and can't be achieved.
[...read on at E!Online]