Director Doug Liman Talks ALL YOU NEED IS KILL with Tom Cruise and EVEREST; Says He Hopes KILL Is His Next Film

     January 22, 2012


On February 2nd, the dramedy series I Just Want My Pants Back, executive produced by Doug Liman (Mr. & Mrs. Smith, The Bourne Identity, Go, Swingers), premieres on MTV. It is a funny, honest portrayal of friendships and relationships among a group of 20-something friends in Brooklyn.

While we will run what Liman had to say about the promising new series, during a recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, closer to the premiere date, we did want to share the updates about his future projects. He said that he hopes his next project will be All You Need is Kill (about a solider fighting in a war with aliens who finds himself caught in a time loop of his last day in the battle, and becoming better skilled along the way), for Warner Bros. with Tom Cruise, and that the script is really cool and unlike anything he’s ever read. He also still hopes to make Everest (about George Mallory and his three attempts in the early 1920’s to become the first man to climb the world’s highest mountain), and is preparing to climb Mt. Washington again, as part of his research for the film. Check out what he had to say after the jump:

Doug LimanQuestion: Do you know what film you’ll be doing next?

DOUG LIMAN: I’m hoping it’s going to be a film called All You Need is Kill, for Warner Bros. with Tom Cruise. It’s just figuring out everyone’s schedules, and if we can, in fact, do it next.

What drew you to that subject matter? Is it the fact that it’s so unlike anything you’ve done before?

LIMAN: Well, nothing I’ve done is like anything else I’ve done before, so that is one of my criteria. But, I just fell in love with the script. There is no other formula for me, in this business. If I’m not in love with the script, there’s nothing. It doesn’t matter what you give me. It has to start with the script. And, Dante Harper wrote a really cool script that’s unlike anything I’ve ever read. When you can come across a piece of material that’s totally original and fun and completely satisfying, you jump on it.

It’s the same emotions that drew me into I Just Want My Pants Back. It sounds crazy because one’s 20-somethings in Brooklyn, and the other is Tom Cruise battling aliens, but the decision for me comes down to, “Is the material fresh, original, fun, smart, unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, and satisfying?” Usually those things work in opposition to each other. If you do something that’s really original, you discover why everybody else does it the other way, usually. There’s a reason cliches exist, ‘cause they work.

Early in my career, I started just doing things my own way, and it worked, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t dark moments on pretty much every one of my movies, where I said to myself, “Oh, my god, what have I done?” There’s a reason why there was a particular rule that everybody else was following, that I just ignored. Sometimes rules are there to save your life. And then, I would just work through it.

Is it harder to find original material like that, that really gets you excited?

LIMAN: It’s not that it’s harder. It’s always been hard. It’s not because the material is not out there, as much as it is, on the film side, that the business changed. It’s very hard for a studio to take a chance on a piece of original material. They used to have the fall-back of DVD sales. They had ways in which they could safely make an investment in a piece of original material, and those opportunities aren’t necessarily there anymore.

Are you still looking to do Everest, at some point?

LIMAN: Oh, for sure. I’m climbing Mt. Washington in three weeks, as part of my research for the film. I’ve climbed it before, but now I’m climbing it to pay attention to other details. In that case, specifically how do you film climbing, in a really exciting and visceral way? If you look at Mission: Impossible 4, it’s very hard to do vertigo, and they really did a brilliant job on that movie, when he’s on the side of that building. I’ve done sides of buildings, in The Bourne Identity and in Covert Affairs, and I’ve never elicited the emotional response that Brad [Bird] and Tom [Cruise] got in M:I4. So, I’m starting to think about, for me, how am I going to film sequences on a mountain climb that will be as visceral and exciting as the climb itself is?

When are you looking to go into production on that?

LIMAN: Hopefully, it will be right after All You Need is Kill.

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