Thomas Jane discusses the 2nd Annual 3D Film Festival and reveals some of the secrets behind Hung Season 3
Thomas Jane has been tapped as host for this year's 3D Film Festival (3DFF), now in its 2nd year of residency at the Los Angeles Film School, from September 22-25, 2011. Besides being Master of Ceremonies during the Opening & Closing nights, Thomas Jane will function as an ambassador of the festival to filmmakers and press throughout the four days of screenings, panels and the new 3D Music Festival Program being held at Avalon Hollywood. The Festival will open Thursday night with a screening of Warner Bros. and Alcon Entertainment's Dolphin Tale 3D. To buy tickets: CLICK HERE or CLICK HERE
The actor also currently stars on HBO's critically-acclaimed comedy series Hung, which returns for Season 3 on October 2nd with Don't Give Up On Detroit or Hung Like a Horse.
We recently caught up with Thomas Jane to talk about the festival, audience's love-hate relationship with 3D, and what we can expect from Hung this fall.
This is our conversation.
Do you think the 3D haters are hating because they keep seeing all of the wrong movies in 3D?
Thomas Jane: I have a couple of reasons why you might not enjoy 3D. The glasses might not fit your particular head shape. You might have a stigmatism in one eye. If you are color blind, that can throw off 3D. Some people are prone to headaches. But, the biggest reason for those 3D haters is the 2D to 3D conversion. It's not 3D. Its not true 3D. You are looking at two flat images that are combined to make a third flat image. There is no real sense of depth. True 3D is shot with two cameras that mimic the way we perceive depth with our own two eyes. They come from two different perspectives, and they come together to create this 3D image. The thing with true 3D is that it's getting rarer. We don't often see it. It's because of the budget. People think they are saving money by converting the film. But as Jeffrey Katzenberg so famously pointed out, 2D to 3D conversion is killing the goose that laid the golden egg. It is really testing the audience's faith in terms of 3D entertainment. But that hasn't stopped progress or technology from continuing to improve every year. The cameras get better. At this 3D festival, we are going to show off the new Sprint phone, which has a 3D camera. And it has a glasses-less display for the camera. They have had that in Japan for a while now. They have test marketed them. We also have some great family films. We have Dolphin Tale, which we are going to open with. We have Chinese 3D. We have Korean 3D. We have some art house 3D starring Heather Graham. Which I think, Heather Graham and 3D? That's a pretty good combination. We've got music this year. Dr. Steven Greer is doing the Disclosure Project on closing night. To learn more about that, go on http://www.disclosureproject.org/. On opening night we have Alyssa Suede Campbell, which is Beck's sister, and she is going to play. We have Golden State. Some good indie bands. We've really grown. We have panels for the professional 3D filmmaker. We have one on 3D advertising. There will be panels all weekend long. It is really great to be there hosting this show, this festival. It has grown in one year already by adding music and a fashion show. We will have some 3D concert material. The film roster has grown. I see 3D as something that will continue to grow and blossom. Even though we do have, what you call, the 3D haters. Which is also a good thing. It forces us to find solutions that will be satisfying for everybody, not just the 3D enthusiasts.
I had the opportunity to see two movies back to back this summer, which were Conan and Final Destination 5. Conan, which was converted, was terrible. At least 2/3s of it wasn't even in 3D. I took my glasses off about twenty minutes in and didn't ever put them back on my face. That, combined with seeing Clash of the Titans in 3D, really made me loathe this conversion technology. But then I saw Final Destination 5 that same night, which was shot in 3D, and the difference was day and night. It was an awesome experience. What it showed me is that a lot of people, who choose the wrong 3D movie to see, are going to not enjoy the experience just based on their taste in movies. Which isn't there fault. If they don't want to see Final Destination 5 and all its gruesome gore, which a lot of people don't, they're not going to know that there is really good 3D out there...
Thomas Jane: With the 3D film festival, we are really trying to get across that 3D is an esoteric mode of expression. Used correctly, used to its full potential, it is an experience unlike anything else. Which it should be. Again, because of its success, we are now seeing the bastardization of 3D. We are against that. We have seen people insert a few 3D scenes into a film, then call it a 3D film. That is not fair. Not only are they not shooting the movie in 3D, they are not converting the whole movie into 3D. Now, they convert a few action scenes, and they leave these other scenes in 2D. Now, you are really raping the audience's expectations. You are creating an antagonistic relationship with the audience. They are going to get a bad taste in their mouths. It is stupid.
It seems like a disservice to the filmmaker. I couldn't honestly tell you if I liked Conan on its own merits or not until after I watch it again in 2D.
Thomas Jane: It's a disservice to the whole industry. The audience is now going to shy away from 3D. You, as a filmmaker, are going to get screwed, because you are not giving the audience an enjoyable experience at all with your movie. Not only is the filmmaker getting screwed in that way, now the audience is not going to like the filmmaker either. The studios have decided to bastardize 3D with these 2D to 3D conversions. Especially by converting a portion of the film instead of the whole movie. But, you know...You are killing the golden goose. Maybe 3D does deserve to die, if they want to abuse it as much as they do. Our 3D film festival offers an antidote to these studios' unscrupulously abusing the audience's good faith. We offer the true 3D experience.
You made your directorial debut with Dark Country, which was made in 3D, but it was converted to 2D for its home video release. Will we be seeing your original 3D vision at the 3D festival? I know you said it would get a 3D release on home video? Is that still a ways off in the future?
Thomas Jane: So far, the economy has put a kibosh on a lot of the 3D technology. It has really slowed down. You've got the movies. But the ones being released on Blu-ray and 3D? There really aren't as many as you'd think there would be by now. The 3D TVs are expensive. That market is slowing down. The 3D Blu-ray players aren't flying out the door like people thought they would. Its because we are in a shitty economy right now. We can't afford the luxuries of a 3D TV and a 3D Blu-ray player. That said, Dark Country was put out on 3D Blu-ray in France. I thought that was really fun.
If we import that, will we need an all-region player? I am not up to speed on the region coding of Blu-ray players...
Thomas Jane: I don't know, either. You can look it up online and figure it out. You'd probably need a French Blu-ray 3D player. The fact that anyone even has an American 3D Blu-ray player is a pretty big deal. Oh, well. The percentage of those people who can play a French Blu-ray on their Blu-ray player? Who knows! But, it is out there in France.
Do you think a lot of people are abstaining from a 3D TV purchase, because they keep hearing that glasses free 3D is just around the corner?
Thomas Jane: Right. I think 3D in the home theater, with glasses, is an intermittent stage of development before we get to the glasses free TV. I think a lot of people do see this coming, and they are waiting. Not having to use glasses to watch your 3D TV set, though? That is quite a ways away. To get a premium TV set that allows you to watch 3D from multiple viewing points without glasses is a long way off. Right now, they have it, but you have to be sitting right in front of the TV screen. You can't be sitting off to the side. To sit off to the side and have the 3D still be strong? We are still quite a few years away from that happening. But it is coming...
Is there ever going to be 3D projection for the home? Because I like watching my projector much more than I like watching the TV...
Thomas Jane: They have it. You can get a 3D digital projector for your home. I have one. Those are fantastic. They work really well. The 3D, in my opinion, is better than the 3D in the theater. The resolution is so high. The refresh rate is so fast, and the resolution is so high, that I find that 3D in the home is way more affective than 3D in the theater right now.
Before you go, can you give me an Update on Hung Season 3? The show had a slow roll there at the beginning, but its really taking off, and HBO has another hit series on their hands...
Thomas Jane: Yeah, they do. I think the show was really well received by the critics. I don't think it's a surprise that we are still on, because it was a hit from the beginning. Every show takes a little flack for something. We were lucky, because we were both critically well received, as well as it being a popular show on HBO. I think Hung Season 2 was a little bit of a downer, because I get divorced, and we deal with some somber subject matter. With Hung Season 3, we really get back to fucking. Its younger, its faster, its funnier. This year, Ray has decided to have some fun. With Hung Season 3, the economy still sucks. But its boring to wallow in misery, with no money. So, we have taken Ray and put him in a whole new place where he is not teaching any more. He is whoring full time. He is making a lot of money. He buys a new car. He has fixed up his house. Then a younger gigolo comes into the picture, and starts stealing his clients. Ray has to defend his turf. We've really had a lot of fun with the show this year. We have a lot of terrific actresses on the show this season. Like Kaitlin Doubleday. She has a great arc on the show. There are some really good, younger women that come on the show. Its good. They get to do stuff with me. So it's a blast. It's my favorite season, Hung Season 3.
As far as the audience is concerned, I think they want to see a character like Ray take charge of the situation, stop rolling around in misery, and go out and spend a little money. Its visceral, and a vicarious thrill for them. It makes people feel better...
Thomas Jane: I hope so! We are waiting for anything that will make this situation a little better right now.
How soon will we see Hung in 3D? That has the potential to have some pretty iconic 3D moments...
Thomas Jane: Yeah! I don't know. You can catch some porno in 3D if you're really angling to see some 3D penis. There is 3D porn, for those who want it. There is probably a 3D porno channel by now.
Have you gotten your hands on any of the new 3D video cameras that people can buy at the local electronics store?
Thomas Jane: Yeah. They are amazing. I am especially excited about this 3D phone. We will be displaying it at the 3D festival, and it is super cool. I like the glasses-less display. All of the smaller screens have glasses-less displays on them. The cameras and the phones. That is a little taste of what will be coming with your home entertainment system. Ultimately, I would like to see glasses-less movies in the movie theater. We will. We will see that. That is the ultimate goal!