DVD Producer, Michael Pellerin speaks out!
Just like with Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson called on Michael Pellerin to monitor everything that went on during the shoot of King Kong. It's now going to be available to you in a two disc special edition box set of the Production Diaries.
Michael Pellerin sat down in New York to talk about his latest work. Here's what he had to say:
What was your favorite memory of doing these diaries?
Michael Pellerin: Whoa, there are so many memories; I've been working on this for two years. We were there for everything; when people say ‘Do you remember when this happened,' I can go back and look at the tapes, cause it most likely did.
You're the DVD producer, but you're much more than that –
Michael Pellerin: Yeah, I think that's why Peter has kept me around so long; we approach everything from a documentary outlook. You're there every day, so you develop a relationship with the whole cast and crew and it starts to affect the way the approach the camera, but it's still kind of cool.
What was the difference working with Peter on this compared to Lord of the Rings?
Michael Pellerin: On LOTR, he's a great fan of the book, and he's got great knowledge of the book, but he's not the world's greatest historian of the book, and he'll tell you that. As much as it was Peter's vision, he was making this for the fans as well; he was sharing it as well. With Kong, Peter is one of the biggest fans and biggest experts, even if he wasn't directing this movie, or even picked up a camera to shoot this movie, he would still be one of the for-most people in the world to talk about King Kong. The difference I see is on LOTR, he was sharing his vision with the fans; for this, he knows this is something that's been in his blood since he was a kid and he's learned everything he could possibly learn about it. And LOTR was co-directed by second-unit director and a third-unit director, a fourth-unit director and a fifth unit director, but Peter didn't get to direct every scene; he would have loved to, but he just couldn't. With Kong, he lovingly got to direct every scene; so that's the main differences.
Were you able to see Peter Jackson's collection?
Michael Pellerin: Yeah, and that's on the DVD; he's got the dinosaurs in his house, he's got the brontosaurus, the pterodactyl that Kong destroys, and he's got some of the original spears and sticks. And we're able to show that on the diaries, which is really cool. But he did take us on a tour of his collection in one of the diaries of original material; he's got one of the Kong's.
How has the relationship helped you in this collaboration?
Michael Pellerin: You can brainstorm, you can say ‘next time, let's try this' because you are working with the same guy; you can make those decisions. You can build on what you've done, and you can build on that; I see him or meet with him every day or every other day.
What's the set-up like on set?
Michael Pellerin: You're there all the time, and you see everyone; I've got a crew of cameramen, and they've been in New Zealand and everyone knows them and we're all friends.
Do you ever have talent not wanting you to shoot them?
Michael Pellerin: Not really; rarely, if ever. I've been very lucky, because Peter wants to do it, so it's ok.
Does Peter ever ask you for your opinion?
Michael Pellerin: Peter keeps his own counsel; but on all the Rings films, Peter never had any test screenings, so if you happen to be working around the film, you're asked what you think. And you do what you should do – be honest. Every once in a while, you would have a situation where you would be asked your opinion – that happened on Rings. On Kong, no, that was all Peter, he's the guy.
How do you approach starting the diaries?
Michael Pellerin: You can't go too deep; they're supposed to be diaries. Some days, some things didn't have answers, and they moved on; it was a day to day thing, stay in the now.
Did you follow the message boards of the release?
Michael Pellerin: Yeah, and Peter did, religiously; I wouldn't even have time to walk in the offices in the morning and Peter would say ‘did you see the one where the guy said this? We should try that.' Yes, all the time.
When is the last diary going to be?
Michael Pellerin: On the day the film opens to the world; the day of the world premiere in New Zealand.
Are you ever worried if you're revealing too much?
Michael Pellerin: No, most of it was saved for the movie; Peter made sure they were saving it. The great thing was so many people said ‘wow, they're showing so much, is there anything else left?' When we hear that, we're so excited, cause we know we've done our job.
The King Kong Production Diaries Box Set hits stores December 13th; King Kong opens in theaters on December 14th.