The Australian director of Master and Commander and The Way Back says he is unlikely to make another studio film.
Australian director Peter Weir, speaking at this year’s BAFTA David Lean Lecture, has dismissed the state of modern cinema as becoming “more childish.” Talking candidly to event host and broadcaster Mark Kermode, Weir went on to claim that contemporary stories are “more simply good versus bad. Except that there is more focus on ‘the bad’ because it is more interesting.”
The typically media-shy director was speaking ahead of the release of Siberian survival story The Way Back; his first picture in seven years following the Oscar nominated Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. The film stars Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris and Colin Farrell as prisoners of a Soviet Union labour camp who escape their prison and attempt an arduous journey across thousands of miles of treacherous terrain.
Describing his extended hiatus from film-making as “filled with projects that didn’t come to life,” Weir confirmed speculation that he had withdrawn from an adaptation of William Gibson’s novel Pattern Recognition, which he was “unable to solve” despite loving the book.
Whilst not elaborating on his future film projects, the director of numerous hits such as The Truman Show and Dead Poet’s Society dismissed the use of 3D technology as “a gimmick that doesn’t work in dialogue scenes,” whilst telling the packed audience at BAFTA’s Princess Anne Theatre that it was “unlikely” he would direct another Hollywood studio film stating that “the studios are becoming more tent pole. The fact that there are so few projects makes it unlikely.”
Defining his approach to storytelling as being very much ‘“n the oral tradition,” Weir offered a glimpse into his directorial style describing music as “the most primary tool I use” which “jams the radar of the conscious mind, shuts down the intellect,” and “is more important to me than the visual.”
A performer in revue shows from his student days, Weir explained his decision to stay behind the camera as a reaction to watching early Monty Python and realising that “they were better than me.” He therefore turned his attention from revue shows, turning down a role on ABC series The Aunty Jack Show to focus his attention on film directing.