Saturday, January 3, 2009

Exclusive: Director David Flores Talks "Captain Drake"

I recently had the opportunity to speak with David Flores, director of Adrian's upcoming TV Movie "The Immortal Voyage of Captain Drake" which premieres on the Sci Fi Channel
January 17, 2009 at 9 pm.
Here is what he had to say:

SS: How did you get involved in the "Captain Drake" project?

DF: I was actually attached to direct a different following project for Unified Film Organization but a good friend of mine, Matt Codd, who was supposed to direct the Drake project, had to pull out due to a conflict. Jeff Beach, the producer for UFO, asked me if I wanted to read "A pirate script" and my first reaction was no. I figured it was going to be some obvious cash-in on the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and it just didn't sound like fun to me- plus I had a really cool project up next so why bother.

SS: What interested you about directing Captain Drake?

DF: I ended up having a conversation with Matt Codd about the script and he insisted it was very good but, in it's current form, impossible to shoot within our budgets. One thing I take great pride in is making the production value of a movie appear much higher than it is budgeted for so this alone swayed my interests. The script was a fun, intriguing, well written, adventure story and it is still one of the best I've ever read. Plus it was very different from any of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies so I now found myself begging the producers to let me do this movie instead.

SS: Did you make the casting decisions? If so, how did you decide to cast Adrian Paul in the lead role?

DF: I have a real limited voice in the casting of the SciFi original movies but they're very patient and listen to my concerns. Ultimately the executives have the final say and this is the same with all major released pictures. In the case of Adrian Paul, Rafael Jordan, the writer of Drake had worked with Adrian the year before and in some way or another had written this character with Adrian in mind. If it wasn't for Rafael's great script and a little of his producer skills to convince Adrian to do this movie I don't think he would have done it and the movie would have suffered tragically without him. Adrian alone makes this movie a pleasure to watch.

SS: Do you have any interesting "on the set" stories you can share with us?

DF: There's a scene were Adrian's daughter is captured and stuck in a tower. The location we wanted to use would not let us film there. Luckily we had some great crew with us and they saw how much I wanted to shoot at this place. The first AD, the DP, and the prop master were all willing to help us out and do it for free. We asked the actress and she was also good natured about it. While on a day off we made a stop at this place, pretended to be student film makers, and shot the short scene in a few hours. We needed the character to look dirty but we didn't have a make-up person so Sofia, the actress, had to dig up some mud and rub it in her face. Believe me this is highly unusual for anybody to do much less our leading actress. We don't have a lot of money and time to work with on these films and sometimes it takes unique levels of commitment like this to make the movie we set out to. But moments like these are my favorites.

SS: Did you or Adrian do alot of research regarding Drake?

DF: We both did. He studied a lot of the background of Sir Francis Drake and was quite an expert by the shoots end. I mostly studied the era and tried to get an idea of how people may have acted, the mannerisms or customs they may have done, language, etc. I didn't spend any time researching Drake directly only incidentally. For example, during the battle of the gravelines, when the English were chasing the Spanish out the channel, one Spanish ship was wounded and instead of continuing to chase the fleet out with the rest of the ships Drake turned his around to go and loot the lone sinking Spanish ship. This was ridiculous but this WAS Drake. Even during the greatest naval battle ever and for the protection of England, Drake somehow found a way to be more concerned about treasures. I used this as an analogy for Adrian and I think he took it and had a lot of fun with this freedom. A lot of scenes he would improvise something where in the middle of a crisis Drake was still alternately concerned about the possible precious metals available and how he could steal them.

SS: I understand there is alot of CGI in this movie. Does this make the work more
difficult or challenging?

DF: Really not so much anymore. Pretty much everyone is familiar with how to work with computer integrated imagery these days. The trick now is how to make the most of it which I still have a lot to learn about because the techniques are constantly evolving.

SS: What is it like filming in a country like Bulgaria?
I've filmed there on several occasions already and the main thing I still cannot get used to is how Bulgarians shake their head for yes and no. They nod up and down for no and their yes is a strange kind of side to side head bobble. I'm told only Bulgaria and India communicate this way as it's opposite from the way the rest of the world does the body language. There has been several situations where I thought someone was agreeing with me when in fact they couldn't do it.

SS: What's next for you??

DF: More SciFi originals. Hopefully one this year which we'll shoot in the Asian pacific. I've been trying to do independent features but it's very difficult so I'm very grateful for my opportunities with the team at SciFi. They're some of the best in the business. They've found a market niche and they're continuing to this day. Say what you will about SciFi originals but the executives there know exactly what they're doing. They're financing and producing 26 to 32 originals a year and have been doing it for over seven years now. They're not invincible and they are not always right and they know this but how many other movie franchises or TV series could you say have had this kind of track record for success?

*Thank you David for taking the time to answer my questions. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie very soon.
Sci fi began airing the trailer last night.

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