How ridiculous is to shoot a mammoth hunt – without any mammoths?
It’s really difficult. I always get the feeling the actors think I’m crazy or I’m a magician or something, it’s really weird. In this movie they were not very experienced actors and they had big eyes and said, “Oh okay” when I explained the scene. It is very hard to play with nothing and I would show them my pre-vis which is like a cartoon version of the scene and then they were saying, “Is this how it looks?” And I’d be saying, “No, it’s only to show you.”
How confident to do you feel that 10,000 BC will be a hit?
Never confident. Scared shitless. There are no rules to make a movie like this, you just have to go for it and do it how you feel it. It’s very easy to critise a movie and it’s also really hard to make a movie. I have this rule: when a movie is released, I’m always concentrating on my next movie.
So what is next?
I’ve got this offer to direct Fantastic Voyage. I said, “Look guys, I would have to re-invent it, like I reinvented Godzilla. I can not do the same thing again.” And they went for it. But this could take two or three or four years until I have figured out how to do it. In the meantime I probably can do two or three other movies.
Maybe a sequel to one of your earlier films?
The only movie I would love to do a sequel to – but it has to be something totally new – is Independence Day. Every year, Fox ask me, “Have you found an idea for Independence Day 2?” And I say, “Not yet.”
Did you have to cut anything from 10,000 BC that you were sad to lose?
Yes, we had to cut at a very early stage two or three scenes with the sabretooth tiger and I think they regret it now because everybody loves the tiger.
Did you have scenes of tigers hunting mammoths?
That was exactly what was cut. But I have to tell you one funny story. We were shooting in this village where the tiger comes and, to shoot it, the camera operators carried around this blue cut-out of a tiger. This was in Namibia and we had cast some native people and they came from 200 kilometres away and some of them had never seen the ocean and they stayed in this hotel and some of them showered all night and the hotel people complained. These people came from very close to where the set was, so they saw the building of the set and were amazed. They came to one of our translators and said, “This is amazing: the costumes are amazing, the village looks so real like we would have built it… but we’re not sure about the tiger.” They thought that was the tiger we were going to use in the film.