Andrew Niccol talks Lord Of War

Controversy, tiny budgets and making the devil charming

It may sound like a production meeting at Kilroy but in fact it’s just a fistful of the challenges that faced Lord Of War director Andrew Niccol.

“We submitted the script a week before the war in Iraq and Hollywood studios didn't want to touch it. They felt it was too controversial.” So the Gattaca helmer took his script and went indie. Niccol explains, “I never get huge budgets, I didn't have a huge budget this time either. So I had to be more resourceful. I could line up all of those tanks on that runway. Normally what you do is you start with three tanks and you use replication and you computer-generate the other tanks.”

Niccol found that working with a shed-load of military vehicles can cause one or two complications. “We had to call NATO and warn them because it looked like a weapons build-up in the Czech Republic. We didn't want anyone taking us out.”

The film focuses on arms dealer Yuri Orlov (Nicolas Cage) who begins to question the morality of his trade.

“I don't write with anyone in mind, but as soon as I finished I thought, ‘Who can make the devil charming?’ It's Nicolas Cage.” Lord Of War is released in the UK on 14 October.