Michael Brandt has spent the better part of his career in Hollywood as a writer. He's penned some of the most popular films of the past decade, including "2 Fast 2 Furious," "3:10 to Yuma," and "Wanted." He recently made his directorial debut with "The Double."
The movie is based on an original story by Brandt's and stars Richard Gere, Topher Grace, and Martin Sheen. I had the opportunity to speak with Brandt while he was doing press for the new film.
"The Double" had a limited theatrical release. Why wasn't it pushed into theaters more?
It's the kind of movie that was financed [in such a way] that spending a lot of money and marketing it for the theaters didn't make financial sense. [It] made sense to me but it didn't make sense to the guys with the checkbooks. [That's why] it ended up where it did.
Give us a little background on "The Double." How did it come about?
We originally sold this [movie] 12 years ago as a pitch to MGM and wrote the script. They all liked it. MGM went into bankruptcy and got sold, got bought, and got sold again. The interest disappeared over there. The Writers Guild rule is that after a certain number of years you can get the rights to your script back. After seven years we got the rights back. That's when we started trying to put it together ourselves with me direct[ing] and Derek produc[ing].
Richard [Gere] was the first actor we sent it to. I just thought he could pull it off. He was in the right place in his career and, thankfully, responded to the script. He was open to working with a first time director.
Were you at all intimidated working with big name actors like Richard Gere, Martin Sheen, and Topher Grace on your directorial debut?
Yes, I was. [I] still dove in head first. Thankfully all those guys were supportive of the fact that it was my first time and didn't use it to their advantage in any way in terms of politics. There were no politics in the movie and everyone got along really well. The real advantage to a first time director having pros like Richard and Martin on the set that have made so many movies [was] they don't make mistakes. You never have to deal with technical issues. You're just talking about performance and story.
I don't think Richard missed a mark once the entire time we were making the movie. He just knows the way to make a movie. Great actors are like moths to a light. They know how to turn in front of a camera and make themselves look great. Richard is the prime example of that. He's just a graceful character and human being. He just naturally did that and I allowed that to happen.
Martin is one of the nicest men you'll ever be around. He's obviously been a hero of mine forever and he's made a million movies. It turned into a really nice team effort. It possibly couldn't have been, but that was never the case.
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Eric Shirey is the founder and former editor of Rondo Award nominated movie news websites MovieGeekFeed.com and TheSpectralRealm.com. His work has been featured on Yahoo!, DC Comics, StarWars.com, and other entertainment websites. Eric has interviewed and worked with actors like Harrison Ford, Brooke Shields, Gerard Butler, Brendan Fraser, Selena Gomez, and many more.
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- Richard Gere
- Martin Sheen
- Topher Grace