EXCLUSIVE: 'The Bay' Director Barry Levinson On The Hazards Of iPhone Filming
Barry Levinson, 70, has had his share of commercial and critical successes in Hollywood with films like The Natural with Robert Redford, Diner with Kevin Bacon and Mickey Rourke, and of course Rain Man with Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman, which scored him an Oscar, but now the famed director is taking on a different kind of project in the mockumentary sci-fi thriller, The Bay, which was inspired by the toxic pollution that has reportedly turned 40% of the Chesapeake Bay into a marine dead zone.
Levinson didn't want to do a straight-out documentary on the Chesapeake, since he felt that Frontline had already perfected one, but he was comfortable taking The Bay in a different direction. "I take this fictitious story and bring 85% of this factual information into it, kind of infuse it, make it interesting, scary," Levinson exclusively told Uinterview of his approach to the project.
But the content wasn't the only thing that made The Bay a first for Levinson — filming in a "found footage" type of style (a la Cloverfield and The Blair Witch Project) required that some of the shooting take place on alternative devices, like smartphones.
"I was thinking about if something happened in the town, and there was a catastrophe today," Levinson told us. "If we gathered and there was no media, how would we know what happened? This is the first generation that's got cell phones, e-mails. It's texting, it's Skyping, it's doing every kind of social media thing imaginable. Well, that'll give you a picture unlike any in the history of mankind. So I was thinking more like an archaeological dig."
Of course, there were some unexpected and occasionally "exasperating" problems with these moments of filming, Levinson explained. On an iPhone, for example "there's no video playback until afterwards. So you get someone like the iPhone girl, and she goes into a room, you tell the actor what to do .... then afterwards you got to bring the iPhone out and you take a look and see what she did. Sometimes we give a camera to somebody and we go to take a look, and there's nothing there because they didn't hit the record button!" Levinson laughed.
Check out Uinterview's full exclusive with Levinson here.
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