morgan for president

so, i’ve gotten more and more interested in video commentaries on film DVDs. i especially enjoy listening to the commentary by the directors…getting perspective on why a scene was shot this way or that. what that tiny little prop in the background meant to the scene, the actors in the scene, or even just the crew. the odd costuming choices…or the happy mistakes that become the moments of brilliance. basically, all the little details that don’t even hit our register when first watching a film. the first time i really took the time to watch a director commentary on a film was several years ago with ‘american beauty.’ and the moment i knew these commentaries were invaluable to me even as a stage director was when sam mendes described one of the opening scenes in which lester (kevin spacey) is talking to a client on the phone at work while looking in his computer screen. the scene is shot from behind, so we see lester’s face as a reflection on the screen. and mendes was talking about how the text on the screen originally ran horizontally… until he decided to try several narrow columns of text running across the screen. the effect? when you see lester’s face reflected in the screen along with the text, he appears to be behind bars… imprisoned. this moment lasts for no longer than 2 minutes. i can’t say i consciously noticed this choice when watching the movie, but these details surely resonate with us on a subconscious level. subtle, but brilliant.

so, last night, after getting home from a gala, i decided i would watch the brand new ‘special edition/feature’ DVD of ‘se7en’ i just bought. (perhaps not the best movie to watch after a stressful day and right before bed.) in any case, i am now watching the commentary involving morgan freeman, brad pitt, and david fincher, the director. and let me just say that i have always been a brad pitt fan…not because he’s attractive (frankly, he’s not my type), but because i think he is a really intelligent actor. especially in his smaller roles, he brings a depth of character that is fairly rare…i’m thinking ‘snatch’ or ’12 monkeys.’ david fincher is a bit less articulate than some of the other directors i’ve heard. i knew that he had directed ‘fight club,’ but what i didn’t know was that he started out primarily as a video director in the 80’s and 90’s. sting, paula abdul, madonna, etc. interesting. suddenly, the opening titles of ‘seven’ (set to NIN’s ‘closer’) make sense style-wise. still, fincher’s very pragmatic approach is interesting to hear. BUT (and this is what makes this DVD worth every penny) morgan freeman is also included in this commentary…and actors, if you haven’t listened to freeman talk about character development, you need to. every time i hear that man speak, i am convinced he is a genius. he IS indeed far closer to the character he plays in ‘se7en’ than one might think in terms of education. the first movies i remember associating with morgan freeman as a child were ‘glory,’ ‘driving miss daisy,’ ‘lean on me,’ and most significantly, ‘the power of one.’ (if you have not read or seen ‘the power of one,’ i suggest you do so. amazing story and film.) freeman has always struck me with this profound sense of wisdom and dignity…it’s really pervasive in every character he plays. so, back to the commentary…

fincher and pitt are discussing the scene in which sommerset (freeman) puts it together that the murders are associated with the seven deadly sins. and he’s listing the sins off his fingers to the others. and the way he does so is so deliberate and elegant. and both pitt and fincher remark on this…as well as the deep, resonant quality of his voice. ‘the god voice,’ so to speak. and fincher continues to say that he thought freeman was an excellent casting choice for president in ‘deep impact’…and that he would vote for him. YES! some of you know i have been saying morgan freeman should run for president for YEARS. is this ridiculous? well, is it any more ridiculous than ronald reagan? …or the clown we have in office currently? if i could any one person who, on image alone, could have a serious shot at randomly running for political office, it would be morgan freeman. so… why not? morgan for president!

interesting related fincher quote: “I don’t know how much movies should entertain. To me, I’m always interested in movies that scar. The thing I love about Jaws is the fact that I’ve never gone swimming in the ocean again.”

best quote from se7en: “just because the fucker has a library card doesn’t make him yoda.”

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~ by ladamesansregrets on October 7, 2007.

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