Miller Speaks on MM4

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Miller Speaks on MM4

Postby Anklecranker » Mon Jul 04, 2005 6:08 pm



http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,15809664%5E16947,00.html





Tuned to the local heartbeat

Lawrie Zion

July 04, 2005 [/font]


HE is one of the best-known film-makers Australia has produced, thanks to his hugely successful Mad Max films, as well as The Witches of Eastwick and the two Babe movies.



But George Miller's achievements extend beyond the big screen. In what turned out to be a timely request in the early 1980s, the then owner of Channel 10, Rupert Murdoch, asked him to come up with some ideas for "bold television".


Miller recalls that Murdoch gave him a free hand. "And that was an offer too good to refuse," says Miller, who is now working on the digitally animated feature, Happy Feet.


Murdoch's brief led not only to The Dismissal, a gripping account of the 1975 constitutional crisis, but also five other miniseries made by Miller's production company Kennedy Miller during the 1980s: Bodyline, The Cowra Breakout, The Dirtwater Dynasty, Vietnam and Bangkok Hilton.


Two decades later the release of all six series on DVD is a reminder of the power with which the small screen was once invested to tell Australian stories.







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of these, not only because it chronicled such a spectacular episode in Australian political history so soon after the events, but also because of its high production standards and the quality of its screenplay, especially the depiction of complex characters.


It is still riveting viewing, not least because Max Phipps and John Stanton are so impressive as Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser, delivering performances that capture much more than their characters' trademark mannerisms.


The three-part series, directed by a team that included Miller, Phillip Noyce, George Ogilvie, John Power and Carl Schultz, was completed just before what would be Malcolm Fraser's final federal election campaign in 1983. Miller says Ten executives became nervous about screening it. "They got cold feet and said it was really ABC-type stuff, it's not something for a commercial channel," he says.


But Murdoch never wavered, confidently predicting that the series would rate highly and should go to air before the election. Miller was uncertain about how audiences would receive it. "So they put it on the day after the election, but Murdoch was right," says Miller. "And I remember that restaurants were soon complaining that nobody was going out on Sunday nights because they were all staying home to watch The Dismissal."


Following that success, the Kennedy Miller team began work on a series about another controversial episode in our nation's history: the infamous "bodyline" Test cricket series of 1932-33, when England developed aggressive bowling tactics to regain the Ashes. Starring Gary Sweet as Don Bradman and a young but strikingly assured Hugo Weaving as the England captain Douglas Jardine, Bodyline was another ratings triumph.


Although Miller says he wasn't particularly conscious of it at the time, with retrospect he acknowledges that the two series had much in common thematically. Both were meditations on the nature of winning and of fair play; and both were shaped around rivalries between classic protagonists and antagonists. Significantly, in both instances, it was the antagonist who became the centre of the drama.


"Like everyone else we were outraged at the events of Whitlam's dismissal, but as we tried to write it as drama, we had to do psychological detective work and at least create some construct as to what was driving the characters," he explains.


"And what happened to our surprise was that we developed an admiration for Fraser ... because he fought the battle, as it were, with much more astuteness than Gough, who was a classically flawed Shakespearean character. He was almost Greek in the way that his hubris got in his way and almost blinded him.


"But Fraser was surprisingly subtle. For someone who was haughty, he knew how to read not just Whitlam and [John] Kerr, but also the nation."


Similarly, it was Jardine, not Bradman, who drove the drama in Bodyline, says Miller. "He was an extraordinary character. That wasn't a cricket game, it was an attempt to restore the power of the British Empire."


Watching Bodyline today, there are moments when the script almost drowns in nationalist sentiment. During a brief sequence on a train, members of the Australian team invoke everything from the nation's convict heritage to Gallipoli, loyalty to mates, and battlers who cop it sweet.


Such a brazen tone might seem anachronistic, even jarring, by today's standards. But the series, Miller says, was also a product of a different era of television.


"In those days there was no obligation to try to sell a miniseries outside of Australia - we used to call them parish pump programs, and they were specifically for local audiences," he says.


Bodyline screened on the BBC in the UK and rated well, even though the series dealt with the severing of ties with mother England. Some British critics dismissed the cricket drama as ritual Pommy-bashing, but it continues to be played on Indian TV whenever there is a Test match involving India, England or Australia.


In important respects, the '80s TV miniseries is part of the bigger story of Australian cinema. "In the 1970s, we made all those period films, and at the time no one understood why. With hindsight it was clear we were catching up with events in our national narrative, from the convict days to Gallipoli," Miller says. "We continued that in the '80s with the miniseries we made, most of which also dealt with big historical events. Now it seems we have caught up with our history and so we are dealing with a contemporary culture which doesn't have enough to differentiate us from America."


Yet ironically, perhaps, it is US that now that holds the key to longer-form television drama through the HBO network.


"There is no question at the moment that the best television in the world is coming out of cable in America, and specifically HBO," Miller says. "While there is a chance that might happen here with Showtime and other cable outlets, I think the ecology of commercial and free-to-air networks has changed so much."


Miller has no immediate plans to return to the miniseries format. Happy Feet, which is being made in Sydney, is still a year from completion; after which there is the prospect of a fourth Mad Max movie.


"It's definitely a strong possibility," he admits when pressed on the question. "But that's the most I can tell you at the moment. All I can say is that that film is not going to go away."


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Miller Speaks on MM4

Postby Bronze21-MFP460 » Mon Jul 04, 2005 6:54 pm

Pray he's still out there...somewhere...beyond, waaay beyond, really waaay far beyond Thunderdome.
______________________________________


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Postby Anklecranker » Mon Jul 04, 2005 8:19 pm

Happy Feet a YEAR from completion?
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Postby March Hare » Mon Jul 04, 2005 8:29 pm

"It's definitely a strong possibility," he admits when pressed on the question. "But that's the most I can tell you at the moment. All I can say is that that film is not going to go away.".......Image
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Postby Anklecranker » Tue Jul 05, 2005 12:41 am

Hope sweet hope!
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Postby March Hare » Tue Jul 05, 2005 1:12 am



..pardon the pun, but from the mouths of "BABES" comes the truth....
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Postby ledknight » Tue Jul 05, 2005 11:33 am

More here....





http://www.moviehole.net/news/5893.html





Mad Max will be back, says Miller


Posted on Wed, 6-Jul-2005





Seems you just can't keep an Apocalyptic Road Warrior Down.





George Miller's one-time full-speed-ahead plans for "Mad Max 4", are back on, the veteran filmmaker tells Australia's Empire Magazine.





Though the film's production office - at Sydney's Fox Studios - has been vacated, and Mel Gibson is far from a lock, Miller says he still plans on doing the film.





"Yeah, there's a real hope", Miller says, when asked whether he thinks the sequel will be resurrected.





Miller doesn't think he has to live up to people's expectations with it, he'll just make the best movie possible. "You don't sit there saying, "Oh, I better make this film better than the last one". You say, "is this a great story"?





So, is it? "The last thing I wanted to do is another Mad Max, but this came along, and I'm completely carried away with it. We were about to do the film, but the war came and the American dollar crashed and it was almost impossible to ship vehicles to our location. We had a deadline, and we couldn't meet it. We also had a deadline on Happy Feet [his next movie], so we said, "It's one or the other". So it's happy feet".


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Postby Anklecranker » Tue Jul 05, 2005 3:01 pm



Happy Feet won out over Mad Max? Am I in an alternate universe?


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Postby March Hare » Tue Jul 05, 2005 5:14 pm

Quote: Originally posted by Anklecranker on 06 July 2005






Happy Feet won out over Mad Max? Am I in an alternate universe?









....George was thinkin'........"hmmmm ...should I work with a super hottie blondie for the next year , .......or look at Gibson's fat ( and supposedly getting bigger ) arse crack....LOL... NO BRAINER!


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Postby March Hare » Tue Jul 05, 2005 5:19 pm



....."but the war came and the American dollar crashed and it was almost impossible to ship vehicles to our location".......


The location being North Africa ? As rumored before..


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