Exclusive: Mimi Rogers on 'Unstoppable' Blu-ray release
|INTERVIEWS - FILM|
The actress and producer chats with us about the almost CGI-free Tony Scott actioner...
Mimi Rogers has had a varied career as an actress - appearing in sitcoms, thrillers, and dramas (you should really go out and see 'The Door in the Floor') - poker player, and now feature film producer. Her first film as a producer was Tony Scott's 'Unstoppable', hitting DVD and Blu-Ray on February 15th. I was able to talk with Rogers about the film's production, making an action film with very little CGI, how the business treats actresses of a certain age, the working advantages of sitcom formats, and of course, a little poker talk...
Unstoppable seems to be your first foray into feature film producing - is that correct?
Yes, in terms of a feature film, it's the first one that's made it to the screen.
How did that come about?
My husband and I produce together, and this was a story that he found about eight years ago, and he had brought the article to me and said, "I think there's maybe a movie here." And I looked at it and said I absolutely think there is a movie here. So we spent some time putting together a pitch and investigating, and ultimately ended up partnering with Julie Yorn, and pitched it at Fox, and miraculously they said, "Yeah, let's go," and Mark Baumbach came on to write and delivered an insanely great screenplay right from the get-go. The ultimate miracle here is Tony Scott. When all is said and done, the true reason the movie got made and came out as well as it did is because of Tony.
Other directors were attached before Tony Scott - how did you end up with him?
Well, there were a number of factors, and it is interesting how things ultimately end up happening for a reason. We had a director who came on initially, and I think several months into the process, we sort of felt all around that maybe it wasn't the right fit, and given the almost impossible nature of the physical shooting of this movie, it was just determined that it was better to move on. And then we had Martin Campbell, but that was heading into the writers' strike, and I think we had only about a six-week window. We thought Denzel would be available, and he wasn't. We ran out of time, and of course Martin had to move onto other things.
And then, wonderfully, again miraculously, almost a year later, Fox got the script to Tony, who read it, loved it, and immediately wanted Denzel to do it with him. And wow, there you go...
You mentioned the insane physical production demands. I heard there was no major uses of CGI in the movie, is that true?
That is true. And that is one of the reasons why I say that we lay all of this at the feet of Tony Scott, because he accomplished things in terms of the physical production that I literally don't think have ever been done before. In terms of CGI, the only element that was put in is one tiny sequence when the train is on the elevated track, there was, I think, an area of fuel tanks that were digitally put into the background. But that had nothing to do with the train. Everything with the train... there were no models, there was no CGI, everything with the train was completely for real.
Was it difficult coordinating with the railroad industry?
Yes. [Laughs] Very.
Where does it go from here? Do you have any projects lined up as a producer?
Like all producers, we have many, many fans in the fire, waiting to see, working to see what's going to happen. We have a romantic comedy that we're working on, a thriller, a tiny indie project based on a literary classic, all sorts of things. But which will happen next? No idea. Always living by the seat of your pants.
You've been a part of some wonderful TV comedies in your career - do you see yourself returning to that?
God willing! You know, the acting business for actresses of a certain age is fairly ridiculous. But I plunge forward. I remain optimistic. So yes, I'm hoping some other opportunities will present themselves.
You've done both multi-camera, live audience sitcoms and single-camera. Which do you prefer?
That's really hard to say, because I loved doing multi-camera audience because you sort of get the fun of both being on camera and sort of doing a play, and there's a great sense of continuity in that you get to, at least throughout the evening, perform the whole piece from beginning to end. That having been said, when you shoot with a single camera, obviously creatively there are a lot more options open to you. So, I really like both. I mean, if I'm going to be brutally honest, the hours on the multi-camera are so much easier. When you only tape one day of the week, it's a blessedly forgiving schedule.
The Door in the Floor is one of those great, overlooked films of the past decade - what was that like to work on?
I'm so glad to hear you say that. Should Jeff Bridges not have been nominated? Even though I'm a member of the Academy, I was incredibly disappointed. I feel very strongly about that movie, and it was a wonderful experience. Jeff Bridges is literally my favorite actor in the world. There is no one better to work with. There is no one smarter, more committed, more compassionate, more... you know, hell, he's just amazing. There's no ego involved. He will give anything to help fellow actors, to make a scene work, to make a performance work. He's like a buddy in a theater company in a small town, and truly one of the great individuals of all time. And we shot it in the Hamptons, in the springtime, a record cold spring. Freezing all the time. But it was really, really, an amazing and gratifying experience.
Well it really, really shows in the final movie. Last question - does a good actress have an advantage in poker?
A good actress does have an advantage in poker - if there are some innate poker skills!
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