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This weekend Mike Newell premieres his latest fantasy film, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Prior to helming the video game adaptation, he was primarily known for his work on dramas and intimate comedies, including Four Weddings and a Funeral and Donnie Brasco, but found new audiences after he took on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. During an exclusive chat with the director at this year's San Francisco Wondercon, Newell offered a few hints about a fantasy franchise he might like to tackle if he was offered the chance.
Cinematical: Given the fact that Clash of the Titans came out this year, and this movie certainly is sort of harnessing a similar sort of interest that audiences may have right now, are there fantasy properties that you would be interested in taking on now that you have several of these films under your belt?
Mike Newell: Oh, yes, sure. It's a huge thing. It's a huge tool to know how to use. You bet. There's a brilliant script around. I don't think it'll ever get made, actually, but which is about Odysseus' journey back from Troy and of course, the great bit of that story is when he gets home, we gets to Ithaca and they think he's just some old beggar who's washed up on the beach and everybody takes no notice of him whatsoever, until he shows himself as Odysseus and he starts to kill people and then, by God, they take notice of him.
And I was always fascinated by that as a story, and I've got one at the moment which is for, I suppose it's for slightly younger children. I think this film is for kind of 15 to 18 year-olds. Girls are different, I think. If this has a sort of four-quadrant thing, then I think that it'll play to women older. But I think as far as the males are concerned, it's the kind of 12 to 16, 17 in all of us no matter what age we are, to which this film will appeal. And the other one that I have which is a film called The Box of Delights, is probably for sort of 10, 12 year-olds. And it's magic and it's about English myth rather than a kind of sort of generalized world, world myth. And of course, it's about good and evil and will the good people win and so on and so forth.
But it has a real originality to it. It's not like anything that you've seen before but it will take all of these techniques. And it's a fabulous for me to have this 'cause I've on the job trained throughout two films. At least, I may stand close to knowing what I'm doing.