In this exclusive interview, David Ayer, the director of the upcoming movie Fury, answers questions on his filmmaking vocation, military past and the joys of working with tanks. Check it out below along with a transcript of the interview. Enjoy the show!
Hi, I’m David Ayer – the director of the upcoming film Fury
I answered some of your questions recently while finishing the film here in Los Angeles, California. Check it out!
Is there a genre of film that influences you on your directing style with this film?
My genre influences for Fury…well, it’s a classic American war movie in a lot of ways. One of my favourite films is Apocalypse Now. Obviously I’m a huge fan of Saving Private Ryan. I’m stepping on hallowed ground here by chasing the greats with a war movie but I’m bringing my voice to it and doing something that I feel is very honest and real.
Was it important for you to use real tanks as opposed to digital models?
When you’re making a tank movie, you need tanks. The technology is out there to do digital tanks, CG, but there is something about having the real tank on set, having these antique war machines that the actors can interact with. The actors learn how to operate them and it helps their performance and they’re impressive machines, they are visual machines. There is something really powerful about having five tanks coming at you and seeing them there and having them be in the real world. I think that’s the difference with this movie: the audience is going to experience first-hand something that they’ve never seen before.
Where do you get your vision to create gritty, real life realities?
In my movies I like to have a real lived-in quality in them, a real layer. You see a lot of war movies and, for instance, a lot of police movies that are very clean and shiny. This isn’t a clean and shiny movie; this is a muddy, dirty, filthy, bloody movie – just like the war was. In my research and in my studies, you find that the real world has these layers, histories and patina – that’s exactly what I want to bring to Fury.
Are you able to use your experience as a submariner to direct the actors?
I think I brought some of my experience as a submariner in the navy to Fury because in a submarine, you know, you’re working inside a steel environment. It’s a weapons system, everything is made out of metal and it can be very cranky at times, just like a tank. When you live in the machine you fight in, it changes how you feel about it. This is what I wanted the cast to learn. They discovered that the tank became their bedroom, their living room, their bathroom, just like a real tank crew. You really learn to love the machine. You really learn how to take care of the machine. They say in the military that ‘if you take care of your equipment, it takes care of you’, so it was important for this cast, these actors, to have that familiarity and almost love for their tool of war.
Does your interest in war history influence your choice of film projects?
I find history fascinating and there are so many stories, especially about World War II. It was the last true global-war where a Pacific islander native or someone in the heart of Europe or someone from, say, Kansas could be involved in this global conflict. I think there is many more stories to tell. I could see myself possibly revisiting the war in a future project.
Is there a film that has influenced you, that would be a personal project you would love to make?
As a filmmaker you study those that have come before you and there are a lot of amazing classic films that have been a strong influence on me and my work. I don’t know if I would ever want to remake someone else’s work. If the right project came along, maybe I could be open to it but I feel like I personally have a lot of stories that I want to tell. Having said that, a good story can come from any place but where I am at right now, as a director, I feel like it’s going to be my stories that I’m going to be telling in the future.