In the 1990s there was a sudden increase in new filmmakers; directors born from the newly emerged independent film world who were able to budget their films in a way that increased the profits for studios. These filmmakers were not seasoned professionals; they were fans. In order to understand where this trend, we need to look a decade earlier. The advent of VCRs created an influx of filmmakers educated by video store. This is not to say that they did not also go to school to learn the mechanics of filmmaking, but the passion was developed from a wealth of material which hadn’t been near as available for previous generations of movie-makers.
These directors are a joy to watch, often developing a loyal fan-base because of their ability to embrace the spectacle of cinema. Some have criticized this group of filmmakers for relying too heavily upon previously established genres, but working within the structure of these known narratives is what forces the filmmakers to find another way to place their own stamp on the material. This is why many of the most successful genre directors also end up being the most stylistically recognizable. This list includes directors such as Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Guy Ritchie, Sam Raimi and Kevin Smith. Another name that has become impossible to ignore when compiling a list of these directors is Paul W.S. Anderson, a filmmaker whose love of cinema was clearly apparent in my conversation with him.
Though he has managed to pull back the reigns on the violence enough to get a PG-13 when necessary, Anderson’s strongest films seem to revel in the spectacle of action, often inserted into the science fiction genre. Soldier (1998) blended typical R-rated action fare into a science fiction plot. Event Horizon was so violent that the first rating it received before cuts were made was NC-17. Death Race (2008) is not outright science fiction, but does exist in an imagined dystopian future (as did Shopping) and certainly appreciates the value of shocking violence. Anderson’s latest film shows that he is just as comfortable working in the past as he has been in the future, though despite its PG-13 rating, Pompeii still manages to contain more than a few brutal action sequences.
Ryan Izay: First of all, I’d like to say that I’m a big fan of your work. That’s something I don’t always get the chance to say with complete sincerity.
Paul W.S. Anderson: Thank you very much.
Izay: The scope of your films appears to be growing with each movie you make, and Pompeii obviously having a very large scale, but I would like to hear how your experiences in lower budget productions has affected the way that you make blockbusters today.
Izay: When you make these films, as you’ve said, there’s a lot of research and preparation that goes into their construction. Do you approach your career with the same foresight and planning? In other words, when you were making Shopping, did you intent to end up where you are today or has it all been somewhat happenstance?
Izay: Shopping had a little bit of controversy when it was released,  and I feel as though even your PG-13 films have retained some of that edge. Is that just your personal tastes, style or something that you intentionally insert for mass appeal?
Izay: Let’s talk about
Most disaster epics in the past decade have been about either recent tragedies,
or an imagined future with some type of apocalyptic dread. Obviously zombie
apocalypse is one example of a type that you have dabbled in. Were you aware of
the Pompeii ’s unique historical disaster
qualities during production? Pompeii
Izay: Aside from the disaster elements of the story, it’s actually a fairly traditional sword-and-sandal epic, complete with a number of fairly bad-ass gladiator sequences. I’m curious to know what some of your inspirations were for this portion of the film were.
Izay: With the action especially, it felt very intentional what you showed, so that it feels like there was little extraneous material.
Izay: If you had the chance, is there anything you would have done bigger, with a larger scope that wasn’t possible but you wish you could have done?
Izay: Speaking of director’s cuts, since you brought it up. Quite a few of your films have had rumors of a director’s cut. And I know many fans would be eager to know if there are any plans of releasing any in the future, in particular Event Horizon.
Izay: I would love to ask about your use of 3D, but I feel like I have to use my last question to ask about Resident Evil 6, to see if there is anything you can hint at for fans to look forward to.
Izay: Alright, fair enough. (Dejected pause) So,
is your fourth film in 3D. Do you
enjoy working in this medium? And what steps do you take to plan for this extra
Anderson: I’ve always believed that rather than seeing 3D as a kind of add-on thing, a kind of late developmental process four weeks before the movie comes out, I’ve always felt that you should approach 3D really in the nuts and bolts of assembling a movie, from production design to lighting to script. I’m very aware even in the script process that we’re making a 3D film and I try and design scenes and build sets that I know will enhance the 3D, and that way I think it feels more organic to the film rather than an add-on and gimmicky. It’s the same way when people started making color films; you started thinking about the color of what people wore, and what color the sets should be painted. I don’t think color should be a post-production thing, and I don’t think 3D should be post-production thing.
Izay: Thanks so much for talking with me.
Anderson: And as far as Resident Evil 6, I’m sorry that I can’t be really elaborate on it, but its something that definitely Milla and I both want to do. So there will be a Resident Evil 6. I just can’t give you any details about it.
Izay: Can I get a confirmation on possible titles, at least? There are a lot of rumors floating around right now.
Izay: Alright, thanks again, Paul.
 Shopping is about thieves who steal by ramming a car into storefronts, and was banned from exhibition by select cinemas in
upon release. England