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Interview: Alex Proyas

The director of The Crow and I, Robot talks with us about Knowing, Dracula Year Zero, a Dark City sequel and his problems with Fox regarding ‘I, Robot’...

Alex Proyas

Australian-born Alex Proyas made his name in music videos in the 1980s before scoring a huge cult hit with The Crow. His 1998 sci-fi noir Dark City proved the intriguing template from which The Matrix was struck a year later, though in itself it took many years to build up the huge cult following that has finally seen a director’s cut released, and talk of a sequel. Proyas’ problems with Fox regarding studio interference on his 2004 sci-fi blockbuster I, Robot led to an enduring rift with the company, but now the director is back with Knowing, a dark tale of prophecy and disaster starring Nic Cage...

What attracted you to Knowing when it was in turnaround?

The central concept of the time capsule with a set of predictions in it really grabbed my attention, like a kind of odd little urban myth. But that was really only the springboard for some of my own ideas which came out of thinking about that notion. The movie takes some pretty unexpected twists and turns. People are really only getting the tip of the iceberg through all the trailers. On one level it's kind of a disaster movie, I guess, if you want to think of it in those terms. But it's actually the characters and ideas, most importantly, that interested me. I'm always fascinated by characters who are on a quest for truth in some way, and Nic Cage's character in this is really on this kind of spiritual quest for meaning. He believes that the universe has no meaning. He's looking for his purpose in the world, and that really intrigued me. It takes on a somewhat metaphysical aspect. The more I dug into that, the more interesting stuff came up.

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