What are you happiest about with Statuesque now that you can look back at it with some degree of objectivity?
There is no objectivity, absolutely none. It was all madness and all joy. Have I said it was enormously fun? It was really fun making that movie, but it’s also really good. It was so much fun working with Sxip [the composer] on the score and I think it’s just beautiful. The good side for me was that we had three days of shooting and I got everything I needed to get in the can during those three days, even though I would have killed for a fourth day. It’s only when you’re actually in the editing room that you start thinking: “I wish I had that shot!” or, “If I had a fourth day, we would have got that coverage!” but that’s okay. I had an amazing team, so it’s one of those things where I can happily say that everything good about it is good because I had such amazing people. I had wonderful actors, a fabulous camera team, great set designers, the makeup is glorious, the costumes are amazing, plus I had Hilary Bevan Jones who honestly is one of the most amazing producers. She kept the atmosphere light and the people happy and everything going and there were no crises. Of course there are a thousand little things that go wrong as they go wrong on every film set, but we made our movie and all was good.
Has this project whetted your appetite for more directing work?
What I love is storytelling and this is such a delightful way to tell a story. Honestly, the next time I have a story in my head where I think, “This is a story that has to be told in film, and I want to do this!” I’ll do it.
There was talk for some time about you directing an adaptation of your comic book story Death: The High Cost Of Living for New Line Cinema. Did that pretty much bite the dust when the studio collapsed?
The horrible thing was we had got to the point where we had a flashing green light at New Line, so the giant ship was just moving down the slipway and into the ocean when New Line went away. I had a conversation yesterday with a journalist who wanted me to try and explain the whole thing and I said: “You have to understand, I do not control any of this.” That’s the hardest part of it. Coraline got made because I loved Henry Selick’s work, so when I finished writing Coraline, I sent it to Henry and I stood by him and there was even a period when I wound up giving Henry an extended option for free, so a lot of it was just believing in him and hanging in there. If DC Comics had owned Coraline, it would never have got made, or it wouldn’t have been done like that.
So what’s coming up next?
Mostly books. Writing books is the official thing that I can say right now. Of course there is other stuff but that I’m afraid is off the record.
Presumably that includes one well-known British science fiction series – Doctor Who. But at this point, can you at least acknowledge that you’ve worked on it?
Hypothetically speaking, was I in any way involved with the next season of any long-running science fictional television series, hypothetically speaking were that true, it would also be true that as far as I know until the second of January nothing is being said…