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The Viking Sagas: 'I was not meant to be a great director'


Michael Chapman Film-maker
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It's not... it's not fun. A lot of directing is not fun, a lot of it. Oh God! But, fortunately, I did a very bad job on Clan of the Cave Bear, so I was spared having to do it much anymore. I did... I directed a TV pilot and I directed... sometime later I directed a Viking movie in Iceland, which was also a fiasco, but not entirely my fault that time. That was partly a matter of casting and things. But it was fun to go to Iceland, and I don't... and I don't regret that at all. It was great fun to go to Iceland, and it was also a low budget, you know... off the book sort of movie anyway. So it was never... my failure was never even seen. And Iceland was fascinating.

[Q] Is this something that you wanted to pursue as a... as a career?

No, no.

[Q] Because there's a ten year gap between one job and another job.

I didn't... I realized how... how sticky a sort of job it was and how much I didn't need that part of it in my life, and I felt... after I realized what I had really been meaning to say in All the Right Moves I felt, and still do feel, that... although, please God, may it pass me by if I ever again... never again, at my age, but I felt that if you had some subject matter which you really deeply wanted to talk about and get out before the public – whatever it is, you know, be it a political or a social or a sexual... whatever personal... whatever it was that you wanted deeply to say that you cared about – then I would go through it again. But short of that, just as a job... whew, God, I really... I mean, I think as I said earlier, I had found many years ago that whatever my needs were to express myself... oh God, help me, whatever those things are, I did it plenty good enough as a cameraman and I didn't need that. And so, yes, until... I mean, until I got too old, yes, I would've done something else, had I really felt strongly about it. And I did feel strongly about the Iceland movie because I felt, and do feel still, very strongly about the original source material, the Iceland Sagas. The Iceland Sagas are extraordinary.

Michael Chapman (1935-2020), an American cinematographer, had a huge influence on contemporary film-making, working on an impressive array of classic films including 'Taxi Driver', 'Raging Bull', 'The Lost Boys' and 'The Fugitive'.

Listeners: Glen Ade Brown

British Director of Photography and Camera Operator Glen Ade Brown settled in Los Angeles 10 years ago.

He has been working on features, commercials and reality TV. He played an instrumental role in the award-winning ABC Family series "Switched" and is also a recipient of the Telly and the Cine Golden Eagle awards for Best Cinematography. He was recently signed by the Judy Marks Agency and is now listed in her commercial roster.

Tags: Clan of the Cave Bear, Iceland, All the Right Moves

Duration: 2 minutes, 10 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2004

Date story went live: 29 September 2010