From Television to Film, Magnus Martens has probably directed some of your favorite binge worthy shows. Some of his work includes Fear The Walking Dead, Power, Banshee, 12 Monkeys and many others. In the coming months, his newly directed feature film, SAS: Red Notice, which producers have referred to as "the most intense and authentic SAS action thriller ever seen." will be released. We had a chance to talk to the director about his passion of filmmaking & how the worlds of film and television vary from each other.
Maybe what I love the most, is the collaborative process – a bunch of people working like crazy together to make the impossible happen. I imagine it to be like being in a band. As a kid I loved writing and making stupid comics, so I knew from a young age that I wanted to tell stories. It wasn´t until I was a little older when I realized from reading end-credits that there were real people who had making films as actual proper jobs, and I started thinking that maybe I could tell my stories as films and it could maybe be a job one day. It felt like the perfect medium for my elevated, strange, violent and fun stories. It was Indiana Jones, Back to the future, The Terminator and a bunch of 70´s paranoia-thrillers my dad showed me that really cemented what great filmmaking could be.
I grew up on a small island in the fjords of Norway – not the exactly the center of the universe, but we had an endless stream of movies available to us on VHS from the video store. The guy behind the counter wasn´t too hung up on what age we were, so my upbringing was a pretty unhealthy diet of horror, action, thrillers and weird comedies. I grew up on American pop-culture, but living at a safe distance from America gave me a different perspective and sensibility on how to approach storytelling and filmmaking, I think.
SAS: Red Notice is a fast-moving action thriller about a train that is hijacked by some ruthless terrorists deep down in the Channel Tunnel and only one guy who can stop them. It has some really fun and intense action and great cast with Sam Heughan and Ruby Rose in the lead. And it's pretty romantic, too!
A show where you come in and do one or two episodes is such a good and fun experience, because a tv-show is like a family. You come in from the outside and join a warm, welcoming family of people who loves the show they are working on. There's of course never enough time or money on any show, but there is already a machinery up and running, so the process is normally pretty smooth and despite the pace you have to work in, you get to do a lot of interesting things. A movie is different, as you set up everything from scratch to hopefully make the machinery work smoothly really quickly so that you can do all the things you dream of doing for the movie. In terms of pure story-telling, the difference between TV and a movie, is of course that in TV one episode is just part of a bigger story, but when making a movie, you are telling the whole story. So you have to think very differently. I love both formats and will continue to work in both!
That is always a difficult question, as inspiration always changes. But I think that my filmmaking-DNA consists of 33% Die Hard, 33% Cohen Brothers, 33% The Marathon Man and 1% Bergman.
I think it would be pretty helpful if fewer decision-makers on top of the food chain were white male a**holes who´s more interested in power and abusing it, than the actual filmmaking.
Don't be an a**hole to anyone. Ever. Be nice to people, be collaborative, work harder than hard and always have tons of fun along the way!
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