For today’s episode, I had the honor and pleasure of talking to John Ottman, best known as the editor and composer of several X-MEN films – X-MEN 2, DAYS OF FUTURE PAST and APOCALYPSE – and of other Bryan Singer movies like THE USUAL SUSPECTS, VALKYRIE and SUPERMAN RETURNS. In 2019, he won an Academy Award for editing the Queen biopic BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. He’s also scored numerous other well-known films like THE NICE GUYS, HOUSE OF WAX, GOTHIKA, UNKNOWN and NON-STOP.
Our conversation, however, revolves around John’s feature film debut as a director: URBAN LEGENDS: FINAL CUT from 2000, the sequel to Jamie Blanks’ successful neo-slasher film URBAN LEGEND. Where the original film focused on killings inspired by urban legends, John’s sequel was set in a film school where the students are murdered because of their connection to a certain movie, so the film features numerous creative sequences which playfully comment on the mechanisms of making movies and the tropes of horror movies.
In our interview, John recalls how he got on board as a director, how the project developed and how an added scene changed the tone of the movie. He talks about working with a young Eva Mendes, discusses how his own experiences in film school found their way into the film, how he ended up editing the movie himself, and much more. John also recalls how he missed out on the very first X-MEN movie because of his commitment to URBAN LEGENDS: FINAL CUT, and he discusses a new project currently in development with him as a director.
The interview with John Ottman was conducted in connection with our German-language podcast Lichtspielplatz, so if you speak German, check out episode #51, which features an in-depth discussion of the first two URBAN LEGEND movies. Also, make sure to listen to Talking Pictures episode #17 in which I talk to the director of the original film, Jamie Blanks.
So without any further ado, here’s Talking Pictures with John Ottman!
The mp3 file can be downloaded HERE.
Photos courtesy of John Ottman.
Photo credit for Ottman portrait: Photo by Michael Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock (9953559dr) John Ottman at Variety’s Music for Screens Summit at NeueHouse Hollywood on October 30, 2018. Variety Music for Screens summit, Los Angeles, USA – 30 Oct 2018
Thanks to Dr. Wily, my Lichtspielplatz podcasting partner for audio editing. The music was created by Clark Kent.
Thanks to Michael Hollands from Sound of the Movies.