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Talking Pictures #16: Jan de Bont, Director of TWISTER

Filmmaker Jan de Bont became famous as one of the most creative and exciting cinematographers of the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. He started out in the Netherlands where he worked on Wim Verstappen’s controversial film BLUE MOVIE and quickly became known for his collaborations with director Paul Verhoeven on movies like TURKISH DELIGHT, KEETJE TIPPEL and THE FOURTH MAN. He continued working with Verhoeven in America on FLESH & BLOOD and BASIC INSTINCT and became a sought-after DP for blockbusters like DIE HARD, THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, LETHAL WEAPON 3 and FLATLINERS.

But Jan de Bont is also a very talented and unique director in his own right. He made his 1994 directorial debut with the wonderfully tense action thriller SPEED, which he quickly followed up with the amazing adventure/disaster movie TWISTER, which was written by Michael Crichton and his wife and produced by Steven Spielberg. He also made the much-maligned sequel SPEED 2, which is actually a very fun action thriller if taken on its own terms; he directed the Spielberg-produced horror movie THE HAUNTING, which features one of the greatest horror houses in recent horror history, and the video game movie TOMB RAIDER 2 which features numerous inventive action sequences.

I spoke with Jan de Bont about the making of TWISTER and his philosophies of creating realism on screen. Our conversation took place in connection with a video featurette I produced for a 25th anniversary re-release of TWISTER for the German label Turbine who created a beautiful mediabook issue of the film with a new Dolby Atmos & Auro 3D soundtrack. More info on the release can be found here, my interview featurette is called STORM CHASERS – JAN DE BONT ON TWISTER.

We also talked about Jan’s casting choices, his admiration of Stanley Kubrick’s movies, and much more. Please forgive a couple of moments where the sound quality isn’t ideal, but I feel the conversation is definitely insightful and also entertaining enough to ignore a few background noises.

If you speak German, make sure to also listen to our companion podcast Lichtspielplatz and check out episode #50, which features an in-depth discussion of TWISTER in German.

So with no further ado, here’s Talking Pictures with maestro Jan de Bont!

The mp3 file can be downloaded HERE.

Photo of Jan de Bont conversation (C) Ghost Light Productions/Turbine Medien GmbH.
Portrait of Jan de Bont courtesy of Jan de Bont & Trish de Bont.
Thanks to Dr. Wily, my Lichtspielplatz podcasting partner for audio editing. The music was created by Clark Kent.

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