The sections of my films that have dealt with what I consider to be beyond what I am able to express in the script in word, dialogue. You then have to look to art really to teach you or guide you in terms of expressing things beyond dialogue and narrations. I’m not sure if I can remember when I first saw a picture by Francis Bacon, but it would have been very young, I mean he has always been my favourite artist. I just find a tremendous atmosphere to his paintings, a sort of moving quality, I think that for me suggestions of distortions of a memory in the way the faces are portrayed in a way that I find fascinating. In various ways in my work, I have tried to echo or represent cinematically.
I think I am very, very drawn to the bleakness of it really because I think whilst it might be emotionally uncomfortable, the bleakness of what is represented there; it makes you think about the limitations of human experience and human understanding of our own place and things and all that.
Heath and John Caglione as make-up artist and myself are trying to figure out a way to take the clown make up but make it more threatening somehow, more real world, and texture it really. I wound up taking a book of Bacon paintings and showing them a lot of the different distortions of the way that the paint would run together and the colours would mix. We wound up applying that to the make-up and letting it have a slightly worn through quality, sweaty.
I think what Heath was able to do with his make-up, with the make-up artist is kind of really use his face as a canvas, you know, and really try and achieve some of that tortured quality and some of that threat in the actual make-up of the joker.
I really love the black spaces, it makes me think a lot about of the geography of the painting, about where that figure sits in the world and I quite like the paradoxical nature, the more he removes the less he tells you really about what’s out there, the more I find myself thinking about what’s in that dark space behind and everything. Because you never have the resources to fully create the world that you’re creating so you are leaving a lot of void, a lot of gaps and so part of what you start trying to do is using those necessary gaps intelligently so that where you’re not showing something its helping you rather than feeling the limitations of the world you have created.
One of the interesting things for me about seeing paintings in real life is it’s a completely different experience than when you see them in a book, an particularly with oil painting, you know, we were talking about Bacon and when you look at an oil painting to be able to see the thickness of the paint and to be able to see how the brush moved and the brush strokes and everything. You really start to feel the personality behind the craft of it which is very inspiring.
Any way in which you can get a little bit more of a handmade quality into what you are doing, a little bit more personality to it, I think that helps you really create an atmosphere for the audience and so one of the reasons that I love film is that it is, as an analogue medium, it has a lot of life to it. Even in its imperfections, it’s got a lot of personality to it and when you get into the realm of digital imaging, it’s I think inherently there is a little bit more of a barrier between what you are trying to do and reaching the audience.
Having other frames of reference, having other windows into other possibilities is essential.