TALKING PICTURES is an interview series in which I talk to the people behind some of my favorite movies. From cult movie directors to character actors, from seasoned veterans to brilliant newcomers, from celebrated artists to filmmakers who haven’t received the recognition they deserve – these folks have made some great movies and have lots of fascinating stories to tell.
Back in the Nineties, I came across a comedy on German television starring Bill Pullman that was called U-BOOT ACADEMY – a film that seemed to be in the same vein as the POLICE ACADEMY movies, with lovably goofy characters and a delightfully silly kind of humor. Even though Michael Winslow had a small part in it, the film actually didn’t have anything to do with the ACADEMY series, as I later found out – its original title was GOING UNDER. Regardless of its connection or lack thereof to the ACADEMY movies, I loved the film – its visual gags, its crazy ideas, its Zucker-style absurdity. Pullman was in his wonderful early comedy mode, and the film (which I’ve always seen in its dubbed version, which adds quite a lot of puns) remains endlessly quotable.
Over the years, I’ve always kept an eye out for other films made by GOING UNDER’s director, Mark W. Travis. While Mark has worked extensively in television and theatre, GOING UNDER remains his only feature film. However, Mark went on to become a well-regarded teacher, doing acting and directing workshops all over the world, and releasing several books on directing, e.g. THE FILM DIRECTOR’S BAG OF TRICKS. You can find out more about him on his website.
After revisiting the film and writing about it (here – a German-language review, though, like most entries in this blog), I decided to contact Mark and interview him about the film. I was
surprised to hear that there was a lot of behind-the-scenes drama in post-production, and the finished film isn’t what Mark wanted at all …