The ''Hollow Man'' and ''Starship Troopers'' director dishes pointers for making a big-budget film

By Paul Verhoeven
Updated October 25, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

”The first piece of advice for a director making a big-budget film is: Don’t do it! They are too difficult, too much depends on the grosses, and they require too much time. So unless you have a really great script, avoid big-budget films at all costs. There is no point in spending millions of dollars on special effects if you don’t have a strong story. You need to have a really great script, or you need to have Tom Cruise — one or the other, preferably both.”

”Keep yourself in terrific shape. Directing a film like Hollow Man or Total Recall is very draining, both emotionally and physically, so you have to be certain that you and your crew are ready for the experience. Before shooting begins, you have to work out, like Mick Jagger does when he starts a tour. That helps you get through the filmmaking process without collapsing or breaking down.”

”Make sure that everyone involved with the movie wants to make the same movie that you are making. If you don’t have that kind of support, and your vision of the movie is different from the studio’s, you will experience terrible difficulties. Delayed shoots and natural disasters are bad, but they are nothing compared to a studio that has withdrawn its support from your film. Luckily, that has never happened to me, but it can happen.”