What Does a Hollywood Director Think About Movies These Days
Shawn Levy, the illustrious director behind Deadpool 3 and All the Light We Cannot See, explores the concept of unity and shared cinematic experiences in an increasingly fragmented world. In this article, we’ll delve into Levy’s reflections on the magic of the movie theater and the enduring power of storytelling.
Shawn Levy’s impressive directorial portfolio includes hits like Free Guy, The Adam Project, The Night at the Museum franchise, Real Steel, The Internship, Date Night, and This Is Where I Leave You. As the founder of 21 Laps Entertainment, which produced the iconic series Stranger Things, Levy’s influence on modern cinema is undeniable. He is currently at the helm of the upcoming Netflix limited series, All The Light We Cannot See, set to premiere on November 2, 2023.
The Essence of Blockbusters
Levy’s cinematic journey began in his youth when he repeatedly visited the theater to experience the wonder of films like “Return of the Jedi.” He reminisces about the moment when Darth Vader confronts Luke Skywalker, leading to an epic lightsaber battle. The profound stillness of the audience, followed by an eruption of excitement, is etched into his memory.
This, Levy believes, encapsulates the essence of blockbusters. When a film offers a unique tone, resonant themes, a connective experience, and reminds the audience that the world is grander than themselves, it leaves an everlasting mark.
The Cynicism and the Scroll
In recent years, cynicism has shrouded the possibility of such unifying cinematic experiences. The constant scroll of content has conditioned attention spans to become shorter. The digital world’s privacy feeds us what we already know, narrowing our perspective. Levy sees this as a threat to the vibrant life cinema can offer. He ponders how, in this fragmented world, people can still come together through storytelling.
Reviving Communal Experiences
Levy’s film “Free Guy,” released in 2021, arrived during a time when many were avoiding theaters due to the pandemic. However, it defied expectations by becoming the most successful original movie of that period. It brought people back to communal spaces and highlighted the value of shared experiences. Levy recalls the joy of sitting in a theater with strangers, laughing and gasping at the same moment, all woven together by a storyteller’s craft.
The Power of Shared Emotions
Levy recounts a conversation with David Mamet, who described the thrill of hearing his writing evoke genuine laughter from strangers in a dark room. This shared emotion, free from pretense, is a powerful aspect of storytelling.
This experience isn’t confined to theaters. As the executive producer of “Stranger Things,” Levy has witnessed millions of people across generations and borders coming together around a TV show. He argues that when a story connects people through shared emotions, it achieves blockbuster status, whether it’s in a cinema or your living room.
The Devotion to Audience Delight
A blockbuster, in any form, is devoted to audience delight. It’s not a purely self-indulgent creation but an endeavor to make people feel. Levy shares his approach to creating moments that resonate with viewers, drawing from iconic scenes and framing that left a lasting impact on him.
As he works on Deadpool 3, Levy harks back to his cherished memories of “Star Wars” in crafting scenes. The movie director aims to recreate the magic of the “Jedi moment” that inspired him in his latest project.
Shawn Levy’s musings offer an insightful perspective on the enduring power of cinema in our ever-evolving world. The ability of storytelling to bring people together, evoke emotions, and create forever memories remains an intrinsic part of the human experience. Cinematic blockbusters, in any form, are a treasure that continues to unite and inspire audiences.