Clash of the Titans director Louis Leterrier has a vision

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      LOS ANGELES—Louis Leterrier seems an unlikely candidate to be a director of American action films, including the new remake of the classic B movie Clash of the Titans. Raised in Paris, the son of actor-director Franí§ois Leterrier, he was making short films as a teenager and was encouraged by his parents to attend the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts in New York City. When his visa expired, he returned to France and expected to work his way up the ranks in French cinema. That changed when French filmmaker Luc Besson asked him to take on an artistic-director’s role for an American film he was producing. The film was the action movie The Transporter, and when the assigned director, Corey Yuen, didn’t turn up at work on the first day, Leterrier found himself thrust into a role that he admits he was not prepared for.

      Watch the trailer for Clash of the Titans.

      “The weekend before principal photography, Corey came to my room and said, ”˜I am exhausted,’ ” Leterrier says in an L.A. hotel room. “ ”˜You have to start the movie, and I will pick it up afterwards.’ I said, ”˜Corey, I have never directed anything like this and I don’t know anything about cars or karate. I don’t have a car. I have a bicycle. I am not that guy.’ He said, ”˜No, you have to start tomorrow.’ The next day at 7 a.m. I went to set and said, ”˜Let’s put the camera there.’ I was still hoping he would show up. I said, ”˜Let’s do a tracking shot and wait.’ At 10:15, the AD [assistant director] said, ”˜You have to go.’ I said my first ”˜Action’ and I was forced to direct the movie.”

      While Yuen got the director’s credit for Transporter, Leterrier got credit for its sequel and went from there to the Jet Li film Unleashed, the comic-book movie The Incredible Hulk, and Clash of the Titans, which opens on April 2 in Vancouver. The movie stars Avatar’s Sam Worthington as Perseus, the mortal son of Zeus. Leterrier says that when he started out at film school, he had creative ideas that he believed he could eventually bring to movies. He is now hoping that his success with action films will persuade studios that he can do other things.

      The Transporter movies are great, but they aren’t mine,” he says. “This movie is more my vision, but I am still not at the point that I can bring all the ideas that I have for movies to the studios. Maybe Clash will change that, or maybe it won’t and I will have to do Transporter 7. If you say ”˜Louis Leterrier’, people don’t know who I am. But I am hoping that if they see my movies they might think, ”˜They were all successful in the U.S., and he comes from France and he is only 36.’ That would interest them a little. But I know I have to be proactive if I am going to get to where I would like to end up.”