I watched Battle Los Angeles last night (good film; intense and fun). In the extras there’s a doc about the director, Jonathan Liebesman. If you haven’t heard of him, that’s not surprising. Battle LA was only his fourth feature. He wasn’t exactly an unknown in Hollywood, but he was still in a place where he needed to hustle to get this choice assignment.
Initially, the producers had no idea who would direct this $70 million blockbuster. They interviewed lots of directors, most more qualified than Liebesman. His knew this going in, so he decided to blow them away in the interview. He brought in five black bags filled with props and goodies he’d made. He had drawings of the soldiers and aliens, models he’d built, before and after photos of the soldiers in battle, storyboards of various scenes, and even a ten-minute computerized previsualization of one of the action sequences. He worked incredibly hard on these materials, but it paid off. None of the other directors could touch his presentation or his passion. The producers hired him immediately.