Cult Movies: Were you happy with tho filming of Rocketeer while it was in production?
Dave Stevens: I purposely tried not to look too hard at it, other than just watching the dailies. Once it got strung together in the form of a rough cut, I began to see what it could be, but I also saw an infinite number of ways it could have gone wrong. At that point I had to take a step away, make myself scarce because I didn't want to see that interim stage and have that color my feeling about the finished product. The rough cut is always the ugliest, most alarming version of a film you could be privy to. I'd look at about 15 minutes of film at a time, and I'd sit in on the looping and so on. I purposely avoided seeing the final product until the very last sages, when they had a temp dub on it. They didn't have the right music on it, but it was good enough to see whether or not Rocketeer worked as a unit; and it did, so I breathed a sigh of relief knowing full well that it could have gone way the other way. It could have missed the target completely if it hadn't all come together in the editing. But Joe Johnson is one of those directors who edits as he shoots; he shoots geared toward the editing.
My main concern was whether it would hold together as a story. It had been re-written to death. Also, a lot of the dialog was being created right on the set.
CM: Were they getting constant input from you?
DS: I was on the set every day. I was part of the crew. I had access to every department, as – not a trouble shooter but as a support system. Given the title of co-producer will allow you to voice your opinion on many subjects, help keep people working together instead of at cross-purposes, which sometimes happens.
CM: Would you go through it again?
DS: In a second! I worked on a lot of films over the past 15 years or so, in various capacities. But that was always as a hired hand. I worked on the full range of productions from Ted Mikels films up to Steven Spielberg things. But on Rocketeer I was more than a hired hand.