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In 2009, we were the first to speak about the movie Metal Gear Solid : Philanthropy, a project for which we give you the news since 2004. Today, the movie, which has received praise from Hideo Kojima is going to have a sequel, on this occasion the Italian director Giacomo Talamini gave us an exclusive interview.

A very nice interview where we will speak about the birth of Metal Gear Solid: Philanthropy and its sequel, the formation of Hive Division and expectations’Giacomo Talamini about franchise snake.

Interview in French in Italian

Hello Giacomo, first of all thank you for the interview, in case there would be some people ignoring your training and your career, can you introduce yourself in a few words ?

Giacomo : Hi everyone! Thanks for the opportunity of this interview! I’m a self-taught videomaker who many years ago conceived this silly idea of shooting a Metal Gear-based feature film without a dime, and actually convinced a lot of talented people that such an idea had some sense. After a few years we kind of made it. So that was the beginning of our careers, and of the team called Hive Division.

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Giacomo Talamini (Solid Snake) in Metal Gear Solid Philanthropy Prologue (2005)

Fascinated by the cinema and Metal Gear franchise, you have produced in 2004 a first version of Metal Gear Solid: Philanthropy. Can you give us more details on this first project ?

Giacomo : We could consider it the “phase one” of the project. We had many ambitions and a lot of good will, but we were still basically a bunch of friends having fun with a camera. What was planned as a huge saga eventually resulted in a 30 minutes short which served as a Prologue 2005 for the real thing, in case we decided to move on.

A part of the team, actually, still felt like there was much more we could do, so we launched “phase two” of the project: a whole feature film about Metal Gear, first of a planned trilogy, which we released in 2009. And now, it’s time for “phase three” to begin, the sequels of the first movie, with yet another leap in production values and skills.

I realize this may sound nuts. A huge project without a budget, kept alive during almost 10 years and constantly updated in quality and ambitions, to the point that the last materials are almost impossible to trace back to the first attempts.

But that’s actually the spirit of Philanthropy, a huge playground for our team, in which to develop new techniques, the same way a tennis enthusiast never leaves his hobby bust just evolves and gets better with practice. “Still after that project after 10 years?” “Hell, I like playing tennis”.

Metal-Gear-Solid-Philanthropy-2009-Movie-Picture-01  Giacomo Talamini (Solid Snake) in Metal Gear Solid : Philanthropy (2009)

After several years of work, Hive Divison published in September 2009 fanfilm « Metal Gear Solid: Philanthropy – The Overnight Nation ». The story takes place after Metal Gear Solid story and does not take into account Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Why did you make that choice ?

Giacomo : Because the themes of MGS2 (The Patriots, information control, memes and so on) are actually my favourite in the entire saga. So at the time I kinda wanted to give my personal vision about that specific part of the MGS universe. I still do !

You have produced Metal Gear Solid: Philanthropy and you play as Solid Snake. Was a childhood dream to Play the hero of Metal Gear ?

Giacomo : Not really, I’d rather stay behind the camera, and see the movie I’m directing! But at the time, I simply couldn’t find anyone who had the amount of required free time, MGS knowledge or dedication to take the role. Now that the project has gone big and someone might actually be tempted, it has become a continuity problem. But should Hugh Jackman knock at my door, rest assured, I wouldn’t be jealous (laugh).

How did you know « Metal Gear » ?

Giacomo : I was a dedicated PC gamer, mad for FPS and RTS. But my friends were talking so much about this Metal Gear Solid for PSX that I decided to give it a try and bought the PC version. Which actually had some effect on me, as you can see!

The first Metal Gear Solid on the Playstation is our favorite episode of the series. Which episode is your favorite one and Why ?

Giacomo : MGS2, without a doubt. It was a high-budget behemoth who took the risk of challenging the public and its tastes like you would expect from an experimental indie game made by three guys in grandpa’s garage. It also was a daring tentative (I can’t remember many others, actually) to fully make use of the properties of videogame as a medium to convey a complex message. It was dazzling, confusing and ultimately illuminating.

What is for you the most sad sequence, in the franchise ?

Giacomo : Of course, spoiler alert! If you asked me a few years ago, I would have probably said it was the death of Sniper Wolf in MGS. It had a huge effect on me when I first played it, I wasn’t used to hear videogame characters played by good voice actors and, in general, I wasn’t used to such dramatic scenes in videogames. Then I grew up and today I would probably find it a bit overacted, so I have a new personal favourite “sad scene” in mind, the moment in MGS4 in which you enter the heliport of Shadow Moses. That surveillance camera on the left, which used to be a real threat, simply drops to the ground, an old fossil from a fading age, just like Snake. It made me really, really, really sad.

What do you think about the evolution of the franchise since 1987 ?

Giacomo : I think there’s nothing strictly comparable in the videogame industry. A saga which keeps a narrative continuity for 25 years, across tens of installments? You need to bring in Star Wars to find something similar. I honestly believed MGS4 was going to be the end of it. But I’m ready to be surprised.

What are your expectations about Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ?

Giacomo : Pretty high. I’m looking forward to seeing Big Boss meeting with its Enfants Terribles.

Few months ago, Kojima Productions announced that the actor Kiefer Sutherland will be the voice of Big Boss. What was your reaction ?

Giacomo : “At last”. Hayter did a good job for many years, but I think having him voice Big Boss, from MGS3 on, made no sense at all. It’s a different character, you need a different voice actor, it’s as simple as that. If anyone, since Solidus was his perfect clone, John Cygan was a much more sensible candidate. Richard Doyle was also pretty good in MGS4. I just think it was a difficult decision, from a PR standpoint, to substitute Hayter. And it shows, now everyone is complaining !

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Kiefer Sutherland is Big Boss in Metal Gear Solid V

We think David Hayter (Solid Snake) will be part of the game, to appear at the end of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. What is your opinion on the matter ?

Giacomo : It sure is possible. Create a fake scandal, pretending Hayter is banished from the franchise and then having him back secretly – it would be 100% Hideo Kojima.
Personally, though, I think Hayter has gradually declined as a Snake voice actor. MGS4 and Peace Walker were really, really overacted. Philipp Sacramento, who voices Snake in Philanthropy, is a better fit. No kidding.

Interview-David-Hayter-Doublage-de-Metal-Gear-Solid-4  David Hayter when dubbing Metal Gear Solid 4 (Interview)

How do you see the future of the series after MGS 5 ? Do you think it will be with HD remakes of episodes MSX ?

Giacomo: No I don’t think so. But I think we’ll see a remake of MGS (Twin Snakes doesn’t really count) sometimes. That particular installment, despite my personal love for MGS2, is just THE classic Metal Gear game.

We have already quoted that you are a movie fan, what are your favourite movies? And which ones are you waiting for?

Giacomo : I would say my favourite movie of all time is Apocalypse Now, and as you know I couldn’t resist putting a boat trip into the first movie (laugh). But generally speaking, I love so many movies I could never write all of them down.

Right now I’m waiting for news from Michael Mann’s last work, a cyber-thriller with Chris Hemsworth (I don’t think there’s a title yet). I’ m also very curious – and a tad scared – to see what J.J. Abrams will do with my beloved Star Wars. Don’t fuck it up, J.J. Just don’t.

Metal Gear Solid. Philanthropy – The Overnight Nation conquered the fans, and Hideo Kojima too, who said in 2010 on Twitter: « I watched it: It’s great, I wanted to cry seeing the love they have for Metal Gear. This is also a very well made film. I look forward to see more. » You had the chance to meet Hideo Kojima. Give us your feeling about this meeting the creator of Snake :

Giacomo: It was a very warm meeting and, for the first time, I had a real glimpse of how much Kojima appreciated our work. A few years ago I would have probably passed out (laugh). But still, it was very, very exciting. I’m curious to see what he’ll say now that we’re actually in the position of producing something that looks like a real movie!

Giacomo-Talamini-Hideo-Kojima-Picture-01  Giacomo Talamini & Hideo Kojima

Four years after the launch of « Metal Gear Solid: Philanthropy – The Overnight Nation », Hive Division says they are working work on the sequel. ? Is it a trilogy, a webseries ?

Giacomo : it will be a webseries. Consider Overnight Nation like a “Season 1” that was released in the form of a whole movie. Now – if we succeed in the crowdfunding campaign – we’ll create Season 2 and eventually Season 3.

We can see that you gave new equipment to Snake as the « Solid Eye », should we expect more from the latest games ?

Giacomo : Not much more, but you can expect something different. The Solid Eye Snake uses is part of a more complex “Panoptikon” system which enables his squad to share their senses (kind like SOP in MGS4). That way, they can engage the enemy with NLOS attacks (non-line of sight). Throwing granades at troops they don’t actually see and stuff like that.

Metal-Gear-Solid-Philanthropy-Part-2-2013-Trailer-Picture-01  Giacomo Talamini (Solid Snake) & Mattia Gri (DoP) on the set of « Metal Gear Solid : Philanthropy – Part 2 »

Will all the main actors of « The Overnight Nation » be part of the new episode ?

Giacomo : Yes they will! Along with new ones.

In « The Overnight Nation », you worked for the music with Aoife Ferry and Daniel James. Will they be involved in the future ?

Giacomo : Daniel is firmly in command of MGSP’s music department, right where we left him (laugh). I don’t know about Aoife, she was already too kind with her free contribution in Overnight Nation, I’m not sure it would be polite to ask her for more. Also, it’s tradition for MGS to have different singers from one episode to another. But hey, you never know!

Hollywood is currently working on the film adaptation of Metal Gear Solid. Which actor could be Snake, From your point of view ?

Giacomo : Hugh Jackman is my #1 choiche. Downright perfect.

Do you have a message for our readers and fans ?

Giacomo : Be cruel with us. That’s the only way we’ll learn from our mistakes!

To finish, what kind of question would you want to be asked and what would be your answer ?

Giacomo : “What does the direct feed audio from the scenes sound like?”
It sound like a bunch of babies playing with toy rifles, because when I’m pretending to fire a gun in MGSP, I can’t help imitating the sound it would produce. It’s beyond me. I just can’t stop doing “tatatatata” or “click-clack” when I’m recharging.

Rediscover Metal Gear Solid : Philanthropy – The Overnight Nation :

Hive Division on :
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Metal Gear Solid Philanthropy Official Website

Interview by Thomas O. for Eklecty-City.fr, who thank Giacomo Talamini for having lent the game an interview. Also thank you to Valentina Paggiarin.

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