"Robert contacted me, I got an email at 2:30 in the morning with him saying to me, 'Uh, fancy filming in Hyde Park in two or three weeks?'" Pope tells Billboard about being tapped for ANNIVERSARY. "I had to scramble around to get all the equipment and people we'd need." Pope did talk Smith into letting him use 4K cameras to shoot the show, played before 65,000 fans on July 7, 2018. "I hoped secretly it would be a cinema film at some point," notes Pope -- who got his wish when ANNIVERSARY received a limited theatrical screening during August.
"Once we shot it, I knew it was a great show," says Pope, whose relationship with the Cure dates back to the early '80s and includes more than three dozen music videos for the band as well as the 1986 concert movie The Cure in Orange and an abandoned project filmed at Wembley Arena. "I could see Robert was enjoying himself. I saw him and I knew he was quietly pleased, shall we say, with his voice, which was astounding that night. And what I did see going on between all of them was a lot of chemistry and a lot of enjoyment." Pope got a sense of what was coming when he attended a Cure rehearsal a couple of days before "in a very, very, very small room somewhere in the south of England," sitting in the middle of the band and listening to the sound mix on headphones.
"I realized this was probably going to be the quintessential Cure set, in a way," Pope recalls. "It's like a (feature) movie, really. Robert wrote the 'script' for me, and my job and ambition as a director is to make that script manifest to the big screen. He very much had big screen ambitions for this."
Pope says Smith was also "very involved" in the editing of the film and "was particularly anxious about the daily stuff" he was shown.
"We sent him over a cut every day we worked and he would feed back to us," Pope says. "Towards the end, when he was using adjectives that were more complimentary, I think he realized that magic was happening. He's not always the most effusive of people, but you kind of soldier on. I figured if he wasn't stopping me he was kind of liking it."
Pope -- whose credits also include Paul McCartney, Bryan Ferry, the Cars, Neil Young, David Bowie, Queen, Wham! and many more -- isn't sure yet what his next job with the Cure may be. But he'll certainly be open to creating visuals for any of the new music Smith and company have been working on. "I haven't heard the tracks," Pope says, "but I've discussed them briefly with (Smith) I understand they're 10 minutes long, which I think is wonderful. That's exactly what the world needs. It's going to be quintessential Cure is what I feel. Whether or not they'll make videos, I don't know; I'm sure songs like that will cry out for it. And whether or not they'll make them with me, who knows? We haven't discussed it. It's always a great mystery with the Cure."