Being new to this whole directing-a-silent-film thing, Michel Hazanavicius apparently "immersed" himself in the genre by watching a hundred or more old films, reading memoirs and biographies of famous directors from the silent era and brushing up on his early Hollywood gossip. (Source)
Sounds like fun to us.
Hazanavicius notes he's met many other directors with the fantasy of making a silent film. "It's the purest way to tell a story," he says. "It's about creating images that tell a story and you don't need dialogue for that." (Source)
"Not Too Much Mugging?"
Of his casting, Hazanavicius says he couldn't have asked someone like Robert DeNiro to star in his film, even though he "may be the greatest living actor," because he's just too "stone-faced in his acting style." He chose Dujardin, Bejo and Goodman because of their ability to be expressive in their faces and bodies without "pantomiming." (Source)
Like a Time Capsule
The Artist may not be a parody like the OSS 117 movies, but it does use some of the same gizmos to imitate the past. Just as his OSS 117 series emulates the 60s in fashion, sets, and even camerawork, Hazanavicius also stayed faithful to the world of 1920s Hollywood in The Artist.
Although Peppy and George's final tap dance would have looked pretty cool in 3D, Hazanavicius refused to use the 3D Steadicam shots popular in today's filmmaking, as it would have been totally out of sync with the early-film feel.