Misery: The Play – Interview with William Goldman
One of the most terrifying and tremendous thrillers of the 1990’s, Rob Reiner’s film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Stephen King, an ode to psychotic fans everywhere, MISERY, has always seemed somehow destined for the physical confines and emotional excesses of the stage. Now, thanks to two-time Academy Award-winning screenwriter William Goldman, the man responsible for the original film’s screenplay as well as many films, books, plays and musicals of his own, along with director Will Frears, the nightmare is coming to the stage at the Bucks County Playhouse for a special limited engagement November 24 through December 8.
Read an in depth interview with William Goldman and Will Frears by Pat Cerasaro at BroadwayWorld.com HERE
Frankenweenie – Tim Burton Interview
With Frankenweenie, Tim Burton goes back to a couple periods of his own history. One is his childhood, during which he was alienated from average school life, and found solace in monsters and movies. Another is his early career, when he created a short film for Disney that, creatively, was his first big success, and professionally his first major failure. Meant to run before the re-release of Pinocchio, the original Frankenweenie, about a boy who reanimates his dead dog, was deemed too dark and weird, and shelved for years, although I do remember seeing it before a screening of The Nightmare Before Christmas in London. Check out this interview with Burton from /Film HERE
The Real Amityville Horror
With the announcement of a new documentary about Daniel Lutz entitled, My Amityville Horror, and yet another Amityville Horror movie, it’s time to check up on the ‘real’ story behind the house’s haunted history.
Producer Tony DeRosa-Grund has acquired some video footage of a seance carried out in the Amityville house in 1976 and he’s going to use this material as the basis for a new feature film. The seance was filmed for a report on the local news, but also recorded for the local radio station. That particular report was produced by Michael Linder, later one of the creators of America’s Most Wanted.
Is the story of America’s most famous haunted house real horror, or a common hoax? In 1976 The Lutz family fled from their home in Amityville, Long Island, claiming that they had been driven out by terrifying and unexplained phenomena. Their story went on to become a worldwide bestseller which spawned dozens of books and films.
This followed the mysterious slaughtering of an entire family one night a few years previous. The murderer claimed it was the work of the devil. Mediums and psychic investigators have claimed that there is a curse on the property, while others believe the gruesome history has been invented as a money-making scheme.
This documentary sets out to discover the truth about one of American folklore’s most notorious mysteries and features George Lutz’s last on-camera interview before he died in 2006.
This is the two angle raw video footage that George and Tim Yancey shot for a project about the Lutz haunting. Due to his passing a short time after this was shot, the video was never used. It is the only time Tim ever publically heard him discuss the events of the last night in the house… and the only time it has been documented on film.
Guillermo Del Toro – Interview at Comic Con
Excellent Comic Con interview with Guillermo Del Toro. Courtesy of DEADLINE.
Del Toro is back at Comic-Con after completing the robots vs monsters saga Pacific Rim financed by Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. While it won’t be released until July 12, 2013, some in the industry have seen the early visuals and said they are stunning and they predict Del Toro will make a stirring return that was informed by his setbacks.
DEADLINE: You are finally here with a movie you directed. Describe your road here.
DEL TORO: Two years in New Zealand on The Hobbit, a year in L.A. and Canada developingMountains. Luckily, during the year of Mountains, I started on Pacific Rim and when people ask me why I have four or five things in development, here’s the answer. Paraphrasing John Lennon, a career is what happens when you’re making other plans. I once had a gap between Mimic and Devil’s Backbone of four years and haven’t had that long a gap until now. It is four years since Hellboy II. In 1998, my father was kidnapped for 72 days, I had to emigrate to Texas, and start over. I was recuperating from a bad experience on Mimic and luckily I found Pedro Almodovar, who basically supported me in doing Devil’s Backbone, which I consider my first movie in many ways. To me, this second four-year gap, finding Thomas Tull, John Jashni and Warners, was vital for me to continue. Pacific Rimhas given me an injection of life that I very much needed. I am reinvigorated, and at the most basic existential level, I needed this. I needed to have as good as an experience as this was. I came back from The Hobbit and met the Legendary guys and the experience was life changing. Thomas wanted me to read Travis Beacham’s pitch they had for Pacific Rim and I instantly saw the world.
DEADLINE: What did you see?
DEL TORO: This is a medium that requires large investment, and as a storyteller on this scale, there are only five guys who can write their own ticket; James Cameron, Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, Chris Nolan and Michael Bay. The rest of us, we can only do certain things and they are mostly linear. If you are good at doing a comedy, the industry and the audience sees you only doing that comedy. This was a huge opportunity for me to step beyond where I was. And it was huge for me because I am a such a fan of robots and Kaiju, since I was a kid.
DEADLINE: You mean those cheesy, dubbed Japanese monsters…
DEL TORO: Speak for yourself. How about those fantastic Japanese monster movies? When I was a real young kid, 10 or maybe younger, I wanted to see a movie called The War of the Gargantuas. It was opening and I knew it was designed originally to be a companions piece to Frankenstein Conquers the World. I had to see it and I took the bus to the other side of town, because a movie like that doesn’t open in the A or B circuit, it opened in the Z theaters. It was and old, rundown 2000 seat movie palace, and as I was sitting there enjoying the movie, somebody from the balcony throws a big empty glass…full of pee. It lands on my head. This is how much I love Kaiju; I finished the movie. And then I came out, with a There’s Something About Mary kind of hairdo, and I rode the bus back and nobody sat next to me. Japanese properties were probably cheap to acquire, so the theaters in Mexico were inundated with these films. I saw them all. And it instantly came back to me with Pacific Rim. I pitched scenes to Thomas and Jon, and they said, you have to direct it. I said I can’t, I have Mountains. I came on as producer and in a month, we had done a teaser trailer we animated, we had had silhouettes for 40 robots and some of the monsters and we were doing clay models. I did the Bible for the movie, and found myself feeling, damn, what lucky director is going to play in this world with all these toys?Mountains looked like it was going to happen. Until what I call that Black Friday, and then it wasn’t. I called Thomas and said, I’ll come on board Monday, if you are willing to really ready to take the step into pre-production. And it happened so fast. I’ve never worked as hard on a movie, to hit the budget number. We came in under budget, and under schedule. Hellboy took 135 days, the sequel 132 days. We did this in 103 days.
DEADLINE: You got close on The Hobbit, closer on Mountains. From an outside perspective, it feels like you were at the altar twice, and each time the girl didn’t show up. How’d you feel?
DEL TORO: I don’t know if I would characterize it quite that way. I am a writer of at least the first Hobbit film. The one that really hurt most was Mountains, because it was really abrupt. It was devastating. We were scouting, on the border of Alaska, in the glaciers in a helicopter. And I get the call, you gotta come back for a meeting on Friday. I said, eh…why do we need to meet?
DEADLINE: After I wrote about the film being halted because the studio would not make a $150 million film and give you the right for it to be an R rated movie, numerous studio execs said they would have done the same thing, even though they wanted to see the movie. It’s hard to make your money back on a big budget R film. Do you regret not being more flexible?
DEL TORO: No. But you’re guilty of a lot of my problems, not on Mountains, but you were the one whose article said I was busy till 2015, when in my mind, I’m unemployed and go movie to movie.
DEADLINE: Well, that was an editor at my former workplace, Daily Variety, trying to be clever. But what you say is true. But should you have caved on the rating and been willing to do Mountains at PG-13?
DEL TORO: I don’t regret it. Look at Prometheus. There’s an R rated horror movie that doesn’t have big name stars. We had Tom Cruise, and Jim Cameron producing. But I completely understand why they did it and I can’t argue, I can’t say they were wrong and I was right to take that position. I could never have their job because I would approve Mountains and many others, but I understand. I’ve been here 20 years and I don’t go for the altar reference because I never go into these things feeling it’s unthinkable they might not happen. But it still hurt like a motherfucker. You’ve got hundreds of drawings, dozens of paintings, storyboarded sequences, animatics, ILM did a test that was phenomenal and proved to me that everything we wanted to do was actually possible. It hurts always for the director because there is a movie you see in your head, and you want people to see it. [Del Toro’s manager Gary Ungar stops by our table to give him a carefully bubble wrapped package. He unfolds it, and it is a leather-bound brown journal, the pages filled with elaborate sketches of his Hellboy character. The pen and ink drawings look like paintings, and the handwritten notes beautifully scrawled in the filmmaker’s hand are so perfectly crafted that the book looks like a movie prop out of Indiana Jones or The Da Vinci Code].
DEADLINE: That is magnificent. Are you a closet calligrapher?
DEL TORO: This was on loan to the Seattle Science Fiction Museum. It’s just my notebook on Hellboy and some different stuff. These are all my drawings, and I just got it back. I’m an obsessive compulsive, what can I say.
DEADLINE: Will you still make At The Mountains of Madness, especially if Pacific Rim puts you near the category of those five directors you mentioned who can write their own tickets on big buck films?
DEL TORO: I want to see Prometheusfirst [there are plot similarities]. To me,Pacific Rim is a catalyst for so many things. You learn your craft little by little, and you do it publicly. You make mistakes in front of an audience. Make a wrong casting or editorial decision, and it’s all out in the open, like crashing a car in slow motion, publicly. Everybody can see your head bounce, your spine snap, and they comment on every single fracture. You’re giving interviews, or reading opinions. “Look at the way his wrist snapped! He’s never going to walk again the way his spine just broke!” You learn your craft that way and it’s rare that you can calculate or control it. You get lucky sometimes. I desire to direct big crazy movies and small crazy movies, and on Pan’s Labyrinth I was able to do that with some degree of control. Pacific Rim is the first time I have been able to articulate something that is purely entertaining, big and bold in this large format. I was incredibly aware of every choice, both creatively and fiscally. I stayed under budget and wanted that to be part of the experience. To be as bold and big as possible, but within the parameters I had agreed to. The narrative comes first, but I was a producer on this as well.
DEADLINE: At Disney’s Comic-Con panel, early The Lone Ranger footage was stylish and impressive, but the first connotation of that film is budget struggles. Unless you’re making a sequel, it seems very hard to create new tent poles. How much has pressure increased when you are creating something completely new?
DEL TORO: When you are producer and director, you are basically making a vow to be able to whistle and keep the tune. I’m aware of how much each extra costs, that I have to give up two cars to get four extras for five days. I have to pre-plan so if I say a sequence will take three days, it takes three days. I had the partnership of guys who believed in creating something new. They were not asking for a re-launch or a sequel. Finding a partner like this who shares not only in the financials but fully in the creative dream is a blessing that doesn’t happen often. But as to your question, I don’t believe any experience is bad and I’m not trying to sound wide-eyed or naïve. I don’t know if I could have done Pacific Rimwithout having prepped The Hobbit and especially Mountains because we got so close. It was a warm up for prepping movies that size, fiscally and technically. My contact with ILM started on Mountains, all the creative heads that came intoPacific Rim were guys who wanted to do Mountains. They knew what I wanted to try, that it was a new way of trying effects. The core of my creative team of designers moved from Mountains on a Friday to Pacific Rim on Monday. That tough experience allowed me to do this. To me, it’s harder to recuperate from success than failure. You can get a little lost in analyzing your success too much. Our culture prepares you on how to overcome failure. Look down, soldier on, figure it out. No one tells you how to avoid the trappings of success. That you figure out by brutally going through experiences. You learn much more about who you are going through difficulty.
DEADLINE: What look were you after with Pacific Rim?
DEL TORO: I wanted to do a big adventure movie with saturated colors, operatic battle set pieces and saturated colors and richly textured. As a kid I loved the Korda adventure films and I used them for inspiration. I wanted to evoke the feeling I had as a kid when I dreamed of being a cowboy or a pirate or an astronaut. I didn’t want to make a war movie, and visually avoided all the trappings of that like the long lens, super polished blue steely images that looked like a recruitment video, and the winner aesthetics that immediately tell you that a select group saves the world. I wanted it to be all of us who saved the world. So when I wanted Charlie Hunnam, Charlie Day, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, and Ron Perlman, they got it. Sometimes you pitch that and watch the studio head glaze over and say, yeah, but we need these five names to make this work.
DEADLINE: Will you be involved in Legendary’s Godzilla remake?
DEL TORO: No, we made it a point so far not to discuss that. Our conversations are limited to this. We were planning a sequence on Pacific Rim and when I described it to Thomas Tull, there was a landmark involved and he said, that one is taken in Godzilla. You have to guarantee me you won’t stomp, burn or destroy X, because Godzilla’s already doing that.
DEADLINE: Will it be odd having The Hobbit on the same Comic-Con bill as Pacific Rim?
DEL TORO: No. I haven’t seen the footage, but The Hobbit decision took a long time to make. And when you make a decision like that, you don’t look back, at least I don’t. I really think the movie’s in the right hands. I want to see it and wish it the best of luck. For me, the one that hurt was Mountains because it was not one where I had time to absorb or think about. That year was a hard year. But there is a contraction of the industry and Mountains three years before would happened. With DVD and Blu-ray, they would have taken the bigger risk.
DEADLINE: Fans will look at Mountains the same way we look at Halo, and wonder what might have been had Neill Blomkamp done that as his debut film instead of District 9.
DEL TORO: You mention Halo. We developed that movie, with D.B. Weiss, one of the creators of Game of Thrones. We made a screenplay and nobody talks about it but it was amazing. I went to WETA, met with them to talk about designs, had a big meeting. And then I went and made Hellboy.
DEADLINE: So leaving was your choice?
DEL TORO: That one was my choice.
DEADLINE: It really feels like this is a game of choices and it’s understandable why it’s so hard to choreograph success, especially now, when studios don’t really know what to make except sequels.
DEL TORO: It has always been that way though, no? When you read the real tales of movie making, it has always been pretty turbulent. Always, a few guys can write their own ticket, whether it was Capra and Sturges, Howard Hawks. The names change, but it’s usually limited to the same number of guys. I was just saying to a studio executive the other day that in the best of circumstances, when you hire a director, you are hiring either a guy who has the touch with actors, is a world creator visually, and maybe a guy who brings a certain tone that make his films recognizable. Everything else is a crap shoot. And all the preconceptions that used to guide the movie business through the years, like reliance on stars, are basically gone.
DEADLINE: How are you with that?
DEL TORO: I think that’s thrilling. At the end of the day, if you have a worthy story to tell, you’re going to tell it. If you can only tell a story with a certain range of budget, then you should worry. It softens your tissue somehow. But if you can write a book, make a small or big budget film or tell your story in a graphic novel, then it is a very exciting time.
DEADLINE: You mentioned Michael Bay as one of the five guys. After John Carter and Battleship, I heard more than a few people say they had new found respect for Bay and the skill it takes to make these big popcorn pictures.
DEL TORO: A lot of people think erroneously that it gets easier with more money. It doesn’t, because you are steering a much bigger ship. Imagine you are the rudder of a small fishing boat. If you become the rudder of a trans-Atlantic oil tanker, it doesn’t get easier on the rudder, it’s more taxing. There’s a feeling that CGI writes itself and happens while the director is riding with a starlet on the PCH in a convertible, on the phone saying, how is the CGI going? It’s a specific logistical, almost military operation you have to be able to run.
DEADLINE: How helpful is it to be here at Comic-Con with a movie that’s not coming out until next summer?
DEL TORO: To me, Comic-Con has always been invaluable, it doesn’t matter what project, I want to be here. Spiritually, it’s a beautiful place for me, I truly love Comic-Con. I feel at home. Whether it’s Pacific Rim or Pan’s Labyrinth, I come here.
DEADLINE: It’s easy to be condescending and cynical, but the passion of this crowd is charming when you get to observe it up close.
DEL TORO: It’s more than that to me. It’s pretty easy to be reactionary, to be like a parent in the 50s seeing their kids with rock and roll. What are you doing in your room all day? You are doing nothing! Same with video games. But the craftsmanship that allows for that narrative interface with video games, it’s huge and transformative. It has transformed the storytelling of the visual medium. Cultural swings are defined by clashes. Counterculture clashed with narrative in the 70s and you got intense, thoughtful, hardcore movie making, and you have pop culture colliding with narrative and these are waves you ride.
DEADLINE: It’s hard to figure out this current wave.
DEL TORO: There’s a very interesting confluence where you have this very intense awareness of pop culture, to a point where essentially nothing is fringe that cannot be taken by a corporation and commercialized by it. That’s the bad aspect of it. At the same time, you are finding a lot of the young generation galvanized socially in a collective way, whether it’s hacking or taking on Wall Street. It’s a curious time. I, myself at 47, am more interesting in find what’s alive, what is the pulse, than mourning any loss.
American Horror Story – Jessica Lange Interview
What’s the point of the Emmys..? Apart from those awful shows backslapping each other on their ‘achievements’ in whatever category they’ve put together to exclude quality TV (cable) and award themselves a bunch of meaningless awards. However, around this awards season we get a few good interviews and promos for forthcoming quality TV shows (cable). Below is one with Jessica Lange discussing American Horror Story: Season 2. Courtesy of DEADLINE
Constance Langdon is not a neighbor you want to borrow a cup of sugar from, and you most definitely should beware when she comes bearing home-baked gifts (or, for that matter, “sweet breads”). And yet as portrayed by Jessica Lange, who came into American Horror Story with two Oscars and an Emmy on her mantel, the Harmon family’s oft unwelcome visitor did not repel, she but regaled us. Thus far, Lange has netted a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe for her first venture into series television — might another Emmy make her housewarming complete?
AWARDSLINE: When you first started seeing the American Horror Storyscripts, did you suspect the role of Constance could be Emmy-worthy?
LANGE: I didn’t really know what to think. We were shooting really fast, so I don’t think anybody was thinking about the outcome as much as the process of getting through it. This was the first time I’d ever done this kind of television — a miniseries — and not being all that familiar with the world of TV, I didn’t have any frame of reference. So when the performances started getting recognition, yes, it did kind of surprise me. I mean, I knew how good the writing was, and I knew there was a great deal that I could do with it — it’s a big character with a huge range of emotions.
AWARDSLINE: Given how dicey the subject matter could get, how did you find the humanity amidst of all this surreality?
LANGE: I just paid attention to creating this character and playing her as absolutely real as I could, in the context of all this other stuff. I really didn’t think in terms of the overall sweep of the piece, or the tone of it.
AWARDSLINE: Because of the intensity of the material, was it a particularly galvanizing experience for the cast?
LANGE: I can’t speak for the others, but I know that for me there were moments where it was like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe that they’ve written this!’ [Laughs] It’s always a leap of faith. The only thing you can think about is: What are you given to do, and how well do you do it?
AWARDSLINE: Was there a past performance of yours that informed your portrayal of Constance? Was it Queen Tamora in Titus? Maggie in TV’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof?
LANGE: Certainly there were moments where I felt that there were shades of Tennessee Williams — because she’s Southern and because it was about failed dreams and disappointment, and loneliness. Those themes crop up in a lot of Tennessee’s women — like with Blanche [in A Streetcar Named Desire] or Amanda Wingfield [The Glass Menagerie]. But that’s really where the comparison ends. Constance’s actual behavior has nothing to do with any character I’ve ever played before.
AWARDSLINE: How did doing a TV miniseries shape you as an actress?
LANGE: It shifted something profoundly, because this piece forced me to work in a way I’ve never worked before, and that was with complete immediacy — and in some odd way it was very liberating. It forced me to be extremely bold. I couldn’t approach this with any kind of trepidation, and in that way it felt expansive to me.
AWARDSLINE: Would you concede that Constance is a despicable person? Or was she coming from a place of misplaced love?
LANGE: Certainly you can look at her actions and say that she was horrendous. However, in the playing of it I had to find her humanity, and I did that through her emotion and her capacity for love. The fact that it was so twisted in many ways came out of circumstances rather than the essence of the character. What I kind of loved about her is she did not mince words. Sometimes, like when you hear her speaking to her daughter or in a scene with her son, as a mother [myself] I was like, ‘Oh my God!’ But again, there was something very enjoyable about playing someone who was no-holds-barred.
AWARDSLINE: She certainly stood out in today’s ever-PC climate.
LANGE: I thought she was kind of a throwback to another time, pre-political correctness, when people said things that would now be seen as shocking. Like some of the dames from the films in the ’30s — hard and rough-talking but honest and forthright. Yes, we had scenes where what she did was reprehensible and criminal, but there was an element to her I found very refreshing.
AWARDSLINE: With the next chapter of American Horror Story, you have the rare opportunity to create a new character. How will your insane asylum administrator differ from Constance?
LANGE: It’s a different time [set in the 1960s] first of all, and she comes from a completely different background. There’s also different geography [being set on the East Coast], and that informs a character tremendously. So without giving away too much, I think there are similarities — they both have a history, and I’m not entirely stellar! [Laughs] — but that’s probably where the paths diverge. She is very different from what I’ve played. It’s going to be another wild ride!
The Walking Dead – Robert Kirkman Interview
Production of The Walking Dead Season 3 officially kicked off this week, with the season premiere due late October.
Below is an on-set interview from FX Channel with the show’s creator and Executive Producer Robert Kirkman about Danai Gurira’s (Michonne) sword skills and the most impressive set he’s ever seen on the show (Yes, we’re talking about the prison.)
If you haven’t read the graphic novels, don’t read this interview as it contains information that may spoil your enjoyment of season 3… If you have read the graphic novels, you’ll enjoy learning that most of the cool story beats from this section of the ‘Ongoing story of survival’ have been retained. Enjoy.
Q: After two seasons, you must feel like an old pro on set. What aspects of production still surprise you?
A: One thing that’s surprising me is how much I’ve fallen in love with Georgia. The town Senoia where we’re filming is absolutely beautiful…The big change this season is we’ve got this amazing prison that we’re filming in. It’s absolutely stunning, and I never get used to being on set.
Q: What went into constructing the prison?
A: They’ve taken a lot of what you see in the comic book series and brought it to life in ways that I didn’t think possible. This is going to be one of the most impressive looking things that’s ever been put together for a show.
Q: The room in the prison with all the guns and the SWAT gear in the comic is really cool. Is that going to come up on the show?
A: We’re a big fan of the SWAT gear here at The Walking Dead writer’s room… maybe that’s an indication that we’ll be seeing that stuff in the show. It’s important to us to maintain the tone of the show. Thus far [the characters] have been out on the road, desperate and living in the heat, and we don’t want it to be that they’re relaxing in this safe place now.
Q: With the evil Governor in the picture, does that mean the humans are the bigger threat this season?
A: The plan was always to evolve naturally into a place where the zombies essentially become a manageable threat. You know the rules. You know how to deal with them. To a certain extent they become something to not really be scared of unless you mess up. Humans, however, do not follow any rules and will always do something that surprises you and are capable of doing things far worse than trying to eat you…We’re definitely going to be seeing a lot of horrible things.
Q: What can you tell us about David Morrissey’s portrayal of the Governor? Have you seen him in costume yet?
A: I’m actually waiting desperately to see him dressed up in Governor mode and walking the streets of Woodbury. I think he’s going to be absolutely great playing against Andrew Lincoln.
Q: Michonne was introduced in the Season 2 Finale. How are Danai Gurira’s sword skills shaping up?
A: There’s been quite a bit of sword training going on and [Danai] is doing an amazing job. She’s going to be do all of the hard character stuff and drama that The Walking Dead is known for, but she has tremendous physical capability and the sword training that I’ve seen is absolutely amazing. I can’t wait to see her hack up some zombies.
Q: Can you tell us anything about the sword she’s using?
A: She’s using a sword that we specially designed for the show…The origins of the sword will be revealed on the show.
Q: This season has got so many exciting story lines…
A: When you think about The Walking Dead comic series, you think about oh, the stuff they with did the Governor, the stuff they did with the prison and Woodbury and Michonne. And that’s really a lot of the stuff that people remember the story for and that’s stuff we haven’t even gotten to in the TV show yet. So as much as people love the show, and as high as the ratings are, and as cool as the show is, I feel like we haven’t even gotten to the good stuff yet. This season is absolutely going to blow people away.
Q: You’re developing another of your comics, Thief of Thieves, with AMC. What can you tell us about that project?
A: Thief of Thieves is a great heist story about a man named Conrad Paulson who leads a double life as a master thief known internationally as Redman…I am working with Chic Eglee, who is a fantastic writer who worked on the first season of The Walking Dead, and right now we are in the pilot development stage, so he’s going to be working hard on the pilot script and once that’s written we’ll go from there. But it’s really exciting to be working with AMC again.
Q: This season will be 16 episodes instead of 13. Are you looking forward to the longest production time yet?
A: The actors and the crew and a lot of the producers would not be thrilled to hear me saying this, but I love doing 16 episodes a year. I think the more the better, and I think it’s a lot of fun. We are going to get to tell bigger stories, and tell more stories, and get into the characters a lot more. So the more the merrier.
The Omen – Interviews
During the filming of The Omen, interviewer Mark Caldwell visited the set of the production and spoke to Gregory Peck. When the film was released he then spoke to the producer Harvey Bernard and the director Richard Donner.
Listen to those interviews HERE
The Woman in Black – Producer Interview
Hammer Films and their television series have been a staple of visual delight for all ages for over seventy years and we owe it all to the late William Hinds who started the company in its humble beginnings during 1934.
Hammer’s movies contained a dynamic recipe of elements that included vampires, werewolves and unknown entities that creep around in the night that intelligent scientists, swashbuckling adventurers and Everyman heroes faced, combined with this writer’s personal favorite – saucy, scantily dressed buxom women.
Check out this Starburst Magazine interview with Simon Oakes and Nigel Sinclair of Exclusive Media, the duo behind the new Hammer Film, The Woman In Black.
David Cronenberg – Interview
Exploding heads, Ballardian pile-ups – and a spot of spanking with Keira Knightley. Does David Cronenberg need therapy? No, he says: he’s just a regular guy…
Check out the Guardian interview.
Redd Inc. Interview – Part 2
GEORDIE: Australia has a long history of offering something different to the horror genre, from the 70’s schlock through to modern hits such as Wolf Creek, Saw and the criminally overlooked The Loved Ones. What will Redd inc. add to that culture?
JG: Hopefully we’ll be considered to fit in with that esteemed list. We think we’ve added a unique twist to the genre by taking a place that so many of us are all too familiar with, the office, and give a whole new meaning to the idea of being chained to your desk. Again, it’s amazing to me that no one has set a horror movie in such an horrific location before!
AOC: A lot of Australian horror is set in the outback because that is a huge part of our cultural identity. But what about horror for people who don’t go camping in creepy, rural settings? What about the 9-to-5’ers? What if your BOSS was genuinely insane? That’s the cool ‘what if?’ scenario Redd Inc. brings to the table.
SS: indeed Redd Inc. is a new view on the horror genre, one that includes genuine suspense and scares but also some clever comedy so that the audience can really enjoy the ride… that has always been the ideal intention, to be scared but to also enjoy it, and to stand out from other films.
DK: I don’t really see REDD INC as an Australian film. Its setting is the office – it could take place in any major city – from London to NYC to Sydney. Having said that, I would be honoured if REDD INC were mentioned in the same breath as films like “Wolf Creek”, “Saw” and “The Loved Ones”.
GEORDIE: What were you influenced by during the development of Redd Inc?
JG: That’s too broad a question for me. If you mean what movies was I influenced by: Silence of the Lambs, Psycho, Hostel.
AOC: Oh wow. Well a mix of old school horror – The Evil Dead, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Argento’s Deep Red – and more recent stuff like Martyrs, Audition and Seven. Also I was reading a lot of horror: Bentley Little, Richard Laymon, Jeff Strand and Jack Ketchum. Although to be fair I would have been doing that even if we weren’t making a movie.
SS: The idea of taking a similar approach to other timeless, enjoyable and successful films that achieved the majority of their effects in-camera and without the over-use of visual effects…… Films such as the Romero zombie flicks Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead.. Also Friday the 13th and Evil Dead….. Absolute favourites that stand up to repeat viewing over many years!
DK: I was careful not to watch too much horror during the development of REDD INC. I didn’t want to be overly influenced by any one filmmaker or style. I wanted to keep my approach as fresh and original as I could. I guess my main influence towards the story and filmmaking approach of REDD INC was to make it “real” insofar as it has its own logic and reality.
GEORDIE: The elephant in the room question. What was it like working with Tom Savini? I presume like most horror fans you would have been a little starstruck at first?
JG: What a guy. He is a generous spirit who lives in the moment and who gave himself utterly to the scenes and the people he was working with. We have extensive coverage of his involvement in our making of doco which will be released eventually with the Blu-ray and DVD.
AOC: It was a literal dream come true. I got to pump blood with my childhood hero, TOM SAVINI! Even as I write these words I can’t quite believe it all happened. He’s a total gent and he did amazing work with the MEG team. He also tells the best stories and brought such a great energy to set. The days when Tom was there had a kind of magic about them. Plus some of the things we have on the DVD/Blu-ray are horror fan GOLD. We also gave him the Australian nickname “Savvers” which he loves.
SS: After watching and enjoying his work for so many years, it was an absolute honour. Tom doesn’t really allow you to be starstruck, he has such an approachable and warm personality. He has been so generous with his time, experience, advice and enthusiasm, it has been so much fun and we cannot speak highly enough of his contribution to Redd Inc.
DK: Working with Tom Savini. VERY COOL! He was the consumate professional and a gentleman in every sense of the word. A real joy to work with. He brought a calm atmosphere to the set, and a bloody menace to the screen.
GEORDIE: Films like Funny Games, the Saw series and the recent spate of torture porn have a strong streak of sadism in them, with psychological as well as physical torture. Dario Argento said recently that all taboos are fair game now… What are your thoughts on the current state of the horror genre?
JG: If they’re not really ABOUT something as well as being unnerving and scary then they’ve lost me. I like a little story and meaning with my elevated heart rate.
AOC: Yeah, I agree. Story is king and having something to say is really important. I watch pretty much everything that comes out in the horror genre – and a lot of it is amazing – but I do feel sometimes we get a lot of style and not much substance. I miss the horror-as-social-allegory element that Romero brought to the table with Dawn of the Dead. With Redd I think we’ve made an office giallo. It has a lot of tension and surprises and a really kinetic energy, plus twists and turns along the way. It’s the kind of film that I’d like to watch.
SS: I enjoy being scared, especially in a make-believe, movie kind-of way…. I want to enjoy the ride and have fun with it…. I don’t mind the physical violence stuff if it is not all too serious and nasty, give us a bit of relief in some way that makes it a guilty pleasure so that we can enjoy the scare and I think that’s the best recipe for the genre.
DK: For me it’s all about story, no matter what the genre. I’d liken a good horror film to a roller coaster ride at a fair ground. You can have the shit scared out of you in a safe environment and live to fight another day. Having said that, I like a good scare and gory moments… but as a rule I think that less is more.
GEORDIE: Hollywood has been remaking so many of these classic auteur horror films, driven by demographics and brand-familiarity, like the way Halloween is ubiquitous in other movies. How can Horror get out of that loop again?
JG: There are plenty of originals getting made amongst the remakes. They’ve got to break through to get noticed though so maybe it’s just that the remakes are sucking all the marketing air away from the originals. My guess is that independent distribution of horror over the internet will make a big difference to redress the balance over the next few years.
AOC: I’ve been joking for a while now that for Redd Inc.’s poster we should have the tagline: “It’s not a remake. It’s not a prequel. It’s not a reboot – You’re welcome!” However, I’ve met a lot of people who are making new, innovative horror so I’m not cynical. I think 2012 is going to be a great year for horror.
SS: Remakes can sometimes bring a new life to a great film. However there is a big fan base out there that are always looking for new, original, exciting product. Redd inc. is that film for those fans in 2012.
DK: In a sense a remake is like a sequel – people wanting to have some kind of “sure bet” in an industry that is fraught with uncertainty. Hopefully REDD INC (and its sequels) will be given a fresh lease of life in 20 or 30 years with an exciting batch of remakes. I would take it as a great compliment. 🙂
GEORDIE: Where to next for Green Light Productions?
JG: Redd Inc 2 of course!
AOC: Yeah, we have such an awesome story for the sequel.
SS: Looking forward to it!
DK: Count me in.
GEORDIE: When and where can we see the movie?
JG: First festival screenings will be announced over the next month or so and theatrical dates will be posted on the website reddincthemovie.com
GEORDIE: Finally, your favourite classic horror film, when you first saw it, why it’s still a favourite; and any new releases that have impressed you?
JG: A lot of the classics don’t stand up for me anymore because I’m just older and wiser and I guess I have my bar set higher than before. In terms of highest impact on first viewing I’d say watching the old Hammer Dracula movies starring Christopher Lee when I was 11 or 12 years old because I watched them at midnight when my parents thought I was in bed and discovered the joy of scaring the shit out of myself! Of course they’re laughable now.
AOC: John Carpenter’s The Thing is probably the movie that blew me away the most when I was a youngster. The score, Carpenter’s meticulous direction, Rob Bottin’s amazing FX, the cast and the palpable sense of distrust and paranoia all add up to one of the greats. It was the film that made me take notice of film as an art form. Also the first two horror movies I ever saw were Creepshow and An American Werewolf in London and they both still rule. Recently I dug Martyrs, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, Super and Theatre Bizarre (which has a segment directed by Tom Savini called Wet Dreams).
SS: Evil Dead has got to be my favourite, classic horror film. It was so scary the first time I saw it as a teenager. It still is, if you let yourself get swept up in it, even after many, many repeat viewings. I think it is still a favourite because it has that element of humour that doesn’t let you take it all too seriously, and it’s not too realistic and that’s the great part about making these sorts of crazy films because it’s just make believe. I don’t think a lot of the new releases are scary enough, they concentrate too much on being nasty and shocking, rather than the suspense and scare elements that make great horror.
DK: AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. Loved it then, Love it now.
GEORDIE: Thanks again for the opportunity to put a few questions to you and your team about Redd Inc. Best of luck with the project. I’ll post as many updates as possible nearer release date.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
David Fincher – News Update
With David Fincher doing a lot of interviews for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo over the past few days, there is a good amount of talk out there about the possible second and third films that could follow Dragon Tattoo. David Fincher doesn’t yet know if he’ll direct those films — or he isn’t yet saying, at least. That’s something that likely won’t be announced until after the film has its first opening weekend, which is imminent.
Whether or not those films happen, there are quite a few other projects in Fincher’s queue. Some are movies he might direct, like the Cleopatra film that would star Angelina Jolie, and the pilot for the Netflix series House of Cards. He’s also got 20,0000 Leagues Under the Sea on the docket, and he’s still working as a producer on films like Black Hole (based on the Charles Burns graphic novel, not the Disney sci-fi film) and The Goon. He has offered slight updates on all those projects in the past couple days, quotes below.
First up, Fincher talked to MTV about Cleopatra which The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Social Network producer Scott Rudin is producing, and which has Angelina Jolie attached to play the title character. It sounds like that one is less than set, at least from the perspective of having Fincher direct:
That’s something I would love to do with Angie… It’s something that was brought to me that you have to take seriously. Scott has this wonderful book [by Stacy Schiff] and hopefully Eric can find a way in. I’m not interested in a giant sword and sandal epic.
We’ve seen scope; everyone knows we can fake that. That stuff doesn’t impress in the way that it did even 10 years ago. We expect that from cable. So that’s not the reason to do that. What is it about this character that has purchased this place in our history and imagination that is relatable today?
And on the subject of Cleopatra, Fincher told Collider that the film is still in the earliest stages:
Cleopatra, I haven’t even begun. I’ve just spoken with Angie [Jolie] and Eric [Roth] and I’m trying to figure out how to weigh in. It’s just a discussion about what can it be, what are people expecting, what do we need to do to destroy that?
Then there is 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which was originally written by Scott Z. Burns, and brought Andrew Kevin Walker on to rewrite.
I don’t know what came before me. We’re plugging away, trying to get a script that sort of satisfies all of the… you know, it’s a tricky thing because it’s a $200 million 3D thing done in water, and you don’t want to go off half-cocked. You can find yourself with a $75 million overage in a movie that completely takes place underwater, especially in 3D. 3D is a whole different thing for reflective sources.
The director is also saying to a few outlets about the fact that doing a sci-fi movie that is set 120 years ago is appealing, in part because of the novelty of seeing the genre through era-appropriate eyes.
Then there’s The Goon, the animated film based on Eric Powell‘s comic book series of the same name. (Totally different project from the Jay Baruchel hockey comedy Goon.) We’ve been tracking this one for a couple of years, but there’s little public info. The last major update came when Fincher appeared with Powell at Comic Con in 2010. We’ve seen some test footage, but at this point there is still no one to pay for the film.
Eric’s been working on it and Tim’s been working on it [Tim Miller from Blur Animation], and Jeff (Fowler). People continue to work on it and refine stuff, but it’s hard for me because I’m in Sweden, so I can’t really make many production meetings, but the attempt is to in January really go out and try and figure out a price that makes sense… I don’t know why you can spend $200 million on The incredibles but you can’t spend $50 million on The Goon,’or $130 million on Kung Fu Panda and $50 million on The Goon.
Fincher also sounds like he’s still working on the adaptation of Charles Burns‘ incredible and disturbing graphic novel Black Hole:
It’s a really great script by Dante Harper, so the hope is that will win out… It’s so weird. It’s so great, because it would be great to see. It’s a very tough… there’s make-up FX and digital FX that are expensive and to do it right, you gotta do it just right, because it has to challenge your idea of the human body.
George Miller talks Mad Max: Fury Road
For the better part of the past two decades, George Miller has made films that veered sharply away from his earliest triumphs, opting for decidedly more family-friendly fare like “Babe: Pig in the City” and “Happy Feet” than the unforgiving adventures of the “Mad Max” series. But next year, Miller returns to that franchise with the tentatively titled “Fury Road,” and even though production was aborted back in 2003 and then pushed back several times since the project was first re-announced in 2009, Miller told The Playlist that their completion at Warner Brothers is as inevitable as their conception was in his head.
George Romero – Thoughts on ‘The Walking Dead’
Check out this interesting interview with George Romero and his thoughts on The Walking Dead.
After Dark Originals – Courtney Solomon Interview
On Tuesday night I had the pleasure of meeting Courtney Solomon, CEO of After Dark Films at the Australian lunch of After Dark Originals at the Chauvel Cinema in Sydney. Although he was obviously jet-lagged and tired after a long day of interviews he was gracious enough to spend some time with me for a short interview before attending an on-stage Q & A. Below is a transcript of the interview.
SOCIALPSYCHOL It’s been 6 years since you wrote, directed and produced ‘An American Haunting’, concentrating on the production side of all your projects since. Do you miss that aspect of the creative process and think that you might return to it one day or do you now prefer to oversee a varied slate of prjects? You seem to thrive on the latter.
COURTNEY Even though I’m now busy sourcing material, reading scripts and producing the movies, I still manage to stay involved on set. For example the movie we’re about to see 7 minutes of footage from, Re-Kill, was just shot in Bulgaria and I was on set initially at the start of filming. It was great fun, we managed to shoot off over 38,000 rounds of amunition and use around 4,000 squibs… it’s a zombie movie. I also love giving opportunities to young up and coming directors and seeing them bring their take to each project.
Re-Kill – unseen footage (rel 18th Oct 2011) from After Dark Films on Vimeo.
SOCIALPSYCHOL Australia has had a long history of horror production, from the shlock of the 70’s and early 80’s through to some quality modern day movies such as ‘Wolf Creek’ and ‘The Loved Ones’ as well as creative independent releases like ‘The Tunnel’. Do you envision setting one of your ‘After Dark Originals’ titles down under at some time in the future?
COURTNEY That’s the 5th time today I’ve heard about The Loved Ones, I’ve gotta pick up a copy of it before I leave, and everyone knows how well Wolf Creek has done. Of course, Australia has produced some great horror movies over the years and we’re looking to develop or remake an Australian film, any suggestions which one?
SOCIALPSYCHOL Turkey Shoot could do with an update and better budget.
COURTNEY If we go ahead with an Australian production we’ll look to use an Australian director. We did distribute the Australian film Dying Breed a few years back, we screened it at Horrorfest.
SOCIALPSYCHOL The After Dark ‘Horrorfest: 8 Films to Die for’ concept is a perfect platform for horror fans who can be a notoriously difficult crowd to please, especially as horror seems to have ‘themed cycles’, from vampires, to zombies to torture porn to next months popular theme, what do you envision the next big change to the genre and how do you try to anticipate the demand?
COURTNEY Yes (laughs), they’re a difficult crowd to please. Horror is cyclical, we’ve had the big vampire thing due to Twilight, whatever you make of that, and of course zombies have been around for a while now and are still popular. We haven’t really seen a good werewolf movie in a long time, I think that ghost stories, the supernatural is probably the next thing to come around again. I love the genre, especially stories based on historical fact or events.
At this stage Courtney was ushered to the theatre for his on-stage Q&A, the first video clip of which can be viewed here. Courtney was asked what he’s learned from working with great actors such as Sissy Spacek and Donald Sutherland on An American Haunting.
After Dark Originals: Q&A with Courtney Solomon from After Dark Films on Vimeo.
Check out the After Dark website and facebook page for more info on the After Dark horror community
John Landis – Monsters in the Movies
Check out this excellent John Landis article at Wired, where he discusses his new book: monsters in the movies
Suspiria – Remake
More on Dario Argento. Whether you like it or not, a remake of the Argento classic Suspiria is well on its way. Could the success of Black Swan sway the project in any way? Read on for details.
Complex recently caught up with director David Gordon Green to get the scoop: “[‘Black Swan’] did inspire me to think, ‘Well, I want to go younger now. I want this to be about 14-15-year-old girls, rather than women who are Natalie’s age.’ It made me not want to do what ‘Black Swan’ kind of did with the psychology and thriller elements of older characters. If anything, I want to focus on the younger, more naïve kinds of characters—the wide-eyed, ‘Snow White’ version of the movie, rather than a more sophisticated, sexual version of it.”
The Dibbuk Box
Check out this creepy story, courtesy of Brad at work. It’s such a great, creepy tale in the mould of ‘Drag Me To Hell’ and it looks likely to be the next feature from horror supremo Sam Raimi’s production company Ghost House.
Jason Haxton, the curator of a medical museum in a small Missouri town, learns of the mysterious cabinet and is intrigued by it as an artifact to be studied and researched. He places a bid on eBay and he soon finds himself the proud owner of the dibbuk box. But as he carefully investigates and records everything he can about this unusual item said to be possessed by a Jewish spirit, Haxton discovers far more than he bargained for. In this true account, a dark story comes to light—a story that began at the time of the Holocaust and seems to have come full circle.
Listen to the podcast at ‘Darkness Radio’ that features an interview with Jason Haxton.