Lussier started off as an editor, cutting the likes of "New
and "Mimic". He eventually hopped on the directorial train via
The Ascent" to finally go hardcore as a writer/director on "Dracula 2000" and its
two sequels. Arrow
exchanged a few words with the man behind the 2K fangs and here's what
he had to say:
1- What’s your
favorite horror movie?
Without a doubt – THE CHANGELING – 1980, Peter Medak, starring George
C. Scott. Simple and terrifying. Beautifully performed, wonderfully
2- You have
extensive experience in editing, especially genre films (lots of Wes
Craven flicks). Do you believe tackling that aspect of the cinematic
process made you a better director and if so, in what sense?
certainly believe that my experience editing made me a better
director. Especially for budget conscious films where you can’t
afford to roll on 27 cameras per shot and shoot until oblivion,
blowing out your schedule and your cash. Editing allows me the
luxury to focus on the essential pieces to tell the story. The actors
I’ve worked with seemed to appreciate that as well, asking how things
will be cut together and glad that there’s a definite plan for
optimizing their performance. One of the best moments on Dracula 2000
was showing Gerry Butler and Christopher Plummer their confrontation
scene in the hallway cut together. Both the actors were energized by
what they’d seen.
3- I must admit
that I have a keen appreciation for your "eye" from a visual standpoint
(love your use of slow motion). Who would you say are your
inspirations in terms of direction.
terms of direction, I’ve take a lot of inspiration from Tsui Hark, the
films he’s produced, "Chinese Ghost Story" etc, as well as Guillermo del
Toro who I had the privilege to edit "Mimic" for. And these days I
think Ridley Scott is one of the most profound influences on
contemporary filmmaking. "Blade Runner", its look, tone and feel may
have inspired more directors than anything else.
The recently released DVD of "Dracula II: Ascension" took a very different path
Dracula 2000 from a narrative standpoint. Was that due to budgetary
reasons, creative reasons or a little bit of both?
The story of Dracula 2 was actually the story we wanted to tell on
Dracula 2000. The original pitch for D2K was the heist, then the
swimming pool experiment (albeit the pool was full of Holy Water and
Drac was shackled on a platform in the middle) – with the last 30
minutes being Drac on the loose. Dimension asked Joel Soisson and I
to create the sequel based on that original concept, perhaps initially
because it was a more budget conscious concept, but also because it
was a more unique idea. We were thrilled to finally get a chance to
make that movie, both of us believing that it could be a successful
story to tell.
6- Was the
awesome Gerard Butler approached to reprise his role of Dracula or was
it always intended that another actor would play the part?
didn’t actually approach Gerry because we knew he wasn’t available.
It would’ve been wonderful to have him but from the conception of the
film, Joel and I assumed that Gerry’s career was taking off and he
would no longer be an option for us. That’s why we structured Drac 2
the way we did, with Dracula basically regenerating and regaining his
strength over the course of the film, allowing us to bring in a new
actor (in this case, Stephen Billington).
the character of Uffizi in Dracula II, I must ask...will he ever
get his own series? If not…he should!
completely believe Uffizi should have his own series. Joel and I have
talked to Jason Scott Lee about it and he’s game. Dimension’s slowly
coming around to the idea, but absolutely we’d like to follow up with
his character, it’s just too rich not to.
8- You’re also
set to direct the killer scarecrow flick "Totem" written by
X" scribe and all-around cool dude, Todd
Farmer. What kind of tone will
you be going for with the film? Will it be jockey, dead serious,
Todd Farmer is amazingly cool and talented and if you don’t believe
that, he’ll be the first to convince you. Working with Todd
was the best part of the "Totem" experience. Unfortunately, the
project is currently without a home and waiting to see if it can find
some adoptive parents. We’ll see what happens
attachments to the picture yet? If not, can you divulge us with who you’d like
There are any number of actors who’d be wonderful in the film. It’s
got a quintet of great roles that could easily attract strong
10- If successful,
does "Totem" have franchise potential? Would you capitalize on it?
I’m not sure how franchisable it is. That would depend on a few
11- "Dracula IIi:
Legacy" will also be upon us soon. Rumor has it that its set in
space. Can you confirm that rumor?
No. Romania. Yes. The movie’s
basically a take off of "Heart of Darkness" following Uffizi
and Luke as they track Dracula across a country under martial law
where vampires are slowly taking over.
12- What will you be aiming for to make this
second sequel stand out?
We’ve aimed to make Drac 3 the stand out of the trilogy.
Each story is different than
its predecessor, with the third installment being the darkest.
Hauer is set to play Dracula in Legacy. Although I’m a fan of his,
isn’t he a bit too old to play an immortal vampire? What was the
reasoning behind his casting?
Think of Dracula as Kurtz. Then you’ll see why Rutger works so well. When we first pitched the concept to Dimension, we pitched the idea of
Rutger. They loved that. We were fortunate to get
him and he delivers a unique and powerful performance as an immortal
who has become so bored with his own
debauchery that he yearns for one last great challenge. That
challenge will come in the form of Uffizi.
14- Upon repeat
viewing, "Dracula 2000" has become a cult favorite of mine.
Question: looking back, of all your films as a director...which one are you
the most proud?
There’s moments, scenes, etc I love in all the films I’ve been
fortunate enough to make. "Dracula 2000" has some of my favourite
scenes (the fight with Simon and Marcus in the loading dock
particularly), but Dracula 2 probably has the tightest story and of
the two sequels, runs a close race with Drac 3 as to which is better
(ultimately it just depends on who you ask). Drac 3 is my favourite
of all of them because of the characters’ journey. Where Uffizi and
Luke end up and what they have to do will hopefully be surprising and
gripping to the audience. Dracula 3 has the best ending.
I'd like to thank Patrick for dropping in. I, for one, am
looking forward to "Dracula III: Legacy" and "Totem" (you go,
Todd!) Little "Arrow"
preaching for good measure: for all of you who didn't appreciate
"Dracula 2000" on your
first watch-- I encourage you to give it another shot. It worked for
READ ARROW'S DRACULA 2000 REVIEW HERE
READ ARROW'S DRACULA II: ASCENSION REVIEW HERE