Excl: We talk Almanac, TMNT 2, & Friday the 13th w/Andrew Form, Brad Fuller!
In the feature film PROJECT ALMANAC, a group of teens discover that time-travel can have a few major consequences - in addition to the ability to party at Lollapalooza. With a likable cast including Jonny Weston, Sofia Black-DElia, Virginia Gardner, San Lerner and Allen Evangelist, this new take on the genre may have a couple of fun surprises for audiences. And recently at the junket for the Paramount Pictures release, not only did I sit and chat with the cast - which you can check out here - but I also had time to sit down with Andrew Form and Brad Fuller from Platinum Dunes.
It is always an incredible pleasure to talk to these two. They happen to be two of the nicest guys working in Hollywood, as well as an absolute blast to chat movies with. During our conversation, we discussed PROJECT ALMANAC and what exactly leads them to taking on certain projects with up-and-coming directors. And of course we talked TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES 2, the upcoming PURGE sequel and all about FRIDAY THE 13th 2 the will most definitely feature Jason Voorhees. The two discussed a few rumors circulating about their projects, as well, they chatted about what they have coming on the small screen.
Get ready to travel back in time with PROJECT ALMANAC which will be opening in theatres this Thursday night!
Congratulations on Black Sails by the way. Thats a cool show.
Brad Fuller: Thank you.
Andrew Form: Season two is phenomenal. Weve already seen it.
And you were talking earlier about the sequels you are working on?
AF: Ninja Turtles 2. And Ouija 2. And hopefully Purge 3.
Hopefully? Why do you say hopefully?
AF: Well, I mean were writing the script. They just dated it so were making Purge 3 for July 2016.
With PROJECT ALMANAC, what brought you to take on time travel and how do you discover new talent?
AF: We got a call from one of our agents, maybe four years ago, and he said, I have a spec script and I think its perfect for you guys. We were living in the horror genre at this time. You know, we wanted to do different genres. When we started the company we tell people we didnt start it as a horror company - thats kind of how it progressed and what it became. So when we were over at WME, we said, You know, we love comedies, we like action movies, we like everything! This guy called us and sent us the script for PROJECT ALMANAC and -
BF: It was called Almanac. Sorry. (laughs)
AF: I dont know what it was called the first time.
BF: I think it was Almanac.
AF: Was it just Almanac?
BF: I believe it was.
AF: We both read it and we both had the same response. The movie just hit home for us. Time travel in high school. We both loved BACK TO THE FUTURE, so when you start thinking about time travel, wish fulfillment and fun, thats exactly where I go.
BF: But then theres elements of WEIRD SCIENCE, FERRIS BUELLERS DAY OFF, all these movies that we grew up with.
Theres a ton of little hints.
BF: Did you pick up the RISKY BUSINESS one?
Wait, which one?
AF: In the very beginning of the movie, when hes doing his drone flying around, theres a banner that says, MIT could use a guy like David Raskin.
AF: Its like, Princeton could use a guy like Joel. So we did kind of insert that in nicely because all of those movies were so influential in our lives. We developed this movie for years before Dean got involved and took it to the next level. This was a movie we would never let die. We were working with these writers for years and then we finally got Dean on and we got it to Paramount.
BF: Well lets be honest it got passed on three times before Paramount.
AF: Time travel is very hard to crack and when youre developing this movie with all the rules and everything, youre trying to make it air tight. Its really, really hard. You know, how far back do you go? We had versions of the movie that went back further, one where its a couple weeks
BF: There was a script version where they went back to 1883.
AF: Naturally, with a time machine, and they say in the movie, you know, lets go back and kill Hitler. Time travel 101. We screened somewhere and someone was like, They should have gone back to the dinosaurs. But the time machine is not that strong. On the first read, we both responded, This is a movie we have to make. Luckily we would not let it die. It could easily still be sitting on our desk right now. We just wouldnt let it happen.
You have this kind of balancing edge. You said you were moving into this film, moving into that film, moving into NINJA TURTLES. Where do you go from there as a sequel to that? Are we talking Bebop, are we talking Casey Jones?
BF: Theyre on the table. Those are characters we talked about putting in the first one and we werent able to fit them all in.
AF: Theres a tremendous amount of artwork that was released from the first movie that we didnt use with Bebop and Rocksteady and Krang and everything. Those were characters we would have loved to put in the first one. Luckily, we are talking about most of those characters for TMNT 2. We start shooting that movie in April so were in heavy prep right now.
Does it lessen the pressure that the first one did so well?
AF: Yeah. Were going to Japan in a couple of weeks for the premiere in Tokyo. Its our last territory. Home video has been great. But there may be even more pressure now.
BF: Its not less. Theres definitely not less because now theres expectations. Before, when we made the movie, there was just a lot of doubting. We felt it. Now to have it do well, you know, the bars high.
You couldnt go online when the first one was coming out without reading all of the doubters.
BF: Oh, I read them all (laughs). I have the scars to show it.
AF: Jimmy knows the pain we felt through prep and shooting and post.
BF: From JoBlo too, you know.
BF: From your readers.
AF: We feel like, as hard as it was for us to find the tone, and we feel we did find it, you know, infusing that into TMNT 2 now and introducing some new characters and really upping those turtles, we feel we can make a really fun movie for everybody.
You said you started in horror and now youre moving into family. When will you return to horror?
AF: We have [sequels to] OUIJA and PURGE. THE PURGE is a horror thriller. Were definitely talking about another Jason movie. Were working with a director named David Bruckner [on that] who we love. You know, were developing that with him. Were hoping to get that going this year.
Theres been so many rumors about that, about the found footage, that it wont have Jason
AF: Well how could it not have Jason?
BF: That came out of a quote where someone asked me if Derek Mears was going to be in the movie. And I said, I dont even know what the movie is. I dont know what version of Jason were using. That became, Theres no Jason.
AF: There is no FRIDAY THE 13th without Jason. Its not even a question.
And wild teenagers.
BF: We specialize in [wild teenagers]. [Laughs]
Going back to ALMANAC, are you finding this an easy sell? Because its an MTV film and it seems like youre reaching out to a new audience. It seems like a younger audience. Is MTV opening doors for you on that level?
BF: Its hard to answer that in a definitive way. Quantitatively, I dont know if MTV is. I know were getting a lot of promotion as a result of MTV and that thats a great thing for the movie. Traditionally, its very challenging to get our main demographic, boys 17-24 - isnt that our demographic?
AF: Boys and girls, 17-24.
BF: Its hard to get them to go to the movies. Its getting increasingly more difficult. There are a lot of choices for them. But that was the reason why Paramount put MTV on the movie, to expose this material to their core audience. Hopefully that will motivate them to go to the box office and see it.
It seems also youre expending with the whole lollapalooza sequence, you have Imagine Dragons, you have all these huge bands that are involved in the movie in a pretty big way. That seems like a really good way to say, Hey! We got a movie out there and its gonna feature this band. It seems like another great way to sell it.
BF: We always wanted to go to a music festival and it just kept changing which music festival we were going to go to.
AF: Originally it was Coachella.
BF: It was Coachella originally. We were shooting in Atlanta and there was a festival down there, I forgot what it was called. It started with a b. We were gonna go there because we shot the Lollapalooza sequence after the wrap of photography. We had always wanted to put in Imagine Dragons in the movie. When Dean first cut - the first thing he presented to the studios - it was before Imagine Dragons were IMAGINE DRAGONS.
AF: Its Time. That song was in it.
BF: But Radioactive was not a hit yet and Dean put it in the materials of the way he was envisioning the movie. We fell in love with the song then and I think Dean recognized that was a band to contend with. He made it his mission to make sure we could include them in the film. Were delighted that we did.
With the PG-13, [PROJECT ALMANAC] is a PG-13, OUIJA is PG-13, do you kind of miss going back to the hard R? Of course with The Purge you do that.
AF: And FRIDAY THE 13th.
And Friday the 13th. Ouija could have easily been an R-rated film.
AF: Oh, for sure.
BF: We chose to make it PG-13. That was a choice when we were making the film. First of all, I think Hasbro really wanted us to make a PG-13 movie because of the Ouija board. I dont know that that movie lends itself, with Hasbro, in the incarnation that we made the film, to a hard R. We love making hard R movies and violent movies. Its a fun thing to do. But I think in todays environment, in a world where the studios are more cautious, we want to continue working. Making a PG-13 movie travels better around the world and gives us an opportunity to continue making movies. So there are certain subject matters that you can only make as a hard R. Im never going to be a part of a FRIDAY THE 13th that isnt rated R.
Thank you for that. [Laughs]
AF: We didnt feel that the rating restricted Ouija at all. I mean, it was a ghost story and if anything, you know, when she hangs herself in the beginning, that could have gone either way. That could have been an R if you went a little further with maybe the sound, but I dont think we had many discussions about, Well, we cant really do THAT in a PG-13. We told the story we wanted to tell. When we dropped the girl on the sink I mean -
BF: Thats violent. Thats really violent.
AF: There was a huge head hit, there is blood after, but the movie didnt call for the hard R. What you dont ever want to do is make an R-rated movie that feels PG-13. Like if youre going to make an R like FRIDAY THE 13TH or a TEXAS CHAINSAW its gotta be R. You dont want to have that movie where you have one scene, or too many bad words where the ratings board gives you that R. So then you're selling the movie as an R-rated movie that does not deliver on the rating.
BF: Audiences wont be happy if you do that.
AF: If they see the R, theyre expecting it.
With The Purge, obviously, its an R. Where will you go with the third film? Will you push it even further? Will you take it and make it a bigger story?
BF: We love the concept of what that film is. The easy route with that movie is, Lets do the purge on a bridge. Lets do the purge in a building. Lets do the purge on the moon. (laughs) But we decided that we didnt want to do that, and that we wanted to keep growing the scope of the film and make it feel like a bigger and bigger film. With the first one we could only go up, we couldnt get smaller. So the third film will feel larger. The scope of whats happening will have more global implications. Or, at least, national implications.
AF: Its not a movie about people caught out of purge night.
BF: So were trying to grow it. We want the stories to get bigger but were never going to shy away from the conceit and what that conceit means. I also believe that THE PURGE is a movie that - and I dont want this to be misconstrued - there will be blood in THE PURGE. Theres always blood in THE PURGE. But even if there wasnt blood in THE PURGE, I think thats a rated R movie because of the brutality of the concept and the intensity. A lot of times you get an R rating based on those things independent of the amount of blood spilt.
Trust me, Im not going to, Oh, he said this and just take one word from that. [Laughing]
BF: Im an old, grizzled veteran whos been wronged.
AF: Whos been wronged. [Laughs]
What other projects are you excited about? Obviously weve covered a few but what are you looking forward to taking on?
AF: Well, The Last Ship is shooting season two right now. We love that show. Black Sails is shooting season three and season two is about to air.
BF: The writers of ALMANAC have come up with a new script for us. It feels like its, uh, PROJECT ALMANACs older cousin. Were hoping that ALMANAC does well enough that theres interest in that movie, because it has the same feeling, different characters. The part of this movie that Drew and I love is the wish fulfillment. Being able to picture what you would do in that situation, and recognizing that when youre young you make decisions that are so in the moment. Whereas now were older were looking down the road and its nice to go back to what it felt like to be 17 and make stupid decisions. To get the girl.
AF: When we read ALMANAC, we said Oh my God, can you imagine having a time machine in high school? If you could go back and like, [fix] all those things that you did wrong?
BF: For us the movie is a time machine because it forces you to think about those experiences you had in your life.
AF: This other movie has a similar - its not time travel - but it has another component like that where we said to ourselves, Can you imagine?
BF: But theyre in college.
AF: Imagine if we were in college. (laughs) But its cool. Its a very high concept movie.
BF: Were very fond of these writers. We feel very paternal is the wrong word but it kind of conveys the emotion. These are guys - we knew them before they were writers. We knew one of them when he started his first job in Hollywood. So to watch them grow up and become in-demand writers has been very gratifying. We want to continue working with them because theyre very, very good.
One was a chef, right?
BF: He was a chef. He went to culinary school.
AF: But were very excited about ZOMBIES VS. ROBOTS, that Andrew Adamson has come on to direct. Were working on a draft of the script with him now over at Sony. Is there anything else that were working on?
BF: We have two TV shows that hopefully well get a lot of traction on.
AF: Two new shows that we havent taken out yet.
BF: Drew and I - and Michael [Bay] but Michaels very busy, hes prepping his movies - we want to keep on pushing it and seeing how many more quality things we can make. As long as one of us can be there and really guide the project, I think were going to keep pushing ourselves to do that. Michael doesnt allow us to sit back and say, Hey, we had a good year in 2014, were gonna relax in 2015. It doesnt work like that. We have to keep pushing and we want to.
AF: But TMNT 2 is next. Thats the next thing to shoot for us.
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