INT: MBV 3D writers!
There is something pretty damn cool about Todd Farmer. I’ve seen him interviewed when he wrote JASON X and I just found him to be the kind of guy that would be a blast to hang with. And as I watched MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3-D, I realized something. He got it! He knew what makes the original 1981 slasher flick a cult classic and also, a absolute favorite of mine. He took what worked, along with Zane Smith and helped make a terrific horror movie.
When I sat down with Zane and Todd at the W in Westwood, California, I found them both to be so much fun to talk to. We spoke about horror and of course about Todd and his big nude scene. Yeah, he is in the movie, but don’t you worry, Betsy Rue really makes it a-okay. But it is always a good thing to sit and talk with true fans of horror that are really trying to make good for the other fans. And I think they’ve succeeded with MBV 3-D. While it is only playing in 3-D in a select group of theatres, it is definitely worth checking out if you are a lover of old school slasher films. And your chance begins this coming Thursday night… will you be someone’s bloody valentine?
Todd Farmer and Zane Smith
Warning: a few minor spoilers ahead!So I watched the original MY BLOODY VALENTINE last night.
Zane Smith: How’d it go?
Well you gotta realize I‘m a huge fan, I saw it when I was like ten years old, in the theatre…
Todd Farmer: You saw it in the theatre when you were ten!?! Oh, DUDE!
Dude… 1981, I saw every single one of those flicks in the theatre…
TF: I saw it at a drive-in.
You saw it at a drive-in? Nice.
TF: I don’t know how old I was but I was old enough that the dryer scene screwed me up. I never saw the movie again until we started this process.
TF: Because subconsciously it messed me up the way JAWS messed me up. And we had an area outside our house, like a utility room outside our garage, and I wouldn’t go in it because I just knew that she was gonna flop out of the dryer.
She totally would.
TF: And we knew that. What’s great is just, people have seen the movie know it’s coming, but it is just a huge misdirect because that is not what the scene is about.
Now, another thing you guys added in which was one of my favorite scenes in the original film, the minor suits comin’ down…
TF: Comin’ down in 3-D baby.
Yeah. Thank you very much. I spoke to Patrick and it seems like you guys spent a whole lot of time thinking about what you wanted to add from the original. Was there something that you couldn’t but wanted that just didn‘t work?
TF: Not from my point of view.
ZS: No, no, I mean, we had thought about other scenes. There were scenes that originally we were going to do like the shower scene. The scene where somebody ends up impaled on a shower, upside down, eviscerated in a bathtub. We kind of knocked around a bunch of different kill shots and then eventually it was what works best. You know, there were certain things that would’ve been cool but…
The shower scene works really well, I’ve tried that one.
ZS: [Laughing] Nice!
Obviously you’re fans of the genre and I’m sorry man, I really dug JASON X [Laughing].
TF: You and I are in the minority there [Laughing].
Were you a little freaked out because the truth is, most remakes suck and people are getting tired of bad remakes. Were you afraid of backlash or anything…?
TF: On this one?
TF: Not at all. I knew from the moment I came on it was gonna be… there’s never been any doubt. With JASON X I couldn’t tell ya that, with THE MESSENGERS I couldn’t tell ya that. Look, I love [Sam] Raimi, ‘cause I’ve worked with him after MESSENGERS on MESSENGERS 2, and he’s the best in the business. Other than Patrick Lussier, he’s the only other guy that’s ever shown me respect. He shows respect to the writer, and that doesn’t happen often. But the moment I got involved I knew it was gonna be good, because Patrick “gets it”, he’s always gotten it. And it was gonna be good because he was the director. And he comes from an editing background editing Wes Craven movies. I mean, the guy knows how to do this. And he knows what’s going to work and what’s not going to work, it’s just instinctual. I mean, he knows what’s going to end up on the editing floor. So I knew from the moment we started bantering back and forth, I knew we were on to something. And it feels good.
One of the things I love about the script is, even with that opening sequence you could have ended the film there.
TF: The opening sequence is the 1981 movie [Sort of].
Basically. That is kind of how I thought about it.
TF: That was fully intentional. It was funny because somebody commented on it in something saying like, ‘the first ten minutes feels like it is from a 1981 horror movie.’ Duh! That was the plan.
And you keep much of the same plot, with the romantic triangle and you even kept the names… Axel, Sarah… but what up with Tom, he was T.J. in the original?
ZS: It was just because Tom sounded better. Frankly it just kind of rolled off… T.J. sounded a little teenage-y and Tom sounded a little better. Just a hair darker, not too much but…
TF: That was before me and I liked it, I was glad it changed because you don’t run across a lot of T.J.’s. It felt… older. And we were still bringing the movie into our generation.
ZS: And we wanted to bring some darkness to the character, bring some darkness to Tom. And just make him a slightly different guy.
Am I the only one that got that? [Yes, I’m a bit of a fanboy about the original]
ZS: Only one that I’ve heard.
That just stuck out because everything else was the same. Now with the 3-D effects, did you keep that in mind while writing it? Were you thinking, okay, what can we stick at the screen?
TF: For me, not until the very end. It would happen throughout the process because Patrick would call up and you’ve talked to him, he’s a very nice guy. The Ron Howard of horror movies. But he’d call up in the middle of the night with just this wicked idea and he would say, ‘You know, there’s a girl and there’s a shovel…’ and I do this for a living and I’m just throwin’ up in my mouth a little… that’s just sort of how the process would work with him. But you knew that it was going to look different in 3-D. And this is a different kind of 3-D. ‘Cause we watched the old 3-D, with the red and blue lenses, I think even FRIDAY THE 13th [3-D] was polarized. But this is completely different. Because you are sitting in the movie with these people.
ZS: Totally immersed.
TF: So, that’s fantastic. So I think what will happen is because of this movie and other 3-D movies that are coming out, I think the way that we write these kind of movies will change because things are different. things jump out on the screen, like the hole that’s created in the door… the first time I saw it I’m just staring at the hole. Because there is so much depth and you can use that and you can see things as a writer that you could plan that ahead. You can see things that the audience will notice.
ZS: And it’s totally different sort of dimension on writing. You’re creating suspense, immersed in 3-D, so you approach it, or you can approach it in a number of different ways.
And seeing you naked in 3-D was a little…
TF: I gotta tell ya, I’m a big part of this movie my friend. I have no… I’m amazingly proud of this sequence because it is the most surreal and probably the best misdirect ever…
ZS: And you should see what was left on the cutting room floor which you will once you get the DVD. Well, you know when he turns around in 3-D…
Oh God no.
TF: I know that was shot but I don’t know that THAT’S gonna be on there. I offered. I said, ‘You want me to turn around?’ and they said NO.
Whose idea was to bring you in for the role?
TF: Patrick called me up and we were talking about casting. And we’d been going through auditions and looking at tapes and talking about… I think we’d just gotten Betsy [Rue] and that’s what made me happy about that because she was so great. And then Patrick said they want to hire a local guy for Frank and I was like… ugh… ‘cause its not an easy role, there’s a lot of effects and the obvious nudity and sex stuff. And I was like, man that’s gonna be tough for a local ‘cause it’s a crapshoot, you don’t know who you’re gonna get. And he said, ‘I know… would you do it?’ and I was like, ‘Really?’ And so I asked my wife and she was like, ‘Frank… you mean the sex stuff?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah.’ and she went, ‘ROCK STAR!’ so I was like, ‘Okay, I guess I’m in!’ [Laughing]. But you know what, it’s a weird, uncomfortable thing to shoot, it really is. It plays great on screen and everything’s wonderful but it’s you and you’ve got a union guy’s boot up your butt and its all this stuff going on. It’s a weird process. But Betsy was fantastic.
Now talk about a brave performance, again it seems like everything is pushed to the extreme, but her naked following you out into the parking lot… the gun…
TF: That was Betsy.
Was that written that way?
TF: Not leaving the hotel. That was Betsy.
What!?! She wanted to do that?
TF: She just assumed that it was that way. And it was brilliant. And it will be one of the most remembered sequences and it’s because of Betsy. And she was a trooper, she really was. And there was one point where she throws the gun and she hit the truck and the trigger broke off. So the gun rolls under the truck and she’s she’s crawling under the eighteen wheeler completely naked trying to get the gun and we were like, ‘No, no, no, no!’ and we were going after her trying to pull her back. You know, she could fall, she could hurt herself. And she’s like, ‘I want my gun! I’m getting my gun!’ She was great!
Now I know everyone is talking sequel… how much have you guys thought about a part 2? Because there was room for a sequel back in 1981, it’s a great character.
TF: They were all havin’ sequels but that one they forgot.
Well you know what’s weird, it was really only like FRIDAY THE 13th and HALLOWEEN and such… the rest of those flicks from that year really didn’t make a sequel. But now, it is all remakes. It’s almost like someone in the studio is simply going through their horror DVD collection.
TF: Well you’re absolutely right, that is exactly what has been happening. And I think that’s gonna change, I think that we’re gonna help change it. But we grew up with THE FLY, THE BLOB and THE THING, you know, those were remakes that were reconceived. You know, Cronenberg, Carpenter, you know, the writers had different ideas and it was great. So I didn’t have a problem with the remakes, but what happened was, over the last five or six years they’ve just been making movies because of name recognition. And that is the wrong reason to make a movie. You make a movie, because like MY BLOODY VALENTINE was shot for forty bucks and a box of Canadian smokes. And we’re shooting it for a lot more than that. And we’re putting time and energy and technology and 3-D into it…
And you’re still paying tribute to it…
TF: And we’ve sort of reconceived the way that the movie works. I feel like we’ve done the best of both worlds in that aspect. And I think that because of that, they’re gonna keep doing remakes, and we’re gonna keep writing ‘em…
ZS: But hopefully they won’t be as disposable. And to give them longer legs and just more love. Because hey look, when they’re disposable, nobody sees them and what’s the f*cking point if nobody sees them?
TF: And you guys have to keep calling us on our crap. Because if you don’t, then it doesn’t change. And I think the industry is going to change, and I think that the power is going to come back to the writers, directors and actors.
Why do you think it’s going to change?
TF: Because I think that people are starting to realize that you can’t make these movies without the passion. You can’t make these movies based on spreadsheet.
I hope so, but this whole name recognition thing is killing the quality. It’s all about opening weekend and who cares about the rest? It sucks.
TF: Well that’s why Lionsgate deserves some props. [Michael] Paseornek, who spearheaded this one was involved with the very first one… they really came through and they let Patrick make the movie that he needed to make.
Now have you guys thought about the possibility of a sequel?
TF: There have probably been some ideas kicking around. You know… the problem is, it would be… if it were to happen, it would have to happen quickly because there is a TV schedule Jensen has. Jaime has… Kerr very possibly could end up with a TV show so there’s that to consider. And you don’t want to half ass it. But I don’t know, I don’t know what will happen.
ZS: Obviously it’s going to depend on what happens after the sixteenth.
TF: It’s actually the fifteenth now isn’t it?
Yep, ten o’clock showings.
Let me know what you think. Send questions and/or comments to JimmyO@JoBlo.com.