With their extremely lucrative collaboration on the SCREAM films, it was thought by many to be a sure thing when director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson united again for CURSED (read JoBlo's review here). This sentiment was quickly proved wrong early in the shoot, when production problems arose and script issues became painfully apparent. Production was eventually halted completely as Williamson opted for a complete re-write of the problematic script. Craven eventually re-shot most of the film with a radically altered storyline and cast. Was it all worth it? Well find out on Monday when the box office numbers are in.
The CURSED junket last week consisted of one interview: stars Jesse Eisenberg and Christina Ricci. To their credit, they were pretty candid about the problems that CURSED faced. Here are some excerpts from their interview.
|Christina Ricci||Jesse Eisenberg|
What was it like working with Wes Craven?
Christina Ricci (CR): Hes great. I mean, hes Wes Craven. Hes incredibly experienced and this is like his thing and what he does best, and hes just very laid back and smart and sarcastic and dry. He doesnt let anything really upset him too much. Were there to make a movie, but its going to be fun.
Jesse Eisenberg (JE): I think also because hes been doing it so long and has such a command of the genre that everybody on the set has a great amount of respect for him and patience, not that he takes a long time, but theres a general understanding that the outcome is going to be that much better, or theres a general understanding that the outcome, theres a confidence that what we were doing was worthwhile.
We know that Wes re-shot much of the film. How did the story change?
CR: It changed quite a bit. We werent related in the original version. We just both happened to be involved in this crash, and then when we came back we were brother and sister, and Josh wasnt in the original one. He wasnt. No, and there was no club that anybody was opening.
JE: No. There was a wax museum. They were able to keep some of the great effects, but the story, I think, is improved, but I mean I think the final product is now better, but I think they were able to keep some of the great effects or some of the more expensive things that still fit into the story.
At the time, did you agree with the decision to re-shoot the movie?
CR: Well, we werent seeing dailies, and I think it was everyone who was watching the dailies that they were the ones who could see that it wasnt really working. When youre not seeing whats actually on camera, sometimes its hard... I mean, the final product of any movie usually feels like a totally alien thing than what youve been shooting anyway, so we wouldnt really be able to have that perspective or the objectivity to know that it wasnt really going quite right.
When did you begin shooting the film?
CR: Oh a year, two years ago. Yeah, it will be two years this March.
How difficult was it to maintain continuity for your performance when there was a possibility that footage from both versions might be used?
JE: Very little of it was kept, so there wasnt really...
So none of the original scenes were used for the final film?
There were some. And if the case was youve exited the door in a
scene that we shot five months ago and now its the scene that
happens right after you come through the door, then I would watch;
he would show us what we were following so we could
kind of get back into that.
Were there any collaborations with people that didnt make it, or scenes you got right the first time that you were disappointed to lose?
CR: Yeah, I mean, originally, when we first were shooting, Skeet Ulrich was in the movie. And by the time they had reworked the script and everything, he didnt like the way his character had been changed. And so he didnt want to be involved anymore. And that was sort of sad. He was a love interest of my character. He was involved in the crash. It was the three of us involved in a crash, and then he and I start we become attracted to each other. But the way it was rewritten, he just didnt feel like there was enough to make him really want to be in the second version.
JE: I think the part that he was originally doing was eliminated essentially. So I think the interest for him, whatever that was at the time, may have not carried over to that new character.
Any scenes you thought you nailed the first time?
JE: No, I mean, I never feel that way, so I was kind of excited to get another shot at it.
CR: All that stuff, all the school stuff, thats in the first one, right?
JE: Yeah, actually, I think a lot of the stuff that I did in the first version, if anything was kind of retained. I think most of the stuff I had done, because it was out of the context of the old story, so yes, so theres the stuff in the beginning. The stuff on Hollywood Boulevard in the beginning I think was there, and I think a more significant scene, the fight with the golden retriever, that was also retained and I know that was important to keep because its really exciting and also probably an expensive venture.
When they made you related, what layer did that add to the story?
JE: It kind of grounded it emotionally. The first story was about strangers who meet and have to join together and stuff which seemed to work, because I read the script and really liked the first one but I guess whoevers decision it was to change it didnt think it worked as well. But having a family as the focus of the movie, and the family suffered a loss. Our parents had been killed prior to the movie, so it certainly grounds it emotionally.
Christina, how long after Monster did you begin work on Cursed?
CR: Two weeks.
What was it like moving from material that was more reality-based and serious to a supernatural story like this one?
CR: Well, thats one of the reasons that I took this movie, was that monster was so heavy and sort of an emotional journey. I mean, Monster was a great experience because I loved working with Charlize and I loved the director, Patty . But at the same time, when youre working with material that is that dark, eventually youre just going to feel a little bit heavy. So I literally landed in LA after filming that, coming back from Orlando, and my agents like Okay, you need to go tomorrow to meet on the Wes Craven movie that you can do starting in two weeks if you want to. I was like, Yeah, that sounds good. Something lighter, like playing a normal person whos running around and screaming. That sounds good, okay.
Has the critical acclaim of Monster changed the scripts that youre getting offered?
CR: Um, no, not really. I think its always a great thing to be in a movie that was so good and that affected so many people. I think thats always a good thing. I cant say that it changed my career that much, but Im happy to have done it.
Can you tell us anything about The White Rose?
CR: Thats a project thats just still in the early stages of development. Its based on a graphic novel. Its sort of a young girl whos taken under the wing of a cat burglar, and then shes raised to be a cat burglar and her signature is a white rose. And then something goes wrong and then theres a movie.
Whats happening with Prozac Nation?
CR: Now, theyve sold it to Starz On Demand.
What has that experience been like for you?
CR: Its extremely disappointing. Extremely disappointing.
How do you approach your roles?
CR: I think it really does depend on what youre going to be playing, who youre going to be playing. A lot of times, if a character has a lot of if theres a lot of technical truths that you need to learn, any kind of training, then you might start there. And that will sort of influence the character and youll see how that would change a personality. And then trying to just do whatever the director wants. If he likes to rehearse for three weeks, then thats how you find it. I think for me it really depends.
What about this movie?
CR: Nothing. I was hired literally two weeks before we started shooting. And we did a lot of fittings.
JE: Yeah, the nature of the movie is not necessarily performance driven. But thats not to say that it detracts from the quality of the movie. It focuses on other things and were doing our jobs and do it as well as we are required to do it. But also, its a more whimsical movie. Its not as heavy as a movie. It is in the sense that awful things are happening, but in terms of overall tone, its not taken as seriously as something like
CR: Its not a drama.
What are the differences between working on an indie film, like Rodger Dodger, and a big budget one?
Its different in almost every way in terms of the production of
it. This I think was schedule for 60 something days and that movie
(Roger Dodger) was 20 days and I just did a movie that was 23 days,
also similar. It took place in
CR: Yeah, I had no respect at all.
JE: Oh, really? But no, I didnt realize the set is quieter in a more emotional scene. I didnt realize there would be a respect for it because to me it just looks like a horror movie. It seems like they wouldnt take what I was doing as seriously. But I found it to be the opposite, so it was nice.
Jesse, what do you play in Squid and the Whale and when will we see it?
I think its coming out in October. I play
its about a family
going through a divorce in 1986 in
Youre playing him and hes watching your performance?
JE: Yeah, I think it was more well, I had auditioned for it like eight times over the course of two years, so I felt that I had I felt comfortable being there. The people who played my parents were also being scrutinized in kind of a different way, I think. And I think for them, it was more being scrutinized by an outsider so it was more of a biased approach. But for me, I felt pretty confident being there. There was a really time-consuming and rigorous rehearsal process because it was such a personal story for the filmmaker.
Christina, did you meet the person you played in Monster?
CR: No, she wanted to have nothing to do with the movie. She had already sold her rights off to somebody else, so they changed you know, my characters name is changed. Its not her real name. And we really had to make sure, I think Patty in writing the screenplay made sure that my character did not too clearly represent the girl that I was supposed to be representing.
Christina, what will we see you in next?
CR: The next thing Im in thats coming out is a movie called I Love Your Work with Giovanni Ribisi and Franke Potente that Adam (Goldberg) wrote and directed. Its sort of a Faustian tale about this actor who wants to be famous so badly and when he does get the life he thought he wanted, all of a sudden, he realized he sold his soul to the devil really. So Im he has flashbacks of his ex-girlfriends, the girl he sold out to get where he is, the girl he betrayed and thats me.
Ever feel as if you sold your soul for success?
CR: Oh yeah, long, long time ago.
Would you be interested in a Cursed sequel, or did the extensive re-shoots sour you?
JE: We start on the sequel next week, so we dont have a choice.
CR: No, these kinds of movies are really fun to make. I think as an actor sometimes youre in the mood to be really serious and do something really hard and thought-provoking. But then the other side of it is, Oh, but I could just have a great time running around doing action-y types of things and being chased by something. Or I could do that in my spare time.
Questions? Comments? Manifestos? Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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