JoBlo.com Steps Into The Further for an Insidious: Chapter 3 set visit!
Do you have memories of a being a child and visiting a sick relative? That sort of intense sensation of sadness and death? Well, this ferociously powerful feeling of loneliness and fear was felt by yours truly only a few months ago. A musty apartment, seemingly hundreds of cigarette butts, an oxygen tank, and several house of cards built in this hauntingly creepy environment. If this had not been a movie set, it would have been an utter nightmare come to life. Just in the corner of this impressively crafted set was an old-fashioned record player, one that you could almost hear Tiptoe Through the Tulips playing with the crackling sound of a record that has been played time and time again.
In August of 2014, a group of journalist were gathered together at Delfino Studios in Lake View Terrace, California. It was a chance to once again, make our way back into The Further for a behind the scenes look at INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3. Inside the seemingly hallowed halls of the soundstage was an apartment building set, one that had been pulled straight out of a very bad dream. This dank and dark set was not only littered with the above mentioned cigarettes and the oxygen tank, there were a number of medical bills, medical records and worst of all Dolls. Tons and tons of ugly dolls with numerous photos of doll faces.
Taking place in 2008 - INSIDIOUS and its original sequel take place in 2011 - the story begins with Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott) as a young girl dealing with the loss of her mother. Desperate, she attempts to contact her spirit, but it seems that dear old departed mom isnt the only one listening. With Dermot Mulroney as her father, Sean Brenner, and original cast members Lin Shaye, Angus Sampson and Leigh Whannell (who also writes and directs) returning, it looks as though there are plenty of scares at hand. Have you had the chance to check out the trailer? Well personally Im pretty stoked with this creepy looking flick.
Keep in mind, there are a few SPOILERS AHEAD so if you dont want to have anything more revealed about INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3, you may want to stop reading now.
While on set we walked down the long hallways in the apartment complex takes place, as well as the Brenners apartment. Of course they werent the only ones to live there. It seems that an old tenant is not quite ready to leave. While we werent given too much detail when it comes to the plot, we did see a couple of short scenes which took place in the hallway. This includes fan favorite Elise desperately trying to get Quinn into an elevator - and presumably out of The Further. They rushed quickly down the long hallway, chased by a mysterious man, one that you may recognize as Sloth from SEVEN. And while taking a tour of the set with Mr. Whannell himself, a few of us had a very up-close-and-personal introduction to actor Michael Reid MacKay in full make-up. Rarely have I been severely freaked out on the set of a horror film, yet this was certainly an exception.
MacKay may not be terribly creepy out of make-up, but in character, this frail looking man rushed out towards us with Leigh giving an appropriately satisfied reaction. I may have actually jumped back, in fact Im more than sure I did. It may have been only a glimpse, but as The Man Who Cant Breathe, he was a frightening sight. Wearing a hospital gown, he slinked about breathing heavily into an oxygen mask. He was horribly pale and very thin and wiry. It would be impossible to imagine another actor able to pull this look off nearly as well as MacKay. Before our very entertaining introduction to Michael, Whannell gave us a little insight to the character.
So the main character of the film, Quinn, she lives in an apartment building and upstairs from her is this ghost. This is the ghost version of the apartment he lived in. And youll see him. He is actually played by the guy from SEVEN, the guy who played Sloth. He was tied to the bed. I remember saying to the casting agent, I want him to look like the guy from SEVEN, who was tied to the bed, Sloth. And so she got him. She was like, this is Michael MacKay, and I looked at his IMDB page and it said SEVEN, Sloth. The same guy. He looks exactly the same, just a little bit older. So that guy plays our main villain. It is awesome to have him, given that was such an inspiration for the villains look. That character, in that film. So imagine if that character from SEVEN, Sloth got up and was walking around. That is kind of like what Im thinking of with this film. Youll see him. I mean youll see the scene. He looks awesome. Hes got Fractured FX doing all the make-up and they always do an awesome job.
While we spoke with Leigh during our tour he discussed the scene they were currently filming he added.
This is just a set that only plays for one scene. Well it plays in other scenes of the film but it doesnt look like this. This is the upstairs apartment, so it has an identical floor plan but it looks completely different. Youll see some interesting little props around here. Theres all these doll photos. Yeah, its really just for one scene. Its going to be interesting.
After witnessing a few shots of the great Lin Shaye once again bringing Elise Rainer to life, it was time to sit down for a press conference style interview with Blumhouse producer extraordinaire Jason Blum, Leigh Whannell, and fellow cast members Stefanie Scott, Dermot Mulroney, Lin Shaye and Angus Sampson. When Mr. Whannell had been asked, quite literally Leigh, what's the impetus to do a f*cking prequel? He responded appropriately with this.
Leigh Whannell: My impetus to do a f*cking prequel (Laughing) was a few different things. I mean, by the time it had gotten to that point where I was fully committed and writing it, I was thinking about the best direction this particular story could take. And I think, you know, I told you last time on INSIDIOUS 2 I didn't think there was much more story to tell with that Lambert family. They'd been through so much with all this stuff that had gone on, and I think it would have been weird for the trailer to be, like, you know, "Theyre back! And they're being haunted! Again!" Because, you know, as you guys know, haunted house movies are always built on this feeling of what's going on.
If you put Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson in this movie and the teacup moves, theyre like, "Oh, shit, it's a ghost again." They're so knowledgeable by now that they could be experts themselves. And so if we take them out of the picture and start thinking of a new family, I thought about what the connective tissue would be. If it's a new family, who's familiar? And, of course, you know, the three of us came up.
The thing is, and we did this on SAW, James [Wan] and I wrote ourselves into a corner in that Lin died in the first film. I don't think that's a spoiler at this point. She dies. So it's like, ah, we, you know, we also invented a villain who had terminal cancer, so that was the same thing with SAW. So when I was thinking about it, I really want Lin back but I don't want to deal with ghost Lin. I want Lin alive. And then I started thinking about an origin story for her, a prequel set before the first film. And that just became really interesting to me, the idea of seeing Lin years before the first film, and how she got to that point, and what happened to her in her life.
I realized that it could fit well, because these guys, you know, when you met them in the first film they'd obviously been working together. They've probably worked on some other things. Just telling that origin story, I think, cemented the idea of a prequel. And then thinking of ways to tie it into the first film, without giving it away, that sort of little strands that I could connect to the first film, it was exciting. You know, I always love origin stories.
I love that BATMAN BEGINS approach of, like, okay, let's go back and see how we got to this point. So, we're doing that little bit with Lin in this film, within the context of this new family. But having said that, I also like the idea that much more so than the second film, I think, people could walk in having seen neither of the last two INSIDIOUS films, and have a great time, and understand it. There might be some things that connect to the first films that maybe they're not keeping total track of, but I don't think it would be to the point where their understanding and enjoyment of the film would be affected. So I liked that slate-wiping aspect of it. Basically it's like let's just do the first film over again.
Are there more stories to tell after this film?
LW: I think so. I mean, you meet Lynn and you meet us, and I think there is room. It's set a few years before the first film, so I think you could go in any direction. Maybe if there was another INSIDIOUS film, you could go forward again if you wanted to get crazy. But I definitely think there's room between this film and the first movie to look at. You want Lin Shaye alive. You don't want morbid ghost Lin Shaye. You want full on, turbocharged Lin Shaye.
When Dermot Mulroney was asked about coming on board and being part of this franchise, he discussed the familial element.
DERMOT MULRONEY: Leigh doesn't paint a family that's like a Disney cartoon and then suddenly all hell breaks loose. You know, this is a real family -
LIN SHAYE: With real problems.
DM: -- with serious struggles, problems, loss. You know, this film is as much about grief and reconciliation, as it is about who's jumping out of the closet or anything. I mean, the root of the movie is the heart of this family, and theyre a family that's in crisis, you know, so you start the story there. And then it gets even worse. And instead of having that temptation of painting a pretty picture that shifts, this is a much more subtle thing. And as Lin just said, you know, the horror in the movie is the same as the horror that the family is going through. In ways, in symbolic ways, or even in some ways literally. So it has a resonance, a real emotional resonance, instead of just a scare-fest. I mean, that's what you need for this film in the first place, after speaking with Leigh.
Lin Shaye, who is such a pivital part of this universe, continued in regards to working with Leigh behind the camera.
LS: One thing that for me has been great is, since Leigh has written these and has created basically my character and this world, some of the directorial elements that he's been able to provide me with are so rich. And it's things that I've thought about, but never thought about with the coloration that he describes them to me. And I think that comes also from being an actor and a performer. I tease him. I say, not only is he going to be a triple threat, he's going to be an octagonal threat. There's going to be tap dancing and doing Jersey Boys all on his own (Laughing).
Angus Sampson seemed to agree with Lins excitement for Whannell directing the third installment.
ANGUS SAMPSON: Its such a privilege to see Leigh step into that valley that James and Jason and Oren and the team together have worked on, traversing that rocky path. But for them, the support they have and encouragement they have for Leigh, for me to come in and step in and just see how he's handling that, he's a true polymath, you know, aside from being a very dear friend of mine. The confidence that he has in the material, certainly for us when we're dealing with the netherworld, it's actually a real treat to have the director in the scene with you, as well. It's actually quite liberating as a performer. And he's so cute and generous.
And finally, when it came time to taking on this project without James Wan by his side, Leigh admitted that he had a few fears going in.
LW: It was definitely scary at first. I think it was going through different stages. I think when James went off to do FAST AND FURIOUS, it was tough. It was almost like a grieving period. It was like we were together for so long, we were a band, and now he's splitting off and doing a solo project, and I was like, oh, man, it was like a breakup. I was like, what am I going to do without James? He'd sort of gone off to this other place. And I sort of had to think about what I would do, you know, if I wasn't working with him. And then when this opportunity came up, I think there was a two-minute window where I was like, I don't want to direct PART 3 of anything, like not even THE GODFATHER made a decent PART 3. Then after that two-minute window passed, I was like, shut up, you're an idiot, you have to do this. And I realized what an awesome opportunity it was.
You don't understand, that was before I had written it. All I [really] had was the vague concept of INSIDIOUS 3. And then once I started writing it, I fell in love with it. And it was scary without James being there at first. And then I just started working through it, like, all right, you can't dwell on this. You've just got to do the best you can. And, you know, if you have a problem, you can always talk to him. But he's definitely the master. Like, he just has an innate skill at constructing a scare scene. I think that that's something you can't be taught. He's just born with this ability to go, to know exactly where the camera should be, and at what moment this person should enter frame for it to be scary. Coming up against that is pretty scary. But the thing is, when you're talking to me right now, I still don't know if I've succeeded. If you ask me that question in ten months time, I might be like, I failed. But I'm trying my best to live up to what James did with the first two.
Thankfully, from the two trailers, and the frightening images that I experienced firsthand, I cant wait to see what Mr. Whannell and crew have hidden deep inside The Further. And we will all be able to see what lurks in the shadows when INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3 hits theatres this coming June 5, 2015.
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