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Interview: Hardware & Color Out of Space director Richard Stanley!

Director Richard Stanley's adaptation of author H.P. Lovecraft's COLOR OUT OF SPACE (pre-order HERE) starring Nicolas Cage will be in theaters this Friday. The film begins after a meteorite lands in the front yard of a family that find themselves battling a mutant extraterrestrial organism as it infects their minds and bodies, transforming their quiet rural life into a technicolor nightmare.

And today we had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with the legendary filmmaker behind such classics as HARDWARE and DUST DEVIL. We talked about how this adaptation of COLOR OUT OF SPACE came to be, what it's like directing Nicolas Cage, and more. Oh, and Stanley tells us which Lovecraft story he will be taking on next! Check out our interview with genre legend Richard Stanley in full below!

How did your adaptation of Lovecraft's COLOR OUT OF SPACE come to be?

I've been a life-long Lovecraft fan. And to some extent, COLOR OUT OF SPACE was low-hanging fruit. I've always been astounded that there aren't more heavy-weight adaptations of his fantastic stories. And of all of them, this one which takes place on a single farm and features the violation of a single-family is at least in range of a medium to low budget. It isn't set in Antarctica or the bottom of the Mariana trench. So I figured we had a reasonable chance of doing it justice. 

What's it like directing Nicolas Cage?

Directing Nic was pure joy. He single-handedly restored my faith in Hollywood. I've had a lot of bad experiences with leading men in the past and Nic was quite the reverse. He brought incredible energy to the set and came up with a lot of ideas and generally within one to two takes we'd have it done. And I think he's got a great sense of comic timing. I try to approach almost everything I do with a kind of deadpan apocalyptic black comedy. So I think we're very much in tune that way.

This film is one of the most visually stunning fright flicks I have seen in years. Can you talk a bit about the visuals of the film? 

I've always had a minimum standard of excellence, and I think if I'm going to put something on the screen, I need to make the most of that opportunity. I was very influenced by the work of Dario Argento when I was younger, and the notion that even murder can be a form of art. And that the end of the world or the extinction of mankind will, no doubt, be just as beautiful as humanity's creation. So I guess COLOR OUT OF SPACE is almost a chance for me to do a kind of religious movie. 

On top of the stunning visuals, the film sports some killer THE THING-style SFX work. Can you talk a bit about that?

Of course, I think that John Carpenter's THE THING is perhaps the greatest monster movie ever made. And it is probably the most Lovecraftian movie ever made. But it's just, you know, not from a Lovecraft story. So that was a very high benchmark to aim for. But we do tip our hats to THE THING with our alpaca-monster sequence, which definitely leans that way.

With this, I kind of wanted to hit this sweet spot between physical effects and visual effects. And I wanted to always be putting the action on the set. We then used the VFX to fine-tune the illusion. And I guess the core of that is the mutation of what happens to the family members. We didn't want to lose track of the emotions of what they were going through so it had to be real. It's heavily influenced by how most people in their lives, have to deal with the lingering death of a loved one. Having to see the ravages cancer and other conditions can do to people, to their psychology and their bodies.

Are there any other Lovecraft stories you'd like to take on?

I'm pleased to say that SpectreVision has greenlit me to go forward with two further Lovecraft adaptations. So COLOR OUT OF SPACE will be the first of a trilogy. I have already started prepping on the second movie which is going to be a new adaptation of THE DUNWICH HORROR. It will take us back to Miskatonic University for the first time since RE-ANIMATOR. And it will also give us a chance to deal directly with the Necronomicon, the black book that lies at the center of the Lovecraft universe. 

And the third movie?

I can't tell you. For all kinds of reasons. But I will say that 2020 is set to be the year of The Old Ones. For whatever reason, everyone seems to be developing a Lovecraft project. The GAME OF THRONES guys are doing their Lovecraft movie. Jordan Peele's LOVECRAFT COUNTRY is about to hit. And I think we're going to be seeing a lot of Lovecraft adaptations in the next two to three years, being that the great man's work is now in the public domain. So that means we've got to be a little strategic in how much talking we do about where this trajectory is heading. 

Do you have any advice for our readers who might want to become filmmakers?

If you really have to do it, just do it. But think twice [laughs]. Because it will probably never make you happy. 

Will you ever return to directing music videos?

I haven't directed a music video in years now, but I'd love to do another one if I ever come across a band fool-hearted enough to go down that route.  

***

And there you have it, folks. That was our interview with genre legend and HARDWARE / DUST DEVIL director Richard Stanley. His new film, an adaptation of RE-ANIMATOR author H.P. Lovecraft's COLOR OUT OF SPACE starring Nicolas Cage hits theaters on January 24, 2020

Thanks for chatting with us, Richard! 

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