Exclusive Interview: Director Alexandre Aja Talks The Challenges Of Making Crawl

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I’m very impressed to hear that there were actually a couple of shots with real gators.

Alexandre Aja:  No, we never had a real live alligator. The animatronics one, like we had the baby alligators, we had one shot of the gator and another one coming out of the water, it was actual prosthetics. We planned on having an additional photography of a real alligator in Florida, and we found a place, we found the tank, and then, when we saw the first test, we realized it was absolutely not necessary.

I did want to talk about Barry Pepper for a quick moment because he does deliver a long overdue and fantastic performance here. I’ve loved him since even before Saving Private Ryan. Was he on the top of your wish list for this role or was it like an audition process where he just blew you away? How did that come about?

Alexandre Aja:  I’ve always been a big fan of Barry’s for a long time for the same reasons. He’s always been one of the most interesting character actors working in the industry, and in a weird way, except very questionable movies where he’s the lead, he’s never been really used as a main character in a story.

But here, I thought, “ah, he’s too young” and then I talked to him and he said, “no, I have an eighteen-year-old daughter.” And in fact, the relationship with her dad is not the one I had with my daughter but it’s definitely the one I had with my dad. And we talked for a long time and I was [surprised] how personal the story was for him.

And then, when he came on set, it’s funny because Kaya and him know each other because they were both in The Maze Runner but they didn’t act together there. But then, it’s two different approaches and through the story I realized that Barry was kind of getting into, “I want to save my daughter. It’s about her, it’s about accepting that your daughter is going to be the one that saves you.” And that kind of balance, that kind of interpersonal level began to feed the story. The relationship between Barry and Kaya was very similar to Dave and Harry – in a good way, in a very real way.

So, boosting off the momentum from Crawl, what do you have planned next? There were rumors that you’d be taking hold of a Nightmare on Elm Street remake. Has that project formulated into something more concrete?

Alexandre Aja:  You know what? I have no idea where that came from. I never, I mean, I would love to but I never had a meeting and have never been considered or even talked to. I think it came from the fact that someone had asked me if there was a movie I would love to remake. I might have said that but that doesn’t mean it’s real. So, no, there’s absolutely nothing about Nightmare on Elm Street.

Crawl is now available to purchase on home video (DVD and Blu-ray).

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