Exclusive Interview: Fede Alvarez Talks Don’t Breathe And Updates On Evil Dead

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WGTC: Do you think this over-classification is hurting the way we watch and digest movies?

Fede Alvarez: Sure – just look at our screening of Don’t Breathe last night. I was stoked to premiere the film without revealing ANYTHING about it. We had a very simple tagline, because we didn’t want to give away too much, and that was it. I think that helped last night, because people had no clue where the story was going.

Even in the middle of the movie, when you think you might have a realization, you really have no clue. It keeps going, and going. That’s what I think a good movie should be, and it used to be like that. We live in times now where there are so many trailers and too much exposition. You learn so much about a movie before it comes out. When I was a teenager, you had to buy a magazine. Then you’d MAYBE see a trailer at the movies, but that was it. Today it’s over-exposed.

But that’s what we’re going to continue to try to do with the marketing campaign on Don’t Breathe. We want to give the audience enough, but not too much.

WGTC: Which works aces. It’s a pain in the ass though to write a review without any stills to use, so thanks for that [laughs]! But moving on, was Stephen Lang always your choice to play the film’s blind ex-militant?

Fede Alvarez: Oh yeah. Definitely. It always takes some thinking about who would be perfect, but there’s no doubt he was top choice, and he was amazing. There are very few people that can play that type of character, and be so fit and strong, bringing such a heavy presence on camera. But, at the same time, he’s able to play frail. If you look at him during the film’s beginning, you feel sorry for him. You don’t expect his evolution. He can turn it on and off, which is pretty unique. He’s almost seventy, and he’s in better shape than any of us!

WGTC: So Evil Dead was 2013, and Don’t Breathe is just premiering at South By Southwest three years later. Did you always plan on this film being such a long process?

Fede Alvarez: Honestly, we had the script done a year and a half after Evil Dead. My favorite directors, they make a movie every once and a while. They don’t make a movie every two years, which some people do because they just want to get paid. I’d rather live to create good movies than chase a paycheck, or make a movie just for the hell of it.

After Evil Dead I could have jumped into all those franchises, sequels and stuff with studios where you get lost. Directors don’t get a lot of credit for those movies because people are focused on the franchise, not who’s making each film. Internally you do get the credit, but for me, it’s a personal choice to make films I can say are mine, and create original material. Plus, I just want to take my time, as long as I don’t run out of money [laughs]. I’m writing my movies, so as I’m writing Don’t Breathe, I’m also writing two other films so I can make a living. That’s for me. It helps to take my time. There are plenty of movies out there! People don’t need me to make a movie every year [laughs]. It takes time to create original content.

WGTC: You’re first two movies have been of the horror persuasion – is this a genre you want to remain in?

Fede Alvarez: Don’t Breathe definitely deviates from horror. Evil Dead is full-on, straight-forward horror. This one has horror elements, and will be scary depending on who’s watching it, but I think it’s more a thriller. Suspense is a key emotion. But who knows where I’ll go after Don’t Breathe.

WGTC: You’re still just focusing on Don’t Breathe?

Fede Alvarez: It’s a mystery. While I’m making a movie, and cutting a movie, I’m not thinking about anything else. I have to be in love with a project until the last second in order to make it work. I want to give you guys a good experience at the theater, not a sloppy one. I work my ass off on every second. Frames are not arbitrary. You have to think about where the cut is. Work with your editor. That takes a lot of concentration, and for me, at least, my brain cannot be worried about writing or producing another film. I finished Don’t Breathe recently, so I’m just starting to think about what’s next.

WGTC: So for my last question, I’m almost obligated to bring things back to Evil Dead. Are there talks about possibly continuing your reboot’s story arc again some time, since Sam Raimi’s successful television show changed the landscape of previous discussions?

Fede Alvarez: We haven’t talked about [Evil Dead] for a long time now, and I see [Sam Raimi] often. We’re really good friends. They made me part of their family. But now they’re doing really well with the show, and that’s their priority. Who knows, maybe at some point? Part of me thinks that I’ll eventually go back to that Evil Dead world, but there are no actual plans we’re working on. It’s all about the show, now.

That concludes our interview but I’d like to thank Fede Alvarez very much for chatting with me. Be sure to see Don’t Breathe when it releases August 26th, 2016.