Roundtable Interview With Fede Alvarez On Evil Dead

Fede Alvarez is all ready to bring audiences worldwide his new horror film Evil Dead. A re-imagining of the Sam Raimi-directed, Bruce Campbell-starring classic, Alvarez’s version is a bloody (and we do mean bloody), horrifying and wildly entertaining film that easily stands out from other recent entries in the genre. Though it wasn’t without fault, I enjoyed it immensely and was thrilled when I got the chance to interview Alvarez last week.

Along with a couple other journalists, we threw questions out to the director, who happily chatted with us about his new film, which you can tell he is extremely passionate about. During the course of the interview, Alvarez spoke about how he got the best out of his actors, Diablo Cody’s involvement with writing the script, his struggles with the MPAA and more.

Check it out below.

Question: I actually wanted to jump off starting about Jane Levy and her performance. Like so many horror films, this one really hinges on some incredible performances from some incredibly strong actresses, so I was wondering if you could talk a bit about how you extracted such a gruesome and grueling performance from them.

Fede Alvarez: Thank you, I mean, everything starts, of course, in the pages. It’s very hard for an actress to give to a good performance if the script sucks, so everything starts in the pages and we put a lot of love into the characters in general and we really care about giving them stories that weren’t necessarily related to the supernatural story, so each one of them has their journey that is not only plot driven, but character driven too, so that always helps.

And then on the shooting itself, I think my job was kind of like exposing them to real things all the time. That’s why we decided to make the film in 100% practical and not just CGI and all that. It was not just because I love horror films that look real, but also because I knew that way, the actors were going to be exposed to real things. That’s why I decided also to shoot the film in a real forest when sometimes with films the first instinct is always to just build it on the stage. And I thought that was going to be a betrayal to the spirit of the original film, so I felt that we had to go and be in the woods and spend long nights in the woods with everybody freezing to death, but that’s the way I think movies should be done.

And for the actors too, everything was real for them so they aren’t faking it. To get real reactions sometimes I would surprise them with real jumps. Sometimes I kept them in the dark about some scenes and some moments of the movie, so they could react in a more truthful way. Yes, I was really pushing them to have the real experience, because I knew if they were having a real experience that would translate into their performances.

Question: You’re a pretty DIY guy and you came from a shorts background. This is not only your first feature, but it’s your first feature and you’re remaking one of the most iconic horror films of all time. So what’s it like making that jump and working with a budget that’s not only bigger than you’ve ever worked with, but a budget that was bigger than the original film that you’re sort ot rebooting?

Fede Alvarez: Well, it’s never a problem to have a good budget. It’s never going to be a problem. It’s going to be a good thing. I mean for a horror movie, it was a good budget, but we still have to be very resourceful and come up with new ideas to be able to make the movie look even bigger, right? I’m a big fan of movies, but I’m a bigger fan of filmmaking itself. I fell in love with it when I was very young and I have always loved to learn the craft, every aspect of it.

It’s just like I was doing everything that was film related. I did music for my films in the past. I even played the piano on the soundtrack of this film in some parts, so it’s something that I love. I love just about every aspect of the filmmaking, except acting. I would never be able to do that, but the rest I really enjoy. When it came down to making the movie, it helped that I knew a little bit of everything. When it came down to do the visual effects and all that, that’s something that I feel that I know, so it really helps me a lot and it makes it very easy.

Sometimes people ask me like how it is you come from a short, a $200 short to a movie, is it hard? And my answer is always the same. The hard part is to make a $300 alien invasion movie with no money and nothing, that’s the hard part.

And then regarding the challenge of remaking a classic, I don’t know, I was such a fan of the original and Sam Raimi’s movies in general and I think that’s the reasons why Sam gave me the job. All of my friends are horror fans too. So I know my audience. I know who I’m making this film for on many levels, so I always felt great about it and I knew I was rewriting it. I wasn’t overwriting anything. I wasn’t trying to make a movie that was going to take the place of another. I just wanted to make a new story.

That’s why I decided to go with different characters; I decided to go with a different setup. I think we did a good job with bringing the ideas of the original and fitting them in this new story without feeling forced. We don’t feel that we’re just trying to put those ideas there.

There was pressure, but I always felt that it was just awesome to be making a new Evil Dead movie and to be part of this family.

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