In his newest film, “>The Mutant Chronicles (review), director Simon Hunter takes audiences to the year 2707. Earth has been depleted of its natural resources, and four corporations run everything while waging war against each other.
During these battles an ancient seal is broken, and suddenly the humans have a far greater enemy than each other: the necromutants that want nothing more than to exterminate the entire human race. Hunter knew that creating a futuristic sci-fi thriller was going to be challenging, especially since there have been so many epic visionary films about future times.
“We knew for Mutant Chronicles that we needed to be distinctive,” explained Hunter. “When creating this type of movie, you have to be interesting and bold so that people will react to more than just the ‘look’ of the film. We had to create a good story, a great depiction of Earth in the future, and most of all, we needed to make sure the mutants were not a rip-off in any way. The bottom line for me is that I wanted a strong film that gave audiences a good gut-punch reaction to it.”
Hunter first approached Edward Pressman (who held the rights to the game) about Mutant Chronicles in 2005, when he tried to convince Pressman that it was possible to create an epic sci-fi thriller and still keep a modest budget because of the technology that was available to them. Hunter decided that in order for Pressman to truly understand what he was able to do with the story, he needed to create a “mood” film.
Hunter said, “The short film version took us about five days to shoot on blue screen and about four months or so to finish up after that. We really had no budget and limited resources so most of that short film was put together on my home computers. Thank god Pressman liked it, and from there I was hired to direct.”
Both Hunter and Pressman hit the ground running on shopping Mutant Chronicles around town, and once they secured financing, it was time to put together their cast. Hunter was able to assemble his ‘dream cast’, which included Thomas Jane, John Malkovich, Ron Perlman, Anna Walton, and Devon Aoki.
“I was ecstatic that we were able to get the level of actors we did for Mutant,” expressed Hunter. “A lot of them came on board because of the mood film I made, which gave me great confidence in working with them.”
Hunter added, “Tom (Jane) has this anti-hero quality to him so I immediately knew he was going to be a perfect fit for the role of Mitch (a rogue-type soldier). Having Ron (Perlman) on set was amazing and intimidating because he has such a presence. Everyone’s passion for the project and their roles, though, is what made everything so worth it. When there is that type of dedication, it can’t help but ripple throughout everything, and you end up with something amazing.”
Mutant Chronicles boasts over 2,000 visual effects and was shot using various techniques. Hunter came up with the idea that they could use CGI along with partial and miniature sets, green screens, and matte paintings to keep the film looking epic but still practical for their bottom line.
“We wanted to use the best technology to our advantage while keeping the project functioning on a very basic level. We shot using a Viper Camera, which gave us a lot of detail to work with that helped us create this retro-looking world from start to finish. I wanted the film have a ‘steam punk’ feel to it where everything just felt gritty and real but still futuristic,” described Hunter.
Hunter’s deep-seated involvement over the last three years with Mutant Chronicles was due to it being a mostly independent movie. “When all is said and done, I am grateful that I was able to be so hands-on, but I admit that it can be hard to maintain a positive perspective for so long. I love being a director so even on the hard days, I was still excited to see what we were able to create,” said Hunter.
Hunter went on to joke, “I have to say it got pretty tough at the end to not get fed up with the mutants. They almost took on a life of their own.”
Mutant Chronicles is now available on HDNet Ultra VOD and will be playing theatrically starting April 24th.
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