#SDCC16: Geena Davis Talks The Exorcist & Asks if America Wants Another Beetlejuice; Jeremy Slater Out of Death Note - Dread Central
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#SDCC16: Geena Davis Talks The Exorcist & Asks if America Wants Another Beetlejuice; Jeremy Slater Out of Death Note

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I was really surprised when I heard a series based on The Exorcist was in the works. I guess it makes sense given the modern media culture of reboots and remakes, but I’d be afraid to touch it with a ten-foot pole. This isn’t some fan favorite like A Nightmare on Elm Street or a cult classic like Black Christmas.

This is the first horror movie to ever be nominated for Best Picture. It won two Academy Awards. It brought respect to the genre. It’s the movie that people point to when they say, “I don’t really like horror, but that was good.

What I’m saying is that if you make an Exorcist reboot, it better not suck. Even though I kind of like Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist, it’s certainly nowhere near The Exorcist. Comparing any movie to The Exorcist is a doomed endeavor. So putting the name right in the title is just inviting all kinds of criticism.

This might all sound like doom and gloom, but from what I’ve seen of Fox’s “The Exorcist” series, they are taking this whole “not sucking” concept to heart. Judging from the trailer, it’s looking to hit that sweet spot between personal drama and terrifying demon stuff.

I got to talk to writer Jeremy Slater, along with series stars Alfonso Herrera, Ben Daniels, and the always wonderful Geena Davis, about “The Exorcist” at San Diego Comic-Con 2016. The show is in that rare middle spot between pilot and shooting the rest of the episodes, so I got a lot of cool info about what the TV world of “The Exorcist” is going to look like.

First up was Ben Daniels, who told us what we can expect from Father Marcus:

Ben: Father Marcus isn’t your typical priest. He’s from a violent working class family and has been performing exorcisms since he was 11. I can’t go into specifics, but we learn that something very traumatic happened to him when he was just 8. All of that pent-up rage is part of what gives him so much strength, but also makes him a hard person to deal with. He’s a very complicated character, and you can tell he has been through and seen a lot. Expect him to speak many different languages in the show.

He went on to talk about his role in creating Father Marcus:

Ben: The role was originally written for a 30-year-old American. So when I met with them for it, they asked me to come up with all this extra personality and backstory. I had a lot of input in molding him, down to what music he listens to. They wanted to make sure he felt rooted in reality. So I did a lot of research. Before all of this, Catholicism always sat in this fictitious realm to me. The more I researched, let’s just say it sits in a slightly more real place now. I don’t know what it is, but something can happen to us that changes and afflicts us. I don’t know if it’s physical or truly spiritual, but it’s in every culture. After reading about all of this, I started freaking out at every bump I heard in the night. I kept saying to myself, “Shit! I let them in! This is how this all works!”

Sitting next to him was Alfonso Herrera. Here’s what we can expect from his character, Father Tomas Ortega:

Alfonso: Father Tomas lives a quiet life. He has a small parish in Chicago, where his dedicated congregation follows him religiously. He has a joy in being heard, and with that comes a bit of ego. And perhaps it is because of that ego that a gate is opened and this negative spirit is allowed through. He also has a connection to Father Marcus that is uncovered and explored through the series. They are very different men, and it is up to them to get along to conquer the evil.

Ben Daniels and Alfonso Herrera

Next up was Geena Davis and series writer Jeremy Slater. Geena had a lot to say, starting with what drew her to the role of Angela Rance:

Geena: I think I’m a bit spoiled since I got to play some really cool parts very early in my career. So I’m a very picky when it comes to my roles. I wait for stuff I feel like is really worth it, and this caught my attention right away. I read the script and kept thinking, “I really want to do that/say that line,” and that’s due to the excellent writing by Jeremy Slater. The character was just so interesting, and that’s really what I go by. I don’t want to just be the girlfriend or mother of someone doing something. I want to be doing things myself. I get to play a character that is interesting in her own right and has a lot to do and get done.

She went on to comment about how the show would stack up to the film:

Geena: The question that we keep getting asked is: Are we afraid of the comparison to the film? And the answer is no. It’s a revered film, and we’re not trying to change that with the show. It takes place in the same world and we make mention of the events of the film, but this takes place a few decades later. This is about a new evil coming into the world and these characters having to face it.

Obviously, if you have Geena Davis in a room, you have to ask her about Beetlejuice 2. She had a few words about it:

Geena: You know, I keep reading about it, but no one has talked to me about it. I worry that they might not want me because maybe ghosts don’t age. And you know, between me and Alec [Baldwin], one of us has definitely aged.

This is where Jeremy Slater joined in:

Jeremy: Yeah, but does America even want a Beetlejuice without Geena Davis? I vote no! Come on; speak up, America!

Geena Davis and Jeremy Slater

Well put, Jeremy. I don’t think fans would stand for that! I wanted to ask him more about his writing process, but the time was very limited and they had to move on. However, I did get a quick aside about the upcoming Death Note film he was slated to write. I told him that I looked forward to seeing what he did with it, and his answer was surprising:

Jeremy: So do I! I had to drop out of the project for “The Exorcist.” I’m not too worried; it’s in very good hands. Shooting just started in Vancouver.

I wish I could have gotten more details, but all I can confirm for now is that he is no longer working on Death Note. This is very troubling considering how Fantastic Four turned out. So keep a close and wary eye on that one.

So what do you guys think? Excited for “The Exorcist”? Let me know below, and stay tuned for more San Diego Comic-Con 2016 coverage!

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Vampire Hunter D: The Series Gets Writer For Pilot Episode

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It’s been a little while since we’ve heard news about “Vampire Hunter D: The Series”, the CG-animated series based on Hideyuki Kikuchi’s titular character. However, some new news broke today over at ANN as they’ve reported that Brandon Easton, who is writing the scripts for new Vampire Hunter D comics, has been tapped by Unified Pictures to write the pilot for the series. The pilot will be based on Kikuchi’s “Mysterious Journey to the North Sea” storylines, which make up the 7th and 8th titles in the book series. Unified is making this series in conjunction with Digital Frontier, the Japanese animation studio behind the CG Resident Evil titles.

Easton told the site, “I’ve had to manage the expectations of three entities: the creator Hideyuki Kikuchi, the producers at Digital Frontier and Unified Pictures, and ultimately myself. This means that you have to find new and exciting ways of telling a story that has a set of concrete rules that have been fully established by the novels.

Meanwhile, the studio has also announced that Ryan Benjamin is taking over as the artist and colorist on the Vampire Hunter D: Message From Mars series with Richard Friend inking the issues.

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Watching A Quiet Place’s John Krasinski Get Scared by Freddy on Ellen Will Brighten Your Day

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I was just researching the new Platinum Dunes horror-thriller A Quiet Place and stumbled across this video. It features the film’s writer-director and star John Krasinski getting scared by a man dressed as Freddy Krueger on “Ellen.”

It’s as much fun as it sounds, and I’m sure it will make your day. It sure as hell just brightened mine.

Give it a watch below, and then let us know what you think!

John Krasinski directs the film, which will be the opening night entry at this year’s SXSW festival in Austin, TX. Emily Blunt stars alongside Krasinski, Noah Jupe, and Millicent Simmonds.

A Quiet Place will then open wide on April 6.

Synopsis:
In the modern horror thriller A Quiet Place, a family of four must navigate their lives in silence after mysterious creatures that hunt by sound threatens their survival. If they hear you, they hunt you.

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Interview: Director Jeff Burr Revisits Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III

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Director Jeff Burr was gracious enough to give us here at Dread Central a few minutes of his time to discuss the Blu-ray release of his 1990 film Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. Recently dropped on 2/13, the movie has undergone the white-glove treatment, and he was all-too-happy to bring us back to when the film was being shot…and eventually diced thanks to the MPAA – so settle in, grab a cold slice of bloody meat, read on and enjoy!

DC: First off – congrats on seeing the film get the treatment it deserves on Blu-ray – you excited about it?

JB: Yeah, I’m really happy that it’s coming out on Blu-ray, especially since so many people bitch and moan about the death of physical media, and this thing made the cut, and it’s great for people to be able to see probably the best-looking version of it since we saw it in the lab back in 1989.

DC: Take us back to when you’d first gotten the news that you were tabbed to be the man to direct the third installment in this franchise – what was your first order of business?

JB: It was fairly condensed pre-production for me, and there really wasn’t a whole lot of time to think about the import or the greatness of it – it was basically just roll up your sleeves and go. It was a bit disappointing because a lot of times in pre-production you have the opportunity to dream what could be – casting had already been done, but certain decisions hadn’t been made yet. A very condensed pre-production, but exciting as hell, for sure! (laughs)

DC: R.A. Mihailoff in the role of Leatherface – was it the decision from the get-go to have him play the lead role?

JB: No – I totally had someone else in mind, even though R.A. had done a role in my student film about 7 years earlier, and we’d kept in touch, and I’d felt strongly because I’d gotten to know him a bit that Gunnar Hansen should have come back and played Leatherface, which would have given a bit more legitimacy to this third movie. He and I talked, and he had some issues with the direction that it was going – he really wanted to be involved, and it ended up boiling down to a financial thing, and it wasn’t outrageous at all – it wasn’t like he asked for the moon, but the problem was that New Line refused to pay it, categorically. I think the line producer at the time was more adamant about it than anyone, and Mike DeLuca was one of the executives on the movie, and he was really the guy that was running this, in a creative sense. I made my case for Gunner to both he and the line producer, and they flat out refused to pay him what he was asking, so after that was a done “no deal” I decided that R.A would be the right guy to step into the role. Since New Line was the arbiter of the film, he had to come in and audition for the part, and he impressed everyone and got the part. He did an absolutely fantastic job – such a joy to work with, and he was completely enthusiastic about everything.

DC: Let’s talk about Viggo Mortenson, and with this being one of his earliest roles – did you know you had something special with this guy on your set?

JB: Here’s the thing – you knew he was talented, and I’d seen him in the movie Prison way back in the early stages of development and was very impressed with him, and he was one of those guys that I think we were really lucky to get him on board with us. I really believe that The Indian Runner with he and directed by Sean Penn was the movie that truly made people stand up and notice his work. Every person in this cast was one hundred percent into this film and jumped in no questions asked when it was time to roll around in the body pits.

DC: It’s no secret about the amount of shit that the MPAA put you through in order to get this film released – can you expound on that for a minute?

JB: At the time, I believe it was a record amount of times we had to go back to the MPAA after re-cutting the film – I think it was 11 times that we went back. What a lot of people don’t realize is after Bob Shaye (President of New Line) had come into the editing room and he thought that it was very disturbing, and cut out some stuff himself. He thought that it would have been banned in every country, and it was banned in a lot of countries but so were the previous two. It was definitely on the verge of being emasculated before even being submitted to the MPAA, and I would have thought just a few adjustments here and there – maybe a couple of times to go back…but eleven? It was front-page news in the trade papers then, and I think that the overall tone of the film was looked at as being nasty. The previous film (Chainsaw 2) had actually gone out unrated, and with the first film being so notorious, I think it was a combination of all of that, and now even the most unrated version of this would be rated R – that’s how far the pendulum has swung in the other direction.

DC: Looking back at the film after all this time – what would be one thing that you’d change about the movie?

JB: Oh god – any film director worth his salt would look back at any of their films and want to change stuff up, and with this being 28 years old, I can look back and say “oh yeah, I’d change this, this and this!” You grow and learn over the course of your time directing, and this was my third movie and my first without producers that I had known, so the main thing that I’d do today would be to make it a bit more politically savvy. I had always thought that they wanted me to put my vision on this film, and that wasn’t necessarily the case, so maybe I’d navigate those political waters a little better.

DC: Last thing, Jeff – what’s keeping you busy these days? Any projects to speak of?

JB: Oh yeah, I’ve got a couple of movies that I’m working on – I’m prepping a horror movie right now, and then I’ve got a comedy film that I’m doing after that. You haven’t heard the last of me! I’ve had a real up and down (mostly down) career, but I still love it – it’s what I love to do, and it’s still great that after 28 years people still want to talk about this movie, and are still watching it – that’s the greatest gift you can get, and I thank everyone that’s seen it and talked about it over all these years.

BUY IT NOW!

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