To follow up his successful 2007 sequel 28 Weeks Later, filmmaker Juan Carlos Fresnadillo is introducing genre fans to a new “face” of horror: Hollow Face, the evil force who haunts and terrorizes children (and Clive Owen) in supernatural thriller Intruders.
The film recently played during the 2012 SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, and is gearing up for a limited theatrical run on March 30th courtesy of the fine folks at Millennium Entertainment. Recently Dread Central had the opportunity to talk with Fresnadillo about the spooky inspiration behind the story of Intruders, collaborating with the film’s charismatic star and updates on two upcoming projects- the feature film adaptation of Bioshock and his plans for rebooting the Highlander franchise.
Check out our interview with Fresnadillo below, and look for more coverage from SXSW soon!
Dread Central: I’d love to hear more about how you came on board Intruders and why you felt like this was the right project to follow up 28 Weeks Later with since they’re such different films in terms of tone and feel.
Juan Carlos Fresnadillo: I waited a few years because I wanted to make sure whatever I did was right for me; I’m very deliberate that way. And then I began developing Intruders a few years back, and that’s when I had a conversation with my producers about how sometimes in your family there are secrets that you never know about as a kid. It’s about how the family tries to preserve the kids from the cruel, horrible reality and how they create monsters because of those secrets. There is nothing more dangerous than keeping secrets, and as we began exploring that idea, we started developing this movie.
DC: So that’s why this feels a little more intimate than 28 Weeks Later– this was personal for you then.
Juan Carlos Fresnadillo: Definitely. You know, every time I make a movie, I try to explore something in myself, and Intruders was all about my own fears that I felt as a child. I could never figure it out exactly, but I always had this feeling that there was something that my mother didn’t tell me when I was growing up, something she kept hidden to protect me.
But sometimes it’s better to face your fears so on some levels Intruders explores this theme that it’s better to reveal the truth, no matter how tough and no matter how cruel it is.
DC: So Hollow Face was born out of that fear?
Juan Carlos Fresnadillo: In some ways, yes. See, I believe that supernatural manifestations come from somewhere but are usually linked to real human emotion, and that’s something I tried to incorporate in this movie. When you have a deep-rooted fear of losing someone you love, it’s like you’re feeding into the supernatural realm and giving power to those entities with your fear.
The real idea behind Hollow Face is that he’s a monster looking for his identity; I always liked the idea of a monster without a face who wants to steal your identity to stay alive. It was an early stage idea, but it really represents the biggest human fear: losing your identity. For most of us that’s almost worse than losing your life.
DC: Clive is a guy that I always love seeing in movies; can you talk a bit about what you thought he brought to this role?
Juan Carlos Fresnadillo: From the very beginning Clive was my choice for this movie because he’s so likable and versatile that he always brings so much to any role he’s attached to. He’s also someone you trust who can represent the strong father figure, too. So when you put that kind of personality in this movie, it just works so well because little by little you’re witnessing this man becoming a boy and terrified by this monster.
And Clive has such interesting eyes; just looking at him, you can tell he’s been to some dark places emotionally, and I love that. He really is my favorite working actor.
DC: With Intruders coming out later this month, what’s up next for you? Are you still at work on the Bioshock project?
Juan Carlos Fresnadillo: Bioshock is on hold unfortunately for now. It’s just a huge undertaking and not something you want to screw up either so I’m not sure what will happen with that. But right now I’m in the midst of developing another project which is a reboot of the Highlander series – or rather the Highlander world because it’s a world deserving of it in my opinion.
It’ll be the same characters and the same universe, but we’ll be starting from scratch. I want to incorporate realism into this epic story, too. The Highlander movies have always been interesting to me because it explores something we all want – to live forever – but we never really think about what immortality truly means. It’s a dark concept at its core, and I think that will be rather interesting territory to explore as a storyteller.
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