Exclusive Interview: Writer/Director Robin Hardy on The Wicker Tree, Completing his Trilogy and More - Dread Central
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Exclusive Interview: Writer/Director Robin Hardy on The Wicker Tree, Completing his Trilogy and More

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It has been almost forty years now since writer/director Robin Hardy first mystified audiences with his uber-eccentric cult classic The Wicker Man, and now the UK filmmaker is back with his companion tale, the darkly comedic The Wicker Tree.

Starring newcomers Brittania Nicol and Henry Garrett as well Graham McTavish and Christopher Lee, The Wicker Tree is centered around two young missionaries who travel to a small village in Scotland where they hope to spread the gospel of Jesus; unaware of any sinister plans, the pair get caught in the middle of a ritual which will force them both to make the ‘ultimate sacrifice’ in the end.

Recently Dread Central had the opportunity to chat with Hardy about his follow-up efforts on The Wicker Tree as well as why this latest film isn’t really a sequel and why his third film in the Wicker trilogy may end up being the most epic story of them all.

Read on for our exclusive interview with Hardy below, and make sure to check out The Wicker Tree once it hits DVD and Blu-ray shelves everywhere tomorrow, April 24th, courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment.

Dread Central: It’s been quite some time since the original The Wicker Man was released; how long had you known that you wanted to make a follow-up to that film?

Robin Hardy: Well, this isn’t really a sequel; more of a companion piece I believe. Do you see this as a sequel?

Dread Central: I saw it as an exploration of this world but not really as a sequel at all, especially because of the tonal differences.

Robin Hardy: Definitely; I would say it’s sort of like my homage to the genre that we created in The Wicker Man. As a storyteller, I wanted to have another go to see if it still worked and if it would work for audiences in the same way it did for the first one. In that sense, The Wicker Tree is a sort of spiritual brother to The Wicker Man but not a sequel.

To be quite honest, I think of The Wicker Tree more like a black comedy and not like a horror film; I keep on encouraging the distributors to say that so that fans will understand what they’re in for. It’s better when fans are prepared, and I think it is important that people know what they are getting into in advance.

Dread Central: Well, I’d like to believe that anyone who had seen the original Wicker Man movie would be prepared for the unexpected going into this one.

Robin Hardy: You know, one of my favorite quotes from Christopher Lee about the original book is where he says something like, “It’s erotic, comic, romantic and horrific enough to strain the bowels…” and I think that sums that up perfectly. I don’t have quite the same kind of quote for this story, but it’s just as unique I believe.

Dread Central: Speaking of Christopher Lee, how great was it reuniting with your The Wicker Man star? I understand he was supposed to have a larger role but couldn’t because of health concerns.

Robin Hardy: Yes. He was originally going to play the role of Morrison that Graham (McTavish) now plays, but he had an accident in Mexico while working on a film and was too badly injured to do the role. But I wanted him in the film, and he wanted to be in the film so I wrote that little piece for him to play, and thankfully he was able to do it. It was lovely working with him again.

Dread Central: Back when you were writing the book, had you always planned on making it into a movie?

Robin Hardy: “Cowboys for Christ?” I’m trying to remember when I wrote the book; maybe I wrote the book about six or seven years ago, and yes, I suppose I had always had a film in mind when I wrote it, but I didn’t really have a plan or anything.

Dread Central: It had been some time since you had helmed a feature between The Wicker Man and The Wicker Tree; any difficulties in making the transition back behind the camera after some time away?

Robin Hardy: Well, I’ve done quite a lot of television in the States in the interim so I was always working; I did various sorts of biographies for PBS programs and things like that so it wasn’t all that unfamiliar to me. I felt perfectly comfortable from minute one on The Wicker Tree, the only problem being that I had never used one of these huge digital cameras before.

They’re quite daunting at first glance and are considerably more difficult to work with than film cameras; they do present all sorts of problems of their own, too. Of course the results are very good and the things that you can do with the material are very good so that’s why we use them and eventually they do make your life easier. So what was it like to come back to this world? It was certainly familiar but also new because of some intriguing new technical problems which I hadn’t faced before.

Dread Central: With The Wicker Tree coming out this week, what’s coming up for you? Any plans on returning to this world again for a third Wicker movie?

Robin Hardy: Actually, yes to both of those. There’s a third movie I want to make called The Wrath of the Gods. It was set in Iceland but I’ve re-set it in Shetland. See, Shetland is full of Scandinavian people, not Scots, because it was ruled by Denmark for something like five centuries, and because of that the gods there are not Celtic, they’re Nordic which makes for an interesting world.

The film is about the gods getting their comeuppance, which is a fitting third film, I must say. (laughs) But it’s similar to what happened in Wagner’s Ring Cycle- do you know what that is?

Dread Central: I know it has something to do with opera, but that’s really it.

Robin Hardy: Yes, it’s an opera that is akin to Greek tragedies, and my story is based on the same set of stories as these operas. It’s going to be a grander scale to work on, but if we can do it right, the production value will be marvelous, and it will be a fitting finale for these stories.

Exclusive Interview: Writer/Director Robin Hardy on The Wicker Tree, Completing his Trilogy and More

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Did You Catch Chucky and King Kong’s Cameo in the Trailer For Steven Spielberg’s New Movie?

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You may remember a few months back there was a kick-ass trailer for Steven Spielberg’s new action-adventure flick Ready Player One that sported a quick glimpse of not only Freddy Krueger, but Stephen King’s Christine as well.

If those slick horror nods weren’t enough for you, today we have the new trailer for the film and guess who shows up? Yep, you guess it (from the headline) but Mr. Charles Lee Ray lends a helping knife to a battle, and the king of the jungle, Kong himself!

Very cool.

The cameos in the trailer is one of those “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” things, but let’s hope he has a bit more screentime in the actual movie. By the way, is Ready Player One reminding anyone else of the “Imagination Land” episode(s) of “South Park”…?

You can check out the trailer below and then make sure to let us know what you think!

The film is directed by Steven Spielberg, based on the novel by Ernie Cline, and stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance, T.J. Miller, Hannah John-Kamen, and Letitia Wright.

Ready Player One hits theaters March 30, 2018.

Synopsis:

In the near future, outcast teenager Wade Watts escapes from his bleak surroundings by logging in to the OASIS, a globally networked virtual utopia where users can lead idyllic alternate lives. When the eccentric billionaire who created the OASIS dies, he offers up his vast fortune as the prize in an elaborate treasure hunt. Along with gamers from around the world, Wade joins the adventure, and quickly finds himself pitted against powerful corporate foes and other ruthless competitors who will do anything, in the oasis or the real world, to reach the treasure first.

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The Shape of Water Scores 7 Nominations at This Year’s Golden Globes

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Earlier today we let you know Jordan Peele’s horror-thriller Get Out scored nods at this year’s Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture and Best Actor – both in the Comedy category.

Strange.

That said, another film from our beloved genre is getting some love in the form of writer-director Guillermo del Toro’s new creature feature The Shape of Water.

The film was given nominations in a staggering 7 categories including Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama for Sally Hawkins, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture for Octavia Spencer, and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture for Richard Jenkins.

Del Toro also scored nods for his work as director and co-screenwriter for the film.

You can check out the full list of nominations right HERE.

The film is directed by Guillermo del Toro, written by Vanessa Taylor and del Toro, and stars Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stulbarg, and Doug Jones.

The Shape of Water is currently playing in theaters.

Synopsis:
In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of silence and isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.

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Get Out Scores Golden Globe Nominations… as a Comedy

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It was a few weeks back now when we let you guys in on the rather puzzling news that the Golden Globes was considering Jordan Peele horror-thriller Get Out as a nominee…

As a comedy.

As strange as that news was, it seems it wasn’t a joke in its own right as Jordan Peele’s Get Out has scored a nomination for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. The news broke this morning with the full release of this year’s nominations via EW.

You can check out the full list HERE.

One cool thing is that actor Daniel Kaluuya also scored a nod for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – again, Musical or Comedy. Sad and borderline ridiculous that Peele didn’t score nods as director OR screenwriter. For shame, Golden Globes.

What do you think of this news? Are you just glad Get Out got SOME love from this year’s Gloden Globes, or could you care less about awards season? Let us know below!

Synopsis:
Now that Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy and Dean. At first, Chris reads the family’s overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship; but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he could never have imagined.

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