Exclusive: Writer Hans Rodionoff Talks Lost Boys: The Thirst
Dread Central: You worked on two Clive Barker related projects: Saint Sinner and the unreleased Tortured Souls: Animae Damnatae. Did you find it difficult to adapt Barker? How involved was he in the production of Saint Sinner? What is the current status of Tortured Souls?
Hans Rodionoff: No, I find collaborating with Clive to be really easy and fulfilling. He has such a deep understanding of pathos that it makes connecting with his material on a gut level very simple. There’s usually a pretty heavy layer of fantasy and bizarre mythology laid on top of the human story, but when it’s laid bare, Clive’s got incredible dramatic sense. My involvement on Saint Sinner was not as deep as it was on Tortured Souls. I was brought on to the project late in the process, when they already had a green-lit draft from Doris Egan. They had hired the director, Josh, and he had some changes that he wanted to implement. I basically worked with the director through production and did a series of production polishes.
Tortured Souls is in production limbo at the moment, which is really a shame. The figures and the underlying story are so fantastic, and there’s such an interesting mythology behind all of the Tortured Souls and Primordium. I’m really proud of the work I did on that script, and I know that Clive would make a really intense, visceral film from it. In the current filmmaking climate, I think it’s difficult for a studio to green-light any horror film that’s not based on a pre-existing property, whether it be a sequel or a remake. It’s really hard for original horror content to get done at the studio level right now, especially something of this size. You look at the figures and you realize that the budget for creature effects alone is at least a million, so there’s no real micro-budget version of Tortured Souls. I do think its day will come though; it’s too cool not to happen.
Dread Central: How did you become involved with Lost Boys: The Thirst?
Hans Rodionoff: I was prepping a film based on a comic series that I did called Mnemovore, which I am writing and directing, when the opportunity to write Lost Boys 3 came up. I couldn’t do it, so the studio went to a really talented writer named Evan Charnov. Evan came up with the core idea of the movie and wrote a couple of drafts. When he turned in his last draft, the financing for Mnemovore had fallen apart, so I became available. Warners hired me to come in and rewrite the script so that it had a consistent voice and tone to The Tribe and Reign of Frogs. I wanted to tie the third film to the comic series and to the two alternate endings on The Tribe, so I changed some of the characters and the storyline to make The Thirst follow the same mythology. The central conceit of the movie though, what Evan first came up with, remains the same.
Dread Central: Tell me a little about the plot of Lost Boys: The Thirst.
Hans Rodionoff: I’ve always felt that two of the best things about the original Lost Boys are that it’s about family, and it’s about addiction. Michael basically chases a girl, gets involved with a bad crowd and becomes addicted to blood. Becoming a vampire is a metaphor for drug addiction. It’s Michael’s love for his family that pulls him free from his addiction. I really wanted to return to those themes in the Thirst. The Frog Brothers are front and center in this movie, and it’s their relationship that drives the whole plot.
Dread Central: You say how Lost Boys, in your mind, is basically about family and addiction. Given that, did the situation with Corey Haim's death factor into how the material was presented or its tone?
Hans Rodionoff: When Corey Haim passed, we had already wrapped principal photography on The Thirst, and the hope was to bring the character of Sam Emerson back for a fourth film, if we were able to make one. We all felt like Corey Haim was such a big part of the heart and soul of what made the original LOS BOYS such a great film. The Thirst pays tribute to Corey and the character of Sam Emerson in a pretty significant way, but all of those scenes were written and shot before Corey passed.
Dread Central: How much of this film is tied to the events in Lost Boys: The Tribe?
Hans Rodionoff: I’d say you could probably skip The Tribe completely and not feel lost, but there are a couple of things that happened in The Tribe that are referenced and that dictate what the characters do. Most of the connective tissue is in the two alternate endings. The Thirst shares more DNA with the Reign of Frogs comics than it does with The Tribe.