Hatchet II Interview Week Entry 4: Adam Green Part 2
DC: Are you still doing standup?
AG: No, I haven’t done standup in a long time, probably not since the year that HATCHET went into production. I’d gone back a couple of times randomly, but I’ve really sort of fallen out of it. My little group that I had - there was like five of us – for about two years, we did standup together and shows and everybody has really blown up since then which has been great to see: Chris Romano and Eric Falconer created that show BLUE MOUNTAIN STATE on Spike, Andy Samberg, of course, with SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. So, it’s been great to see that little group of people who could barely scrape money together and eat years ago have now gone off and done stuff. I might try and do the standup thing again sometime, but it’s terrifying. If you fall out of practice, it’s not like a bike where you can just get back on it. It takes a lot of work. Andy, I think, was always the best out of our whole group of people. You can just see it in everything he does. He’s just fuckin’ hilarious. One of my issues with it was to be a good standup, you have to do the same material over and over and over again and really hone it and work it. I could never do that. I’d always get bored with it and tried to do new stuff every single time. So, some nights were great, other nights not so great, but I was proud that I was always doing something different.
DC: Since you’re so involved in the horror genre and I know you’re a huge fan, what is your impression of where the genre is now as far as film goes? I mean, there’s such a huge difference between what American film is doing and what the Koreans and Europeans are doing. I’m wondering what your take is on the genre itself. Is it healthy? Is it dying? And where do you see it going?
AG: It’s never dying and it will never actually be dead. This is one of the only genres that people are currently trying to assess. “Where’s it at? Where’s it going?” You never really know until ten years later and you look back at that decade and you sort of figure out what the overall theme was and what was going on. I mean, for me, the 2000s have been the worst decade overall. There’s been so many great movies, but overall, it’s really going to be remembered as Generation Zero. It’s all remakes of things done before. I just think that was a trend for the business model. Maybe we’re going to see more original movies start getting through with mainstream releases and not always being condemned to these limited theatrical engagements, but… I don’t know. While I personally wouldn’t make a movie like HUMAN CENTIPEDE necessarily, to see something like that not only get made, but become a part of pop culture where everybody knows about it just because it’s so disgusting [laughs] … that’s pretty cool to see something like that happen, but do I really want to see more movies of people eating each other’s shit? Not me personally necessarily, but I really love what they did with that. I don’t know if you’ve ever interviewed Tom Six, but that guy is awesome! He is so funny. And then, there are things like A SERBIAN FILM. It’s cool to see that they’re still pushing people’s buttons and they’re still pioneering forward, but for me personally, I wouldn’t necessarily gravitate toward something like that. I mean, who knows, but… I’m more about entertaining and having fun. I’m very lucky I get to actually do that.
DC: You mentioned Human Centipede and A Serbian Film. These are films that are not necessarily American much less mainstream. I watch a ton of films and most of the stuff I get excited about isn’t American. I wonder about where we’re heading. Are we going to be more and more safe in our art and will we continue to pull back as opposed to the films coming out of places like Thailand and Korea that really got for it, really try to be scary.
AG: It depends on how you look at it because they’re definitely doing some crazy stuff and even if you look at – and this is not really a horror film – RARE EXPORTS. That movie would not get made here just because the financing entities here would not make that movie. They wouldn’t understand it and they wouldn’t do it. So, it’s a great movie and there’s great stuff coming out of those places, but it’s the American horror movies that are still dominating the world in terms of actual success. Especially a guy like me, I’m not always impressed with box office. “It made this much money!” That doesn’t mean it’s good. Look at something like PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. I fucking love that movie and I totally get how it works here with those movies, if you don’t see it before everything blows up with it, it’s a different movie. Getting handed that DVD and not having any idea what it was, after a few minutes, I thought, “Ok, it’s a little like BLAIR WITCH, whatever.” But I totally went for it and I loved it. Once it came out and became a phenomenon, everybody tried to hate on it, but that was a great thing for American cinema, I think, in terms of “here’s somebody with a great idea, it was well executed with no money and no connections, and look what they did.” It’s inspiring and more people should look to that, people who want to do this for instance, and think about, “What can I do with what I have and how do I make the most of that?” instead of waiting for somebody else to make it happen for them.
DC: Especially now when the RED camera is pretty much affordable and there are feature quality cameras that you can pick up at Best Buy. More and more, I think the technology is falling into the average Joe’s hands who don’t know anything about the studio system and are financing like back in the old days with their personal credit cards.
AG: The only thing is… With those toys like the RED camera, if you don’t have somebody who really knows how to use that thing and a colorist who knows how to do it, you’re still looking at videotape, as far as I’m concerned. We shot HATCHET II on the RED and it’s the first movie I’ve done that wasn’t on the 35mm. I was terrified about it, because… in some regard, it’s amazing. The workflow is so great. The fact that you can be looking at an image that is damn close to what the image is going to be rather than a flickery little video feed of what you might be getting is great. Between Will, my Director of Photography, and my colorist, Howard, I think they did very good job with it and the movie does not look glaringly like video. The movie wouldn’t be the movie it was if we’d shot it on film because it’s so expensive. With the RED, we had three cameras going on some of those action scenes like the big fight scene between R.A. Mihailoff and Kane Hodder which is one of my favorite parts of the movie. The first HATCHET never had action in it like that, but being able to have three cameras going and putting people through walls and breaking things, two huge Goliaths fighting like that… We couldn’t have done that and covered it the same way with film based on our budget. I’m definitely glad we shot with the RED, but I still don’t know that it’s necessarily really there unless you’ve got more toys than what we had. BOOK OF ELI was done with the RED and it looks phenomenal.
DC: Look at Skyline, it looks like it cost three, four, five times what it cost. I talked to the Strauses a couple of months ago and they went into this rant that was like a commercial for the RED. It doesn’t hurt that they have a visual FX company and a lot of experience making movies, but… Damn, the film looked good even if it didn’t really come together at the end.
AG: The camera is what it is, but if you’ve got the talent behind it and people who really, really know how to push it and manipulate it, it can work. I feel like I’m a couple of years too old to be really captivated with it as much as I should be. There’s just something about film that’s like… “That’s a movie!” I would shoot on the RED again. I can tell you that. It was good and I’m happy with how HATCHET II looks, especially looking at the Blu-ray. It really, really looks good and the prints in theaters looked really good, but… it’s still not film. [laughs]
DC: I hear a similar argument with books versus eBooks like the Kindle and the Nook. People who grew up looking at films on film now look at films shot on digital video, and think, “But it’s not film.” But people who are growing up watching films on digital think nothing of the difference. So, I guess what I’m asking is… is it more about preconceived notions and… I’ll use the word prejudices, but…
AG: I think it is. Normally, when I watch a movie, I’m not concerned with what film stock it was or whatever, I’m just watching the story. In that regard, it’s fine, but when you really start to pick things apart and think about the cinematography aspect and the coloring and all the other stuff, there’s a very small percentage of people who even care about that. I think most people are more interesting in, “Was it entertaining? Did I like it? Did I laugh? Was I scared? Was I moved?” Whatever they were looking for in it, they’re not looking at the film stock or the lighting. That’s not really why they’re there. But subconsciously, that does have an effect on you, so it’s hard. I might not ever get to shoot another movie on 35mm the way things are going. The RED definitely did a good job for us with HATCHET II, but… Whenever we’re coming up with other budgets and plans for these other things that we have coming up, I always start with 35mm. Then, if there’s a great way to talk me out of it, what I’m going to gain versus what I’m going to lose, I’ll definitely consider it. With HATCHET II, we definitely gained a lot by shooting on the RED.
DC: My final question is about something I alluded to earlier. Being someone involved in the indie film world, what is your opinion on the Kevin Smith Red State “four-walling” model? Is that something you embrace?
AG: I fully support it and I think that, if there is anybody out there that can do it, it’s him because this guy’s got a massive legion of fans and followers that feel like if it’s a Kevin Smith movie, they’re there. In that regard, I really hope that it works. I hope it does really well for him. It’s so difficult when you work so hard on something and then you hand it over to somebody else and it’s gone. Whatever they’re going to do with it, is what they’re going to do with it. You don’t know how much they’re going to spend on it or what they’re really doing or how much is it actually making because everybody from the box office down it lying to each other about the actual numbers. I hope it works, but I don’t know if that means some first time filmmaker can make a movie and, even if it’s a good movie, go out and have a success with it. With him, it’s different especially with him touring with it. So, when it comes to your city, Kevin Smith is going to be there to show the movie and talk, every show is going to sell out. I hope. I’m a fan of his and… It’s one of those things you see in this industry all the time, even with directors, it’s like you make a movie that people like, you have some success, and then they just want to fucking tear you down. I don’t understand all the sarcasm and back-handed comments about him deciding to put the movie out by himself. Good for him!
DC: He was on Twitter today saying that he plans on having his accounting books be completely open and he’ll be talking about how much money they’re making at venues and when they go into the black. I think that kind of stuff is so brave. I’m all for anything that shakes up the mold. The same thing is happening in the publishing world with the advent of eReaders and electronic publishing. So, anyone who shakes the ant farm is gold in my book.
AG: We’ve done it for years. You look at how many millions HATCHET generated worldwide… Who got that? Where did that money go? It didn’t go to all of us. You’ve got your little percentage which is a little percentage of a little percentage that they’re lying about. It’s hard. With every movie, we always get to that point where we ask, “Do we need a distributor? Do we really need to do this?” I hope it really works for Kevin. I’m a big supporter of him because… there have just been a lot of parallels between he and I. So many interviews I’ve done where people know both of us. I don’t know him. I met him like once. When the whole HATCHET II coming out unrated and all of the controversy that started with it, so many people would call me at home or emailed me to say, “I really support you on this, but I can’t say anything because I have a movie coming out soon. I don’t want to get involved, but you’re right.” There was one interview in The Huffington Post, I think, where he was one of the only other directors who actually went on the record and made a comment about it. I thought that was fuckin’ cool. He’s had his own problems with them just over language. It’s just weird, especially when you start out in your career and you’re making a movie like HATCHET, you’re not really planning on shaking things up. Even last year at this time when shooting the movie, I never would have thought that everything that was going to happen was going to happen with fighting back against the ratings board and going out unrated and all the things that happened. I never would have wanted it or thought about it. Years from now, I think I’ll look back at it and think, “Wow, that was pretty amazing,” but when you’re going through it, it sucks. It’s like getting a root canal. You feel better afterwards, but at the time, it sucks! [laughs]
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