Exclusive Interview: Darren Lynn Bousman Talks Remakes, Moral Ambiguity and More for Mother's Day
Throughout his career filmmaker Darren Lynn Bousman has tackled several installments of Saw as well as launched a cult classic phenomenon with his 2008 horror infused musical REPO! The Genetic Opera.
Now his latest project finds him reimagining the Troma cult classic Mother's Day which recently celebrated a limited theatrical release last Friday and will be heading to Blu-ray and DVD shelves everywhere on May 8th courtesy of Anchor Bay Films.
Mother's Day follows a trio of brothers who head to their family home after a bank robbery goes wrong but once they arrive, they find that Mother (Rebecca De Mornay) has lost their house in a foreclosure. Once they're discovered by the brothers, the new owners and their party guests become unwitting hostages who struggle to survive once they realize that there is nothing a Mother won’t do to protect her children.
Mother's Day also stars Jaime King, Patrick Flueger, Shawn Ashmore, Deborah Ann Woll, Briana Evigan, Frank Grillo, Lisa Marcos, Lyriq Bent and Kandyse McClure.
Recently Dread Central had the opportunity to chat with Bousman about Mother's Day as well as his latest endeavor, The Devil's Carnival road tour which is currently under way.
Dread Central: First of all, congrats on making such a great flick; how much of a challenge was it to walk the line of paying homage to the original Mother's Day but still taking enough risks to keep it interesting for everyone too?
Darren Lynn Bousman: I've never been a fan of remakes myself so I didn't take this lightly, going into Mother's Day. It was incredibly hard. I've learned in my career a very important lesson; when you're making movies like Saw, you have a huge dartboard, so the target you need to hit is a lot bigger and when you're making movies like Repo!, the dartboard is super tiny so you have to be incredibly precise. And remakes fall into that second category; there's so much to take into consideration because it's always a hard sell for the diehards out there and remakes are just a hard sell in general. That's a lot of baggage just right from the start.
But at the end of the day, you have to take into consideration the story and whether or not it endures; this story did because the theme of family is timeless. The question of what would you do or how far would you go for your family is one that has been asked for a long time now and is still relevant to this very day.
Dread Central: Generally with independent films, the core cast is usually four to six people, but in Mother's Day, you've got well around 15 or so. Was it difficult to manage an ensemble that size while still working in all the story elements as well to keep things moving forward?
Darren Lynn Bousman: You know, it was pretty ambitious to have to deal with 16-17 main characters in this and when you're doing that, you have to work a little harder to make sure everyone gets their defining moment and that no one is left behind either. That was a huge challenge.
But see, the biggest thing I set out to do with Mother's Day is that I wanted to make a movie about the different shades of gray in morality, where the people you're watching weren't wholly good or bad, they were just flawed in different ways. To me, that's real life; people aren't only criminals or victims- there's always something more going on. I mean, if you're brought up in a house where crime is normal, then you're really not doing anything wrong by committing robbery or killing to take what you believe is rightfully yours. It's a grey area and that was ultimately the appeal for me as a storyteller.
And the interesting thing is that this idea of moral ambiguity applies to the victims as well; none of them are perfect and their flaws come to light, it drives the story forward and I think making a story with all those kinds of layers in it is just incredibly fascinating.
Dread Central: I wanted to ask about your leading ladies- Rebecca and Jaime- because I thought they both were spectacular in their own right.
Darren Lynn Bousman: Rebecca was amazing and one of the coolest actors I have ever worked with before in my life; she really nailed this role and made it even better than it was in the script. And she called me out on all the BS moments that were originally in; if something didn't work on paper when it came to her character, she let me know and I loved that. Her ideas were so precise.
I also loved Jaime's performance in Mother's Day, too; I've been such a huge fan of hers for a long time and I think this really was her best performance ever. She's flawless in this.
Dread Central: Well I know that you're deep in the middle of your road tour for The Devil's Carnival right now; how are things going for you guys so far?
Darren Lynn Bousman: This road tour has been incredibly hard but really amazing at the same time; we've been selling out a ton of shows which is great because I can really see the momentum building behind this project as we go from city to city. I mean, let's be honest- part of this really is somewhat self-indulgent on our parts; seeing fans every night and essentially putting ourselves front and center for all that attention. But the heart of what we're trying to accomplish with The Devil's Carnival road tour is to show how flawed the distribution system is, to show the power of connecting with fans and to prove that there is an audience for this kind of material.
Sure, it's awesome to be on stage every night but there's so much nerves that goes along with that too, especially for me. I still get nervous every single night but at the same time, I've also never felt more empowered than I do right now. I've also never drank as much as I have on this tour either (laughs); that's what gets me past the jitters. It's surprising that my liver is intact anymore in fact (laughs).
Look for Mother's Day during its limited theatrical release currently or on DVD and Blu-ray starting on May 8th!
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