Exclusive: Director John Luessenhop on Leatherface's Legacy and More for Texas Chainsaw 3D
Faced with the daunting task of rebooting an entire franchise and following directly in the footsteps of Master of Horror Tobe Hooper is director John Luessenhop, who found himself at the helm of Texas Chainsaw 3D.
The sequel picks up only hours after we saw Leatherface dance in defeat with his trusty chainsaw at the conclusion of Hooper's original flick back in 1974.
Because we missed chatting with him during our set visit to Shreveport for Texas Chainsaw 3D, Dread Central recently caught up with Luessenhop on the phone to speak with him about how he came aboard the sequel, his experiences shooting a 3D horror flick, the look of Leatherface this time around and more.
Check out what Luessenhop had to say about Texas Chainsaw 3D below, and look for more soon!
Dread Central: Great to speak to you today, John! I really enjoyed Takers so I admit that I'm really curious about your take on the horror genre and this world in particular considering the legacy of Tobe's original movie. Was that daunting to consider, or did you have to put it out of your head somewhat and do your own thing? Were you a fan of the first Chainsaw?
John Luessenhop: Oh yeah, I was a huge fan of the original, and when I went back to revisit it for this project, I wrote down about 10 things that I really thought were keystone moments in that film like the armadillo, the door, the freezer - that kind of stuff - and sprinkled them into this story to give it the flavor of the original. I knew how important that was going to be for fans, to give them something familiar but new, and yes, it was very intimidating to me because there are there are so many fans out there that really love this franchise, these characters and know every single little detail. At the end of the day I have to honor that but, at the same time, deliver a completely new story that can stand on its own feet, too.
But what I ultimately took away from Tobe's film was just how grotesquely beautiful it was; there was something remarkable about how he would just frame a shot or how he filmed all the outdoor scenes, and I think that's part of why that movie has endured. So for me I wanted to tell a real story much like Tobe did but still have all the fun and scares in there, too. After all, it IS a horror movie about a guy with a chainsaw (laughs).
And I had seen many of the seminal horror movies, but I admit that when I was hired for Chainsaw 3D, I really wasn't totally versed in the horror world so I did a lot of research. I watched a lot of horror documentaries and tons and tons of movies just to get a feel of what had been done before so I could try and give this my own spin and not recreate someone else's work. I really wanted to know as much as I could going in so I could deliver a great horror movie for fans, and hopefully I did just that. We'll see (laughs).
Dread Central: I know the look of Leatherface is something fans are dying to know about- can you talk about kinds of masks you're using for this? Are we going to see new masks, some of the masks from the original or maybe a bit of both?
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John Luessenhop: We’ve got three in this one; there's one that we replicated from the original to a "t". It's the one that he's wearing at the end, which makes sense since we pick up right after that. We also have two others that are new, and I think fans are going to love them; KNB really did a fantastic job. I think they look pretty great.
Dread Central: How was it working with some of the original cast members on Chainsaw 3D?
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John Luessenhop: It was great; John Dugan is back, and as for Marilyn (Burns), she was wonderful. She had such enthusiasm about this project that made it fun to have her back in this franchise again; she was instrumental in getting us in touch with the other cast, too.
The day Gunnar came to set for the first time is something I will never, ever forget. When he got out of the car after we pulled up to the driveway, he just stopped dead in his tracks as he was walking towards the farmhouse once he saw what we had recreated. Gunnar's eyes glossed up and all he could say was, "It's all coming back to me," and it was remarkable to see that kind of raw emotion going through him. Just considering what they went through to make that movie in the 70's and to see what it's become since then, that has to be an overwhelming feeling.
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