The found footage flick As Above, So Below, directed by John Erick Dowdle (Quarantine, Devil), will be in theatres on August 29th; and during the San Diego Comic-Con, Evan Dickson had a chance to speak with him about it and more. Read on for the skinny.
On going indie (or at least more indie-minded) after being in the studio system for a while: “After Devil we decided to get back to our homemade aesthetic, and it took a couple of years to sort of rebuild what we were doing.”
“This last year we made two movies, this one and The Coup, which is coming out March 6th. We almost made that one after Devil with Lionsgate, but that would have been more of the studio version with a different cast. At the time we were bummed, and it took awhile to rebuild it, but I think it ultimately became a better movie.”
What’s it like trying to convince a studio or financier to see the value in your vision? “As Above we did with Legendary so it is a studio movie technically. And yet, they gave us all the freedom we could ever hope for. It was an independent experience within the system.”
“And we had a lot of freedom on The Coup with this financier, and we sold to The Weinstein Company, who have been great. Things like The Coup are so execution dependent. It’s hard to convince someone that it’s the right idea to do on paper. You have to go off and do it sometimes before people realize you were right. When things are execution dependent, you have to go execute them.”
“What’s refreshing about Legendary is that there was so much execution dependent with As Above, and they were still like, ‘Go do it.’ Not many studios would have given us that freedom.”
Still, this is a smaller film than the big sweeping movies Legendary is known for. “It’s kind of a new thing. It’s one of the most visually appealing found footage movies I think I’ve seen. It doesn’t have a super video look. These characters would have a good camera; they would do this right. It looks quite beautiful, and Paris of course lends itself to photography quite nicely. As far as other Legendary movies, I think it fits with their audiences, but this could be part of their genre arm if they had one. It doesn’t feel like Pacific Rim obviously.”
Structurally a lot of found footage features tend to spin their wheels in the first act. I imagine you don’t do that here? “Yeah, we get it going with a kick.” Did the studio hold you back in terms of content? “Not at all. In one of our earlier meetings we said it would be ‘R’ and they said, ‘Great.’”
Dowdle wrote the script with his brother, Drew, and the film stars Ben Feldman, Perdita Weeks, and Edwin Hodge.
Miles of twisting catacombs lie beneath the streets of Paris, the eternal home to countless souls.
When a team of explorers venture into the uncharted maze of bones, they uncover the dark secret that lies within this city of the dead. A journey into madness and terror, As Above, So Below reaches deep into the human psyche to reveal the personal demons that come back to haunt us all.
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