Exclusive: Gareth Evans and Timo Tjahjanto Talk V/H/S/2, The Night Comes for Us and More
V/H/S/2 arrived last night on VOD and will hit select theaters on July 12th courtesy of Magnet Releasing, and to get you guys ready, we’ve got an interview with two of the anthology’s filmmakers- Gareth Evans and Timo Tjahjanto.
Evans and Tjahjanto collaborated for V/H/S/2 (review) on the absolutely stellar segment “Safe Haven” (which is amazing enough on its own merits to most likely be making this writer’s Top Five list for 2013), and we chatted with the pair about their experiences working together on their contribution to the anthology, heard a little more about their upcoming project entitled The Night Comes for Us and much more.
Check out our exclusive interview below, and look for more on V/H/S/2 soon!
Dread Central: Hey guys, great to chat with you. Gareth, we chatted last year for The Raid, and Timo, the “Libido” segment on The ABC’s of Death was absolutely unforgettable so it was pretty great to see you combine your forces for “Safe Haven.” Can you talk about how you ended up co-directing on this?
Gareth Evans: We’ve been friends for a while...
Timo Tjahjanto: Actually, we really hate each other.
Gareth Evans: Yeah, we fucking hate each other (laughs).
Timo Tjahjanto: Gareth, you do the real answers, and I’ll do the fun ones, okay? (laughs)
Gareth Evans: Sounds good (laughs). So Timo and I have been friends ever since I moved to Jakarta; we became friends really quickly, and over the years we’ve just always shared scripts and ideas with each other but we’ve never had the opportunity to collaborate together. And as it worked out, we both were contacted separately for V/H/S/2 by the producers, and when I went and asked him what he thought of me doing a segment, that’s when I found out they asked him too.
So we both decided, fuck it, let’s make this together since we had always wanted to make a movie. Timo came up with the initial idea of a video crew doing a documentary on quite possibly the worst fucking day ever to be shooting a documentary.
Timo Tjahjanto: Yeah, we added in more of the zombie elements later after we fully developed that first idea. We just wanted audiences to feel like everything was literally going to hell on the screen right in front of them.
Dread Central: Because you’re essentially working within the confines of short-form storytelling and everything with “Safe Haven” is SO ambitious, how challenging was it managing all the character development that happens in the story plus all of the insanity (which there’s a lot of) and getting all of that to work together?
Gareth Evans: A huge focus for Timo and myself from the very beginning was that we had to make sure we gave the audience characters they could connect with. To be honest, it’s really hard to give a shit about anyone in the first V/H/S because there was no character development at all and the characters we were watching were all complete assholes. For us, everything hinged on developing the characters and having real relationships onscreen that felt organic to the story.
Something else we were trying to do was to give you a sense of familiarity at first- when the crew arrives at the compound, we spend a lot of time taking you through the facility and introducing you to everyone that lives there so that you become immersed in the world of this cult and get a sense of geography. Then, when everything breaks out into chaos and the crew is trying to make their way through the halls, you’ll notice everything feels a bit more disorienting, almost maze-like, and that was conscientious on our part that we wanted you to feel just as lost as the crew does.
Timo Tjahjanto: Something else we wanted to explore was the idea of these people who would blindly follow a cult leader and living in this very extreme place- that idea of unshackled belief that drives people to do crazy things. For us, that idea is fucking terrifying. One thing, though, was that we couldn’t take things TOO seriously with the story or it just becomes really depressing, and that’s not fun for audiences. That’s why the tone shifts when it does and then “Safe Haven” becomes something entirely different; if we had played the story straight, it would have been a downer of a story.
Dread Central: How many days did you guys get to shoot this then?
Gareth Evans: We shot for like seven or eight days total; we were doing something like 20-hour days at the beginning, but I think by the end we were almost up to 24-hour days. It was crazy.
Timo Tjahjanto: Yeah, I think a few days we even shot 25 hours- we couldn’t stop so we just added hours to the day (laughs).
Gareth Evans: We were very lucky that we were able to come at this project without a huge budget in place so we were able to treat it like our own independent film, which meant everyone who worked on it gave much more than they had to. We had a great make-up crew who were able to perform miracles for far less than they should have been paid, and just everyone really gave everything they had to make this movie work.
Timo Tjahjanto: When you’re working on a project like this, friendship definitely comes into play because you have to call in a lot of favors to pull off the impossible.
Dread Central: I know I’m almost out of time so I wanted to ask about your next collaboration together- The Night Comes for Us. I’m sure it’s pretty early, but I’d love to hear more about that project and what fans can expect.
Timo Tjahjanto: Gareth’s going to be my boss on that one (laughs).
Gareth Evans: Timo, that’s the same as every day (laughs). I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Timo Tjahjanto: Yeah, I’m pretty much his bitch. You can’t see me right now, but I’m actually on my knees in front of Gareth right now (laughs).
Gareth Evans: (laughing) It’s all true... But no, seriously, my production company has been around for almost five years now, and with The Raid 2 going on right now, I felt like I needed to take a break from directing after that but still wanted to keep the Merantau Films banner going so that’s when I decided for our next project we’d have someone else direct, and Timo of course was perfect for the project. I’ll help orchestrate certain things, but this is going to be his baby- his bloody, really fucked up baby (laughs).
For more information right now, check out the official V/H/S/2 Facebook page!
V/H/S/2 is produced by The Collective, Salient Media, and Brad Miska and Tom Owen’s Bloody Disgusting. Simon Barrett, Adam Wingard, Edúardo Sanchez, Gregg Hale, Timo Tjahjanto, Gareth Huw Evans, and Jason Eisener all directed entries in this latest anthology. The cast includes Adam Wingard, Lawrence Levine, L.C Holt, Kelsy Abbott, and Hannah Hughes.
Searching for a missing student, two private investigators break into his abandoned house and find another collection of mysterious VHS tapes. In viewing the horrific contents of each cassette, they realize there may be terrifying motives behind the student’s disappearance.
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