Last week it was announced via the trades that Stephen Susco, writer of both US Grudge films among many others, would be making his directorial debut on White, an adaptation of the story of the same name by UK author Tim Lebbon (pictured). As a big fan of Lebbon’s work, I am very excited to see it finally make its way to the big screen, and with no small force of horror behind it.
I dropped Tim a line to get this take on the project, specifically the man who would be bringing it to cinematic life, and to see if he had any trepidations about this being Susco’s first directing gig. “I think Stephen’s a great choice to direct, and I’m not at all nervous about this being his first time,” he told me. “We’ve e-mailed and spoken at length about his vision for this movie, and if I were asked how I’d like to see White made, this would be it. He has a great love of the source material, which, as well as very flattering, is extremely comforting. It’s a project he has chosen to be his first directorial job, and I know it’s going to be wonderful.”
Indeed, I’m sure Susco has had many options to get behind the camera over the years, so the fact that he hand-picked a project so close to him shows that he’s taking it seriously. Stephen’s had the rights to the film for almost three years now but wanted to make sure it was made when he was in the best position possible: “I know that he’s been keen to make the movie in a way where he can maintain as much creative control as possible, and that’s good news as far as I’m concerned!”
For those not familiar with the story, which is part of a collection released here in the States called White and Other Tales of Ruin (get it here), it tells of a group of survivors holed up in a mansion in the middle of nowhere. The world around them has seemingly ended, as an unstoppable snowfall has blanketed the globe and made any form of shelter nearly impossible. To make matters worse, there’s something out there in the snow that begins to take them out one by one, something that is never full seen or described, which is always a challenge when it comes to the movies.
“One of the main criticisms I had from a lot of the readers of the novella was, ‘So what were those things in the snow?'” Tim explains. “My answer is always, ‘The characters didn’t know, why should you?’ That annoyed some people, but I think it’s something that Stephen has very much in mind. I think we’ll be seeing something ghostly and graceful … but I can’t say much more, or it will spoil the surprise.” Indeed, in a recent chat with Fangoria Susco specifically mentions that his idea for the creatures is to make them “more like ghosts than anything else,” so don’t expect some big monster reveal at the end or you’ll be sorely disappointed.
Lebbon has been a very busy author since he first came on the scene just under a decade ago with his first novel, Mesmer, and has compiled an impressive list of horror tales in that short time. Along with White, no less than four more Lebbon works are in various stages of development at the present time. “There’s my novella In Perpetuity, for which I’m co-writing the screenplay for an Irish production company. A screenwriter in LA has written a screenplay for Face and is showing it around. The Mob Film Co. in London is working on the screenplay for Until She Sleeps, while Exorcising Angels is also moving on quite nicely.” Not a bad list for any author, especially one who’s only been published since 1997, and I hope we’re able to tell you more about all of these projects soon!
Lebbon said he’d also love to see a movie of Berserk (review), which Leisure released here in the States earlier this year, and has some great ideas for Desolation (review) that he said he may run with whether it’s optioned or not!
For more on Tim’s work be sure to check out my recent interview with him here, and then make your way over to his official site. Keep your eyeballs stuck here for updates on White and the numerous other irons Tim currently has in the fire!
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