An Interview With Alfonso Gomez-Rejon – The Town That Dreaded Sundown and More!


Working alongside a directorial legend can certainly give you that on-the-job training that is needed in order to successfully start, and maintain a career. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon can most assuredly plant his flag as having the ultimate guru in which to study under, as he worked as a P.A. for names such as Martin Scorsese and Nora Ephron back when he was only 17 years old. Making the shift from filming TV series such as Glee and American Horror Story have springboarded his feature-film career with his remake of The Town That Dreaded Sundown, which recently released on DVD and Blu-Ray on July 7th, and he was gracious enough to answer a few questions for us, so settle in and read on.

DC: Can you tell us how it came to be that you were approached to direct the remake?

AR: I was going to make Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and it kind of fell apart and got postponed, and at the time I was directing American Horror Story – so one day I’m walking on the Paramount lot on my lunch break, and I bump into Ryan Murphy who was walking to his office, and he said “come with me, I’ve got this film that I think you should direct.” I liked it, but I was trying to get the other one off of the ground, and he said, “look, you’ve been trying to make your Citizen Kane for years now, and maybe it’s best if you start with a Boxcar Bertha, and maybe that will open up some more opportunities for you.” I was really intrigued by this idea, and I saw this as a Last Picture Show type of movie in my head – very deliberately paced, and I wasn’t really into found-footage films – I like the more formal approach – to be aggressively restrained, if that makes any sense – to make this and to pay homage to the original was interesting to me.

Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

DC: You’ve done a bit of TV before you made the leap to film in a directorial role – any difficulty with the transition, or was it seamless?

AR: I found it quite easy because before I started in TV, I was in production on several different independent films when I was in New York at the age of 17, and I was assisting people like Scorsese, Ephron and Innaritu. Films were my dream – I loved television, but I do love movies – when you make a movie like The Town That Dreaded Sundown, you realize that movies like that are going to be 23-24 day-shoots, which is still incredibly aggressive. These films are fast, but TV is very fast too, and I love the pace, as well as the time spent in pre-production. That’s the one thing that I miss, is that in TV, there’s not all that much time to prepare – a lot of American Horror Story was off-the-cuff and improvised, but it’s nice to be able to work with your scripts and heads of departments, and I really love that process.

DC: Whose work do you admire – where do you draw your inspiration from?

AR: Everything starts with Scorsese for me, because he leads you towards other filmmakers – when I was 12, living on the border in Laredo, Texas, and discovering films through VHS, pre-internet, and you find that first edition of Faber & Faber: Scorsese on Scorsese – he becomes this personal guy through the history of film, and starts discovering other people, and he led me to Michael Powell and Peeping Tom. Then you’d get into the 70’s and the Polanski stuff, but you look at Scorsese’s trajectory, and it starts with Boxcar Bertha, and leads you into Hugo, and Age of Innocence. You look at his body of work, and he’s able to play into different genres and have fun with each one. In some way, he’s present in every one of those films and I’d like to leave something behind like that – whether they worked or they didn’t, at least you tried to have a little fun putting yourself into another world.

DC: Lastly, what can we expect to see from you down the road?

AR: I still have my second film, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, which I’m pushing right now, and the next one – I don’t know! There’s a couple of projects that look like I’ll be shooting, but I’m superstitious until I’m on set, because things fall apart all the time, but it’s probably going to be another drama or comedy before I jump back into horror, which I love, but I want a little distance from it and find a fresh way to approach it.

The Town That Dreaded Sundown Release Details:
RLJ Entertainment, under the Image Entertainment brand, is releasing the thriller THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN on DVD on July 7, 2015. The film will also be available on Blu-ray exclusively at Best Buy on July 7th.

Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (Me, Earl and The Dying Girl, “American Horror Story”), screenplay by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Carrie, “Glee”), and based on the 1976 cult-classic film of the same title directed by Charles B. Pierce, THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN will be available on DVD for an SRP of $27.97.

Based on a terrifying true story, THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN picks up 65 years after a masked serial killer terrorized the small town of Texarkana, when the brutal “Moonlight Murders” suddenly begin again. While on a trip to Lovers’ Lane, 17-year-old Jami (Addison Timlin) watches as her date is brutally slain by a masked serial killer. Barely escaping with her life, Jami becomes obsessed with finding the killer referred to as “The Phantom.” As the body count mounts and the carnage comes closer, Jami delves deeper into the mystery with the help of the town archivist Nick (Travis Tope), following clues that point her toward the killer’s true identity.

The film stars Addison Timlin (“Californication,” That Awkward Moment), newcomer Travis Tope, Gary Cole (“Veep,” Office Space), Joshua Leonard (“Bates Hotel,” The Blair Witch Project), Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish,” The Departed), Denis O’Hare (“American Horror Story,” Dallas Buyers Club), Edward Herrmann (“The Good Wife,” “Gilmore Girls”), and Veronica Cartwright (The Birds, Alien). It is produced by Jason Blum (the Paranormal Activity franchise, Sinister) and Ryan Murphy (“American Horror Story,” “Glee”).

The Town That Dreaded Sundown



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