They may have started off collaborating together on the first two installments of their hit found footage franchise, but for [REC] 3 and 4 Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza went off to direct separate sequels.
As unconventional as that may be, this is how the duo had decided to round out the story they began in 2008 with the original film.
[REC] 3: Genesis (review) hit most VOD platforms last week and is gearing up for a theatrical engagement in early September, and in honor of the sequel’s release, Dread Central recently had the opportunity to catch up with Plaza to discuss his third [REC] film as well as the film’s tonal departure, creating a romantic story set during a gory viral outbreak and how planning a wedding is almost more difficult than planning for production.
Plaza also briefly chatted about what fans can expect for [REC] 4 and whether or not the fourth film will indeed be the end of the highly successful horror series. Read on for all the highlights from our exclusive interview with Plaza, and look for more on [REC] 3 soon!
Dread Central: How much fun was it to make this movie? It has such a great energy and is so unexpected considering the tone of the first two films- were you concerned at all that the loyal [REC] fans out there might be thrown off by how different this movie feels?
Paco Plaza: Not at all really; I went into this film knowing that I had a responsibility to the fans out there to deliver a great movie, and I think we did just that. I definitely made this movie for the fans and myself in some ways because I am such a fan of movies in general; I wanted to see this world brought to life in a very different way than it had in past films. But it was a lot of fun making this movie, and I think had we done the same thing again in part three, fans would have really been disappointed.
My co-writer (Luiso Berdejo) and I go to the movies a lot together, and that feeling of surprise is becoming more and more rare at the theater. These days everything seems to be exactly what I’m expecting so I wanted to get back some of that feeling. We get so much information about a film before we see it in theaters that it is very rare to see something that is unexpected.
The second thing was that we really wanted to make [REC] 3 a romantic film, to tell a love story about a bride and her knight in shining armor, and since that felt a little more traditional, stepping away from found footage felt very natural to me. I knew making this movie outside of the box was going to be risky, but thankfully I had a lot of great producers who gave me the freedom to make the movie I wanted, which was wonderful.
Dread Central: Can you talk more about your cast, particularly Leticia (Dolera) and Diego (Martin), who really carry this whole movie from start to finish? I was not expecting to watch a [REC] movie where I was really pulling for the characters to survive the way I did with this. It’s definitely a testament to their performances; they were both fantastic.
Paco Plaza: It was my dream to work with both of them for a long time; I always had them in mind for these roles because I really wanted to work with them on this movie so we wrote these parts for them specifically. I just thought they both had so much they could offer to this story, and they deliver some incredible performances. Their work exceeded my expectations time and time again.
And for me, they had to be believable and engaging or [REC] 3 would have failed- you have to believe that Clara would be the kind of person that would pick up a chainsaw on her wedding day to save her new husband, and Leticia has that and more; she’s so delicate but tough at the same time, too. I didn’t even get to do much prep time with either of them beforehand either so that chemistry onscreen is all them.
There’s this one scene where Koldo has to cut off Clara’s arm, and sure, it’s a really great extreme moment of violence, but there’s something so romantic about that scene, too, and that’s the balance we needed for this movie. We needed people to believe they were deeply in love, even while they were losing limbs.
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Dread Central: Can you talk about some of the religious imagery that you used in [REC] 3; does it have any meaning in regard to this world or the stories from this series?
Paco Plaza: You know, that’s not something I really thought about too much; it’s a question I get asked a lot outside of Spain. I guess it’s so deeply rooted in our culture that it just feels very natural and what we included in this felt natural to this story, but none of it really has much meaning outside of its religious meanings.
Dread Central: Even though the first two films were certainly ambitious, I feel like [REC] 3 raised the bar even higher in terms of ambition considering the amount of cast you had to deal with, effects and basically planning a wedding. Did you ever wonder if you had bit off more than you could chew on this movie?
Paco Plaza: I have to say this- planning a movie is difficult, but planning a wedding is so much worse! It was really hard, and we had to do a lot of prep work- creating ‘families’ and basically, a wedding. We needed everything for a wedding so that was a lot of extra prep beyond the usual; I do think it was worth it, though, because the wedding stuff all turned out so great. People were just having so much fun they kept partying all night even after we finished shooting.
It was tough but made for some really special moments for me as well as everyone else working on set and throughout production.
Dread Central: I’m sure you can’t reveal too much, but can you tell us what the status for [REC] 4: Apocalypse is currently?
Paco Plaza: Well, I can’t say much because I don’t want to get in trouble with Jaume, but part four will be traditionally shot as well. We’ve opened that up with this film so we’re continuing that way, and I believe production will begin late this year or in early 2013. But that story does happen at the same time as the other films and will interconnect them in some surprising ways, I think. But that’s all I can say or I’m in big trouble (laughs).
Dread Central: I know it’s probably premature to ask this, but do you feel like fans will see more [REC] films after part four, or will that really be the end?
Paco Plaza: Well, you know after the first [REC] I said I wouldn’t do a sequel in a hundred years. Then after part 2 I said that I would absolutely not do another sequel, and here we are. You just can’t trust me anymore (laughs) so while I don’t know of any immediate plans past part four, never say never.
Leticia Dolera (Spanish Movie, Semen, A Love Story, “White Glove”) and Diego Martin (Three Meters Above the Sky, “There Is No One Alive”) both star in Paco Plaza’s [REC] 3: Genesis. For more check out the official [REC] 3: Genesis Facebook page.
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