Exclusive: Director John Luessenhop Talks Leatherface’s Legacy and More for Texas Chainsaw 3D
In Texas Chainsaw 3D filmmaker John Luessenhop is picking up directly where Tobe Hooper left off almost 40 years ago with a sequel that follows the ramifications of what happened right after Sally Hardesty (Marilyn Burns) survived her visit to the Sawyer Farm.
It also describes how, decades later, the notorious family’s legacy will live on once a young girl inherits her estranged grandmother’s mansion, only to discover that her cousin living in the basement is none other than Leatherface.
During a recent press day Dread Central caught up with Texas Chainsaw 3D director John Luessenhop and discussed his approach to the unconventional sequel. We also heard from the first-time horror helmer about upholding the legacy of the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and his thoughts on coming back to the horror genre after TC3D, and for you action flick fans out there, we got the latest word on Takers 2, which has been rumored about for some time now.
Check out what Luessenhop had to say about Texas Chainsaw 3D below, and look for more on the flick soon!
Dread Central: It would seem based on what I’ve discussed with other people today and from our set visit that there was a lot of love put into Texas Chainsaw 3D by everyone involved.
John Luessenhop: There was, there really was. If people question the fact that someone’s making another Texas Chainsaw movie and that it’s in 3D because it smells of a mercenary studio idea, they’re wrong. That’s not what this movie was at all; I think everyone really put their soul into this project and really committed to this idea of coming up with a great story and figuring out the best way to tell it. Because we were stepping into these really awesome shoes, we had better deliver on what we were promising or we were in trouble.
This whole idea of family just really unlocked for me an entirely new set of ideas; usually it’s all about whether or not the girl gets away in the end, and this story is a bit more complicated than that because of the idea of family. It’s a bit more provocative than your typical slasher, which is cool as a filmmaker to get to play around with. And that’s a great amount of fun.
Dread Central: Can you talk about the approach to the character of Leatherface in this installment?
John Luessenhop: We definitely wanted to humanize him more; there’s no question about that. I think that it was something we continuously questioned ourselves about during the making of the movie- what would Leatherface be like today? So I watched the original and I watched the others, and no disrespect to the others, but I kind of discarded them. I really love Tobe’s, and it influenced a lot of what I was doing.
In the original there’s a moment where Leatherface goes to the window and frets after killing the kids because he’s upset; he shows that he has remorse and a conscience and is afraid of what’s going to happen when Dad gets home and sees what he’s done. So, to me, I think we did push the envelope further with the idea of a fish out of water where Leatherface is in public, running around a carnival. And also, he’s grown up now, too, and there’s a new family member to consider when the girl arrives; and that’s when I thought the real provocative stuff happens in the story. So you have some emotions there, but then you also have the moments of terror and tension in there, too, to balance it all out.
And we tried to make sure that all the kills were original ways to kill off people in this, too, or even use the iconic freezer in a way that maybe fans aren’t expecting either. There are a few of those iconic images in this – the armadillo, the van, the freezer – because I’m such a fan of Tobe’s movie, I wanted to sprinkle in those moments for the fans that I’ve always really liked myself. He also doesn’t always kill with the chainsaw in this either- we had him kill someone with a hammer like he does in the original. Those moments are for the faithful fans out there, but at the same time you don’t want to go too far into homage territory because you want to be able to bring something new to the table for the contemporary fans.
Dread Central: Since this is my last question, I wanted to ask whether or not this is a world you’d like to revisit if things go well with Texas Chainsaw 3D? And also, are things still moving forward on Takers 2?
John Luessenhop: Everybody wants to know about Takers 2 (laughs). But yes, there will be a Takers 2, and I do already have a story in mind for it so it will happen. And in regards to returning to this genre or this franchise, of course I would. There are some things I’m thinking of, in and outside of the Texas Chainsaw vein, so I’d like to return for sure. I’ve learned so much from making this movie and found making a horror movie quite liberating in some ways. The horror genre is a lot of fun, but I also want to make sure the story is novel and isn’t some kind of “monkey see, monkey do” project either where I’m retreading something else that someone made before me. There has to be some originality there for me to be interested.
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