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Interview With Anthony DiBlasi Director Of Most Likely To Die
By James Whittington, Sunday 30th August 2015
Anthony DiBlasi is one of the most creative directors around and his latest must-see movie Most Likely To Die is showing at FrightFest today. We had a quick chat with this fine fellow.
HC: What drew you to Most Likely To Die?
AD: I wanted to create a villain that fans would want to study and fetishize and get to know on deeper level than just want to film provided them. The Graduate in Most Likely To Die is my attempt at such a villain. I saw an opportunity to create a monster that was cut from the same cloth as the ones I loved growing up but also original and bold.
HC: It has the traditional slasher elements such as a remote location, horny young adults etc, is it a genre you enjoyed when growing up and which ones stood out for you?
AD: Directing a slasher film for me brings me back to my routes in grade school and highschool when I’d make home movies with my friends, often of the slasher film nature. The slashers of the 70’s and 80’s like Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers were movies I grew up on. And then the slick “whodoneit” slashers of the 90’s changed the way a horror film could look. And I wanted to put that same kind of love into Most Likely To Die. Freddy is who I always enjoyed the most, at least the first three films. I’m certainly in the minority of someone who actually really likes Nightmare on Elms street 2, but that movie was just beautifully shot and scored and to this day my favorite of all the Freddy makeups.
HC: How did you go about casting the movie?
AD: I was looking to create a strong likable ensemble, where each character was layered enough or quirky enough to stand out in a large group of characters. I think that’s what the strongest part of Scream was. Wes Craven created an ensemble of characters that I genuinely wanted to watch through several films, and could watch more of now.
HC: Perez Hilton’s casting will raise a few eyebrows won’t it?
AD: Definitely I think it will, and I think most people will look at it as a bit of stunt casting, but it wasn’t. It’s not a cameo, it’s a main pivotal role and I think he does great job in the part. When we took a meeting before we cast him he really inherently had a lot of traits I was looking for in the character of Freddie. And on set he was just 110% committed and really left everything on the table.
HC: Some of the more talky scenes seem improvised adding to an extra reality to the movie, did you encourage this?
AD: Improv is something I like to encourage on all my films, I always tell the actors if the words don’t feel right coming out of your mouth, say something else. An actor has to become that character and it may not always be what’s on the page, and when you let it happen, they usually always create something better. That kind of process empowers an actor to try anything.
HC: There’s some very inventive set-pieces, were all the effects practical ones?
AD: For the most part yes, we had a few CGI enhancements, which I think is always the best way to use digital manipulation. Our makeup team was excellent across the board, which is such a huge thing when you’re making a horror film. Adrienne Lynn, Frances Ferris and Gary J. Tunnicliffe did our makeup and effects and they did such a great job keeping it in camera and in the moment for the cast. It was an honour working with Gary on the big set pieces, he’s a legend in this business, and having him is why the gory stuff excels.
HC: The film has some wonderful moments of humour here, particularly the use of Land of Hope And Glory, where did that idea come from?
AD: I think it all started with the fact we were creating a killer who wears a graduation gown and how you can either fight against that or embrace it and I really chose to embrace it. That’s why I chose to put him in a cobalt blue gown instead of a black one. And I thought how can we have a film about a graduation killer and not use that song. There’s always going to be a lighter side to a film like this and I wanted to make sure we pushed that every chance we could. So, yes, that inclusion of Land of Hope and Glory, which we call Pomp and Circumstance in the states was about using that familiarity and goofiness and turning it on its head a bit.
HC: I enjoyed the way you gave time to give each character a full back story, do you think this is where some movies of this genre fall down?
AD: As a filmmaker and as an audience member I like character development. I like to get to know my characters really well before I send them down a path of destruction. For lot’s of audience members and filmmakers that’s not the case, which is totally great too. It’s really so subjective. In this genre especially sometimes people get turned off by character stuff they just want to see the blood and guts and I can accept that, it’s just not my approach most of the time.
HC: How do you think you’ve developed as a director since your first movie, Dread?
AD: I feel like I’ve been on a whirlwind and haven’t really thought about it too much yet. Films take so long to make and to the outside world it doesn’t look like that at all. Last Shift, which is just coming out, I shot two years ago, and am still making decisions on when it comes to marketing and releasing it. But I think what I’ve definitely done is just honed my craft a lot, you get to know your self as a director really well the more you make movies. I know when I read a script I can say pretty accurately what the final run time is going to be on both my first cut and final cut. I know my page to screen ration really well, and that’s very different for every film maker. But at the end of the day I try to look at each project I get with fresh eyes and try different things along the way.
HC: You’re a familiar name at FrightFest, does this stop you from being nervous?
AD: I’ve never really get nervous about showing one of my films, I love the process and love to see it in front of an audience. Whether they hate it or love it you’re still getting a reaction from something you helped create and that’s always really satisfying. These films are my children, and some of your children are going to succeed and some of them are going to become drug addicts and prostitutes. Once you release them into the world on their own there’s not much I can control after that.
HC: Who would win in a fight, Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees?
AD: I’m a bigger fan of Michael Myers but I think Jason would probably tear him up pretty bad. Jason is just a powerhouse, but Michael Myers is a persistent fucker so it would still be a close fight.
HC: So what are you working on at the moment?
AD: I’m about to jump into another project with Marvista, who I did Most Likely with. More of a character driven thriller. And I also have my last film Last Shift coming out October 6th in the states and I’m sure soon after in the UK.
HC: Anthony DiBlasi, thank you very much.
AD: Thanks very much, man, pleasure talking with you.
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