LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Brand New: Exclusive Interview With Adam Mason, Director Of Blood River
By James Whittington, Monday 20th June 2011
Writer/director Adam Mason is one of the rising talents of the movie industry. His films Broken and The Devil's Chair pushed the horror genre into very raw and dark places, earning him a reputation of an artist who doesn't shirk from dissecting the dark side of the human soul. One of his latest movies, the acclaimed Blood River is showing on the Horror Channel in July so we decided to chat to this very honest man about his career so far.
HC: We first spoke some years back at FrightFest when you showed Broken, can you recall the reception that movie got?
AM: I think that was 2006. What I remember more than anything was that I'd just got back from LA the day before - where I'd been for a month finishing the movie...and literally that day of the screening I'd split up with my wife of seven years. So in the schemes of memory, I don't really remember much about the screening aside from how horrible all that side of it was. I also remember that we'd just done a deal with Miramax for US distribution a few days prior, so it was good and bad at the same time. The FrightFest crowd never really like my stuff, not that I've played anything there since, I don't think. I love the guys who run that festival, so don't have a bad word to say about it really.
HC: Do you think you've changed as a writer and director since that movie?
AM: Yeah - well I think its like anything really, the more you practice the better and more comfortable you become. So I find it a hell of a lot easier and more fun now days than I used to back then…I think you also probably have less to say the more you do it, so some of the passion and intense drive has dropped out of it a bit. But these days I really want to just go and make a straight up big, commercial movie. I really enjoy the actual process of filmmaking now, and much less so the creative-outlet side of it. I used to be very angry for one reason or another, and I channelled that into my films, but those days are over, more or less. Its such an endless battle when you believe in something for personal reasons. At this stage in my career I feel as though I've said most of the things i wanted to say about my view of life and so on. I just want to have some fun now, and make some money, because financially the past ten years have been tough (to say the least) and I've turned down a lot of very big and good opportunities because I wanted to do my own thing! I'm looking forward to doing something different now.
HC: Horror Channel is showing your acclaimed movie Blood River this month. Where did the idea for the film come from?
AM: It's the same story as all my films really. It’s about duality and the secrets people keep from each other. The truth of what lies underneath the surface of most people. The way things aren't really how they seem in reality, and how we all live in a fairy tale that is much easier to deal with than the truth. It came from several key experiences in my life. At one time or another I've been Summer in that movie…. then other times I've been Clarke…I guess we all probably have. Sometimes you do the right thing. Other times you don't. It was about all the guilt I've felt over my own actions and the betrayal I've experienced over the way I've been treated in the past.
HC: How did you go about casting the movie?
AM: Andrew I've known for years and Simon and I wrote the part for him… He's just phenomenal. Ian, I met when I moved to LA and Tess was my girlfriend who I really didn't want to cast, but ultimately the producers all pointed out to me she was simply the best person for the role. They were all perfect for it. I was very happy with all three of them.
HC: Was it a difficult shoot as the location used seems pretty inhospitable?
AM: It was actually the easiest shoot I've ever had I think… everything just went really smoothly and there weren't really any problems (all my other movies have been plagued by problems with exception of the latest one)… I mean - it was hard cause of the altitude, and the weather was either very hot, or very cold, and all the cast and crew lived in the town. But it was more an adventure than anything else. I only have very fond memories of the shoot.
HC: The movie is very intense, and you’ve captured the searing heat of the location incredibly well. What was the atmosphere like on set?
AM: For the most part it was laid back and fun. But I shot as much as I could in sequence, so the actors felt the progression of the story on their respective characters. The place really got to people and I like to think that had a real effect on the actors, especially Ian and Tess, who had to go through such extreme emotional arcs. By the time we got to that final scene, which the film kind of hinges on - everyone was really feeling it. The line between reality and fantasy had blurred and it all started to feel nice and truthful.
HC: If you had more time or money would you change anything about the film?
AM: I'm actually very happy with it. It's my favourite of the films I've made, outside of the film I've just directed I think… I don't like the first five minutes very much (outside of the titles). I'd re-shoot all that. I'm not very happy with the scenes in the car, nor the car crash which I think is sh*t and a cop out. But then - we hardly had any money, so for what we had, I'm as happy with it as I could be. And from the point where they walk into the town, I'm mostly completely happy with it.
HC: If you were asked to remake a classic which would you want it to be and how would you improve upon it?
AM: I'm not sure. I'd feel really uncomfortable doing that. I understand why Hollywood is remaking everything, and I respect it from a business point of view. I've been asked to do quite a few over the years. Doesn't really interest me though. I'd do it now though, if they paid me enough…
HC: Which writers and directors do you admire?
AM: The usual uspects. I love Gasper Noe, Harmony Korine, Von Trier, Fincher, Nolan. I think horror guys like Aja and Greg Mclean are massively talented and I'm sure will go on to do important work outside of the genre. There's a great new movement going on at the moment, where technology has got to the stage where there's just no barriers to getting into it anymore. When I was 18 it was so impossible to get into, because it simply cost so much money to make a movie, to edit a movie… Of course the scheme of things now means there’s going to be a lot of shit around, but looking between the cracks – there’s some real gold coming out.
HC: So what projects are you working on at the moment?
AM: I’m just finishing a movie called Junkie which is more a black comedy than anything else… Very, very happy with that one. It should be done in a month or two. Its the most personal script I've written with Simon, and is definitely the final chapter of those movies that I've made about duality. I'm definitely done with all that now. This new film says it as perfectly as I can manage.
HC: Adam Mason, thank you very much.
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