January 13, 2009

INTERVIEW - My Bloody Valentine 3D Director Patrick Lussier Keeps It In The Family

Considering how much of last year he spent hunched over in a dank cave shooting a slasher movie, editor-turned-director Patrick Lussier seemed incredibly chipper as we spoke about the upcoming My Bloody Valentine 3D, the first horror movie to play around with the brand-new 3D technology we've all been hearing about (since none of us actually saw Journey to the Center of the Earth). You can read the first half of my interview at AMC, and the rest is right here. Watch your head -- MBV3D opens Friday!


TB: People always say that the version of movie we end up seeing is formed by the editor, not the director. In the age of digital media, is that more true or less true?

PL: I think it's always been true... So much of the movie that you make is built in editing; you have so much control over what it can become and the shape of the performances, and I think that's always been the case. Digital technology affords you the ability to shoot more in less time, which means there's more emphasis on editing because there are more possibilities -- but the more you have to sift through, the harder it can be to find those kernels of gold to create the best movie possible.

TB: As a director, do you think you'll always edit your own films?

PL: Probably, but I like to edit with somebody so I have a fresh eye as well. I'll definitely shoot something with a specific way in mind, and someone else can come in and may show it to you in a way you hadn't expected. It's important to have a creative partner, there can be some great surprises.

TB: 3D is really taking off. Do you think other audience immersion techniques on their way in too?

PL: Surely, if you go to theme parks, they've been explored and exploited for years now. As for 3D, having seen it a few times from the audience, you see the amazing reaction people have to it, and how participatory it is. It's a genuinely pleasurable experience just viewing the technology, before you even consider the content. 3D feels like it has potential to really catch on; the more theaters that can add it, the more viable it's going to become, to the point where you could have two or three 3D movies in release at the same time -- that will be how you know when it has really arrived. Even now with this film you can sense that people are having that theme-park sort of experience, which makes it a really fun date movie. That kind of scary-fun, not like a torture-porn movie or anything. We wanted it to be a fun throwback to those great '80s slasher films, with really advanced technology, and that's what it is.

TB: Looking at your cast, particularly the younger ones, it's impressive how many film credits they seem to be racking up lately. Did you find them to be a particularly ambitious group?

PL: The cast we had was amazing. They were all so enthusiastic about the project and their characters and the story and bringing their absolute A-game every day on set, never taking their foot off the accelerator during the 18 hours a day that we were shooting, and in incredibly exhausting conditions. This is Megan Boone's first film, and she was so in tune with the character and film, and had such boundless enthusiasm. She brought an unbelievable amount of terror to her role. Myself and the DP would watch her during her big scenes, and we couldn’t believe how riled up they were getting and how terrified they were, it almost became impossible to say "Cut!" because you were on the edge of your seat just watching them as they were performing.

TB: Are there any 3D movies from your youth that you remember with any fondness?

PL: I remember seeing a few of them, like Jaws 3D, and Spacehunter, and kind of going, "Eh…" The technology at that time was a little clumsy. It was a noble attempt but they didn't have the technology to make 3D such an incredibly immersive, high-quality experience.

TB: You've worked with your son, Devin Lessier, multiple times over the years, including MBV3D. can you tell me about the working relationship you two have?

PL: Since the time he was two I've been training him to work in editing rooms, and he's kind of grown up in the environment. A few years ago he decided that he wanted to pursue a career in editing, and when he was 15 he started working for us on Red Eye as our post-production PA, and then he did some work for us in Cursed, and did a great job. He's so technology-savvy, way more than I am, having had a computer since he was a child. He has such a natural understanding of systems and databases and how things work and how to find things and how to move and make things. He became an invaluable asset almost immediately. And to get to work with him and watch his career blossom -- he was the apprentice for The Eye and was First Assistant Editor on Quarantine with the Dowdle brothers. It was incredible to have him on Valentine, to know you had someone who would always shoot you straight. He's incredibly smart -- of course, you know he's my son, so what else am I going to say? But to get to work with him fills me with nothing but pride.

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