A Very Humble Thank You, Matt Reeves
“The way to learn how to make movies is to watch them and to make them. When I was a kid you could make 8mm movies, and now more than ever you can do them on your phone, edit them on your computer. The access to the technology for a filmmaker and a visual storyteller is right there, in your hand. So, that is really what you need to do to learn how to become a filmmaker.”
“I think that I was influenced initially and excited initially by Scorsese because of how talented he was, but I think the thing that was also coming through to me in terms of his point-of-views was how much he was heavily influenced by Alfred Hitchcock. I discovered Hitchcock’s films after Scorsese’s films and then became obsessed with them, and I’m still obsessed with them to this day. So, I would say that the one who excited me when I was young was Martin Scorsese, who’s still one of my heroes. And then I discovered all sorts of things through cinema, through Alfred Hitchcock. And when I was in film school, my mind was opened up to other points of view. I became obsessed with Federico Fellini, and as I was growing up I always loved FF Coppola.
I think when I look back at the movies that excited me when I was young, it was the films made by American storytellers that were heavily influenced by European films. That’s sort of what stuck to me to this very day. I love foreign films, too, I love Wong Kar Wai, Krzysztof Kieslowski… and I think I was particularly affected by filmmakers who are trying to express themselves through a particular point of view.”
“The other thing that was great was the advice that I got from Steven Spielberg. After ‘Cloverfield’, he started working with J.J. and I asked J.J. if he thought I could talk to him, and he told me that he loved ‘Cloverfield’, so why not, and he asked him and Spielberg said yes. We talked about directing children and he told me I should really ask them what they would do in every situation. You know, he said, you are trying to remember what it was like to be 11 or 12 years old, but they are. Give them more room, ask them what they would do.
That turned out to be great advice. As I said, I’m very interested in points of view and a lot of the movie was filmed from their points of view and I was able to incorporate it.”
“Well, I think the reason that most remakes are bad because they are generally not made from a passionate place. There are remakes that I loved – John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’, for instance, or William Friedkin’s ‘Sorcerer’, which I think is an amazing remake of ‘The Wages of Fear’.
I was approached about the remake and I was very affected by the story, but the story also reminded me a lot of my childhood. I actually did turn the film down because, I told them, this is a beautiful film and I don’t want to remake it precisely because of that. They kept pursuing me and I couldn’t get my other projects made, and in the meantime, I read John Lindqvist’s novel – he also wrote the screenplay – and I was very affected by it and I thought it was a great horror story. More than anything, it was very clear it was a personal story. It so reminded me of my own childhood, the pains of adolescence, family, divorce… So I suddenly started thinking that maybe there was a way of being faithful to the story but to personalize it. I ended up writing to John Lindqvist and saying to him how much I loved the movie that he and Tomas Alfredson made, and how they were pursuing me and how I was torn about it. I told him that what excited me about it was that it by far the most personal thing I could get involved with at that moment, even though, of course, it was his story. I wanted to find a way to remain faithful to it but at the same time to put it into a world that I knew when I was growing up. We’re about the same age, John and I, and he turned out to be a huge fan of ‘Cloverfield’, and he loved the idea of me doing an American version of the film. I really want you to do it, he said, especially when I hear you describing it like that, because it really is about my childhood. That was really when I decided to go on with the project. I made the film wishing to express what I thought Lindqvist so brilliantly expressed in the novel and in Alfredson’s picture, offering a story of the pain of adolescence through a vampire story. That’s the way I approached it and I have to say I did have a lot of trepidation about the end result, but all in all, it was a wonderful experience.”
“The kindness and one early Christmas present from our site’s friend Boris, the creator of the brilliant independent website Cinephilia & Beyond, put us in touch with the rising Hollywood ace Matt Reeves.”