- Source: CHUD
- EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: PLATINUM DUNES
PRODUCERS (THE HITCHER)
By Devin Faraci
- Heres a way to make someone feel
important: ignore not one but two
phone calls from Michael Bay while talking to him.
- My one on one with Andrew Form and Brad
Fuller two thirds of Platinum
Dunes, the other third being Bay came at the end of the
day at the
junket for The Hitcher in Los Angeles two weekends ago. With
else on their schedule, what had been a twenty minute interview
stretched to an hour, and we covered a lot of ground not
The Hitcher, but about their future projects, their thoughts
remakes, and the future of the horror genre.
- Towards the end of the interview, Fullers
phone began ringing. It was
Bay. There was a moment where he looked at the caller ID, and
silenced the buzzing of the phone, going back to the interview.
couple of minutes later, the phone buzzed again. Again it was
Again the phone was silenced, but you could tell that this time
a little more consideration.
- Form and Fuller are no bullshit guys.
Form has long Jesus hair and
beard, and he showed up at the pre-screening party the night
with Jordana Brewster, his fiancée. Fuller looks more
like your usual
handsome, young Hollywood player, dressed casually but nicely.
a strong rapport, often finishing each others sentences.
didnt give me a lot of spin. You may not like all their
theyre being upfront and every reply felt very honest.
- The Hitcher is the latest remake from
Platinum Dunes. This time they've
reached back to the 80s cult classic and updated it for today.
Bean plays the creepy and seemingly unstoppable hitchhiker who
mixed up in the road trip of Jim (newcomer Zachary Knighton)
(hottie Sophia Bush). The dynamics in this version are changed
- in the
original hitchhiker Rutger Hauer was obsessed with C Thomas Howell,
whose girlfriend Jennifer Jason Leigh receives some legendarily
treatment. This time around the lead is the girl, with the boy
himself feeling torn.
- This interview contains complete and
total spoilers for The Hitcher. If
youve seen the original, you should be in good shape, since
version sticks pretty close to that. I had originally intended
this interview up into two parts, and maybe keep the parts that
scenes from the movie for next week, but in the end I decided
conversational flow was worth preserving. I will not be blacking
spoilers, so continue at your own risk.
- Im interested in the philosophy
of how Platinum Dunes approaches
remakes. This is a pretty faithful remake
- Form: As we learned when [writer of
the original] Eric Red got credit
[from the WGA]! We werent expecting that.
- What is the philosophy, though? Do you
come looking to keep most of the
film or are you looking to make big changes?
- Fuller: The movies that weve remade
are all movies that we
authentically had a tremendous amount of affection for. Out of
movies weve remade, The Hitcher is the one that we all
had the same
level of passion for.
- Form: Its the only one I saw in
the theaters. I wasnt old enough to
see Chainsaw, and I didnt see Amityville in theaters.
- Fuller: The concept of remaking it kind
of came from the fact with
Michael Bay talking about this film. Drew looked it up on his
and I said, How much did this make at the box office?
It made 6
million dollars. I said, This is a travesty. Why didnt
this film? Thats what started us.
- There are things in the original you
have to do. If youre remaking
this film, you have to pull a character apart. Are you going
apart the girl, are you going to pull apart the guy? Our marketing
campaign says it right there you know whos getting
theres no mystique about whos getting it. So rather
than hide that,
we played into it. When he walked out of that shower, you know
going to get pulled apart.
- At the screening last night, when they
came over the hill and saw the
truck stop, someone applauded the truck stop, knowing what was
- Fuller: Right. So when youre remaking
a movie you know there are
things the audience is expecting, and there are places you need
really clever. On this movie we felt that they know whats
happen, and well let them in on it, and well all
have fun with it.
But what we tried to do was take key elements, like the pull-apart,
when he pulls up in the station wagon, and what we try to do
something they couldnt do twenty years ago. The whole car
sequence that was pretty hard for us to shoot. In the
they didnt show the body come apart. When we shot it, we
how explicit it was going to be, but we knew we could do a pull-apart
that would look real. The battle between the two of them at the
you have these two people, Rutger and C Tommy Howell, and he
on the side of the road I said to Drew, How can
we make that more
interesting? You try to build on it and be true to the
spirit of the
- Form: The original is a good movie,
and theres a lot of action in that
movie also. We thought, What a great movie to remake, this
no one has seen. We wanted to get these characters out
- The movie people keep asking about,
and you got asked about it today,
is the Friday the 13th remake. Thats been a tortured process.
talk about what happened?
- Form: First we brought on Jonathan Liebsman
to direct the movie.
- Fuller: We had just worked with him
on Chainsaw and loved him.
- Form: We would love to work with him
on everything. We were at New
Line, we had two movies for them, and Friday the 13th came up.
- Fuller: They gave us a call.
- Form: I said, I love Jason Voorhees.
Those are movies I lived on when
I was younger. We got down with Liebsman, and what we learned
Paramount owns the original Friday the 13th.
- They own the title as well, right?
- Form: Yes. New Line owns all the sequels.
So we were put in a box we
couldnt use anything from the first one. So we started
going down the
road of making a Friday the 13th movie that didnt include
from part one.
- Fuller: So we had to create our own
- Form: And then Paramount came around
and said, Why dont we do this
together? And then MTV came around and said they wanted
in. So now I
think were at a place where Paramount, MTV, New Line and
Dunes have come together and the box is completely open
we can use 1,
2 or 3. The title will be Friday the 13th. So were now
going to bring
in a new writer, Liebsman is going to direct, and were
going to pull
from the first three movies.
- Its interesting that you said
you couldnt pull from the first movie
when people think of Friday the 13th, they dont think of
one, because Jasons not in that movie.
- Fuller: Thats right. You know
that and we know that, but most people
dont know that. Most people think Jason is a guy with a
and thats the way its been since the first movie.
- Form: They dont know that Part
III is when the hockey mask comes out.
I think there are moments we want to address, like how does the
mask happen. Itll happen differently in our movie than
in the third
one. Where is Jason from, why do these killings happen, and what
- Fuller: And how does Tommy Jarvis fit
- Youre going to have Tommy Jarvis!
- Fuller: [laughs] You got all excited.
- Form: Were talking about how do
you put all these elements into one
[film]. We havent decided, but were excited. Were
talking with new
writers, and once we get that down, the movie goes right away.
movie were excited about.
- Again, you want the movie to feel real.
When the killing gets over the
top, it can feel campy, and we dont want that. And with
a machete and
the way Jason kills, theres a fine line. We want it to
feel real, and
he is a brutal killer. Were dancing with that; well
put all of these
elements together. Its a movie we cant wait to make.
- Are you guys going to tackle the biggest
continuity question for any
Friday fan how did Jason drown in the lake as a kid but
come back as
a zombie that ages?
- Fuller: We dont know. We talk
about that for hours on end. How do you
do that and not make it seem cheesy? If you dont do that
not along for the ride of the movie. In some ways, youre
not addressing it which I dont think were
going to do or you come
up with a writer and a group of people who sit in a room and
with an idea so brilliant that it works, and thats what
to do. Every discussion about this movie you talk about
you talk about the hot chicks, you talk about the nudity, you
about Crystal Lake but at the end of the day, the question
there a supernatural element to this movie? Is Jason a
demon? I think
you cant figure out any of the other things until you figure
- Its interesting that you bring
up nudity there hasnt really been
any in your films so far. Youre in the genre where thats
part and parcel of what you expect.
- Form: I dont think any of the
movies weve done have called for it. We
havent had that scene with the two kids in the corner having
before the killer
- Well, you have the shower scene in this
one, which is shot very
tastefully so as to not show anything.
- Form: Again, I think with some of the
actors were working with
- Fuller: We dont have a problem
with nudity. I feel like an actress
saying this, but if its not part of the story and it doesnt
sense and were just throwing it in there because we dont
know how to
tell the story, thats not how we work. We love nudity as
everybody else, and to me Friday the 13th lends itself to it
Chainsaw. In The Hitcher, we gave a little up. We gave a little
- Considering how nudity was once part
of the expected package, do you
think that the expected package has changed since we were going
horror movies as kids?
- Fuller: I dont have a specific
answer to that, but hopefully this will
help you get an answer to that. When we came to horror movies,
thing we talked about was that we wanted to have a better level
actor in all the main roles. Today a lot of the young actresses
want to do nudity. Biehl doesnt do nudity, Alba doesnt
Jordana Brewster doesnt do it.
- Form: I think theyll do it in
what they think is the right movie, but
not if theyre being chased by a chainsaw.
- Fuller: Thats the trade-off. You
can have a better actress to actually
act the role, or you can have someone who takes off her clothes
doesnt feel as authentic, and we err on the side of authenticity.
- Is part of it also that horror films
now are lobbed down the middle of
the gender road more often? Horror films in the 80s were aimed
at guys these are date movies now.
- Fuller: I was surprised no one asked
us about it, but this is our
fourth movie with a female protagonist. We have never had a male
protagonist. But in Friday the 13th you have a lot of meat flying
- Form: Lotta victims!
- Fuller: So you dont need your
in that movie I think well
have more leeway.
- Female protagonists have sort of been
the thing since Halloween. Do you
think its time to break the mold on that?
- Fuller: Can I tell you what I was honestly
thinking last night? I was
thinking with that whole thing in the shower we should
have had Zach
get out of the shower, go to the store, come back and shes
the truck and gets pulled apart and he lives. Turn it around!
next movie we do I want to have the character say Ill
be back in 15
- Form: And he comes back!
- Fuller: You want to have fun with it.
There are things that are in the
language of the genre, so that when he says, Im coming
back in 15
minutes, theres not a person in the audience who
thinks hes coming
back. You know hes going to die! So you either have fun
with it, which
what we tried to do here, or you can do the total opposite and
on its ear. So in the next movie, when someone says theyre
in 15 minutes, the other person will die!
- I thought it was fun that you guys had
a clip from The Birds in the
film. Is that the new thing? Will you announce every remake this
- Form: You know what? We had a cartoon
in there, and the cartoon didnt
clear, believe it or not. Because Rogue is Universal, they gave
Universal catalog. Universal was fine with it, because were
movie for them, then we went to Tippi Hendren and Rod Taylor,
both signed off on it.
- Fuller: Some people will get it, and
other people wont know what it
- Form: But we put that last shot in there,
which I love, the car driving
- Fuller: These movies should be fun.
I like to see movies that are
rides. I go and see Children of Men, which is an amazing movie,
youre blown away by what cinema is capable of. Thats
not what we do.
What we do is, you go in for an hour and a half and hopefully
a good time. You jump a little, laugh a little.
- Form: The audience claps a few times,
they enjoy the experience, and
you talk about it a few minutes on the way out.
- What is Alone?
- Fuller: Alone is an original script
that Rogue brought to us. The
closest thing I can compare it to is Misery. Its a story
about a young
woman, who is about 25 years old, and her mother dies. Theyve
estranged for years, and when she gets the call that her mother
she goes to her mothers apartment for the first time and
- Form: It appears that the mother committed
suicide, jumped off a ledge.
The girl cant believe it. Weve witnessed the mother
jump off the
or so we think.
- The girl goes to the funeral with her
fiancé, and the superintendent is
there. He says he wants to pay his respects, hes a nice
guy, he gives
her the keys to the apartment to clean it out. She goes there
these photo albums, her whole childhood is in that apartment.
starts hanging around and doesnt want to leave, and [the
superintendent] befriends her. He starts telling stories about
mother. Then you learn throughout the movie that the mother was
there, and when the girl wants to leave hes fallen for
her and wont
let her leave. It takes place in an abandoned apartment building
doesnt seem abandoned at all,and when she starts searching
the building its got lots of fun horror elements
to it, lots of
action. People show up and dont make it out.
- Its an original piece for us,
and thats exciting. We love Misery so
much that when we read this we were like, Wow! Its
not Misery its
not a remake of Misery! But I think that could be next, after
which is shooting in three weeks.
- Horror was out of favor for a while,
but now its back and its money.
Its guaranteed box office
- Fuller: Theres never guaranteed
- Well, its not guaranteed, but
its a good bet.
- Fuller: For the price, if you do it
- And theyve changed the way movies
are released. January was never a
release month, and now you put The Hitcher out in January and
you could have a good weekend. But can the horror thing last,
it burn out?
- Fuller: We wrestle with it. We felt
we were on the front end of a great
trend, but now we feel like were changing what were
doing. Were not
interested in and nor do we think we can compete with Hostel
Thats not the kind of material we respond to, so were
trying to find
another place to do it. To us The Hitcher and this is
not so much a horror film as a thriller. For us as producers,
about us testing ourselves and seeing if we could take it out
guy cutting people up. Could we take it out onto the highway,
cars, do things we never did before and do it in a way that doesnt
feel totally gratuitous and is loyal to an interesting story
have the horror elements.
- We still have the big stings in there,
but Ill give you an example.
When [Sophia Bush] comes out of the interrogation room, and theres
that cop dead on the ground and his throat has been slit
we would have stung that in a big way. We didnt sting that
- Form: In Chainsaw we would have showed
him get killed.
- Fuller: We kind of just let that hang
there. When the other cop is dead
on the ground, we used to have a scene where a dog is licking
brains out. We didnt cut it because we shy away from that
love it and have done it we just strove to make more of
than a straight-ahead horror movie, because we wanted more people
see the movie. With Chainsaw: The Beginning, we felt that movie
intense for all audiences.
- Form: That movie definitely does not
play for everyone.
- One of the most effective scenes in
this film is when Sean Bean first
gets in the car its not a horror sequence, but it
builds from being
just sort of creepy to crossing the line with the question about
fucking the girlfriend to breaking the cell phone. And none of
- Fuller: Thats by design. Its
interesting you bring up that scene,
because in our temp score there was a huge sting when he says,
long you been fucking her? There was a huge sting, and
pulling back from that.
- Form: We pulled music out sometimes
when there would usually be a
horror score. We let some scenes be naked. We didnt want
the movie to
be wall-to-wall music, which I think a lot of horror films do.
done that. When we were mixing the movie, we tried to find places
let it breathe. For example, when she comes out of the interrogation
room, on the temp track that was always always scored. Now its
all you hear is the [police band] radio. Theres no music
at all. The
music starts when you see the dead body. We let it breathe a
- Fuller: We wanted this to feel more
- Did it test broad?
- Fuller: We didnt test it.
- Form: We didnt have time. We finished
it three days ago.
- Fuller: We bought that song [Nine Inch
Nails Closer, which plays over
a car chase] on Friday. We were mixing on New Years Eve
up until 8
oclock that night.
- Form: The movie was supposed to come
out in April, but Zodiac moved and
they said they liked January 19th.
- How does the Michael Bay part of Platinum
- Fuller: He is there all the time. Hes
not physically there, but hes
like having a professor. Well call him up and ask what
- Form: He says in every interview that
he doesnt like going on the set.
- Fuller: He cant. He used to do
it but doesnt anymore. He wants to be
- Form: Hes on the set and hes
a director. The first time he came to
one of our sets and someone said, What do you think, what
we call him every day at the end of the day, and he sees dailies.
thinks were missing something, well pick it up. Hes
very involved in
the casting. Wardrobe. Editing, of course.
- Fuller: We have an office together.
We see each other all the time.
- So youve seen a lot of Transformers
- Fuller: Weve seen a lot of it.
- Form: What did you think of the trailer?
- Its great. It has a Spielberg
touch to it. I loved the trailer.
- Fuller: I think hes gonna nail
it. What weve seen is amazing.
- Form: The movies really good.
We havent seen the whole thing, but the
transformations are incredible.
- You have a lot on your plate. What does
the next year realistically
look like for you guys?
- Form: Horsemen starts in three weeks.
- Fuller: I just want to say right off
the bat, that Horsemen feels like
nothing weve done. All of our films, hopefully people view
commercial, Horsemen to me feels commercial, but its brutal
intellectual. Its a totally different type of movie for
expectations are different for it. And when you step away from
down the middle horror and do something with more character,
weve gotten for this movie is unbelievable. Dennis Quaid,
Peter Stormare, Clifton Collins Jr. These kind of actors
for us, its
a real treat.
- Form: Its in the genre of Seven.
- Do you feel like maybe you guys have
reached the level of success where
you can make a picture without worrying about what it will make?
- Fuller: No. We dont feel like
that at all. We are very cost conscious.
Our first movie was very successful, our second movie was very
successful, our third movie made all of its money back,
good. But our budget level, since the second movie, has not moved.
doesnt go up. I think on some level every time we come
to bat were
scared shitless were going to strike out and well
be back on the
streets. Theres no comfort.
- Form: In two weeks theres five
movies coming out. How do you compete?
Movies get hurt. Theres no way around it. Five movies cant
- Fuller: We have our weekend all to ourselves.
- Form: I dont know how it happened,
because the weekend after us
theres five movies. Were excited. But when the prequel
came out, we
opened against The Departed. Best movie of the year, people are
- But is the Texas Chainsaw Massacre prequel
really hitting the same
audience as The Departed does in its first week?
- Fuller: As a producer, any time your
movie doesnt do the numbers you
wanted it to do we thought that movie would open over
dollars. Its not the same audience, but at the end of the
have to justify it somehow!
- Form: The pie is only so big. If one
movie takes a chunk of it
rare when theres two movies on a weekend thats not
in the summer or
in the holidays that make over 20 million apiece. I think Employee
the Month took some of our audience.
- You guys have this interesting target
audience in that your audience is
the one thats most likely to be downloading movies off
that feels comfortable waiting for the DVD, but youre making
pictures that are theatrical experiences, that should be seen
in a big
crowd that jumps and screams together.
- Form: Its hard, because you hear
people say they would rather stay
home. They have amazing TVs, they wait for DVD and they invite
friends over. I think you nailed it we like to make movies
theater experiences. Yeah, some movies people watch them at home
have the same experience they had at the theater. But horror
action thrillers, like you said, when you have the energy in
theater, its a different experience. If everyones
jumping or laughing
or screaming, the energy is amazing.
- Fuller: At the end of the day we dont
fool ourselves, but we do
believe that if we create compelling content, well still
have a job.
But my kids dont feel the same urge to go there and eat
- Form: I still feel it.
- Fuller: I do too. But theyre used
to watching things on their
computers and iPods.
- Right now whatever suit is running the
studio grew up on the theatrical
experience, so he gets why its important. But when your
kids grow up
and run a studio, will they care about keeping the theatrical
- Fuller: The theatrical aspect itself
will probably have to change.
Either there will be an advance in technology that gets people
there to see movies, or the moviegoing experience as we know
exist in its current form. But at the end of the day there will
be a need for content. You cant make these movies for YouTube
them up there and hope. The level of expertise wont be
- Form: I think youll always find
17, 18, 19 year old kids who want to
go on a date. They wont want to go over the girls
house. They have to
get out of the house, and whats better than dinner and
a movie. I
cant imagine that going away.
- Fuller: It wont go away, but I
used to go every single weekend when I
was 12 years old. It isnt like that. There are a lot of
- Your pictures are the kind that do very
well on DVD. How do you
approach that aspect how much of an eye on the home video
youre making the movie?
- Form: We definitely think about it.
We like to shoot behind the scenes,
and we like to document a lot of stuff, give the people those
features on the DVD. We shoot it all, because I love seeing that
how they did it.
- Fuller: But as a producer the challenge
is that you dont know what
your DVD content is going to be when youre shooting. We
that the original Chainsaw would be a two disc set.
- Form: But you just shoot it all and
- Fuller: We keep all our auditions.
- Form: Its great to see Jessice
Biehl come in to read.
- You talked about keeping the budgets
of these films low. It seems
likely that print and advertising on The Hitcher will exceed
- Form: It will.
- Fuller: Absolutely.
- Is that a model that makes sense?
- Form: The risk is much less. We make
these movies for what we think we
can make them for. Any movie could be made for 100 or 20, depending
what you need. We feel comfortable in this range.
- But when your low budget movie stops
being low budget because they just
doubled the cost on prints and advertising.
- Fuller: It scares the shit out of me.
We want these studios to make
money off of us, that way we keep working. But I dont know
how else to
get a movie out there. Were dealing with it right now with
we have our own weekend, but the market is so crowded
with the Golden
Globes and the SAG awards
- Form: And all the Christmas movies that
still play. Night at the
- Fuller: How do you distinguish yourself
in that environment without