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Thursday, 25 June 2009

UPDATED: The Box - Trailer for Richard Kelly's latest film

Have a look at this trailer as I think it is very good. The Box is based on the short story "Button, Button" by Richard Matheson and was used in an episode of The Twilight Zone. It is the one where a couple are given a box with a button. They are told that if they press the button they'll get a million dollars, but someone they don't know will die. Bit of a moral dilemma.

Now Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko, Southland Tales) has adapted it into a full length feature starring Cameron Diaz, James Marsden, and Frank Langella. It looks as if Kelly is back to his Darko goodness after the disappointing and confusing Southland Tales.

The film is set in the 70s and in a way is autobiographical as the two main characters are based on Richard Kelly's own parents.

Let me know what you thought of the trailer. Would you press the button?

UPDATE: I found the story about the film being semi-autobiographical. It was an interview with Richard Kelly over on AICN. Well worth a read as he talks about technical aspects of the film as well as developing the story. This is what he had to say about his parents being an influence on the film.
The short story is six pages long, and Arthur and Norma... there wasn't time for their backstory. So I thought, "Here's this amazing premise about greed and responsibility and so many things that you can't put into words. There's this button, and being responsible for the death of another human being, and what constitutes responsibility." And I thought, "We want to tell this story and expose this premise to two characters, let them be very moral people, very likable people." And I figured that I felt that way about my parents, and that this is the type of movie they would love. They exposed me to Alfred Hitchcock when I was a young teenager; they showed me REAR WINDOW and THE BIRDS and PSYCHO. So I thought, "What if I take their love story and life in Richmond, Virginia as an upwardly middle class couple in 1976, and place them into Richard Matheson's short story?" And that's what I did - which all of a sudden made it the most personal film I've ever made. (Laughs) They have a son [in the film] who's ten or eleven. I obviously would barely be one year old in 1976, but you could argue that their single child is maybe a representation of me in the story. So all of a sudden I feel like I'm making this profoundly personal film, which, at the same time, is this mainstream studio thriller with this high-concept premise. So it was sort of an interesting merger of my parents' story with Matheson's story, which was written before I was even alive but that I discovered on THE TWILIGHT ZONE in 1986. I was in my parents' bedroom watching THE TWILIGHT ZONE with my dad when I saw "Button, Button" for the first time. So to think that I've taken them and plugged them into this Matheson concept is... to this day, I can't believe that we pulled it off.

So that's why Jimmy and Cameron spent a lot of time around my parents. Cameron listened to my mom talk for forty-five minutes and recorded it. She recorded a phone conversation of my mom talking about her life. And then she went to a dialogue coach to learn how to do my mom's Texas accent. Meanwhile, Jimmy did a Virginia accent because my dad's from Virginia. Their Southern accents are slightly different. And when my parents came on set for five or six shooting days, they were just freaking out. They felt like they had stepped into a TWILIGHT ZONE episode by being on set. It's very meta. You have my parents feeling like they're in a TWILIGHT ZONE episode watching James Marsden and Cameron Diaz portray very personal, autobiographical things about their life with their son directing it in this amazing Richard Matheson story that we've all grown up with. (Laughs It was really, really interesting.

Then we shot at NASA down at Langley for a week, which is where my dad worked for fifteen years. Marsden drives a silver Corvetts in the film - and my dad didn't drive a Corvette; he drove a Pontiac. But Marsden drives into this press conference at the NASA campus facility down there where my dad attended the press conference for Viking. He also used to play basketball for the NASA basketball league. But literally my dad is looking at a younger version of himself driving to work in the same exact manner that he did at a place that hasn't changed since the '70s. The Langley facility down at NASA has not changed at all since the '70s; it's like you're in a time warp down there. So it was really pretty surreal. It really gave Jimmy and Cameron homework to do. That's one thing: you want your actors to leave your meeting with a big stack of books, because then they come back to you with so much and so many questions. You get a lot of the direction out of the way, so when you're on set you can focus on the details. Everyone's not trying to play catch up.
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