Away from Blair Witch, and Wingard is currently wrapping production on his English-language re imagining of Death Note before heading into pre-production on the English-language remake of I Saw The Devil. “I’ve got about three days left on Death Note, and it’s been an exciting thrill ride,” he says, also noting that Barrett’s script for I Saw The Devil is “really incredible”. “It’s been nice to not be doing a found footage movie, let’s put it that way (laughs). ‘Oh you mean I can do an insert?’, that sort of thing. I can do cutaways and all the things you take for granted. I can do slow mo. It’s one of those things where you’re like, ‘thank God I can use the gimmicks and the toys I like doing.’
Looking at Wingard’s filmography, it’s surprising to see the director of You’re Next, The Guest and several other low budget movies to be tackling bigger budget remakes, re imaginings and sequels. When I spoke with Wingard back in 2014 for The Guest, he and Barrett noted that they had a lot of ideas they were working on, all of which were original pieces. “I am at the point right now where, once I’ve done I Saw the Devil, where I’m like at my boiling point of doing remakes and sequels,” he admits. “I think it will be good to get back into [doing original movies]. But I’m really enjoying where I’m at right now; playing in a new field and these established worlds and seeing what we bring to it. We’re going to get back to doing original stuff.”
What’s refreshing about interviewing someone like Adam Wingard is just how open and honest he is. He is a very smart man who gets this industry, and is never ashamed of his choices even if he doesn’t agree with them. Throughout our call he reminds me several times that he’s “not Hollywood”, and by doing Blair Witch, Death Note and I Saw The Devil, he’s managed to play the system perfectly as these movies will get his and Barrett’s names noticed outside of just the horror community. “We’ve made movies for years on super low budgets and working our budgets up as we go,” he says. “And we’ve done critically-acclaimed stuff like The Guest and successful films like You’re Next, but none of our films have been successful money-wise. They’ve always made their money back, but they’re never huge hits. And ultimately, it’s not a coincidence that the first movie we’re looking to do financially really well is Blair Witch, which is based on a known property. It’s one of those frustrating things. When a movie like this gets announced, a lot of first responses are ‘oh it’s Hollywood out of ideas’, and there’s no one less Hollywood than me and Simon. It’s one of those things where, if you’re unhappy with people being unoriginal and doing sequels and remakes and re-imaginings and reboots and everything in between, if you go and see these films then people will put them out. I’ve been giving you original material for years and years and we never got those results. It’s a frustrating thing that to get people to see your movie, you do it with some context to them. The market place is full right now. That’s not to say there can’t be original things, there are plenty. But it’s one of those things where we have to keep getting our names out there and build a brand, and sometimes the best way to do that is with something that’s familiar with people and putting your name on it.”
As our call came to a close, I noted to Adam that his next film poster will have the words, “From the Director of Blair Witch” on it, just as Fede Alverez now has “From the Director of Evil Dead” above the poster for original horror Don’t Breathe. “Exactly, and then you have that context, and context is everything,” he says. “You have to know you’re going to watch a movie. Sometimes it’s about the filmmaker, sometimes it’s about the property. Sometimes you know the filmmaker and sometimes you know the property. It’s all context these days.”
My thanks to Adam Wingard for taking the time out to speak with me. Blair Witch is out in cinemas now.
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