Comic-Con 2013: Exclusive Interview with Fede Alvarez for the 'Evil Dead' DVD and Comic-Con Activities
This week, “Evil Dead” is released on Blu-ray and DVD with great fanfare, especially just right before the San Diego Comic-Con event this week.
During an exclusive phone interview before the convention, Alvarez discussed a few things about the movie, Blu-ray release and certain activities at Comic-Con itself.
Alvarez and Jane Levy will also be participating in a live-stream interview hosted by IGN at Comic-Con on Saturday, July 20, starting at 2 p.m. And later on Saturday night, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and IGN will have its Evil Dead Launch party at Comic-Con at 8 p.m. at The Commons. Check Comic-Con schedule for the Evil Dead panel on site.
Here’s the interview transcript below:
Latino-Review: Are you in the United States already?
Fede Alvarez: I’m in Los Angeles.
Latino-Review: So you’re already in Los Angeles then it means you’re ready for this week then.
Fede Alvarez: I’m all ready for this week, yeah.
Latino-Review: Ok, terrific. So let’s get started. Hey, do you remember the first experience watching “Evil Dead?” And, what did that original movie meant to you?
Fede Alvarez: Of course and I talked about this a lot. “Evil Dead” was never like in my top five movies as I was growing up in the 80s and 90s. Then again, it was one of the few movies that I remembered the day I rented it at the video store. I do know why, because it was so crazy and violent.
I remembered going to the video store and wanting to watch a classic horror movie back then. I walked to the video store like a block away from my house with a friend of mine. I asked the guy behind the counter for something that’s really, really scary. And the guy said something about this “Evil Dead.”
So we went home and had the chance to watch this movie. It was pretty good. It was so scary. It was disturbing on many levels.
Then it was the time when I fell in love with “Darkman.” I realized it was the same director. And so I became more of a Sam Raimi fan. And I appreciated “Evil Dead” even more as I became a bigger fan of Sam Raimi.
Latino-Review: Personally, I watched the film when I was a child. It was terrifying. But, I saw your new version as an adult and it was equally terrifying. How did you manage to update the movie and still keep the terrifying atmosphere for the new generation of moviegoers?
Fede Alvarez: Thank you. Thank you. The idea was to recreate the experience I had when I was a kid when I watched it. There were the memories of what I saw. So when we start talking with [Raimi] doing “Evil Dead,” and right away he asked me what kind of movie I wanted to do. So right way, I talked about the experience I had with the original. We talked about your friends turning [into monsters] right after the other. There’s the sister in the cellar screaming. And there’s all that claustrophobic feelings from the original film and the idea that there’s no way out of there. It’s all clearly all based on the first one.
Other directors would’ve go “I wanted to do something in a tongue and cheek like ‘Evil Dead 2’ or ‘Army of Darkness.’” Those were definitely movies I loved. But I thought we should go start over as a reboot and that it should go back to the roots of the first one. Then we’ll eventually move from there. We wanted to start off with a hard horror like the original one. I wanted to make it a serious movie like I could.
Latino-Review: Your movie is a little bit different from the original one. I remembered speaking with one of your actresses earlier this year and she told me that she didn’t see the original movie before film production. I was wondering if this was a plan on your part to not let the actors relate to the old version, but to try something completely new. Am I correct?
Fede Alvarez: Yeah, I definitely did encourage them to watch it one if they said that they didn’t see it. We didn’t ask. But, we noticed is when they walked on the set.
I could tell right away because Bruce Campbell was sitting next to me. So when an actor comes in and falls on to the knees and bowing—you can tell. But if they don’t know and walk in to introduce themselves to Bruce and have no idea on who he is—then that person have no idea of the original.
Lou Pucci, for instance, entered the room and fell on his knees right away. He started bowing to the master so I knew that this guy saw the original. [Laughter]
I can say that Jessica [Lucas] hadn’t seen it and Jane Levy had no idea. I knew it and they finally told me. So I told them, “Don’t watch it now, because that’s going to fuck you over.” Just do your thing.
Even for me, if someone offered me to do a remake from another director, the right approach is to say, “tell me what it’s about.” I think the story is good, but this is how I would do it. So I would not try to watch the original. What you want to do for the best remake of a movie is a film that works by itself. You want to catch the heart of the story that works today for the new audiences and that’s what we were trying to do. That’s what I think we did.
Once we had that story, it works by itself completely detached from the original. Now you have that, you can start putting stuff on top of that of all the stuff you loved about the original. If you get it—it’s awesome. If you don’t get it—it doesn’t matter and the movie works the same.
Since I’m a man of the original, I couldn’t help but to put a shitload of stuff that tied the movie into the original. The people who haven’t seen [the original] will get it anyway. So it worked perfectly for the actors. They didn’t need to know the original to understand their role.
Latino-Review: Absolutely, we’re talking today is because you have a DVD out this week. What goodies should die hard “Evil Dead” should look forward to?
Fede Alvarez: I don’t have the DVD yet. So I don’t know much about it. I want my copy.
I’m pretty sure that we shot a lot of things for the DVD. We did a lot of behind the scenes stuff. I’m sure there’ll be some featurette on the stuff going on the set. And I know Jane did a personal diary and she was shooting some of that. I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a lot of cool things.
And today for me, when I love a movie—I definitely will go out and get the DVD. I want to own and enjoy it. Nowadays everything is online streaming by buying it to see on your computer. But to buy a DVD is something. It’s like having a book on the shelf. It’s something that you can touch and feel away.
If you really enjoy the movie, you have to go out and get it.
Latino-Review: Of course I have to talk about the reason why you’re in Southern California is because you’re going to San Diego Comic-Con. So tell me what you’re planning to do at the convention for the fans.
Fede Alvarez: I know we are doing a panel with most of the actors. I’m not sure if Bruce Campbell will be there since he’s in Miami. Basically, there’s a panel there and we’re going to talk with the fans.
It’ll be awesome. This will be my first San Diego Comic-Con. I’m really looking forward to that. And it’s going to be super-exciting because we’ll be meeting the fans who actually saw the movie. I read a lot of those things promoting the film and they sit down during the panel to ask a lot of questions, but those people never saw the movie back then.
I’m excited to sit down with them again and talk with people who saw the film now. It’s about having a cool conversation about it. That’s all I want to do is to talk with the fans. This time, I can ask questions on what they liked and what they didn’t. It’s very exciting for me. I finally will sit down with a bunch of people who now know the movie. I’m really anxious about it.
Latino-Review: Terrific. I know you have a really busy day today. The fans would like to know is what’s happening with “Evil Dead 2?” Is that moving forward? And what’s your overall plan for the Evil Dead franchise?
Fede Alvarez: We definitely do want to do a sequel. Right now, we’re just chatting back and forth about which direction it should go. Personally, I’m the fan of the sequels of movies back in the 80s and 90s, in which you can continue the story. You just follow on whoever survived and the story continues from there. That’s the way I love it.
The reality of horror movies today is to recast all the characters with a new group of kids. It’s the same idea again. It’s with most of the ongoing franchise if you think about it. It’s just about taking the concept and just redo it over and over again with different people. It’s something that I’m not a fan of.
I prefer to use this same character and hopefully it’s the direction we’ll go. We’re still discussing. What we want to do I think Sam [Raimi] will be happy to go in that direction too. In the end, it’s the reality of the market and on which direction we’ll go.
A lot of movies just re-run the concept over and over again with different people like a few franchises like “Saw” and “Final Destination.” It’s just the same old concept with a new group of people. I prefer to tell the story till the end.
Oh, there’s no real tie-in or plans to a movie like “Army of Darkness,” am I correct? Or you don’t know yet?
That’s a different storyline. I don’t think it’s exactly the same right away. It would be a direction I would love to go. I would love to take that journey eventually to take her to meet Ash. That’s basically I want her to do.
Latino-Review: I enjoy this interview and hopefully I will see you at Comic-Con with my copy of the DVD.
Fede Alvarez: I’ll be there the whole week. I am hoping to get down there on Thursday to enjoy the con. The Comic-Con people said, “You sure you want to walk the con after the panel?” Of course, I do. They may worry. I’m not that big. I’m not in the “Twilight” films. I’ll be okay. [Laughter]
“Evil Dead 2” is out on DVD and Blu-Ray today. Don’t forget to greet director Fede Alvarez and other cast members at San Diego Comic-Con this week.