Director David Slade Interview With Fearnet On Decapitations & What Scared The MPAA!

77 Comments June 18, 2010 by Filed Under: David Slade, Interview

Eclipse sladepic 280x210 Director David Slade Interview With Fearnet On Decapitations & What Scared The MPAA!  interview david slade Fearnet.com interviewed Eclipse director David Slade recently.  David talked about what scene scared the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America).

After he made the gory bloodsucker pic 30 Days of Night, nobody expected David Slade’s next vampire flick to be, well, a Twilight movie. But as producer Wyck Godfrey told me, Slade’s unique background was exactly what made him the right man to helm the third film in the Twilight Saga, the scariest, most violent, and most vampire-infested installment in the franchise.

I caught up with Slade in Beverly Hills just days after he’d attended an informal Masters of Horror confab with the likes of Eli Roth, Guillermo del Toro, and Tobe Hooper, whose Texas Chainsaw Massacre Slade counts among his favorite movies of all time. An avid photographer, Slade snapped a photo of yours truly (he captures everyone who interviews him) before we got to talking about all things Eclipse.

Was directing a PG-13 Twilight film such a major change for Slade, whose previous features earned R-ratings for “disturbing violent behavior” (Hard Candy) and good old-fashioned bloody vampire violence (30 Days of Night)? What skin-ripping scenes in Eclipse were too extreme for the MPAA? How did he get Taylor Lautner to wear a skin-tight gray spandex wolf suit on set? And lastly, what message does he have for hardcore horror hounds reluctant to give his Twilight movie a chance?

Read on for my full chat with Eclipse director David Slade… 

Was there a discernable transition making the jump from your earlier, R-rated genre work to the Twilight franchise?

It wasn’t that hard. We have like six decapitations in Eclipse! We smash people’s heads off, bite people’s heads off, I mean — I was amazed we got the rating we did, the MPAA only threw back one thing: we had this one part in the battle where Emmett just tears someone’s face off. The face kind of breaks off into pieces of crystal that shatter. I was like, ‘Whoa, yeah!’ But the MPAA said ‘No, you can’t do that.’ So the shot’s still in there, but you don’t see the face come off, you just see little bits of stuff breaking off.

Stephenie Meyer’s unique vampire mythology sort of helps one get around depicting graphic violence, doesn’t it? Eclipse features a lot of arm-ripping, head-smashing action — and yet not too much blood.

We managed to pack quite a lot in by making the pathology of this vampire a little bit fantastic. I worked with the guys over at Imagine Engine, who are best known for being one of the main vendors on District 9, which is an amazing film. They did a hell of a lot of the alien work. They did some wolf work for us — not all of it, that was mainly done by Tippett Studios — but when we were designing some of the crystal-sparkly stuff we basically sat down and figured out how it would work. We got anatomical drawings and did human slices — not real ones, but photographs of them — and figured out which layers would be crystal and how that would work. We figured that out because we knew we had to smash them. In a way, it was going to be acceptable to decapitate the hell out of people and smash their heads off in pieces. Bite people’s arms off and leave them with stumps. [Laughs] I’m amazed we got away with that, too, [in the scene where] Riley’s arm gets bitten off.

Stephenie Meyer describes the vampire body as made of a marble-like substance; you call it ‘crystal’?

There’s a crystalline structure. Marble-crystal, yeah. We figured it was a kind of crystal because crystal slides and grows in a way that’s very similar to muscle. It could potentially, in some fantastical way, slide around and move like muscle.

How much of the previous digital and design work did you inherit and how much did you try to change?

We tried to change more than we could. Not because of anything other than schedule and finance. We started down the path to radically redesign the sparkling Edward effect, but we just ran out of time on the R&D on that and ended up augmenting what already existed. What I wanted from that effect was the idea that even though he’s this cold, soulless thing, when the light hit him it’d refract light back and reflect onto you. If you were kissing him, you’d feel the warmth on your skin. That was something emotional and nice about that effect, because I just personally didn’t like how that worked out before. There was a plasticity to it that took me out of the moment in the films. It’s not a criticism, it’s just that in terms of how I wanted to move forward I wanted a more organic approach. We tried to make the wolves as real as we could in the time that we had. We knew they’d have to grab things and smash things.

The fight sequences turned out to be very engaging. Audiences seem to like the ramped-up action and the integration of the wolves into the newborn fight in the clearing.

Yeah, it seemed to work out. But one of my favorite scenes was actually a very emotional scene with the wolves, when Bella is watching and Jacob comes up next to her.

Yes! We heard Taylor pulled on a gray spandex wolf suit to make that moment more authentic, is that right?

Yes, he did. We had these big, white, plastic polyurethane cut-out models of the wolves so that we could get a sense of scale for camera framing.

Did you have to push him to get in that suit, or did he volunteer to do it? And how did that look while you were filming?

We asked him. He said okay. I figured that his nose to his fist [stretches out arm] was the same length as the wolf’s nose to its shoulder blade, so he came in and he put out his fist, and she kind of nuzzled his fist and stroked his hair. It was great, because there was a sense of connection. A person in a gray suit, even, will make a much better connection than an orange ball on a stick. So we had guys running around all over the place with gray suits on.

When the first trailers came out, I was impressed by how gorgeous your cinematography and location photography was.

Well that was from having [director of photography] Javier Aguirresarobe.

I wondered how your own love of photography, which you’ve shared throughout production with fans on Twitter, factored into the look of that cinematography.

I am cursed and blessed with the notion that when I read a book, I have a kind of photographic image in my mind that comes out. Through 16 years of doing music videos, commercials, and then two features, I’ve gotten to the point where I can exercise knowing how to make a mental image into a photographic image. What lens to use, what the depth of field should be, how long the focal length from the film plane to the subject should be, what kind of f-stop I need. It’s a blessing and a curse because sometimes you worry that you’re falling into a pattern, which you never want to do. But the blessing is that I do see images in my mind, there is a mechanism to get the film made — and it’s a film that I’ve already seen [in my mind]. The hard part is getting it out of the head and onto a screen. So yes, very much, I have a very clear idea of composition and where the light should be and everything about the image.

You’ve spoken about using a specific cinematic language on Eclipse — framing Bella, Edward, and Jacob in tight close-ups, for example.

Yes, a cinematic vocabulary. This one had to have a more mature — not to be antithetical to ‘immature,’ I don’t think there is anything immature about the films — but it was a more advanced, more complex story, and I think it needed a more complex, more cinematic… I think I was going more for a piece of cinema than a movie, knowing full well that it would probably be distributed like a movie. So I had the license to be a little bit more edgy with my cinematography, to actually push the camera in a way that hadn’t been pushed before on these films. But none of it was done for the sake of messing around, it was all done with a specific idea in mind.

One of my favorite scenes in Eclipse is Bella’s nightmare. It’s a very dark, nightmarish scenario in which a vision of Jasper looks directly into the camera and comes for the audience.

That was our first day of shooting! I remember that, it was halfway through the very first day of principal shooting.

That scene is striking in that it bears more of a horror cinema mark than the rest of the film. Do you see yourself as a member of the horror filmmaking community?

Am I a horror filmmaker? Yes I am, I guess — I go to the Masters of Horror dinners.

That’s certainly a badge, of sorts.

But you know, Hard Candy wasn’t a horror movie. And I may not make a horror movie next. But I love horror movies, some of my favorite movies of all time, like Possession, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre — they’re all horror movies. Amongst great dramas, as well.

Considering your genre-specific fan base, how would you like non-Twilight fans to approach the Twilight franchise?

With an open mind. But it is a Twilight film, no doubt. It’s a Twilight film; it’s definitely based on the Twilight material. It’s not an R-rated movie, it is a PG-13 movie. [Pauses] But I do believe it is probably the most violent of all of them.

I would have loved to see that scene with Emmett ripping the guy’s face off!!  I hope it’s on the DVD!!  LOL!   I bet that nightmare scene with Jasper is the one in the TV spot with fierce Jasper!!  I hope there are photos of Taylor in the wolf spandex suit.   Eclipse icon wink Director David Slade Interview With Fearnet On Decapitations & What Scared The MPAA!  interview david slade

Great interview with David Slade!! 

[Source: Fearnet. Thanks 30yearoldtwifan!]

Category: David Slade, Interview

  • http://www.facebook.com/krista.dupuy kristadupuy

    Oh My!

  • vampdazzled

    oh my indeed!LOL!!!

  • robfan1st- teamFamousLadiesMan

    man this sounds hot!

  • Britt

    I love waking up to David Slade. Does that make me a creeper lol

  • Team_KristenLEGSLEGSLEGSMcStew

    Wow this just makes me have even more faith in him for Eclipse. The man knows what he's doing. TEAM DAVID SLADE!!!!

  • NicoleHelena

    Haha!;d How late is it anyway where you live? It's 03:12 PM in West Europe.

  • CF Team Bibimbap-ski

    Oh, this gets me excited. To hear about all he did to make the action sequences good and decent to look at and how much work he put into making them authentic. And his take on the sparkling, that it look unauthentic before. Well that's putting it mildly.

    I will reserve judgment until I see the final product, but this interview gives me hope.

    I love the Texas Chainsaw Massacre too. One of the best horror films ever made.

  • IndiesR

    Squeeeeel….so exciting!!!

  • spidahMONKEY

    this guy reeeeeally know what we want *screams*

  • Britt

    I just woke up and the first thing I do is go on here lol

    Its 9:20am

  • http://twitter.com/xSUGARCOMAx TheGirlWithTheBigBrownEyes

    ahh good interview makes me wanna watch the movie even more now

  • http://www.facebook.com/krista.dupuy kristadupuy

    Is it sad I'm on here like every hour looking for updates?

  • EdwardFeen

    great interview! David is awesome. So glad he directed!!
    CANT WAIT

  • teamCharlieB=)

    ahh come on! forget the little 12 year olds that dont want to see someones face get ripped off!
    I'm 19 years old and i want to see it! hahaha

    After following all the news on Eclipse while it has been filming, i have to say David Slade has won me over. I really cant wait to see this movie.

  • CantHelpIt (I <3 Beardward)

    Yes :)

  • http://twitter.com/cjean_ Cjean

    FML: “the MPAA only threw back one thing: we had this one part in the battle where Emmett just tears someone’s face off. The face kind of breaks off into pieces of crystal that shatter. I was like, ‘Whoa, yeah!’ But the MPAA said ‘No, you can’t do that.’ So the shot’s still in there, but you don’t see the face come off, you just see little bits of stuff breaking off.”

    I love him…: I don’t think there is anything immature about the films — but it was a more advanced, more complex story, and I think it needed a more complex, more cinematic…

  • NicoleHelena [TeamHardwicke]

    Nope, I do the exact same thing!;d Or maybe that's just sad too… lol. I don't know.

  • NicoleHelena [TeamHardwicke]

    I love you, David Slade.

  • Anty

    was i only the only one while reading this thinking about taylor in that skin tight spandex suit??? ha ha

  • Britt

    Lol, your not alone. Though I come before and after I go to sleep :)

  • TeamSwitzcob (aka Meg)

    I like this guy more and more everyday, and I liked him from the beginning! I wish I could pick his brain in regards to photography.

    And I would have *loved* to have seen Emmett rip of a face! *sigh*

    And lastly, SO glad he included the Jwolf/B interaction. Going to be so friggin' cute.

  • http://www.facebook.com/krista.dupuy kristadupuy

    LOL *Wipes forehead* Good, at least i'm not the only one.

  • ROBWARDISAGOD24

    definately not your not alone i do that too :) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! its always exciting when something new comes up my eyes always light up when theres something new and i get excited even if its just a little thing !!!!!!!!!!!

    this interview was awesome i hope they do show the face ripping part on the dvd that would be epic david slade always makes my day and i know in my heart that he has made eclipse perfect and epic at the same time so i say congrats davis slade thank you for bring back the saga to the way it should be i was so dissapointed with new moon so its like eclipse is picking up where twilight left off for me anyway love to david slade :) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • MrsHC-*TEAM EDCOB*ECLIPSE/WFE

    David seems awesome! I must say that I was not all that into the fight scenes until I saw the new clip on here last night. WOW! Can not wait to see Robward cut loose and kick some butt! He looks HOT!

    And if Taylor in that grey spandex is not on the DVD extra's, I am going to be p*ssed! Not only do I want to see TayTay in spandex, but I want to see Kristen stroking him!

  • AP_Team RobPervKowski

    lmao!
    kind off *wink* but don't worry, we're all weird in that sense.

    Yesterday I said I love Robs tongue porn in the morning… hahaha

  • fantasyfan

    Good interview. I had my doubts about Slade but looks like he was a good choice.

  • Lindsey

    I'm to big of a chicken to watch his horror movies, but he sounds incredible! Eclipse is going to ROCK OUT!

  • Angie

    Really wish Summit was a little less tight with their wallet. I would have loved to have seen what David did with the sparkling effect. Greedy, greedy company!

  • http://twitter.com/Randidoll Randidoll~The Runways<3

    I really enjoyed that!
    David Slade took this very seriously.

  • KL Eclipse☼Ami♥W4E♣BD♂Cptvs↑

    LMFAO!!!

  • teamobsessed_over_rpattz

    I really would have LOVED to see Emmett tear the newborn's face off! That would have been AWESOME!

  • ROBWARDISAGOD24

    definately agreed :) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Sparkella

    Ya, it was a great interview and it is nice to know that he really put a lot of thought into bringing the book to life. Cant wait to see it!

  • mlj (Team Pea Coat)

    Reading this makes me even more excited to see this movie. I love it when the scenes are visually beautiful and when the cinematography is on point. This movie will be EPIC, I can feel it in my bones!

  • mlj (Team Pea Coat)

    Reading this makes me even more excited to see this movie. I love it when the scenes are visually beautiful and when the cinematography is on point. This movie will be EPIC, I can feel it in my bones!

  • MiaTwilightFan

    I can see all of you want violence…hmmm I don't :D I hope will not be too much violence I can bear, though I like action figures. But action can be awesome without decapitating and ripping hands. When I read Eclipse I liked that SM didn't write exactly what the newborns were doing, and the reason why her books are so light and with not that much violence is because she's a religious person. Not to many in these days:( I like that DS has so many ideas and that he involved so much in the movie, too bad he couldn't do that Edward sparking effect. It sounded so interesting.

  • Hitchy – Mobward made me cry

    “I think I was going more for a piece of cinema than a movie, knowing full well that it would probably be distributed like a movie. So I had the license to be a little bit more edgy with my cinematography, to actually push the camera in a way that hadn’t been pushed before on these films.” D. Slade

    Thank goodness for that Mr. Slade. I think that's exactly what this saga needs.

  • ROBWARDISAGOD24

    i know right im 22 and want some real action bring on the face ripping off and some gore in the battles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i love david slade i think he is gonna bring it :) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ROBWARDISAGOD24

    me too!!!!!!!!!!! by the way i love your avi i think kristen looks great in the blonde hair !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • SSOski<3myTWISTERS

    EPIC WIN!

  • ocnlvr83

    I will admit this is the one movie that scares me with the violence thing. I know about the arms, heads, and other extremities being ripped off. I absolutely hate bones and necks being broken, so I am often questioned on how I enjoy vampire movies. I am hoping it's not too excessive, or I'll have to fast-forward through the fight sequence when it comes out on DVD.

  • 30yearoldtwifan

    .” It’s a Twilight film; it’s definitely based on the Twilight material. It’s not an R-rated movie, it is a PG-13 movie. [Pauses] But I do believe it is probably the most violent of all of them.”

    I am SO happy finally a director took the Saga to a diff level! to the edge. Thats what it needed, between DS beautiful eye and his crazy mind ( in a good way) this will by far by amazing!

  • LT~LeppyTento ;)

    I think im in love with the Slademeister… lol

  • jia225

    See this is why i love David Slade. Im not a fan of slasher films or horror but he adds a sort of “maturity” to them. I was so happy when i found out he was doing Eclipse because i knew he would do an excellent job. He knows how to keep it true to the story and make it a tad edgier while keeping the romanticism in. Truly he is a fabulous director. Him being the director on 30 Days of Night was the only reason i saw that film. I know all the guys being dragged by their girlfriends will be quite pleased.

  • MrsCullen121

    16 and is SOOO DOWWWNNN for the violence..ive seen hostel and most parts of saw.(granted i was soo sh*t scrared ) but violence in TTS would be COOOLLL

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nicki-Spring/1324443240 Nicki Spring

    I wish there was a point in the franchise where they just decided to test the waters and open the rating, imagine that, Emmett ripping some guys face off? Sounds like Slade's done something absolutely amazing on this film, which we needed because, come on, who's favorite movie is Eclipse? *Puts hands up*
    Can't wait to see the whole film, we all love it when kind, friendly and loving Vampires turn.
    Imagine Esme on the battle field, because people started F–king with her kids.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nicki-Spring/1324443240 Nicki Spring

    That would have been like midnight in Australia.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nicki-Spring/1324443240 Nicki Spring

    Pssh, it's not sad, we're just dedicated. I think that sounds better then obsessed.

  • leahreallyitis

    oh please I have seen everything I have seen all kinds of stuff in horror movies nothing would phase me LOL!!

  • leahreallyitis

    oh please when I was 12 I have seen movies like The Birds or Friday The 13th please at that age it did not phase me at all LOL

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