Color Out of Space, interview with the director

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Read our review of Color Out of Space here

Rory: You’ve been quoted as saying Color out of Space has always been part of your psychological makeup, so would you consider this a passion project you’ve been working towards?

Stanley: Well Lovecraft’s always been one of my favourite authors, so I think he has probably informed my worldview since I was a child, and it was probably high time that I paid homage to him and also set the record right

Rory: Yes, I think there’s no better time actually, because the popularity of cosmic horror has definitely seen a resurgence in recent years.

Stanley: It’s weird, yeah. I mean Lovecraft is more popular now than ever before. I think he’s the single most popular horror writer in the world now, over a hundred years after his death, so there’s clearly some reason why H.P. Lovecraft is finally having his day.

Rory: Does the prospect of similar projects in the future excite you?

Stanley: Well… yeah and it’s also terrifying because I feel like I’m working for the great old ones, those old Lovecraft deities, but providing I do what the old ones want, it all seems to go very well for me. We’re now just starting prep work on the follow up to this one. Color is now going to be a trilogy, the powers that be have basically done well on a deal, so they want more and we’re going to do two more Lovecraft movies

Rory: That’s fantastic. The great old ones will be happy.

Stanley: Yeah, I figure we’re gonna go after the core cannon and take the opportunity to try and do faithful adaptations of three of the most important stories. So since we’ve done Color the next one is gonna be Dunwich Horror. I’m up to my eyeballs in Miskatonic University library designs. An opportunity to finally bring on the Necronomicon and do that properly. I’m very grateful I’m going to be the one to do this.

Rory: I think while watching, Emily and I were both hopeful for more films

Stanley: Yeah, it worked out that I was kind of leaning that way as well. I can’t tell you what the third one’s gonna be yet, I think it’s all going to depend on how well we do with Dunwich.

Emily: You are known as quite a unique voice in cinema, as is Nic Cage, can you tell us what it was like to work with someone renowned for his uniqueness?

Stanley: Well Nic and I have been wanting to work together for some time, I think [since] the early nineties. Nic was an absolute joy to work with, I mean, coming after [Island of Dr] Moreau, it was great to have a star on board who brought so much energy and so much imagination to the movie. It was as though I’d used up all of my bad luck coupons on Moreau. The difference could not be more striking, I think it was something like forty shooting days were lost due to cast not coming out of their trailers and refusing to appear, whereas in Color, we finished one day ahead of schedule. Nic was always there with an incredible energy for the take, and generally when he was there, we got the take in usually take two or three at worst, which I think is a testimony to his professionalism.

Rory: Absolutely. Similarly, what was it like getting Tommy Chong on board?

Stanley: Also a total delight, again someone I’d been wanting to work with or meet for years, and I thought Tommy hasn’t been in enough movies lately. He’s a tremendous guy, and an absolute walking poster for substance abuse, but still in his eighties and still fully lucid and full of tremendous energy

Rory: Colin Stetson’s soundtrack is pivotal to the film. How closely did you work with Colin on the score, and did you always have him in mind?

Stanley: Colin was quite a late addition to Color, so I didn’t actually have him in mind from the off, and we were in a situation where we were in a bit of a disagreement – me and the production team – as to who would be doing the score and didn’t end up doing it with either of the people we thought we were gonna use, thus Colin. He’d bought this ancient farmhouse in Vermont and had turned the attic into a recording studio within a few miles of ancient woodland and I thought “this is gonna work”. He uses an awful lot of nature sounds in his work, some of the primary weird sounds in Colour were things like distorted elk calls

Emily: We were both very interested in your choice to use both VFX and practical effects. Was there a particular thought process behind it?

Stanley: I think it always helps. What we did was we always tried to do it that we only fell back on the VFX if we had to. There’s a world in which both should work together very seamlessly. It occurs to me that VFX gives us the opportunity to perfect what we were doing in the past. Like if Willis H. O’Brien had access to VFX, he would’ve motion blurred [King] Kong and got rid of the strobing that afflicted the stop motion animation

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