Hello ladies and gentlemen, Muldoon here with a fun little interview with Eduardo Sanchez. I recently had the opportunity to visit the set of Eduardo's new movie EXISTS, a bigfoot flick shot right outside of Austin from Haxan and Amber Entertainment. I had a kickass time there with those guys, and I can't wait to tell you fine folks all about it, but I'll be posting that closer to the film's eventual release date. Bigfoot fun aside, Eduardo's film LOVELY MOLLY, which premiered at TIFF and screened at SXSW hits theaters in limited release this friday (5/18/12) and below is a quick convo with the man himself.
The film's synopsis:
Newlywed Molly moves into her deceased father's house in the countryside, where painful memories soon begin to haunt her.
Eduardo Sanchez: Hey Mike, how’s it going bud?
Muldoon: Super good. It’s a real pleasure to talk with you today, so thanks for taking the time.
Eduardo Sanchez: No problem man, thanks for the interest and thanks for coming out and everything, it was cool. [Referring to a set visit for EXISTS.]
Muldoon: Yeah, it seems like you guys were up to something pretty cool out there, to be honest.
Eduardo Sanchez: Yeah, I think so too, man. I wish we could have… You know after you guys left I asked them if they showed you the trailer and they were like “No, we didn’t show them the trailer” and I was like, you should at least show Mike the trailer, because… I mean it’s really raw. You know, we only cut it like… We haven’t added any of the footage from the end of the movie or anything and it’s really kind of just put together, but dude I think we got something crazy.
Muldoon: Just judging from the little cabin set that you guys had built and seeing how gnarly you all had the inside, (Laughs) it seems like my kind of movie.
Eduardo Sanchez: Yeah. I’ve been waiting to see… I think all of us… How old are you? Are you in your 30’s?
Muldoon: I’ll be 26 on the 16th.
Eduardo Sanchez: Well I’m 43, so like for me I’ve been waiting my entire life for a really great Bigfoot movie. Do you know what I mean?
Muldoon: I’m right there with you.
Eduardo Sanchez: This is the third Bigfoot movie that I’ve written and the other two, actually all three of them I’ve almost sold, like I got so close to selling and then somewhere along the studio route I kept getting “Oh no, Bigfoot doesn’t work. We can’t do a Bigfoot movie. Are you crazy?” I was like “I know it’s challenging, because he’s become almost a punch line, but I still think that Bigfoot could be scary and creepy.” That’s what I set out to do, so hopefully we got close. I think we got pretty close, if not completely delivered, so we’ll see what happens.
Muldoon: Totally and on a personal note, I live in Austin, and every time I’ve driven through Bastrop on my way to Houston I’ve always been like “There needs to be a Bigfoot movie here,” I kid you not. The woods are just too perfect.
Eduardo Sanchez: Really?
Muldoon: Yeah, I swear. Of course when Bastrop went up in flames not that long ago… I want to say like a year or two years ago....
Eduardo Sanchez: Yeah, last year.
Muldoon: Yeah, I thought, “Okay, well there goes that. I guess there are still cool wooded areas surrounding it all…” I was told maybe you guys might have utilized some of that for the movie. Anyways let’s hop back to LOVELY MOLLY, is that cool?
Eduardo Sanchez: Absolutely man.
Muldoon: Cool. Well it’s kind of embarrassing; I’ve not seen the movie.
Eduardo Sanchez: Okay.
Muldoon: I know it was at TIFF and here at SXSW, but I did not get a chance to check it out.
Eduardo Sanchez: No problem. I know you guys are pretty damn busy.
Muldoon: Yeah, that’s definitely true. (Laughs) I did however watch the trailer and all of the clips that you guys have out here and it definitely seems to have a really creepy authentic vibe to it, but again I haven’t seen it, so fingers crossed. I’ve read a few reviews that seemed to sing pretty high praises for you main actress… Her name escapes me…
Eduardo Sanchez: Gretchen Lodge.
Muldoon: There you go. It’s being released next week, right?
Eduardo Sanchez: Yes.
Muldoon: Is it like a wide theatrical release or is it VOD?
Eduardo Sanchez: No, it’s really limited theatrical… It’s an actual theatrical, like they’re not going VOD until September and their hope is that it gets enough notoriety that they can expand slowly, you know?
Eduardo Sanchez: So it’s being released in Baltimore, New York, and Los Angeles on the 18th, so it’s a very small release, but you know we’re pretty happy with it. I mean Image, the company that bought it is doing a really good job with it and they really believe in it and they’ve put as much muscle as possible behind it. You know man, it definitely is a very creepy film and I think a lot of people think it’s very scary, and I think it’s a well made film, you know like I think it’s well crafted, but I never thought it was going to be like a huge commercial film. It’s a very… I wouldn’t say “esoteric,” but I think you’ve really got to pay attention to the film and it’s not an easy film to watch. It’s not a popcorn kind of film, it really is a film that may just fucking disturb the shit out of you. Do you know what I mean?
Muldoon: Yeah, it looks kind of gruesome from what I can tell.
Eduardo Sanchez: Yeah. I don’t know if you’ve read the rating or about the rating we got, like the ratings from the ratings board and unfortunately we can’t use it in any marketing, because they don’t allow that, like they don’t allow you to point out “why they gave it an R.” The rating perfectly says what the movie is. It says something about like “intense psychological terror” and “grisly imagery” and “sex” and “violence” and “drug use” and “language.” It’s just a raw movie, man. To me, there’s no sugar coating this topic. The idea of “Is she possessed or is she crazy?” To me it’s like I had to go balls to the wall with this thing or else I would be making the film that I wanted to make and we were sweating bullets man, because we thought we were going to get an NC-17 and we were going to have to re-cut it, but luckily we just skirted in under R and you know, I’m happy about it, because honestly we didn’t want to have to re-cut the damn movie. That would have been just a nightmare.
Muldoon: So you lucked out and didn’t have to bend over backwards to re-cut it and chop up your baby there.
Eduardo Sanchez: Yeah, it would have been difficult.
Muldoon: Speaking earlier about Gretchen Lodge, I have to admit I hadn’t heard of her. I’m just curious, how did you grab her and put her in the movie?
Eduardo Sanchez: Well you know what… Like I said, the movie is really raw and the script was very… it’s very graphic and there’s sex and there’s nudity and there’s violence and it’s all very controlled, like I don’t think it’s exploitative, but there’s some fucked up shit that happens in that movie for sure and so I knew that the actress that I needed was going to have to be really brave, like was really going to have to bring her A-game and also was just going to have to be so courageous. This wasn’t going to be a movie that a known actress was going to do unless they had huge balls and just wanted to kind of blow up. So we had our open call in New York and we just brought out a bunch of basically non-SAG, non-union talent and Gretchen completely knocked my socks off.
She came in and really kind of grabbed it and really showed a rawness and a certain emotion that I knew was going to translate well. But then surprisingly we got some attention from some agencies in LA and they sent it out to… I mean they didn’t send it out to like the “big” actresses, because big actresses were not going to do this kind of movie, but they kind of sent them out to actors that were kind of coming up and we actually got a lot of interest from some fairly well-known actresses, no like “big” people, but definitely people that I had seen in films and on television and I’d recognize when I saw them and surprisingly man there’s a lot of women that were like “I’ve never done nudity, but I’m ready to do it in this movie and I love the role. I’m ready to do this. I’m ready to get down and dirty.” In the end I just felt like I didn’t get as good a vibe from anybody as I did from Gretchen, you know? I just really trusted her. I just felt… I felt almost the same way I did about Heather [Donahue] in BLAIR WITCH who was like this actress was just so raw and so talented. I just was like really looking forward just seeing what she was going to turn into, you know, in the part. And she definitely did not disappoint. She was just such a rock star in this movie, like she was naked a lot and it was cold and it was raining… we had a raining scene one time and she does a lot of heinous things and it’s just a really very challenging role and she never complained. She was just really into it. I was right to trust her. I was really fortunate that I found her and that she trusted us and me enough to go out on such a limb with this role, you know?
Muldoon: Yeah, it seems like she really put herself out there and trusted. From what you just said about other potential actresses that maybe we have all heard of, it sounds like there’s something special in whatever the script is. It seemed to attract a lot of people. It’s making me want to see the movie more and more to be honest with you, but in time.
Eduardo Sanchez: Like I said, it’s not a movie for everyone, but I think that there are a lot of people that are really digging it and I think it’s not the typical horror movie and I think there’s a whole group of horror film fans that love these kinds of movies, that love movies hat kind of come out of nowhere and show you something you haven’t seen before. That’s the audience that I think is really going to dig the movie.
Muldoon: I think you definitely made a name for yourself as someone who does that, shows an audience something they’re not really used to… (Laughs) On that note though, looking at BLAIR WITCH, ALTERED, SEVENTH MOON, and I guess now EXISTS, they all seem to take place in the woods or at least have an element of the woods being kind of integral to the story. I’m just curious man, what keeps bringing you back into the woods?
Eduardo Sanchez: (Laughs) You know, I don’t know man. To me… In LOVELY MOLLY most of it actually takes place in a house, but it’s definitely surrounded by woods, so I guess the theme in my movies continues. Somebody asked me that yesterday and I don’t know how to answer it man (Laughs). It’s just something I think that… I don’t know if it’s because I’m just lazy or that I’m really afraid of the woods. I don’t know what it is. I mean I definitely think that… I think that as human beings we grew up in the woods, you know? We evolved in the trees and in the woods, so I think there’s something, at least to me, something that ties me to this atmosphere, this place. In Bastrop when we were shooting EXISTS this last month… there’s something really calming to me about the woods during the day and then at night it kind of turns into a completely different space and I’m really fascinated by that, by the idea that something that is just so beautiful and so magical during the day can, in my head, turn in to such a nightmare at night. And you don’t even have to go supernatural. I’m talking about just the animals that come out at night, like the snakes and bears or whatever, just dangerous things that could happen to you. It’s such an inhospitable place, you know? And I think to me it’s kind of like… I just love that playground. I love that playground to mess with it and I think EXISTS, I mean other than BLAIR WITCH, EXISTS takes place as much in the woods as any other film that I’ve done and you know I think it works. Obviously it’s a Bigfoot movie, so it has to be in the woods….
Eduardo Sanchez: But yeah man, I mean I can’t really answer that. There’s definitely a connection there.
Muldoon: Well that’s fair.
Eduardo Sanchez: The next one I’ll try to make in the desert.
Muldoon: Well on that note, kind of stepping outside of the woods and actually stepping outside of the horror genre completely, have you ever or do you think you might ever go and do something not in the horror genre? Like a kid’s movie or a rom-com or something like that?
Eduardo Sanchez: Yeah, I mean look man when I was younger, when I was in film school, I never thought that I was going to be a horror filmmaker. I mean I like horror movies, but it’s definitely not my favorite genre. I mean I don’t know… I don’t really have a favorite genre, I like all kinds. I like room-coms. I like science fiction movies. I like action… I like all kinds of movies. I’ve been kind of stuck in the horror genre since BLAIR WITCH, but I’m really enjoying myself honestly. The great thing about horror films is that it’s filled with sub-genres. There’s every kind of sub-genre imaginable in horror, so it’s just a really expansive playground that you don’t get in many other genres and I like that, I really like that. What I’d like to do is I’d like to branch out within the horror genre and maybe do more straight out horror comedy or horror comedy action movies. There’s actually a script that Jamie [Nash], my writing partner, wrote called LABOR DAY, which…
Muldoon: Oh boy…
Eduardo Sanchez: It’s a pretty amazing freaking funny action and scary movie. It takes place in a hospital over one night and I’m really kind of pushing everybody to kind of look at that script and kind of hoping to do that one as the next one, but honestly man I would love to do completely different films, you know action movies and comedies and whatever else comes up, but I’m pretty happy where I am right now. I think I’m getting better with each film in the horror genre and I think as long as the market kind of still wants horror films from me I think I’ll continue to make them, but I totally want to push myself and start hitting the other subgenres within the horror genre. I think that would be a lot of fun.
Muldoon: Cool. Yeah, I mean as long as you keep making them I’ll keep watching them.
Eduardo Sanchez: Cool man, I appreciate that.
Muldoon: Just two more quick last questions… I know you’re a busy guy. So every Saturday on Ain’t It Cool I get to do a little thing called SATURDAY SHORTS where essentially I ask the readers to submit their shorts and I pick four, five, or six and I screen them once a week. We’ve been doing this for a few months and one thing that’s become clear to me is Ain’t It Cool News has an enormous amount of filmmakers in the audience. I mean people with zero budgets, hobbyists and people like that, to multi-million dollar shindig big guys. I’m just curious, because you’ve kind of had a pretty wild career thus far with popping out with such a bang with BLAIR WITCH, do you have any advice for young filmmakers? Well not just young, but filmmakers in general?
Eduardo Sanchez: Look man, my advice is to keep doing it. When I was coming up. When I was sixteen I lucked out and attended a high school that had a VHS editor, you know? This was like back in 1985. I really got lucky that my particular school had a VHS editor. I think it was the only editor in the entire county, so you know it was a lot more difficult for me as a fifteen year old than it is now. Now even a ten year old has more access to equipment than I did, but what I did was I just started making shit. I just started making stop-motion movies and music videos and horror movies and action movies and you know, I did it all and I think that nowadays with YouTube and Facebook and all of this social media where you can get your stuff out there, you know you really can build an audience. If you have any kind of talent you will get a certain following. So for me man, the advice I always give is “Start making movies.” If you feel like you need to go to film school, then go to film school, but continue to make films in film school and also realize that in film school it’s a really good opportunity… Probably the best thing…
Unless you don’t know what you’re doing, unless you grow up and you’re like “Hey, I want to be a filmmaker, but I have absolutely no talent or have no knowledge of how to do it,” the most valuable thing really that film school will teach you is how to work with others and also it will introduce you to some people that you might end up making films for the rest of your life with, you know? I’m making films with two guys that I met in film school. We wouldn’t be together if we hadn’t gone to film school together. So it’s very crucial, but the bottom like is “just make a damn movie” and submit it to places like Ain’t It Cool News and YouTube and Amazon and all of the places that are accepting these kinds of things and at first, unless you’re a freaking complete genius, you’re going to get a lot criticism and people are going to tare your movie apart, but use that pain and that kind of embarrassment to make a better film next time. You keep building up and you know there’s an old saying “You learn a lot more from your mistakes than you do from your victories” and that’s absolutely true, man. So just keep making films and keep learning a craft and watching other films and supporting films and filmmakers in your area and you know, that’s really where the magic is. The thing about it is filmmaking is the most collaborative art form in the world and don’t forget that, you know? Sometimes other people’s ideas are better than yours. Do you know what I’m saying?
Eduardo Sanchez: There’s no shame in that. The whole idea of filmmaking is to try to bring as many creative people as possible and heard them down one creative road and hope to not kill each other by the end of the movie. So just make movies. Have fun and go out there and do it and see what happens.
Muldoon: All right, well I have one quick little question for you and that’s “What is the last movie you saw in theaters?”
Eduardo Sanchez: The last movie I saw was… God, what the hell was the last movie I saw? I think it was JOHN CARTER.
Muldoon: To be fair, you have been filming, so it’s not exactly like you’ve had a lot of free time.
Eduardo Sanchez: Yeah, yeah I have been shooting on location for the last two months. I didn’t have much free time, but you know what? Actually no, I saw CABIN IN THE WOODS. That’s the last movie I saw. I saw it with my wife when she came to visit me in Austin a couple of weeks ago, and I thought it was cool. It’s very experimental, which I liked. It had a lot of great ideas in it, but you know my wife and I have three kids, so we don’t really get out to the movies that much. I try to watch everything I can on video and then I try to watch kind of the bigger films, as many as we can, in the theaters. But yeah, in Austin I saw CABIN IN THE WOODS and I saw JOHN CARTER. CABIN IN THE WOODS was definitely better than JOHN CARTER.
Muldoon: (Laughs) I got you. Well Ed, I’ve eaten up so much of your time already. You’re a busy, busy guy, so I do sincerely want to thank you for taking time out of your day to talk with me and I guess talk with the readers of Ain’t It Cool.
Eduardo Sanchez: No problem, man. Let me know what you think of LOVELY MOLLY when you get a chance.
Muldoon: I absolutely will. Thank you very much.
Eduardo Sanchez: All right, thanks Mike.
Muldoon: Thanks. Adios, Ed!
Eduardo Sanchez: Bye!
So there we are folks, if you're in the mood for some freaky cool movie this weekend- it sounds like LOVELY MOLLY might be a safe bet. I want to shoot a giant thank you to Morgan Ressa and Mark Ordesky for setting this up, along with a giant thanks to Mr. Sanchez.
- Mike McCutchen