Jenn is a 10-year-old girl who has never seen sunlight or trees or houses. She’s spent her whole life in an underground bunker with her family, because outside… The world has been overtaken by horrific monsters. While her family makes dangerous supply runs to the surface, Jenn is left in the lonely bunker. Eventually, she can’t take the confinement anymore. So while her parents are sleeping, she steals a key and sneaks out of the bunker…
And what she finds outside is far more terrifying than any monster she ever imagined.
Produced by: Michael Sherman, Aaron Billet, Ryan Lewis, Joe Russo
Cast: Caitlin Carmichael, Ione Skye, Christopher Wiehl, Joey Luthman
6 questions with Monsters director, Steve Desmond at the half-way mark.
Friday, May 26th, 2017
1Hi Steven! Thanks for being a part of our festival. First, what was the initial seed that inspired you to make Monsters? Thanks for featuring us! The idea originated from my love for The Twilight Zone. I loved how their episodes were morality tales disguised as psychological thrillers or horror stories. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been drawn to tales that leave you feeling unnerved not only as you’re watching, but long after the credits rolled. I personally felt like these kinds of stories were rarely told today, so I wanted to tell one of my own. It was also important to me to use The Twilight Zone as a jumping off point but not as an homage. I didn’t want to go retro or vintage in any way, but rather craft a Twilight Zone esque story intended for a modern audience.
2You co-wrote this script with Michael Sherman. How did you two work together and what was the most difficult part of tackling the script? Michael and I have been working together since we were students at USC Film School, so we're pretty used to each other by now. Process-wise, one of us typically takes a stab at the first draft and then the other one does a revision pass on it, and then we trade drafts back and forth until we're both happy with it. The hardest part of writing "Monsters" was probably the ending. We knew what we wanted to happen, just had to get it right.
3Can you share a war story from the shoot? Sure. The first day I showed up to set, my 1st Assistant Director came running up to me and basically said, "Our production designer is spitting up blood, he had to go to the hospital and is gonna miss the whole shoot, and our grip truck got side swiped on the freeway and is running an hour late." All that and it was the one day of that year where there was absolute torrential downpour in LA, which made nearly everyone late with the traffic.
So that's how we started.
4There's a pretty great plot twist in this film. How important is the ending for you? Huge. It's the last impression in any story. It's what the audience takes home with them.
5This feels like it could be a part of a larger story. Are there any plans to expand monsters into a feature or a tv show? Definitely. "Monsters" was originally conceived as one story in a longer ensemble horror film called "Twisted Avenue." Think the structure of Pulp Fiction, but with intertwining horror stories that all take place in the same area. The full feature screenplay is written and we're now in the fundraising stages. You can read more about it here -- http://www.dreamingants.com/twisted-avenue/
6What's next? Michael and I recently wrote a sci-fi pilot for IM Global, who made "Hacksaw Ridge" and "Silence" last year. Our latest feature script "Orb" was voted onto the 2016 Black List and has Davis Entertainment attached to produce. We're currently raising financing for "Twisted Avenue" and also adapting a Hugo award winning short story. You can read more about our projects at http://www.dreamingants.com/
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time which was selected for the 2017 IFP Narrative Lab.
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