As a follow-up to the GUT movie review, I had the pleasure of interviewing the film’s creator, Elias, about the movie and a few up-coming projects. Enjoy, Horror Fans!
RavMon: First, would you give us a bit of an introduction for yourself?
Elias: Sure, my name’s Elias, and of course I do have a last name I just prefer using only this one. I love watching movies, talking about movies, and making movies. Horror may be the most underappreciated and disrespected genre, but I like working in it because it’s very flexible and allows for the inclusion of the many other genres within, such as comedy, drama and fantasy. You can really let your imagination go wild in horror and that’s probably why I like it so much.
RavMon: What kind of budget were you working with, and did your budget constraints affect the way you chose to shoot the movie?
Elias: We were originally seeking $500k, but we didn’t find it this time so we worked on a lower out-of-pocket budget with deferred payment for all involved. Short of being able to shoot on 35mm I don’t think working on a low budget had any especially adverse effects on the resulting film. We had always planned it from the beginning to be doable as lo/no/deferred if necessary so we didn’t really have to compromise much. We were also very fortunate to have many extremely talented people on our team.
RavMon: GUT is, it seems, first and foremost a story about friendship; what influenced your decision to use snuff films as a vehicle for that theme instead of something else?
Elias: I don’t know for sure. We were brain-storming – my wife and I – about good storylines for a psychological thriller and she came up with using the snuff films as a catalyst. As the script evolved and then as the film was shot and finally edited, the characters really took over the story. I’m glad that happened, I think it was the right direction to go in.
RavMon: GUT has a hauntingly effective score; who did the music for it? What was that process like?
Elias: My best and oldest friend Chad Bernhard (aka Chvad SB) did the score. I gave him the final cut of the film and he did the rest. It’s a very organic score as a result I think and I think it serves the film that much better for it. It’s personal, but absolutely tied to every thought and action on screen. I love how it turned out.
RavMon: Is the diner featured in the movie a real restaurant? Do their burgers taste as good as they look?
Elias: Yes, it’s a real restaurant, we did almost nothing to change it! I’ve actually never had a burger there. We took it over for two and a half days and all the food used was brought in from out of house and prepped before each scene. I’m glad it looked tasty because I’m told it actually tasted quite bad.
RavMon: What was your favorite part about filming GUT?
Elias: Just production. I love the process of doing each scene/take, watching the performances evolve, feeling the electricity in the room things just click. It just doesn’t get much better than this. It’s like seeing something come alive before your eyes in ways you didn’t even expect. It’s really something (continued after the pic).
RavMon: Judging from your site, GUT has received a lot of positive critical attention. What are viewers saying about it?
Elias: That’s very kind of you to say. We have received a lot of praise from critics and viewers alike and even won some awards recently. We’ve also had our ass handed to us more times than I can count by many. It’s always a very humbling experience, but it’s nice when the majority of people who see the movie seem to dig it. Interestingly it’s also had a very polarizing effect on people, producing some pretty vitriolic responses and also some amazingly complimentary ones. It’s always interesting to see how people react, you really can never be sure and I suppose it’s probably better that way, keeps it interesting, and keeps you making movies that you know you’ll like because you’ll never be able to piss everyone off or make everyone love you either.
RavMon: Without spoiling it, just how ambiguous is the ending supposed to be?
Elias: It’s not really supposed to be that ambiguous, but I can see how it has that effect. If you look closely I think it’s clear who’s guilty and for what. It’s really about the characters, the decisions they make and the consequences that result. Life is messy and frequently without clear resolve as to guilt or innocence. It’s easier to label someone as hero or villain, but I think it’s more interesting and more reflective of real life when the delineations are less clear.
RavMon: Are you able to discuss any future projects that we can keep an eye out for?
Elias: Sure. I recently co-produced another feature thriller called Alone that’s now nearly complete. My friend Rory Abel directed it and our “Gut” leading lady Sarah Schoofs has a role in it. It should be hitting festivals very soon. I just finished writing the script for Dark, a thriller about a woman trapped in her apartment during the blackout of 2003. My friend Nick Basile will be directing it and was also a close collaborator on the story. I also have another script that I’m working on, a horror comedy with an alternative take on one of the more popular sub-genres of the moment. It’s also the next project I’d like to direct.
RavMon: Is there one thing about this movie – or any of your movies – that you really wish everyone in the world could know?
Elias: About “Gut”, yes… the ending is not as obvious as it might seem.
I don’t know about you guys, but now I want to take a second look at the movie – and its ending. Thanks again to Elias and the rest of the GUT team for your time. You can learn more about GUT and take a look at it yourself through its official site here: www.gutmovie.com.