8 things about Cloverfield

Cloverfield finally opens in the UK tonight. Hurrah! If I had my way, everyone I know, and everyone I've ever met in my entire life, would go and see it, and love it as much as I do. I'm definitely going to go and see it again while it's on its theatrical run here; probably more than once. I'm just that obsessive.

Anyway, to mark the occasion, I'm going to sum up some of the more interesting things director Matt Reeves said at the Cloverfield press conference last week:

# Those echoes of 9/11 are intentional

"It's a horror movie of its time in the way that Godzilla was a reaction to the anxieties of that time - post-Hiroshima/Nagasaki. We felt that, in doing a monster movie for our country and our time, it would definitely be reflective of the anxieties we all feel since 9/11 and so that was definitely something we were aware of from the beginning. Although, at the end of the day, we were aware that what we were making was a fantasy. I think that all really interesting genre films tend to reflect the anxieties of the time in which they were made – horror films and sci-fi films reflect our deep-seated fears and are often very reflective of the time in which they were made."

# Cloverfield was the first movie to put out a trailer without a title on it.

"We went to the MPAA, who are the people who rate trailers and determine whether or not it's suitable for an audience, and we said "We want to talk to you about not putting a title on. What are your regulations regarding that?" And they said "Regulations? No-one's ever done a teaser trailer or trailer without a title." They're advertising. It's like putting out a commercial without actually what the thing is."

# It's really more about the characters than the monster.

"The idea was to take something completely outrageous, something that was enormous, but do it from a very intimate point of view, and a very naturalistic point of view. Even though it was a visual effects movie and it had a 350ft tall monster that was going to destroy New York, it was also going to be from the point of view of one of the people who would be running down the street in a Godzilla movie. I mean, in a Godzilla movie, all those screaming people, one of those people would have a Handicam and they'd make this movie. This isn't about the president who puts in the call to the military and says "We're going to take this strike and take out the monster"; it's about people and the experience of it."

# But the monster's fun too. And there are lots of elements of its design that you won't even see in the movie.

"The monster was designed by a man named Neville Page who's a creature designer. He's just amazing. There are actually things that he designed that are part of the monster that we never got to use. He had these feeding tubes which were just wild - he would come up with these crazy ideas that were just amazing and very creepy. Within the course of the movie, we could only reveal certain aspects of it, so that never got released."

# And another thing about the 350ft monster that destroyed New York - it's only a baby...

"The secret that we had was that the monster was a baby. Having just been born it was going through separation anxiety and had no idea where its mother was and was freaking out and was in a completely foreign place, didn't understand a thing and that that would be sending it into a kind of infantile rage."

# ... but it's more frightened of you than you are of it.

"The thing that was also frightening to me was the idea that not only was it going through an infantile rage but, because it was suffering from this separation anxiety, it was spooked. It was really afraid. And as the military started shooting at it, I started thinking, like if you were attacked by a swarm of bees for the first time, it wouldn't necessarily kill you but you'd be terrified, you'd be like, "What are these things doing?!" And for me there's nothing scarier than thinking of something that big that's spooked. Like if you're at the circus and suddenly the elephants are spooked, you don't want to be anywhere near that, you'll be crushed."

# The viral marketing got out of control.

"We never guessed that there would be this level of response so early. In fact, we all turned to each other and said, "This is building so fast, we better shut up. I don't think we should say anything for a while because if we do people will be incredibly sick of us by the time the movie comes out.

"We had people at Bad Robot who had been working on some of the creative side stories that do connect in because they did have the script and they did know all the conversations we had about the sources of things so there is some viral stuff that does connect into us, but a lot of the stuff didn't have anything to do with us, it was just because people were so interested to make any connection they were making connections to things that didn't have anything to do with us. So the thing started to take on a life of its own, much bigger than we had anticipated."

# Finally - it's not a lion.

"In the teaser trailer, we wanted to let people know that it was a creature of some sort. So we put in some references on the roof, somebody saying "What kind of animal sounds like that?" And I jumped up to the mike to put one last one in, and I said "I saw it, it's alive, it's huge!" Apparently, I speak rather quickly and even played slowly I guess it sounded to some people like I was saying "it's a lion". So there was all this speculation that we were making a giant lion movie. And I thought, "there's no way people think we're making a giant lion movie!"

You can read the full transcript of the press conference at Den of Geek.

1 comment:

John Seavey said...

That is, I'll admit, the one thing I found tremendously irritating about 'Cloverfield'. Why keep the title secret? I mean, if your title's really "Cloverfield", why go to all that length to hide it, unless you're worried that people will say, "Cloverfield? What a lame title for a horror movie," and so you're keeping it secret until people are already enthused about it. (Like those guys who call themselves 'Boomer' or 'Buzz', and it turns out this is because they've always hated "Maurice" as a name.)

Fundamentally, I think that's why I still haven't gotten off my butt and seen the movie yet, despite some people I trust telling me I'd enjoy it. Because I think of the ad campaign, and how they wouldn't tell me the name of the film for the longest time...and when they did, it was lousy. They also didn't tell me much about the content of the film, either. Subconsciously, I think I've connected those two trends. :)