Jeff Wadlow interview (Director of Cry Wolf)
Winner of the 2002 Chrylser Million Dollar Film Competition for his short 'Living the Lie', Jeff
Wadlow now looks set for the big time with upcoming flick, Cry Wolf. Interview by John Gray.
POH: The Pit is very excited about Cry_Wolf which opens
this Friday, September 16th. I first saw the trailer
in front of the crapfest called Exorcist Dominion, or
a prequel to the Exorcist...
Yea, the teaser trailer with the instant messages.
POH: That's it. I have to tell you that was the best part of the film!
POH: Since then I have been looking for a release date and it seems they were a bit shifty at first.
Yea, well they really wanted to find the right
weekend for it. Itís coming out through Rogue
Pictures which is a division of Focus. They did a
really good job of marketing the film and finding the
core audience. They have really been really smart
about it. Thatís why we went to Comicon and why it
also has such a strong online presence. They
eventually worked it all out and Iím really excited
about the 16th.
POH: Talk a little about the story of Cry_Wolf...
It is a modern day retelling of ĎThe Boy Who Cried
Wolfí. A bunch of kids play a game of lies for fun
and get a little bored with it and decide to take it
campus wide by basically spreading a hoax email that
says a recent local murder was perpetrated by this
psychotic serial killer called ĎThe Wolfí. He wears a
orange ski mask and a camo jacket... its a laugh and
they send it out campus wide. And you know how some
people get freaked out by hoax emails, people start
believing it, it circulates and they think they are
very clever and very smart. Then, certain details
from the email start coming true. Of course, their
natural assumption is ďsomeone is playing a trick on
us nowĒ. But, the thing that our main character
realizes is someone actually killed a girl, there was
a real murder and the person who read this email could
have read this email. So basically, they've invited
this evil presence into their world and its up to them
to figure out whatís really happening.
POH: Nice. I have loved that concept since I read
about it. I also like the look of the killer, ĎThe
Wolfí. Pretty sweet he landed the cover of Fango this
I was so excited to hear that because it really
legitimizes the film as a true horror film because we
were always trying to do something that both was an
homage to the to iconic, killer, slasher film
sub-genre of horror but at the same time we were also
trying to riff on it a little bit and reinvent it. So
to get the cover of Fangoria cemented it as a true
horror film and that was really important to me.
POH: We have gotten nothing but good feedback so far,
which is rare for our site. Typically, our PIT fiends
pick films apart!
Thatís great, Iím so excited to hear that.
POH: Its also low budget so thatís another plus with
the horror fans. I understand there is really good
story behind that budget and how the film came about...
Super low budget and that is super exciting for
horror fans and myself as a fan. You know, the
difference between me the filmmaker and a horror fan
that goes to see the film is nothing compared to a
Ridley Scott or me and Ridley Scott, you know what Iím
saying... itís much more of a meeting of the masses if
that makes any sense at all. Iím definitely aware of
the audience and made a film for the audience. As far
as the story of how I got funding for the film ... I
went to school at USC and got my masters degree. I
made some short films with my producing partner Beau
Bauman and we entered our thesis film ĎTower of
Babbleí which Kevin Spacey narrated. The contest was
called the ĎChrysler Million Dollar Film Festivalí, an
internet contest which Chrysler and Universal did
together and the way it works is, you submit your film
and if it made the top twenty five, they put it
online. Well, it made the top twenty five, then the
top ten. They gave us a mini DV and a laptop, and gave
us 10 days to shoot and edit a brand new short film
featuring a Chrysler car. Based on that, we made the
top five, the top five lived together in a house for
two months... basically like a filmmakers boot camp.
So we shot a short with Estella Warren and Topher
Grace (which Cry_Wolf is based on) and with that, we
won the million dollar budget. After that, it took us
about a year to get the script right and then we shot
in my hometown. Everyone was so supportive and we got
some great locations. It just turned out to be so
much better than a million dollar budget warranted.
POH: How did you get such a big cast with such a small budget?
We have an awesome casting director who did all
our short films. Sheís got an incredible amount of
experience... she discovered Cameron Diaz, and did
some of the Friday the 13th films. Her name is Fern
Champion (Friday the 13th 4, 5, & 6) and she actually got
us kids to play in the film, which was really
important to get actors in Hollywood who actually look
like they are in high school. They all cost millions
and millions of dollars so we cast our net really
wide. We were basically willing to meet with anyone
and we had people come in... models and singers... you
know, whoever we could get in the room. We saw
everyone and were tremendously picky. So, we were
very luck to find actors like Lindy Booth, Jared
Padlecki, and Julian Morris. We were just really
lucky to find them. For the role of Dodger which
Lindy plays, I think we saw every actress in Hollywood
in that age range who would come and meet with us. We
just couldn't find the right person, so I gave up and
went to prep in Virginia and then had to fly to
Toronto for a film festival and saw two actresses...
one of them was Lindy Booth and she blew us away.
That was a huge find and we were really excited about
that... Jared and Julian we met in LA and they were
both great. We fell in love with them when they
walked through the door. Everyone in the cast really
brought something else to it. They didnít really have
a different take, that just came in and did exactly
what we needed them to do. They totally offered a new
wrinkle... wether itís Sandra McCoy who plays
Mercedes, that brought this super adorable sweetness
to the character which was written a little more like
a Paris Hilton type, and thank God by the way that she
did that. And Jared Padlecki who added a little
goofiness to the character Tom who written more as a
jock... it was those actors who really impressed us.
As far as Jon Bon Jovi goes, you know we have our
adult cast such as Gary Cole, famous for his work in
Office Space as Lumberg.
POH: (in my best Bill Lumberg voice) Yea...
(laughs) So they pitched the script to different
agencies and Jon finally ended up on the phone with me
and he had read the script a couple of times heís a
really smart, smart guy. He had this take on the
character and I say hey, do you want to do this and he
was there the next day.
POH: Did you get mobbed at all being around Bon Jovi?
Well, that was his one condition. He said if Iím
going to do this, please donít tell anyone Iím doing
this. For the most part it wasnít a problem, although
we did have one day in Richmond Virginia (which is an
awesome community and the people were very supportive
of this film) where people started blasting Bon Jovi
music out the windows and that kinda became like a
game of trying to figure out which window it was
coming from so we could ask them to stop! That was
about the only major issue we had with having one of
the most famous people in the world on our set.
POH: What about the PG-13 rating? Horror fans are
getting tired of the PG-13 films. How do you respond
Look, I read all the message boards online and Iím
very interested in what the fans think. Iím not one
of these filmmakers that says Iím going to make my
film so it will make the most money, I made it for the
love of it and thatís most important aspect to me,
wether you laugh, cry, love it, or hate it. I am very
aware of what people think, especially after reading
these message boards. It seems to me that the fans
fall into two different camps; hardcore, exploitative
gore which I can certainly appreciate, but those
movies should certainly be rated R. Our movie is more
of a traditional horror film in that its about the
fear of the unknown... what you canít see, what you
donít know and I think that a lot of horror is derived
from that. You know, you could make a film about a
guy that stabs people and heís just a normal guy and
you see it all on camera... at least for me, as more
of a traditionalist I wouldnít really define that as a
horror movie because there is no fear of something
darker and deeper that doesn't exist in our everyday
life. You know what I mean?
POH: Yea, yea I do.
Wether you want to call it the supernatural, or
the unknown or whatever element that truly creates a
horror film versus a crime movie.
POH: And thatís why I asked you that specific question,
because a lot of people donít see it that way. If you
took the original Halloween and took out the tit
shots, you would have a PG-13 film. Not much gore if
any, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre achieved the same
effect. Where as films like The Devils Rejects should
be R or NC-17. Iím still reeling that it got an R
And those films should absolutely be R. The other
camp... those people who have written about why this
has to be PG-13, thatís because they might have been
expecting something a lot harder like The Devils
Rejects. Those other people that are writing about it
are annoyed with all these other films that have been
cut to be PG-13 then released on DVD as R. I can say
without a doubt that is not our movie. We always set
out to make the movie that is being released. There
was nothing excised, no scenes, no sequences that were
removed just to get the rating.
POH: So no unrated DVD version?
Honestly, Iím sure you will(see one), because its
become more of a marketing ploy than anything, but if
you rent that unrated DVD and you expect to see like
lots of exploitative gore, nudity, and swearing your
not going to see it because I didnít shoot it.
POH: Like I said before, lots of great buzz on the Pit
of Horror as well as the hardcore folks at Guts and Gory.
Great, you know people who get the film understand
that and that we used the original Halloween as a
major influence for this film. One of the things we
talked about before we started writing was the iconic,
genre, slasher and it was so intense and horrific with
Carpenters Halloween then it went to another aspect
much, much later with the self awareness of Scream,
and the parody of Scary Movie. So you follow these
trends of the masked killer and what we really wanted
to do was be a part of that process because it would
be a lie to say we havenít seen all these movie and
know how it relates to the world we live in... but at
the same time, bring back the mystery, bring back the
suspense, bring back the horror and find a way to make
it scary again.
POH: Final question. Name your top five favorite
horror films of all time in on particular order.
Jaws, Alien, Seven, Psycho, and Halloween.
POH: Thanks Jeff. I will be first in line to buy a
ticket on Friday.
Thank you guys. You better believe The Pit of
Horror is bookmarked in my favorites now. Keep up the good work.
CRY WOLF REVIEW --NEW!
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