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The 3D creature feature SPIDERS, creeping into select
theatres nationwide February 8 from Millennium Films and screening for free
tonight in Los Angeles (see details here),
is the latest creepy creation of director Tibor Takacs. The director made a
name for himself in the 1980s, helming horror flicks like THE GATE and I,
MADMAN; his more recent fare has turned more toward the aggressive-animal side,
with movies such as RATS, MEGA SNAKE and another arachnid opus, ICE SPIDERS.
Fango spoke to Takacs about unleashing eight-legged killers in three
FANGORIA: How did
you become involved in SPIDERS?
TIBOR TAKACS: About
three or four years ago, Boaz Davidson at Nu Image started talking to me about
the possibility of doing a giant-creature movie. What horror fan doesn’t have a
nostalgic love for the classic monster movies like GODZILLA or MOTHRA? Around
that time, there was a surge of interest in 3D production, and being a fan of
stereo photography and 3D movies, I saw SPIDERS as an opportunity to make my
own. I’ve always been intrigued by 3D’s creative possibilities, but until now
the size of the cameras and the complexity of the process didn’t appeal to my
sensibilities as a director. As new 3D software and hardware became available,
I realized that it was feasible, with some knowhow, to do good 3D on a budget.
Boaz supported the 3D idea, and the SPIDERS project got its go-ahead.
FANG: Do you have a
fear of spiders personally?
TAKACS: Even though
they are intriguing, noble creatures worthy of our respect, I’ve always been
totally creeped out by spiders of all sizes. A few years ago, my wife was
bitten by a spider and ended up in the emergency room with a horrible, nasty
wound just below her bellybutton. A spider she never saw must have bitten her
in her sleep.
FANG: SPIDERS’ New
York City sets look great, including the subway scenes. Where was the movie
shot, and how did you recreate Manhattan?
TAKACS: We’ve had a
lot of positive comments about our New York sets and how we incorporated CG
extensions to make it all believable. We filmed in Bulgaria on a studio backlot
that includes several blocks of what looks like Greenwich Village. The studio
also had several full-size subway cars that we incorporated into the story, and
wide shots of the real city are peppered throughout to complete the illusion.
FANG: Was shooting
in 3D different from what you’re used to?
TAKACS: Filming in
3D is very different than shooting in 2D: bigger and heavier cameras, longer
setup times, more light needed, etc. It was way more difficult. I’ve always
used constantly moving cameras to reveal and exaggerate depth in a scene, and
this style could have been problematic in 3D. But by using the latest
technology, incorporating lightweight cameras and portable 3D rigs, I found
that my typical shooting approach translated very well to getting good 3D on a
short schedule. With the budget we were given, I wanted to keep the shoot as
close to the 2D process as possible.
FANG: The cast does
a great job responding to the CG giant spiders. What was it like on set
allowing for the addition of digital creatures later?
TAKACS: It’s always
a challenge when you need to play along with nonexistent elements in a scene.
This is where experience comes in handy, yet even after years of directing,
it’s still daunting to create performances and action that will match the CGI
planed for a particular shot. On SPIDERS, all we had on set was one 3-foot-long
soldier-spider claw. Casting the right actors for this type of work is
critical. You really need people who can play along at full tilt while
imagining the absurd thing that’s going to be added into the scene later,
without any nudges or winks to the audience.
FANG: You’ve worked
with Christa Campbell on several prior features. Why you feel you work so well
TAKACS: I think it’s
mostly because Christa is a team player with experience who really gets the
tone of the kind of movies we make. She understands my shorthand, and there’s
no learning curve to take up scarce resources of a short schedule.
you have any upcoming projects you would like to tell us about?
promoting and pitching a project called BITS AND PIECES right now. It’s a tight
psychothriller that I also hope to shoot in 3D.
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