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This past March, SXSW hosted the U.S. Premiere of Paco Plaza’s
much anticipated, solo-helmed sequel, [REC] 3. As the credits rolled, I was
gleeful, both at what had just transpired on screen, and the general shock
making its way through the audience. The film was something entirely
unexpected, and that’s exactly what Plaza wanted.
On Demand August 2 and in limited theatrical release
September 3 (from Magnet Releasing), [REC] 3: GENESIS is, oddly enough, an astonishingly romantic
splatter comedy for the ages. Despite his complaint most audiences go into the
theater knowing exactly what to expect, Plaza happily spoke with FANGORIA about
his massive departure from the series so far.
FANGORIA: You seemed to just have said, “I’m not interested
in doing more of the same.” When did you decide that, and to take it into the
terrain of dark comedy?
PACO PLAZA: I didn’t want to make another [REC] film. I
don’t like films squeezed and stretched for profit. So, like ARMY OF DARKNESS, which
for me, is a masterpiece, I felt, “why
don’t we make a film that’s completely different and unexpected, playing in the
same universe and continue to build, but play around with the same elements and
make a whole different experience?” And it was the image of the bride with a
chainsaw, I wanted to shoot it. The whole thing about the wedding is something
that came up when editing the first [REC]. It was something we were talking
about having lunch one day. “It’d be cool to make a wedding video.” And then I
had this image of the bride with the chainsaw, the wedding video, and of course
what we wanted was to, in the middle of the film, was close the franchise and
say, “Ok, we’re done with found footage, let’s make a movie.”
FANG: Do you think you wanted to prove that the universe and
stories you’ve created so far didn’t hinge on just that aesthetic?
PLAZA: Yea, it’s a mix of things, but more importantly, I
think that today, with Twitter, blogs and five minute long trailers, it’s very
difficult to be surprised by a film. It’s like we go with our notebook,
checking if everything we knew was going to be in the film, is in the film. “Ok,
this is exactly the film I expected.” We wanted to challenge ourselves as
filmmakers, and as part of the audience, to have a whole different movie; to
say, “Why don’t we get the feeling I had back in the 80s, when I was really
young and I went to the theater and had no information on a film?” That was
awesome. I think that’s something that is increasingly rare today. You even
know the twists from the trailer. That’s something that, for us, was very
important; to make a different film, that takes you by surprise.
FANG: For the departure this film is, the first acts of
[REC] and [REC] 3 are actually quite similar, tonally speaking. Is that
something to do with Luis Berdejo returning to co-write, at all?
PLAZA: Luis is a brilliant writer, and he’s one of my best
friends. I love him. I really enjoy working with him. You can also see that in,
I made a film for television in Spain, which is not very known, called A CHRISTMAS TALE—
FANG: One of the “Six Films to Keep You Awake”—
PLAZA: Yes, I wrote it with him, as well. One thing Luis
does, he really loves the characters. Especially, the second-line characters,
which is something I really love in a film; when you feel you know them, even
if they are for just a minute, you know who they are.
FANG: And you captured that wedding feel so perfectly
PLAZA: The flirting, the drinking. Thank you so much.
FANG: Well, the film has a legitimately sweet nature. It was
romantic. You don’t feel the way bout a lot of couples in horror films, as you
do Clara and Koldo.
PLAZA: It’s a real romantic film. It’s like TITANIC [laughs].
I’m very happy you perceived that. It’s exactly what we wanted to do. It has a
mix of romance, albeit dark, but with humor, with action, with adventure. We
like to think of it as an adventure film; the bride and groom looking for each
other desperately. He is like the knight in shining armor. She’s the princess.
We have this ROMEO & JULIET moment. It’s really romantic, and it’s the
aspect of the film I love the most.
FANG: Based on how it relates to the creatures and even the
subject of marriage, what is the series’ relationship with Catholicism?
PLAZA: What I think, is that Catholicism is a very
established institution in Spain. Our culture, whether we like it or not, is
extremely melted with the history of Catholicism. Our tradition is mainly
religious. When we were kids and you went to class, you had a cross and you had
to pray at the beginning of the day. But it’s only natural. It’s something
that’s in our daily lives. It’s funny, because I just came from France and as
they are a republic, they are not religious. They find it exotic. It happens in
Japan. The religious element makes it a foreign flavor, something exotic that
they like. For us, it’s very natural. At the same, it’s really Spanish, mocking
our traditions; not taking them seriously.
FANG: That seems to be a lot of the film’s intent.
Especially in the first act, when the wedding videographer is going on about
cinema verite, it feels like you’re saying, “don’t take this all so seriously,
have a little fun.”
PLAZA: Exactly, and he says he’s using the steadicam because
if everything is handheld, you can’t see shit.
FANG: The cast of [REC] 3 is so incredible. Can you talk
about achieving that sort of familial interaction? Had you worked with many of
PLAZA: In terms of the lead roles, we wrote the script
knowing they were going to portray them. With the secondary roles, we had an
exhausting casting process. One of the nicest things was having families. We
didn’t go to an extras agent. We went to amateur theater groups, because we
wanted them to be friends, and when they danced, they really danced with their
friends. I think, we wanted to capture that atmosphere of family and having fun
FANG: How are you reacting to the wide range of surprise
PLAZA: The film is not what people expect, and that can be
taken positive or negative. There’s people who are happy. Some can be
disappointed, but I think the film really makes people feel things, and I’m
really happy about that.
FANG: There’s a clue in the film about its direct
relationship to the others, and for all the prequel talk, it actually feels
like it’s happening concurrently.
PLAZA: Yes, the three films happen the same day, and the
fourth will start the same day. That’s why the film is called GENESIS. It’s
like the beginning of the end, something is beginning.
FANG: Is Jaume Balaguero more serious-minded with
PLAZA: Once we split it, it’s impossible not to take a film
to your own personality. So, it’s obvious that if Jaume had been more involved
with this film, it’d be different because one of our rules when we made [REC]
and [REC] 2 was “We’ll never argue. If there’s anything you don’t like, it’s out
of the film.” One is not going to try to convince the other. That’s the way we
FANG: In developing GENESIS, do you think it was hard for
him to not add input?
PLAZA: No, I’ve done maybe seven films and Jaume has done
eight and from the first time we directed, we’ve been very good friends, and
we’ve collaborated. We’ll go to the other’s production, go to the editing room
to give thoughts. We’ve always been very collaborative. The exception, what was
abnormal, was to co-direct. That was really awkward for us. He’s been with me
the whole process of [REC] 3, as he has been in the past with all my films
because he’s a very good friend, he’s a brilliant guy. I’m always listening to
FANG: And I imagine you’re there, much in the same way, for
FANG: I’m sure you’re giving thoughts, but is it harder for
you to restrain from offering what you think on APOCALYPSE?
PLAZA: I don’t think so, when you respect someone, what I
want to see is a Jaume film. I don’t want to see a Jaume & Paco film. I
want him to feel 100% free. I will support him and give my feedback, but it has
to be his film. That’s why SLEEP TIGHT interested me a lot. I want to see a
Jaume Balaguero film.
FANG: Do you think, after the fourth, you’re done with
PLAZA: Well, the other day I had an idea for a fifth, but I
really want to move forward on different stuff.
For more on [REC] 3, see Fango's review right here.
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