May 23, 2007 -- An exclusive interview with the director of the best horror film of the past 10 years! You owe it to yourself to see "28 Weeks Later" this weekend (possibly the last chance you have to see it on the big screen), and I recommend that you don't read this interview with the director until AFTER you have seen the film. You may not agree with my assessment that "28 Weeks Later" was the best horror film of the past decade. Many have complained about its shaky cam scenes. But how could you not adore the apocalyptic landscape it depicted during its last act, the 911-like death clouds that engulf London, or the amazing acting by the likes of Robert Carlyle. Simply put, this was the best-made horror film in 10 years.
We had the honor of interviewing director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo after the film's release – pretty rare considering filmmakers usually only make themselves available before a film's opening day. Fresnadillo (born December 5, 1967, on Tenerife, Canary Islands) is actually an Academy Award-nominated Spanish film director, script writer and producer. His previous film was 2001's "Intacto." But "28 Weeks Later" is what is cementing his reputation as an awesome filmmaker.
Congratulations on the best horror film of the past 10 years.
Thank you very much.
Your film history doesn't indicate a strong horror bent, aside from "28 Weeks Later." Are you a fan of the genre?
When people talk about horror, I understand the label of this movie as a horror movie. But I think this movie is more of an apocalyptic thriller than horror. It contains moments of horror.
I'm not a big, big fan of horror movies. I've watched the masterpieces like "The Exorcist." I love the genre when the genre is delivering something more. It always needs to deliver a character-driven style. To me, the characters are the most essential thing. Everything is coming from them. The horror, the apocalyptic vision -- all of this stuff is coming from the characters. To me "28 Weeks Later" is something closer to that. This kind of broken family is going to affect the rest of the movie and the rest of the country.
That's very true. "28 Weeks Later" was a very character-driven film.
In a way it's kind of a parallel situation with the infection. A microscopic virus is destroying the whole world. That's very scary. In the same way, this family is affecting the world but in an emotional way. ... You are dealing with an apocalyptic vision that is huge. But you also need to deal with something small, which is the family.
Did you intend to create parallels with Iraq in your film?
Obviously, when you are dealing with this kind of real stuff, the movie becomes a mirror. The audience finds connections with this reality, which is something I enjoy. But my intention was to show all these people as victims. In this movie everyone is a victim, including the military.
It seemed like the way the American military is portrayed in "28 Weeks Later" is similar to how the U.S. military has been justly perceived in Iraq – promising stability but bringing death and chaos. The characters in "28 Weeks Later" don't know who to fear the most – the rage virus or the U.S. military.
I see why you see that. I understand that now we are in a time where there are situations like that, when things are similar [to the events of the film]. But I haven't tried to specifically talk about Iraq. I was trying to talk about war, about rage. I'm absolutely excited about the symptom of this infection is rage. We are living in a world full of rage. Rage is a human feeling. An infection that takes your dark side is something very fascinating to me. I apply that to several levels: the survivors and the military. …
What's your next project?
I'm developing two ideas. One of those is a kind of apocalyptic thing as well, but related to ghosts. It's too soon to talk about that. I love movies that imply traveling, especially when they are traveling when there is something chasing them. Maybe the next one is something close that.
I saw parallels between '28 Weeks Later' and some aspects of a Spanish horror film called "Horror Express"? Was that intentional?
I don't remember that movie to be honest. To be honest it's not something in the story in this one.
It's probably my own projection.
I can't complain about that. A movie is a mirror. You see a lot of things reflected in them. That's why we tell stories. It provokes thoughts and a lot of connection.
When you were offered the film, did you expect it would be your own movie?
When they offered me this project I was scared. The first one is a masterpiece. I thought what kind of things can I introduce here to have a good movie. It was a big challenge. When I heard from the producers to make my own movie, try to make my personal vision about this landscape. I felt much more comfortable. I could deal with my ideas, my screenwriters and producers.
It was quite gory.
To me the violence and the blood in this movie is absolutely justified. It's something that we needed to do this way. I needed to bring realism to this story. I wanted to shoot this one like a documentary. When you're real, and your camera is there, the violence and the blood are there. You shouldn't avoid that. You need to show to the audience what's going on. To me, the blood and violence in this movie are completely justified. It matches with this general idea about a real apocalyptic vision.
Did you strive to tell something about the breakup of the family with "28 Weeks Later"?
Yes. You know, I think the family is in crisis. A family implies commitment. It implies growing up. The family, the social insitutaiton, the way a human being is raised, is obviously in crisis. This movie gives us a good point to think about that and think about the solution to the crisis.
Are you going to be involved in "28 Months Later"?
To be honest, when I shot the ending of "28 Weeks Later", I didn't think about making a new movie. I understand why everyone is now saying this is opening the door to the next one. To me, it's something that's already a concept: How the curse of the family is affecting the whole world, which is the punch at the end of the movie. Now everyone is thinking about the next chapter.
They need fresh eyes. It's good with this kind of horror franchise if someone new takes the reigns and make a different movie. If they ask them, I will help them to find the right person to make the next step.
Thank you for the interview. I enjoyed this interview and I'm so happy you liked the movie.
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