Visionary filmmaker Richard Stanley, who brought genre films such as Hardware, Dust Devil and The Island of Dr. Moreau, and several documentaries, took us inside his latest film The Color Out of Space (review) during our interview.
In The Color Out of Space, a meteorite lands in the front yard of a farm. Nathan Gardner (Nicolas Cage) and his family find themselves battling a mutant extraterrestrial organism as it infects their minds and bodies, transforming their quiet rural life into a nightmare.”
Q’orianka Kilcher, Joely Richardson, Madeleine Arthur, Brendan Meyer, Jullian Hillard, Elliot Knight and Tommy Chong star alongside Cage in this beautifully executed film.
Horror Fuel: “I had the pleasure of seeing The Color Out of Space it is fantastic.”
Richard Stanley: “I’m so pleased. Creating it was a labor of love.”
Horror Fuel: “The film is from a different perspective than Lovecraft’s story. I think it worked really well for the film.”
Richard Stanely: “I’m a huge Lovecraft fan. One of my main goals has been to make a worthwhile adaptation of the story and to try to connect the main point of the story with the present day. We had to update it, and we did so with caution, but that was the best way to make it relevant, to reconnect Lovecraft’s old ones to our contemporary fears, especially regarding the environment.”
Horror Fuel: “I think it makes a great transition from Lovecraft’s original to a present-day tale. It’s also very beautiful. The colors are amazing. If I may ask, what made you choose a purple palette?”
Richard Stanley: “The choice of purple is pure mad science. Purple is on the outer edge of human visual and spectral perception of infrared and ultraviolet. I figured if there was something invading our consciousness, coming from outside our spectrum, it would have to be in either infrared or ultraviolet, kind of the halfway position between the two colors. We used a color pallet that is just within what human beings can see.”
Horror Fuel: “That’s really quite brilliant. I’m sure that CGI played a role in the effects, but when it came to the creatures, how much of it was practical effects?”
Richard Stanley: “My approach was to try and do everything practical then to use CG and VFX to cover-up how we did it. A lot of the time we used it to cover up rods and wires and things used to manipulate the Alpaca model and the other creatures. We attempted to find the sweet spot between the effects.”
Horror Fuel: “It’s a great balance and not only do the creatures look absolutely grotesque, but they also look realistic.
Why choose this story out of all of Lovecraft’s works?”
Richard Stanley: “Well, Color Out of Space was H.P. Lovecraft’s best story and I think he liked it best. It’s the most mercurial. I wanted to go after one of the most core Lovecraft stories because I think it needed some justice on the screen. It was also one of the easiest given that it is set on a simple farm with a single-family, whereas a lot of the other stories are set in places like the Mariana Trench or Antarctica. I thought we had at least a chance to do it justice.”
Horror Fuel: “Fantastic. I can see where the other stories would cause issues with filming due to location.
By any chance, are you planning to adapt any of the other Lovecraft stories in the future?”
Richard Stanley: “My plan is to do two more. Color Out of Space is the first in a trilogy. We are currently prepping the next installment which is going to be a new adaptation of The Dunwich Horror.”
Horror Fuel: “That’s wonderful news. That’s the story I was hoping to hear you say.”
Richard Stanley: “It’s an opportunity for us to take it back to the Miskatonic University, to go back on campus for the first time since Re-animator. I’m very very excited about that.”
Horror Fuel: “I’m excited! By any chance can you tell us that the third film will be?”
Richard Stanley: “Yeah, I can’t talk about that yet. We’re keeping our options open. I’m currently expecting 2020 to be the year of Lovecraft’s old ones, with the Game of Thrones guys throwing their hat into the ring to do a Lovecraft movie, there’s Jordan Peele’s Lovecraft Country too, breaking any day now. I’m very much hoping that we see many more adaptations in the next year or so.”
Horror Fuel: “I completely understand. You can’t blame a girl for trying. It’s about time that Lovecraft got the love and exposure he deserves.”
Richard Stanely: “For some bizarre reason, his time has finale come after so long.”
Horror Fuel: “When you wrote the film, who did you have in mind for the role of Nathan Gardner?”
Richard Stanley: “When I first wrote the script I think I had Hugh Grant in mind. I wanted Nathan to be as good of a man as I could possibly make him. I wanted us to see a good man trying as hard as he could, but he’s destroyed by the situation. The further we got into it we realized that Nicolas Cage is a huge Lovecraft fan. We got a copy of the script to him. It was fantastic timing and it became a dark deadpan comedy. Nick brought a lot of that to the movie and was an absolute powerhouse of energy.”
Horror Fuel: “Cage definitely has a special brand of crazy when it comes to characters.”
Richard Stanley: “He does it best. That was part of the challenge though, we also want audiences to remain sympathetic to his crazy even though we are going into kind of a Stephen King territory, and being a fan of The Shining, I want you to feel sorry for him all the way through. I’m hoping that Nicolas brings that through.”
Horror Fuel: “Even in those scenes where he becomes aggressive, you still feel for him.”
Richard Stanley: “Yeah, that’s what we were striving for.”
Horror Fuel: “The young cast members did a really great job.”
Richard Stanley: “Yeah, I’m very, very proud of them. Brenden Myer was great. He plays Benny, named after my nephew. I try to kill him off in every movie I write (laughter). Madeleine Arthur who plays Levinia was the last cast member to come on board which was three days before we began production. We were having a really hard time casting that part because of the dark material. I was practically ready to go out and find any teenager and ask them if they wanted to be in a Nicolas Cage movie that started filming in two days’ time. Maddy’s performance really holds the movie together.”
Horror Fuel: “She and all the actors did a fantastic job. It’s a great film.
Before we go, there’s another project I have to ask you about. I was doing research for our interview and I came across something interesting on your IMDb page. Are you working on a series adaptation of The Island of Dr. Moreau?”
Richard Stanley: “Yeah, it’s true. It’s my attempt to make the island great again. Whether or not we’ll be successful remains to be seen.”
It seems that we have a lot more Lovecraftian horror to see from Stanely in the near future and I think it’s exciting as hell! His adaptation of Color Out of Space (review) is out of this world.
Be sure to check out Color Out of Space in theaters on January 24, 2020 from RLJE Films. You can pre-order your copy now.