With both The Purge: Anarchy (read my review) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hitting screens within two weeks of each other, Platinum Dunes producer Brad Fuller has a lot on his plate but took some time out of his schedule earlier this week to speak with us about a few of his company’s projects.
First and foremost on the plate was The Purge: Anarchy, which opens today. But we made it through a decent amount of Platinum Dunes past and future projects.
I’m curious how Platinum Dunes and Blumhouse work together on these movies. What’s the division of labor like?
It’s the third movie that we’ve done with them. And you know when you do a relay race and you pass the baton? That’s kind of how it works. It just depends on who’s available for what and when. As it relates to The Purge: Anarchy specifically, [writer/director] James DeMonaco is so good and knows the story so well, that our job is to really support him with good staff and make sure he has what he needs. He knows what he’s doing.
The film really wears its politics on its sleeve. It feels like genre pictures right now are open to addressing economic disparity. Is that hard to push through at a studio level?
You know, interestingly there wasn’t any pushback from Universal on that. I think DeMonaco has always seen it as an absurdist satire on America. They kind of let him run with it, and we take some hits in the press for it, but in my mind it adds another dimension to people running from point A to point B without getting killed.
And this is a much bigger film than the first. I know these are done on a price, how do you pull off all of that destruction?
The jump in budget from the first one to the second one gave us the opportunity to go out of the house. The first movie we shot in 18 days in one house. We tend to pay a lot of attention to what people are saying and we know what people wanted and I can be very certain that no one wanted us to do another Purge in the house again.
What’s the status of the 2015 Friday the 13th? We’ve heard found footage and we’ve heard 3D. Have either of those shifted?
I can’t make any determination about found footage or 3D until we have a story that we all agree on and that we all like. The story is the most important thing and the way you tell the story, to me, is secondary. We have some writers writing but, because we don’t have a script that everyone has signed off on, I can’t speak to how the story is meant to be told. All of those things have been considered. But no decisions have been made. We don’t know what story is being told.
But Bruckner is still onboard as a director?
The Ouija trailer hit the other day and it, in a good way, reminded me of some of the 90’s horror movies where there’s a lot of production value. But these are still smaller budgets than Platinum Dunes was operating with in ’08 and ’09.
For sure, much smaller budgets. These are budgets we never thought we could make a movie for and that’s where Blum was helpful to us. When we started working on the first Purge it was called Vigilandia and Blum brought us the script for it and said, “this is a movie I want to do for 3 million dollars.” I looked at Drew and he looked at means we asked, “how do you make a movie for 3 million dollars?” We really didn’t know how to do it. And we thought that we were the guys that were so frugal and economical in terms of the making of our films, but from making The Purge we learned that there is a different way to make the movie. There are limitations but you have to work within those limitations. Which is basically what Ouija is, it goes back to things that we as fans love. Teenagers in situations where they’re way over their head and they have to deal with it.
Is there any chance of expanding on the Nightmare on Elm Street you guys did? It was more expensive, but I was always intrigued by the idea of approaching something like Dream Warriors with modern tools. Or is it hibernating?
It feels like its hibernating. But we’re horror fans first and producers second, and any opportunity to work with Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees or Leatherface we’re going to jump at. I get so many tweets and emails blaming us for not making those movies. But if there was a story to tell and a studio that wanted us to tell it, we would do it in a second. And that’s the case with A Nightmare on Elm Street. We’d love to go back. There’s so much more story to be explored by Freddy.
But then again, the horror climate has changed so substantially since we made that movie in 2009. By the standards of that day it was an inexpensive movie. But when you compare it to Purge or Ouija, that was an expensive movie. And I would be hesitant to try and do a Nightmare on Elm Street movie or a Friday the 13th movie on the same budget that we do the Purge movies on. I think we would let down our fans.