Anchor Bay Entertainment and Dimension Films will release the 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD of the campy comedy-horror film, Piranha 3DD, September 4th (tomorrow). A sequel to Piranha 3D – the 2010 reboot of the fan-favorite franchise from the ‘70s – Piranha 3DD stars Danielle Panabaker (The Crazies, Friday the 13th), Katrina Bowden (TV’s “30 Rock”), David Koechner (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Get Smart), David Hasselhoff (TV’s “Baywatch,” “Knight Rider”), Christopher Lloyd (Piranha 3D, Back to the Future), and Gary Busey (Lethal Weapon, The Buddy Holly Story). Directed by John Gulager (Feast) and written by Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton (the writing team behind four Saw, three Feast titles and the director/writer of The Collector and The Collection).
I recently hopped on the phone with Dunstan and Melton to discuss the challenges of topping the original on a diminished budget, David Hasselhoff’s cut introduction and working with religious water park owners on the raunchy sequel. We also get a tiny (almost no CGI) tidbit on The Collection. Head inside to check it out!
I actually liked this one better than the first. It was fun, breezy and 80’s. Do you see it as being a departure from Piranha 3D in that regard?
Dunstan: Well we worked on the first one a bit. And when we got our marching orders to work on this one, we knew it was going to be this sleazy water park with celebrity lifeguards. And, “oh yeah we need a Piranha to come out of someone’s *ss and some woman’s… after she’s had sex.” It was then that we had a picture of the tone of this movie. That’s kind of the problem of being a horror writer, you’re always trying to one-up each other. And John Gulager is always up for the extreme, so when the three of us get into a room together, things can get weird quick.
Melton: And one painful rule – how do you one-up with 1/5th of the budget?
Dunstan: What Gulager pulled off on a native 3D shoot on this schedule was a straight-up miracle.
Melton: It was also cold. We were on these locations in winter, and we were shivering. And people had to get naked in that weather!
With Hasselhoff, was that a cameo where you had to increase his pages as the shoot went along?
Melton: I think it got smaller as it went along. Initially we had 5 or 6 celebrity lifeguards and he was the anchor. It seems like he’s in the film quite a bit, but he doesn’t show up until later.
Dunstan: His original intro scene didn’t make it, and it’s one of my favorite scenes that Melton’s ever written. Originally he was introduced and at an Applebee’s. He was a little tipsy and a little randy and this super hefty guy and his eager beaver wife walk up and are like, “are you David Hasselhoff?” And he’s like, “who’s asking?” And the wife says, “oh my God, can we have your autograph please?” Without looking up he goes, “show me your boobs.” And the woman starts to raise her shirt and he says, “not you.”
Writing for a watermark has to be an interesting challenge. You’re tasked with keeping people in the water.
Dunstan: Not only that, but the DNA of this project was surrounding people with water while they’re on land. The initial park stuff had them coming out of the ice vending machines, out of the toilets, out of the sinks etc… But unfortunately, the budget monster was the most vicious of all. And scouting for water parks was hard because most of them are run by extremely religious folks. So when you go and talk to them and they’re like, “the only thing is we don’t want nudity and we don’t want swearing.”
Melton: This first one had a Bible scripture above the entrance. And they’re like, “what’s the extra D for?” The owner was like, “I’m fine with violence. You can rip my arm off and hit someone with it! But the nudity…”
We also have to talk about The Collection.
Dunstan: November 30th!
Melton: I have to thank you! I actually cited you guys’ anti-CGI article which helped Dunstan get what he wanted done. That the eye knows the difference and it helped! The film is wall to wall practical except for the removal of some safety rigging. They same thing with that poster they gave you – it’s a practical effect.
Dunstan: I’ve had a lot of people go, “that CGI blood looks great!” And I’m like, “that’s because it’s not CGI!”