[Interview] Director John Luessenhop On Crafting A Modern Leatherface In ‘Texas Chainsaw 3D’!

Texas-Chainsaw-3d-Leatherface

On January 4, 2013 Lionsgate will gas-up their chainsaw and pull the cord on Texas Chainsaw 3D, the John Luessenhop-directed sequel to Tobe Hooper’s classic Texas Chainsaw Massacre that stars Dan Yeager, John Dugan, Bill Moseley, Alexandra Daddario, Sue Rock, Tania Raymonde, Scott Eastwood, Gunnar Hansen, Tobe Hooper, Paul Rae, Keram Malicki-Sánchez, Ritchie Montgomery, Trey Songz, Marilyn Burns, Shaun Sipos, Thom Barry and Richard Riehle.

Yesterday we published an on set report from Bloody Disgusting correspondent Alyse Wax, and now I can share my interview with Luessenhop! We discuss the difficulties of taking on the mantle of the series, the tonal similarities between this film and Tobe Hooper’s 1974 original and whether or not this on tops the lame Next Generation in terms of actually having Chainsaw kills.

Head inside for the interview!

What does it feel like picking up this mantle? It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a Texas Chainsaw movie.

It’s a heavy mantle to pick up and run with. I’m such a fan of Tobe’s original movie, you’ve got to think twice before you step into those very big shoes. But we’re happy with it. We think it works on all of the levels that the audience wants to see. It’s a real story, it’s contemporized, it’s got horror and jumps. It’s down and dirty. It’s got everything that makes it a Chainsaw movie.

From the trailer it looks like it’s closer to Tobe’s film aesthetically than it is to the Platinum Dunes ones. And it doesn’t seem to have the satire of the second one [TTCM2], either.

Forget the second one. We do have some kitsch, I won’t deny that, but it’s faithful to horror and suspense. The look of it is not over manipulated, but I do think it has a popping look. It looks contemporary. It’s a fresh take on it. It does homage some of the elements of Tobe’s original, but they’re all done in clever ways.

I heard it was extremely hot onset.

That’s right. It was 107-114 degrees. There were people driven out to the hospital on one day. And technically, it would shut our cameras down. We were shooting native 3D which is much more challenging and cumbersome, but we wanted to avoid a lot of the post headaches people have on 3D pictures. But beyond that everyone worked really hard and there was a great amount of enthusiasm.

Do you have a favorite kill? Or one that was particularly difficult to pull off?

Three of them actually. There’s three I’m very proud of that are all done differently. One is in your face, one’s Hitchcockian and the other is an homage to the original film. I went back to Tobe’s original and sprinkled a bunch of fun moments back in, and they come at unpredictable times.

Is there an homage to the scene in the first one where Leatherface slams that steel door shut? That’s such a chilling moment.

Oh it’s iconic. I introduce it very early in the movie so you appreciate it. One of the characters approaches it but obviously doesn’t know the significance of it right away, so it raises the tension.

If I remember correctly, Next Generation didn’t even have one chainsaw kill in it. You fixed that, right?

Oh yeah! It wouldn’t be complete without one! You can’t call it Texas Chainsaw Massacre and not have a chainsaw kill! That one’s a mess!

Provided this one does well, do you have a sequel in prep?

I have a sequel idea. This film does tee-off a franchise run. One of the things I’m proud about it is that it’s about an idea that can feed into other films. There’s a lot of interesting elements in play.

How does Dan Yeager’s Leatherface differ?

Well the character is over 20 years older now than he was in the first one. So Dan really had to adjust his body language, he’s a more adult Leatherface. He really studied his character in order to bring that kind of mileage to him.

  • Remember-Slithis

    I can’t wait to see this!

  • wehoaks

    I am looking forward to this, but the trailer makes it look like a retread of the remake. Plus it is so obvious it will end with Leatherface and his relative teaming up or her taking over his mantle in the sequel.

  • EvilHead1981

    The trailer made it look goofy, but the interviews are actually making me more interested. You can tell this guy has LOTS of love for the original franchise(sometimes you don’t get that type of love with directors who tackle reboots, and it shows). Also, he said Leatherface in this movie is 20 years older than Leatherface in the original. So, does that mean this movie takes place in the 90s?

  • Eileen

    The problem with remakes these days is not the actual material, but I feel that there is a LACK OF IDENTITY in them. Directors, writers, and art directors used to have so much more fun back when the original stuff came out. I don’t see why they can’t have a similar approach nowadays. :(

    • EvilHead1981

      I said this before, but it DID seem like studios took a bigger chance with original ideas back in the day that they do now. Maybe it’s because of the economy. Economy goes sour, everybody clenches their buttcheeks(gets more tight), only wanting to take chances on sure things. But, in a way, that’s only making things worse.

      It IS interesting, basically ALL the great horror movies of our youth, Nightmare on Elm Street, TCM, Halloween, they started out as being INDIE flicks. When people think of those franchises, they think of them as being these BIG Hollywood things. No, their origins were pretty damn humble. It’s just, they did BIG things that got the attention of LOTS of people. That lead to more “Hollywood” ventures later on, but it’s almost like a rags to riches tale. You don’t see that much of this type of thing anymore(especially with horror). And yes, movies are a legitimate business(their aim is to make money), but no one ever said you can’t work doing what you love. With some of those old movies, you just KNOW they are doing what they love. Getting paid to do it is just the icing on the cake.

  • mav07

    I said it before, after all the hype Sam Bayer did with his “Nightmare” remake, I won’t ever take the directors word for it. Ill wait to see it myself.

    And Evensickson, did you even watch the trailer? It looks exactly like a remake of PD’s version. Pretty young kids in a Volkswagen van on a road trip to the house, them exploring the empty house, someone then obviously gets killed upon running into leather face, the brief scene of the skipping record player etc… All were in PD’s version. Which I loved by the way but this movie better have some special to make it better than that

  • mav07

    The song playing in the trailer was even a ripoff of PD’s song in their trailer

  • VictorCrowley

    As much as I have loved following the development of this movie, and as much of a fan as I am of Dan Yeager for the super-cool way he interacts with fans along with how much he reportedly studied Leatherface for this role — the trailer is like a fire extinguisher for all my enthusiasm and intrigue for the film.

    The trailer is a direct clone of the PD trailer, which IMO is still one of the greatest trailers ever made, bar none. Still gives me goosebumps to this day when I see it. The new one seems to follow almost every aspect of it. From the opening song, to the record player, to the “heart beats”, to the moment of dark silence with footsteps before the chainsaw rips through the screen……..the whole thing feels like a remake………of the remake.

    In the beginning I was SO SO SO stoked for this movie. It being a direct sequel to the original and the returning alumni really kicked the interest into over-drive. Then…….finding out they stuck a hip hop star into the cast was the first red flag that something ingeniune was happening. Seeing pics of a trim, almost skinny Leatherface who is supposed to be 20 or 30 years older put the “huh?’ into it. Then the trailer………

    It’s been a slow downward spiral for me. But, I still have hopes of the series being gratified and will still go see it. I just hope I don’t walk out of there with the feeling that movies like Friday the 13th (2009), Halloween II (2009), and NOES (2010) left me with. The fear level for that has gone from a 2 or 3 to an 8 or 9 now.