From the filmmakers behind The Poughkeepsie Tapes, Quarantine and Devil, Legendary Pictures and Universal present As Above, So Below, an upcoming found-footage thriller film directed by John Erick Dowdle that he co-wrote with his brother Drew Dowdle (who produced), will arrive on August 29th.
In the film, “Miles of twisting catacombs lie beneath the streets of Paris, the eternal home to countless souls. When a team of explorers ventures into the uncharted maze of bones, they uncover the dark secret that lies within this city of the dead. A journey into madness and terror, “As Above, So Below” reaches deep into the human psyche to reveal the personal demons that come back to haunt us all.” Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman and Edwin Hodge star.
I had a chance to catch up with the pair over the weekend at the San Diego Comic-Con, and we spoke at length about the film as well as The Coup, their upcoming movie with Pierce Brosnan, Owen Wilson and Lake Bell. Check it out below.
On going indie (or at least more indie-minded) after being in the studio system for a while. “After Devil we decided to get back to our homemade aesthetic and it took a couple of years to sort of rebuild what we were doing. This last year we made two movies, this one and The Coup which is coming out March 6th. We almost made that one after Devil with Lionsgate but that would have been more of the studio version with a different cast. At the time we were bummed and it took a while to rebuild it, but I think it ultimately became a better movie.”
What’s it like trying to convince a studio or financier to see the value in your vision? “As Above we did with Legendary, so it is a studio movie technically. And yet they gave us all the freedom we could ever hope for. It was an independent experience within the system. And we had a lot of freedom on The Coup with this financier and we sold to the Weinstein company who have been great. Things like The Coup are so execution dependent. It’s hard to convince someone that it’s the right idea to do on paper. You have to go off and do it sometimes before people realize you were right. When things are execution dependent you have to go execute them. ”
Legendary, it turns out, gave you plenty of freedom as well. “What’s refreshing about Legendary is that there was so much execution dependent with As Above and they were still like, ‘go do it.’ Not many studios would have given us that freedom.”
Still, this is a smaller film than the big sweeping movies Legendary is known for. “It’s kind of a new thing. It’s one of the most visually appealing found footage movies I think I’ve seen. It doesn’t have a super video look. These characters would have a good camera, they would do this right. It looks quite beautiful and Paris of course lends itself to photography quite nicely. As far as other Legendary movies, I think it fits with their audiences, but this could be part of their genre arm if they had one. It doesn’t feel like Pacific Rim obviously.”
Structurally a lot of found footage features tend to spin their wheels in the first act. I imagine you don’t do that here? “Yeah we get it going with a kick.” Did the studio hold you back in terms of content? “Not at all. In one of our earlier meetings we said it would be ‘R’ and they said ‘great.’”