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Joe Dante gives the HOLE storyDate: 7/16/2009
Author: Michael Gingold
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While speaking on last week’s edition of FANGORIA RADIO, fave director Joe Dante (pictured) discussed THE HOLE, the 3-D feature that marks his return to big-screen fright fare after his well-received pair of MASTERS OF HORROR episodes. “I had a great time doing MASTERS with Mick [Garris],” he said, “because the whole idea was, if we did them on a low budget really quickly, we could do whatever we wanted.
“After doing LOONEY TUNES, a big-studio movie that took a year and a half and was fairly contentious through its entire making, and then opened to a world that had given up on Bugs Bunny because the cartoons had been off television for like 2 years, I thought, ‘Maybe I should try and do something more independent,’ ” he continued, noting that on MASTERS, “The content was not an issue. There were no focus groups and no teenagers writing on cards; it was just right from my head to the screen, and it was a great experience. Features, unfortunately, are not like that. But I figured, at least let me go with an independent company and I’ll make something smaller and have less interference.”
THE HOLE, scripted by VACANCY’s Mark L. Smith, is described by Dante as “a displaced-family movie” in which a mother (Teri Polo) and her two sons (Chris Massoglia from the upcoming THE VAMPIRE’S ASSISTANT and THE MIST’s Nathan Gamble) move into a new house. In the basement, the brothers discover a door with multiple locks, “and anytime kids find a door with locks on it, they obviously want to see what’s in there,” Dante explained. “They manage to get it open and with the aid of the girl next door [THE HAUNTING OF MOLLY HARTLEY’s Haley Bennett], they investigate the mystery of what’s behind it, what’s in this hole in the bottom of their house, and obviously it’s something supernatural and creepy and scary. The script appealed to me because it was kind of like an ’80s movie, [such as his own GREMLINS, EXPLORERS—the ‘science project’ period when movies were sort of aimed at tweens.
“I went to the producers, Bold Films,” he continued, “and said, ‘I like it; it’s a character-driven story and it’s kind of small, but it wouldn’t be quite as small if we made it in 3-D.’ I thought they would go, ‘Yeah, right’; I mean, I didn’t even have the job; I just was suggesting 3-D, which adds more money. And then they thought about it and said, ‘Maybe you’re right, maybe this would be a good 3-D movie,’ and they did the diligence and decided to make it that way. It’s really interesting, because the technology is brand new. It’s not the old film technology, where you have the weave in the gate when you shoot it and in the projector when you project it, and your eyes have to kind of compensate for it. It’s digital, it’s rock-solid and you actually think in depth as you’re directing. Your compositions are not just foreground and background; there are special relationships between the characters, and that can be very dramatic. I really enjoyed doing it in 3-D.”
THE HOLE has yet to land distribution, but Dante noted that it will be showcased at this month’s San Diego Comic-Con, as part of a series of previews of upcoming dimensional flicks next Thursday, July 23. “Jim Cameron is running some of his picture AVATAR, and we have to come on after Jim with our little $12-million movie,” the director said. “But Comic-Con is filled with people who love this stuff and it’s a big deal, it’s quite an event and it’s fun to be a part of it.” See our first report from the HOLE set here and look for more coverage on this site and in the pages of FANGORIA magazine as it gets closer to release.
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