IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Director Michael J. Bassett Talks 'Silent Hill: Revelation 3D'

Saturday, 27 October 2012 20:04 Written by  Jami Philbrick
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IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Director Michael J. Bassett Talks 'Silent Hill: Revelation 3D'

Opening in theaters on October 26th is Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, which is a sequel to 2006 adaption of the popular video game. Director Michael J. Bassett (Solomon Kane) takes over directing duties for the new film that stars newcomer Adelaide Clemons (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and Game of Thrones star Kit Harington

Silent Hill: Revelations 3D picks up after the events of the previous film and stars Clemons as Shannon Da Salva, the daughter of Chris and Rose Da Salva (Sean Bean and Radha Mitchell). Now a teenager hiding under the name Heather Mason, she is drawn into a strange and terrifying alternate reality when her father disappears, which could hold the answers to the horrific nightmares that have plagued her since childhood. In addition to Clemons, Harington, Bean (Ronin), and Mitchell (Man on Fire), the film also stars returning actress Deborah Kara Unger (The Hurricane), as well as new cast members Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix), Martin Donovan (Insomnia), and Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange). 

I recently had a chance to speak with director Michael J. Bassett about his work on Silent Hill: Revelation 3D. The director discussed his new film, joining the franchise for the sequel, adapting the game Silent Hill 3 for the movie’s main plot, the cast, his feelings on video game adapted films, ideas for a third movie in the series, and the status of The Unblinking Eye with Jeffrey Dean Morgan


Here is what he had to say:

IAR: To begin with, as a director what is it like taking over a franchise and writing and directing a sequel to movie that you didn’t originally direct?

Michael J. Bassett: It's a really interesting challenge to take on something that somebody else has already established particularly because I was a fan of the movie Silent Hill. I remember the style of the movie that fantastic. It was one of those situations where you you're not coming in and saying, hey, I want to make it better because it wasn’t its very good. You want to take all the great stuff they did in the first movie and enhance it and to develop it. I think you want to make the storyline a little clearer for the people who don't know anything about Silent Hill. That was really the key for me, trying to make a movie for people who saw the first film and liked it, the gamers who want to see Silent Hill 3 adapted, which is the story of our movie, and for people that don’t know anything about the franchise and just want to come to the movies to get scared. I admire the first film and I wanted to incorporate as many of those themes as possible from a provisional point of view. It was a challenge. It's a little bit daunting, but at the same time I'm a director and its my job so I'm putting my own sensibilities into things and hope that it's makes a bigger connection to the audience. 

I assume you were a fan of the video game franchise but can you talk about your decision to adapt Silent Hill 3 rather than making a direct sequel to the original film?

Bassett: My interests in Silent Hill go back to the original game because I’m a gamer. But I liked first person shooter games really and then when my friends got Silent Hill they started raving about it and I just watched them play and I played it myself and it was really a seminal moment in games I think, when the survival horror genre really exploded. They were doing things with the technology; music, sound design, atmosphere, and building these complex mythologies that hadn’t been done before. The third game for me had a great story, which naturally lent itself to being the sequel to our movie and we used that as the foundation for the film.


While its not a direct sequel to the first movie, you did bring back many of the original cast members But you also have many new cast members like Carrie Anne Moss, Martin Donovan, and Malcolm McDowell. Can you talk about assembling the film’s impressive cast?

Bassett: Well, this is a sequel so I wanted to have a certain amount of continuity for the audience. I also wanted to work with Sean Bean. I’m a big fan of his work and he has a great presence. But this story was going to revolve around the little girl from the first movie growing up, just about to turn eighteen years old and become an adult. She has this history that she has sort of forgotten or suppressed but it’s built up inside her, and her dad knows the history. He knows about this sort of mysterious dark forces that’s trying to track her down and compel her to return to Silent Hill. The dynamic of daughter and father made a lot of sense to me because the first movie was the mother daughter dynamic. I thought rather than having the mother look for the daughter, I wanted the daughter looking for the father, so Sean was an integral part of getting the story to work for me. I wanted to bring back Sean, and Radha (Mitchell) is in a little bit, and Deborah Kara Unger from the first movie. I also wanted to introduce new cast members and the key cast member was Adelaide Clemons who plays Heather Mason the lead character. I think she really grounds the movie with her performance. We can sympathize with, and really get behind her. We want her to succeed against the terrible horrors she is facing. So you know the casting is terrific and we got Sean, Radha, Carrie-Anne Moss, and we even have Malcolm McDowell in the movie. I’ve wanted to work with for along time. It was great putting them all together. 

When we spoke at Comic-Con International 2012 you mentioned to me that you didn't think there has been a good movie adaption of a video game yet. Do you still think that and what did you want to do with this film to make it the best video game adapted movie ever?

Bassett: I actually think I would like to retract that statement because I think the first Silent Hill is a terrific video game adapted movie. I think as the film industry begins to understand games more I think the game adaptations are going to get better because for the longest time they thought that if you just adapted a popular game than the audience will come. But really audiences want better quality stories that are compelling and engaging. With Silent Hill: Revelation what we wanted to do was make it a video game movie that is a movie first. It happens to be a game adaptation, but its first job is to be a film experience. If you don't know the games it doesn’t matter because you'll still be watching a story being told where you got these fantastic images and characters. That’s clearly got to be the thing that matters. I don't think a movie should try and be a game. It shouldn't try and tell a story in the way a game tells a story. I'm not going to be doing any kind of third person point of view or any of that stuff, which is traditional game stuff and it's what movie's try and emulate a little bit. What I'm going to do is protect the story, the mythology, and the essence of the game and turn it into the movie. Whether I've succeeded or failed that's up to the audience to decide. But that's kind of the order of the project, the story first, characters first, game adaptation second.


Do you have ideas for a third 'Silent Hill' film? Would you be interested in coming back and revisiting these characters?

Bassett: Well, Silent Hill is a fantastic in the world to play. It's not just about the stories you know it's about the environment that you can plug them into. Yeah, of course while I was making this movie I discovered other ideas from the game that I could take into another movie. But really now think about it what I would like to do is not make another game adaptation and make an original Silent Hill movie, which is a story all by itself, but using this certain rules of the universe, but allowing an original story to be told that's completely fresh for the audience. I also quite like the idea of other directors coming in and seeing what they came up with. There are so many approaches you can take. It would be very cool to se a low budget film that really pushes the psychosexual element.  I don’t know if that could go mainstream but that could be explored. So I think it's time Silent Hill became a brand for movie franchises, and you’ll know you're going get some interest every time there is a Silent Hill movie. When you watch this movie you'll see hints to the other games, there's a big Easter egg from the most resent Silent Hill game. The Mythology is there to be explored by. I do think something original would be really exciting. 

Finally, are you still working on a project called The Unblinking Eye with Jeffrey Dean Morgan?

Bassett: I am actually, that is still bubbling under. Jeffrey's been very busy and our paths haven’t crossed. It's a small movie, and it's a psychological thriller rather than a horror picture. It's very dark, and very small scale, but it requires a great leading man like Jeffrey to anchor it. So its one of these projects that keeps bubbling along because I’m desperate to make it, I love the script, and I want to make it so someday. I haven't really landed on my next project, so I may try and get Jeffrey to be available so we can make The Unblinking Eye

Silent Hill: Revelation 3D opens in theaters on October 26th.

To watch our exclusive video interview with Adelaide Clemens and Kit Harington about Silent Hill: Revelations 3D, please click here

To watch our interview with Adelaide Clemens and director Michael J. Bassett about Silent Hill: Revelation 3D from Comic-Con International 2012, please click here.



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