First of all, it is an honor to interview both of you. Did the two of you see the original “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and what did you think was most important for people to know about Leatherface’s back-story ?
Of course we’ve seen the original TCM ! We’ve discovered it when we were still kids. It’s an absolute masterpiece that changed our vision of cinema forever. We’ve thought our Leatherface not really as an origin story full of references for the fans.
Everything has been already told about this family so we wanted to tell a story linked to the saga of course but also that could be watch and enjoyed by someone who has never heard about the saga, a real stand alone. We also didn’t wanted to give all the keys about the character, to reveal everything about him. Here we have told a tiny part of his history, leaving empty blank moments for the audience to still have room for imagination.
Why did the two of you decide to take on the prequel?
As huge horror fans as we are, we couldn’t refuse a script called LEATHERFACE… But above all, because this story didn’t have the same structure as all the others episodes. It’s always about a group of teenagers getting lost on the lands of the degenarated family. Here we’re closer to a road movie. And also because it was a challenge as directors to have villains and bad guys as heros as lead characters. It’s very complicated to have the audience rely to, indentify and have empathy towards that kind of people.
Did you film at any of the original locations?
No, the movie was entirely shot in eastern Europe, in Bulgaria. But our production designer has recreated amazing typical Texan sets and especially the family house from the original movie, using the exact same plans. It was really chilling to discover that house for real…
How did you get involved with Seth M. Sherwood who wrote the screenplay?
When we arrived on the project there already was a script. We then started to work with Seth to re-write some parts. We wanted to bring the story closer to our universe and vision. We had a clear idea of what we wanted to do.
Was there anything special you added for the fans that may stick out in the film? (That you can reveal?)
We let you find out by yourself. The only thing we can say is that fans will be surprised… The path we’ve followed will surely divide. Some will like others wont. And we stick to the original timeline, set by Tobe Hooper.
The cast feels right for the roles including Lily Taylor as Verna. How did you decide who would play these legendary characters in the prequel?
Lili Taylor is Verna Sawyer, leatherface’s mother. We did cast Angela Bettis first but she had a schedule issue. Proposing to Lili was an idea of the producers and we loved it ! We are fans of her for a long time and it was obvious she was going to be amazing in this role and she is ! She created a twisted dark and complex character.
We won’t reveal here who he is in the movie but the choice was obvious for us. Since the first casting, we knew he was exactly what we were looking for in this new version. He is very intense and deeply human.
Gunnar Hansen, Andrew Bryniarski, Dan Yeager, Robert Jacks, Bill Johnson have all portrayed and played Leatherface in their own amazing ways. Did you take any mannerisms from any of them?
No we’ve never been influenced by a former actor. We wanted to please the fans but mostly surprise them ! In the story we’re telling, he is not the monster we all know yet, he is still a normal teenager. So we’ve worked on a new way of talking and walking according to this new character.
Did either of you speak with Tobe Hooper and if so did he offer any advice?
No unfortunately we’ve never had the chance to meet him. We’d have loved to, he’s a director we admire so much ! We’ve heard of his death the day after we did the premiere at the Frighfest… what an horrible timing. We were devastated.
With Texas Chainsaw Massacre, he created an ultimate masterpiece, perfect from the first to the last image. Not just a classic for horror fans but for art and culture in general.
What was it like working with the cast?
It’s going to sound like the usual promo speech but it was really great ! The main characters are played by young actors and they were all fully into it ! We are not tyranicals directors and we’re open minded to any suggestions from actors. We want them to feel comfortable with their characters and to have this state of mind, they need to have created something, brought details from their own experience. They also were very patient and that’s very important when you have a lot of practical special effects as we had.
What do the two of you want the fans to know ?
That we never intended to compare ourselves to the original TCM, we just tried to do a fun and cool episode. And maybe if teenagers who have never heard of the saga before watch Leatherface, that it gives them the curiosity to discover the original, that would be an achievement.\
LEATHERFACE – Starring Stephen Dorff, Lili Taylor, Sam Strike, Sam Coleman, Vanessa Grasse
Available Exclusively on DIRECTV September 21, 2017 and in Theaters and On Demand October 20, 2017