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character of Arthur. I thought it was a rich opportunity, as well, for him. Whatever associations people might have… having played this iconic role, you think that the one image people have of Dan is Harry Potter. And I’m going, “You know what? You can change his image. He can change it, and be quite iconoclastic. Let’s not necessarily put this person in a box; let’s see what he can do in a different environment.” Dan’s twenty-three—he wants to have a great and rich career. I kind of connected with that, and thought that he really understood the character, and that’s the most important thing.


QUATERMASS was Hammer’s. So there’s this weird wheels- within-wheels kind of operation, here. But I think our film is a lot scarier.


FM. Well, seeing as your background is on movies like the second part of THE DESCENT, which is terrifying, what could you bring to this movie because of what you’ve done? You did some scriptwriting, I believe, and your first directed film was EDEN LAKE? JW. That’s right. And that was a very, kind of dark and quite nasty horror thriller. It was much more explicitly horror, while this film is more restrained, and all about what you can imagine. I guess I have some understanding of the genre… I’m interested in the mechanics of it, and how it works. I’m interested in exploring our deepest fears. I think that’s what appealed to me about the script—it was scary, but it also had a richness about it beyond what you usually read, in terms of the way it stroked our fears: fears of loss, the fears that parents might have for their children… which I thought were really rich and resonant, and something to get into.


FM. Definitely. Well, I kind of have to ask about the fact that Daniel Radcliffe (HARRY POTTER) is playing the lead. What do you think he brought to the film? I mean, he’ll obviously bring an audience to the film that may have not wanted to see it originally. JW. [Laughs] I just thought it was a really interesting challenge. Obviously I went and met with Dan before I signed up with him, and we managed to see the film in very much the same way in terms of what I’ve just said—the scares, but also the characters and the richness, what it was about. And I thought that Dan played his role very well. He’s got a certain vulnerability about him that I thought would really speak to the


FM. I agree. And I don’t mean to be insulting when I say this, but this is a very British film. The original novel was also English. How do you think it’s going to go over with an American audience? I mean, obviously Harry Potter is British, as is Hammer itself, and they had no problem.


JW. That’s a good question! I think the bottom line is if it’s good or not. If it’s scary and it plays as a good ride, I think it’ll play, and through our experience—with all the audience tests and stuff you have to do—is that the film is. We’ve been getting that feedback strongly. It’s easy to say that [the film] has a lot of stuff you don’t see in America, but if people think it’s a good story… I mean, look at THE KING’S SPEECH. It’s a good story! I have faith in audiences. And to be honest, I can’t do anything about it. I’ve made the film to the best of my abilities, and I can’t really be philosophical beyond that.


FM. Is there anything you wish someone would ask about the film so you could answer it? Something you haven’t been able to answer yet? JW. Oh, that’s a good one. But I’m completely unimaginative with these things. [Laughs] I just want to get across that I spent a long time making the film, that we’ve worked very hard at it, and I think the film is exponentially scary. It gives 92 minutes of a really scary ride. I hope that people take the film—and Dan—in good faith, and enjoy it.


FM. I hope so, too.


FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND • MAR/APR 2012


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