Adam Massey talks about his new movie The Intruders
Director Adam Massey has just released his second film The Intruders, an effective thriller that boasts an experienced and popular cast, like Miranda Cosgrove, Donal Logue and Tom Sizemore. Mr. Massey took time away from finishing off his soon-to-be-released Sci-Fi-Horror Man Vs., to answer a few questions for INFLUX Magazine.
by Nav Qateel
Nav Qateel: Congratulations on the release of your latest film, the nail-biting thriller The Intruders. Can you tell us a little bit about how you came to be attached to the film?
Adam Massey: The Producer of The Intruders, Nicholas Tabarrok, I have known since working with him on my first film A Lobster Tale. When Nicholas was appointed to produce The Intruders he invited me to pitch my thoughts on how I would direct the film to the people at Sony. After presenting my vision I was brought on to direct the film.
NQ: There was a several year gap since your debut film A lobster Tale, made back in 2006. What prompted the return to filmmaking?
AM: I never thought it would have been an 8 year gap between my first and second film. I took some time away from filmmaking to dedicate my time to being a new Dad. My son was born the year I made Lobster Tale, and my daughter 3 years later.
NQ: Did you find it easy getting back behind the camera after an 8 year break?
AM: Even though it has been 8 years between films, I’ve continued to work behind the camera directing television commercials. Directing commercials is how I began my career. To date, I have directed over 200 commercials and have always enjoyed that creative process. But getting back into the film world was always my plan.
Did you hold auditions while looking out for the lead characters of Rose and Jerry, or did you have Miranda Cosgrove and Donal Logue in mind for those particular roles?
AM: The list of actors who we were considering for both the roles of Rose and Jerry was very short. I got the opportunity to meet Miranda and work with her in an audition. Immediately I realized that Miranda was a very talented actress and would be great in the role of Rose. As far as Donal, I have been a fan of his for a very long time. When his name was proposed by the producers I jumped at the opportunity to work with him and was thrilled when he agreed to come on board.
NQ: How closely did you work with scriptwriter Jason Juravic?
AM: Jason and I worked together on screenplay modifications as is normal in the collaborative process between writer and director. The fact that he was on location with us for the shoot was a real convenience for that collaboration.
NQ: I loved that large house with the creepy basement the film was set in. How long did it take you to find the perfect location?
AM: Yes that house was truly a “find.” The film was to be shot in Northern Ontario and finding the perfect house was paramount to the success of the film. We saw a number of homes from multiple cities, but when we came across "the house” in Sudbury we knew that was where we needed to shoot this film. What people don’t realize is that the Basement and Attic as well as Marcus’ room were all shot at a different location in Sudbury. Those scenes were shot in an old building that was being renovated, which naturally gave us a great distressed interior look.
NQ: My favorite scene was when Rose discovers the camcorder in the basement (I don't want to give away spoilers). Michael Luckett really nailed his character. Which scene do you have the fondest memory of?
AM: Yes I am glad you liked that scene, that was one of the first scenes I envisioned. That moment was a big point in the script, “The reveal of Marcus” and so I wanted to do it in a very clever and surprising way. I have many fond memories of shooting each and every scene.
NQ: Did you encourage the actors to improvise at any point while the cameras rolled?
AM: Improv is usually something you can do for a less technical type of script. In The Intruders most of the dialogue in the script was always layered with what had to be said to help set the plot points and the red herrings. The actors and I spent time working and blocking each scene finding ways to improvise with actions, where as for the dialogue we stuck to what was scripted. One of my favorite improve moments is when Michael Luckett who plays “Marcus” goes for a drink of water in the height of the final scene. Michael did that while we were blocking and rehearsing and I saw it and loved the moment.
NQ: Which films/filmmakers inspire you?
AM: The list of filmmakers who inspire me is a long one. From David Lean to Quentin Tarantino. But for the specific genre of thriller horror movies I looked to films like Ghost Story directed by John Irvin and Director James Watkins' The Woman in Black just to name two. Director’s that combine great visuals with complex characters and great performances are the ones that inspire me the most.
NQ: Your new film, the horror-sci-fi Man Vs., sounds like a novel approach to the found-footage genre. It's also listed as being older than The Intruders. Can you tell us a bit about this project?
AM: Man Vs. was the film I was developing when I was brought on board to direct The Intruders It just so happened that both movies ended up shooting within weeks of each other. We shot Man Vs. in the fall of 2013 and we went to camera on The Intruders in Jan 2014. Man Vs. is a story about Doug Woods, (played by Chris Diamantopoulos) a guy who makes his own reality survival show for a network. Doug films himself while surviving in the woods alone, with only his knowledge of the outdoors to aid him. After the first day he starts to sense something isn’t right. He feels like he is being watched, studied. When Doug comes face to face with what has been watching him in the remote wilderness, he realizes that it will take all he knows to survive.
There are a lot of special effects and CGI work in Man Vs. so that took a longer time in the post production stage. It has just been finished so hopefully we will be doing another interview about Man Vs. soon. (Smiles)
NQ: I'll certainly look forward to watching Man Vs.! What do you hope the audience take away from The Intruders?
AM: I hope people enjoy the film, but also I hope they appreciate the smaller details in the film. The performances by Miranda Cosgrove, Donal Logue, Austin Butler, Jenessa Grant, Michael Luckett and Tom Sizemore, each actor brought so much to their roles. The set design, the lighting and how each and every shot was framed are also elements of the film I am very proud of and I hope the audience notices and appreciate those details, too.
NQ: Do you have anything else in the works that you can share with our readers?
AM: I'm working on a couple other projects that I would love to tell you about, but I think it's a bit too early to let those cats out of the bag. (Laughs)
NQ: Thank you, Adam Massey.
You can read the review for The Intruders here