A chat with filmmaker Bryan Coyne

Opening in the US in select theatres and on VOD April 10, Infernal is the latest in a long line of demonic kid’s movies – only difference?

This one’s very good and not just trying to Xerox Richard Donner’s The Omen.

Writer/director Bryan Coyne talks us through the process of writing such a terrifically frightening yarn.

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Can you tell us a bit about where the idea came from?

The idea for Infernal came from so many different places. First and foremost, necessity. I needed a job and this was what I could raise financing for. So, with that – I knew that I needed to come up with something within these specific confines that I would love and be happy with.
I’m a fan of Found Footage films but honestly, they have jumped the proverbial shark. This film was all about finding ways to subvert the method. Doing something that was at it’s base Paranormal Activity meets The Omen – I had to add a little Kramer Vs. Kramer because that’s the only thing that would keep me happy.
Also, I was in a horrible relationship at the time but was too close minded to see that. So I didn’t realize that a lot of what I was writing was fears that had been in the back of my mind regarding said relationship and fights that I was in fact having.

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How do you generally write – does it all come out, fast, over a short period of time or do you generally work more leisurely, taking your time?

It depends project to project. Sometimes I’m on a deadline and HAVE to go. Sometimes I’m on a creative deadline and I HAVE to go. Generally I’m a fast writer and Infernal was a pretty fast write (someone screams: YA! I can tell!)
I only have a few FDR. Files that are unfinished. Most of the time when I write I finish what I start. But there are those few that just liner.

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Being a found footage movie, do you think dialogue has to be written in a more candid, organic way than a typical feature?

I think it does but I sure as hell didn’t do that. I think I have a very specific voice and I wasn’t going to allow that to be hampered by the method in which we were filming. At the end of the day you’re telling a story. That’s it. No matter the method you film it in.
It would have been incredibly false to myself to have written it with a grand amount of specificity. But I do believe most of these movies should be written like that. How I rationalized it was simple: I’m the author and this is my world. So the way they speak, the way they act – everything… It’s MY version of the real world.
But I tell you this, I would never write a Paranormal Activity sequel like this. That’s their playground and in that way I would be a hired hand.

How many drafts did you go through on Infernal?

Three. It was a pretty fast period of time from Treatment to Cash Infusion. So I kinda had to move quickly. I always think everything can use another pass.

And did the shooting script differ much from what was on the screen?

Actually it’s relatively close to the script. It’s not exactly the same thing. Like the beginning and the end of the movie were reshot after principal.  So if you got your hands on the script you would read two completely different scenes that open and close the flick.

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Were you open to improvisation from the actors?

I always am. But in a round about way. We will always do it  a couple times from the page directly and then I’ll do a take or two with improv. With my actors in Infernal I was blessed to have some incredible people who were adept to improv.
I actually prefer to hire comedic actors even in non-comedic roles because that’s often an attribute that is brought to the table. That said, I’m really attached to my dialogue. Ha!

Did you have to lose anything from the script, due to budget constraints?

A couple things, yes. There was this great demon undulating wall bit in the script that we just couldn’t afford and also a digital effect with one of the dogs. But I don’t think they are particularly missed from the final product.

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Are you happy with the finished product?

I’m quite happy. But it was a long road to get there. This film was so incredibly personal that it hung over my head for a long time and I was afraid of it. I don’t mean that in a pretentious way. I mean it in a simple manner.  When I realized just how personal I allowed it to become I started having second thoughts about coming out with it. But, of course there was money at stake and we actually sold the movie really fast after wrap. But I sat on it for nine months. Which, in essence is somewhat apropos…
Regardless, I love the film now. It took me awhile to get here and I’m so happy that I am here.

Many thanks to Bryan for taking the time to chat.

Infernal opens in the US in select theatres and on VOD April 10 2015

 

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