Director reveals Cloverfield monster origins
The Director of Cloverfield has been talking indepth about the film. Not only does he talk about the name, the marketing and the film-making style, but he also addresses where the monster comes from and reveals its origins.
He talks about some aspects of the monster that we've never heard before and reveals some interesting secrets.
He begins by talking about the style of the film and how he came to it:
"...to take something as ridiculous as a 350ft monster attack on New York and try to depict it with a level of realism is sort of strange but that was the fun of it, and that to me was a real challenge."
According to the Director Matt Reeves, as he talks through Den of Geek, the trailer was the test for the film:
"...my first thought was, "How much of this movie can we actually shoot on Handicam?" And then I went to the visual effects people and they said, "Well, we’d prefer it if you didn’t shoot on Handicam."...they suggested that maybe we should do it on Steadicam. And I said, "Well, this movie is very much made for an audience that does this daily. I mean, when people carry their cellphones with them, they have a cameraphone with them 24 hours a day, they know what it looks like when their lives are documented and put up on the Internet because that’s what they do!" So if we’re shooting a movie on Steadicam and put shake on it later, they’re immediately going to say, "this is completely fraudulent!" Even though it was a giant monster movie. And I thought that would be rejected so I said "Let’s find a way to at least shoot the movie handheld." And that’s what the teaser trailer ended up being, a kind of think-tank workshop to figure out how to shoot in this style with handheld effects and how that would be tracked and how we would do the head of the Statue of Liberty and all the various stuff, and that was how we learned to do it, by doing that teaser trailer."
That's interesting because watching that trailer you would think that it was showing clips from the final footage, not that it had been used to create the template for the film and how they were going to pull off the shots.
He then goes on to talk about the filming style and how they achieved it, and it seemed a real challenge for the professional crew who had to "unlearn" everything they already knew about filming.
"I wanted it to feel real, there’d be no edits, so instead of shooting one hour and doing multiple angles, I’d shoot one hour and we’d shoot 50-60 takes. We’d start shooting rehearsals and basically let stuff evolve over the course of the shooting...
..."When we had a focus-puller - you know, somebody walks in and they hit their mark and if that person isn’t sharp, the focus-puller loses their job. But not on this movie. On this movie, I’d say, "You know what, he’s too sharp. You’ve got to shoot the wall and then come back, it’s gotta be out of focus!" And they’d be looking at me, like, but isn’t that going to get me fired? And I’d say, "No, that’s the whole point! It has to feel like it’s on auto-focus, this all has to be messy.""
Watching a film like this you might just think that it's really easy to do, grab the camera and go for it, but it seems even more complex to make a bigger budget film (by that I mean bigger than Blair Witch type budgets) with this realistic view and style.
Now the big one. Matt Reeves talks about what state of mind the monster was in when it arrived in New York and also reveals that it's a baby monster. A baby? Oh lord I wouldn't want to meet its parents...and could this be the key to the next film?
"So the secret that we had was that the monster was a baby. Having just been born it was going through separation anxiety and had no idea where its mother was and was freaking out and was in a completely foreign place, didn’t understand a thing and that that would be sending it into a kind of infantile rage. Which was very frightening, but the thing that was also frightening to me was the idea that not only was it going through an infantile rage but, because it was suffering from this separation anxiety, it was spooked. It was really afraid. And as the military started shooting at it, I started thinking, like if you were attacked by a swarm of bees for the first time, it wouldn’t necessarily kill you but you’d be terrified, you’d be like, "What are these things doing?!" And for me there’s nothing scarier than thinking of something that big that’s spooked. Like if you’re at the circus and suddenly the elephants are spooked, you don’t want to be anywhere near that, you’ll be crushed"
He goes onto discuss how they made the creature look that way and what they used as references to make it look that way. It all seems a lot more work to make it seem real than you'd expect, and from all accounts on the US reviews it seems to have worked really well and produced one great film.
It's a great interview and a really interesting read, once again you can read it all over at Den of Geek, it's well worth the time.
I don't know about you, but I am so hyped up for Cloverfield now I can't believe it.