[REC] 3 Genesis - Paco Plaza interview (exclusive)
Interview by Rob Carnevale
PACO Plaza talks about directing [REC] 3 Genesis, the latest film in the successful horror franchise, and why it differs from the first two films in its decision to drop the shaky cam approach and set things at a wedding.
He also talks about how the [REC] films have changed his life, what he thought of the US remake of the original film, the craziest thing a fan has said or done and why he’d maybe like to direct a comedy next.
Q. What gave you the idea of setting [REC] Genesis around a wedding?
Paco Plaza: While editing the first REC, we talked a lot about different situations that may allow this kind of storytelling; one of them was the wedding video, where you have so different povs, so many characters with strong relationships, a closed space…a great arena for a horror show.
Q. So much is made these days of weddings and the fashions that come with them. So, how much fun did you have dress shopping for your bride? And equally how much fun was it then to cover her in blood and give her a chainsaw?
Paco Plaza: It was like being really naughty, it was amazing! Rosa Clarà designed the dress for the film and she was a bit upset knowing we were going to rip it and destroy it. But it looked great covered in blood, don’t you think?
Q. Why did you decide the time was right to switch away from the found footage format? You only use it for the first 20 minutes here…
Paco Plaza: We didn’t want to go the same path we already had. If one thing is particular about the REC films is that we always tried to surprise the audience, to deliver something different from their expectations. I think these days we seldom feel surprised in a theatre; more and more as a filmgoer I have the feeling that I go to the theatre to check the film is exactly as I imagined from the amount of information I had before. We wanted to give something fresh, surprising and unexpected; and using this mix of pov and conventional cinematography was a part of that surprise; a REC film that doesn´t look like it.
Q. What made you decide to direct Genesis alone, without Jaume? Is he doing Apocalypse?
Paco Plaza: Once we knew the producers wanted two more films, we wanted to achieve a double goal: not losing control over them and having time for our personal projects aside REC. Splitting the tasks was the best formula for those two conditions to happen. And as Jaume was working already on Sleep Tight, I went first.
Q. How involved will you be with [REC] Apocalypse? And what can we expect from that?
Paco Plaza: I don’t have a lot of information. More or less what I have read in the web.
Q. How has your relationship evolved since the first [REC]?
Paco Plaza: We’ve grown even closer. REC changed our lives for good. It’s like we share a child that will have both our names forever.
Q. [REC] was one of the best examples of a found footage horror movie. Do you think there’s been a little too much copying of late? Which found footage movies impressed you and which haven’t?
Paco Plaza: I’ve seen Paranormal 3 and simply LOVED it. The same with The Last Exorcism. If the film requires this kind of storytelling, go for it. We have seen in this last years good and bad samples, but in the same proportion of films told any other way.
Q. Do you have a favourite zombie kill in all of the [REC] films?
Paco Plaza: Yes, it is in [REC]3 in the tunnel ****SPOILER ALERT******** when the bride splits an oriental guy in two with the chainsaw.
Q. What did you think of the American remake of [REC]? Is it flattering or would you rather people just stuck with the original?
Paco Plaza: We were not involved creatively at all. Quarantine helped to make [REC] extremely popular overseas, and put our film under a new light. Being remade gave [REC] something close to cult status, so I’m very grateful to the producers that decided to do it.
Q. I read that you like to surprise audiences but have trouble being surprised by what you’re seeing as a fan a lot more nowadays. So, what was the first big movie surprise you remember? And which was the latest… which new film has surprised you the most?
Paco Plaza: My greatest surprise ever was with Army Of Darkness, a film I wasn’t expecting and really loved. Lately, a great Spanish film called Diamond Flash by Carlos Vermut. It is worth having a look at it!
Q. Would you ever consider directing in Hollywood?
Paco Plaza: I’d love to. I’m only waiting for the right project.
Q. Will you ever direct outside of the horror genre?
Paco Plaza: Yes, I’d love to shoot a comedy. [REC]3 is the closest I’ve been to it, and would love to shoot one.
Q. How has the success of the [REC] franchise changed your own life? And has it made it easier to make films? Or brought any pressures in terms of maintaining standards or becoming pigeon-holed?
Paco Plaza: Success only has advantages for a director. Everything is easier after it. [REC] has changed my life and I’m so grateful to the film! Maybe this answer is different 20 years from now, ask me back then!
Q. What can you tell us about your next film, Paris I’ll Kill You? Will it be a combination of horror and romance?
Paco Plaza: I won’t be a part of that film due to schedule overlaps. It’s a pity!
Q. What’s the nicest/craziest thing a [REC] fan has said or done?
Paco Plaza: A Spanish fan tattooed with the logo of the film his forearm. When he showed it to me I thought he was pulling my leg. But he was not.
[REC]3 Genesis will receive its premiere at Frightfest in London on August 24, 2012 and is released in cinemas on Friday, August 31, before making its way onto Blu-ray and DVD on September 3, 2012.