The co-writer and director of Don’t Breathe has great advice for our future generation of storytellers, “The one that I truly believe in is that, if you are a director or a writer and that’s what to want to do you should never wait for someone to allow you to do that.” After Alvaraz’s 2009 short Panic Attack went viral he gained more notoriety after co-writing and directing the 2013 reboot Evil Dead. “I think these days you can tell a story with a phone and really start shooting stuff and I think as a director you get better by doing. Like you do one, you do another short, you do another short, you get better.” His films even got people at Marvel talking about potentially directing one of their upcoming features. Alzaraz, not to keen on the idea at this time states, “I won’t say the film but what is true is that I just I decided not to go that route.”
Screen Rant caught up with writer/director Fede Alvaraz at the films L.A. press day to discuss possible pre-production plans for Panic Attack, the blind man, and advice to those aspiring writers and directors in the industry.
My first question for you is why did Stephen Lang’s character, “The Blind Man,” not have an official name?
Fede: (Laughs) He does, he does. You want to know it?
Fede: You’re actually the only person that asked that. Actually his name, and you can see it on his jacket when you see a photo of him in his military uniform you can read it, it was Nordstorm was his last name, and I think Norman was his actually his first name.
NORMAN NORDSTORM?! FEDE!
Fede: Kind of a hard name to say, to pronounce, but yes that’s his name but he’s never named in the movie so I think it was a more iconic way to refer to him as The Blind Man.”
I agree which is why I asked. My next question is, for the next generation of storyteller’s, what is your best piece of advice that you can give to aspiring directors/ screenplay writers?
Fede: The one that I truly believe in is that, if you are a director or a writer and that’s what to want to do you should never wait for someone to allow you to do that. Because this is such an expensive trade in a way, like it cost money to make movies that people will tend to think I got to wait until a producer will allow me to do it, and give me money or something. And I don’t think you should do that, I think these days you can tell a story with a phone and really start shooting stuff and I think as a director you get better by doing. Like you do one, you do another short, you do another short, you get better.
And there’s no reason really these days to need all the lights and the craft, you don’t need that. Good stories are not about all that, good stories are about you know, good drama and a story of human story that you can understand. And I think those things you can do that with a phone these days honestly and a cheap computer, you will have story, right. And if you’re really passionate about it, that’s all you need. Eventually if you do it great, some people will come and say why don’t you use some lights, and you go oh I can use that. That was my experience I was just doing it with what I had and people were just telling me more things to do it, and more resources and that’s how it naturally should happen. So never wait for never you know depend on people just allowing you to do it, just go and do it.
I love it. So your short film Panic Attack put you on the map, can your fans expect a full feature Panic Attack coming soon, is it in pre-production what can you tell me?
FEDE: We started developing a version of that at some point actually with Sam Raimi and its still there and every time I finish a movie like probably about this time, I always look back and I go back and say maybe we should make that movie now? It’s not exactly like the short but yeah it will be like a big sci-fi alien invasion movie, like a little bit like Panic Attack. Someday.
I’m looking forward to that by the way. And is it true that, and I, I should say as an audience member I respect the fact that you need a certain amount of creative liberty, but to set the record straight, is it true that you turned down a film from Marvel? And if you did was it Doctor Strange?
FEDE: (Laughs) I won’t say the film but what is true is that I just I decided not to go that route. Like usually those things start with the studio wanting to talk with you about one of their movies and if you say yes I want to go to the meeting you’re already kind of implying that you want to do it and I tried really not to go and not to take on those things because I really want to make films where I can really put my imprint in them and I think directors that make those films are amazing and they’re great and they have made amazing movies but its sometimes hard for me to really describe the style of each one of those directors that have made those Marvel movies because I think the Marvel movie really takes over, right. So I see, I try to make it more personal in films. That are really talking about my fears and anxieties in my stories and I try to write them myself so, I don’t think that’s for me right now. Maybe, eventually, someday. But right now I just prefer to create more original stuff and new stuff and there’s a lot of great directors taking care of that so they don’t need me right now I’m sure.
Well for somebody who loves thrillers and horror and who does have anxiety, thank you because that film was awesome!
Don’t Breathe opens in U.S. theaters August 26, 2016.