Saturday, July 3, 2010

Grimm Love Interview With TS Faull

A few weeks back you may remember me posting about an amazing film that I watched, called Grimm Love. I was really, really blown away by this movie, especially the delicate way the relationship of it's two main characters was handled. It's horrific without using the usual horror clich├ęs, opting instead for genuine emotion and realism.


Twitter is truly a magical thing. Not long after I posted about how fantastic Grimm Love was I noticed this tweet from Grimm Love's writer, TS Faull:

"So - you search for tweets about your movie & end up finding cool new music. Check this out:http://theghostandthegrace.com/"

How incredibly flattering! Me and TS have been talking back and forth online, and a few days ago I asked if I could do an interview about the writing of Grimm Love. I was prompted to do this for a few reasons. First of all, as a viewer, and a follew artist, I am genuinely very interested in some of the great creative choices made in this script. Second, Grimm Love is currently involved in something called the Fangoria Fright Fest and it needs your help to see a theatrical release. Details of how you can do this are posted in the interview below, and it's well worth it because if there is one thing the world needs, it's good, thoughtful horror in theaters.

So without further ado, my interview with Grimm Love writer, TS Faull.

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Q: I remember first hearing about the Armin Meiwes murder and being fascinated by the way that everything came together between these two people. What was it about this particular story that made you decide to write a script based on it?

A: I read about the Meiwes case on the internet when it first happened. A couple of years later, my manager called me and told me that a production company was making a movie about the case. They needed a script - and that's when I came aboard. Like Katie in the movie, I'm drawn to dark things, sometimes to an obsessive degree, and I wanted to get into the heads of these men and figure out what drove them to this act.


Q: From what I already know about those events, your script seemed to portray the way things took place quite accurately. What was the research process like for you? Also, how much of the story, as you know it, was altered for your retelling?

A: The movie is largely accurate, which is why it was banned in Germany for a few years. Armin Meiwes sued the production, claiming that we didn't have a right to make a movie inspired by his story. I did most of my research on the internet, but I also had access to court documents. I did fictionalize the story to a certain extent. My characters are named Oliver Hartwin (the cannibal) and Simon Grombeck (the volunteer). Katie is a purely fictional construct. But I feel the movie is extremely true to the case, overall.


Q: I was struck by the way you scripted the intimate moments between these two men. They have only just met, but because of the parallels between their secret desires, they interact like lovers who have known each other forever. How did you decide to craft the dialog of their relationship that way? Was it difficult to find a realistic balance of hesitation and relief at finally finding a partner?

A: This relationship was so unusual and unique, scripting their night together really required nuance. I relied on Meiwes' account of the evening, as well as emails the two exchanged, and drew dialogue from that. Some lines people consider outrageous were things they actually said to each other! There was even more dialogue between them in the script that didn't make it into the movie, but I think the movie really captures the awkwardness, intimacy, and gravity of their meeting.


Q: The film really moved me because you were able to retain (the Armin character’s) humanity despite the terrible things he did. It’s almost like the horrific part is the audience realizing that they empathize with someone who could have easily been portrayed as a villain. What did you do to keep the humanity in his character?

A: For me, Oliver (the Armin character) was never a villain. He was an extremely isolated, lonely, socially awkward man who felt he'd been abandoned in his youth. He wanted someone who would never leave him, who would stay with him forever, and he believed if he ate someone, he could achieve eternal togetherness with that person. He only wanted to eat someone who volunteered, who wanted to be with him in this way. There's even a scene - and this really happened - where a man comes over, Oliver is going to slaughter him, and then he realizes that the man is just role-playing, he doesn't really want to die. And Oliver lets him go. I never lost sight of his humanity and never viewed him as a monster.


Q: There are essentially two storylines going on throughout the movie, the one between the two characters in the past, and the one in the present with Katie, (played by Keri Russell), researching the case. How did you decide to tell the story in this way?

A: I felt that this movie needed a female presence - not to appease straight viewers, but creatively and artistically this is what I felt the story needed. I also wanted to have a character to serve as the audience's avatar - someone who's curious about this case like we are, who could lead us into the story. Katie serves that function in the movie and I think it works.

My script didn't have the narration that you hear in the movie. That was added in post-production because many of Katie's scenes were cut. I think the producers wanted to keep the focus on the men, with Katie as a sort of tour guide. I like that, I do think it works, but I was trying to achieve something more with Katie. She had a boyfriend in a longer cut, played by Nikolai Kinski (Klaus' son! I was so happy when he was cast). I viewed Katie as self-destructive. She has a dark side this case brings out in her, and she puts herself in jeopardy. Some of these scenes were cut out of the script just before filming and never shot, which is why nothing more happens with Katie and the cannibal message board. And other scenes didn't make the final cut. It's the nature of filmmaking. There is a fuller version of Katie's story in the director's cut. I haven't even seen this cut, but maybe one day - if there's enough interest - a director's cut will make its way to DVD.


Q: Grimm Love is one of the eight movies currently in the running for Fangoria Frightfest. The movie with the best vote is going to see a theatrical release. How did you get involved in this and what can people do who are interested in getting involved?

A: I'm thrilled to be part of Fangoria Fright Fest. As a kid, I read Fangoria all the time. Fangoria has partnered with Lightning Media to release eight horror films - including GRIMM LOVE - on DVD. One of those films will get a theatrical release in late July, prior to the DVD release. So - people who want to see GRIMM LOVE on the big screen can go to www.fangoriafrightfest.com and rate GRIMM's trailer highly - five skulls. The trailer with the highest rating will get a theatrical release. Voting has already started and ends July 19. Spread the word, get your friends to vote. All support is appreciated.


Q: What can you reveal about the upcoming projects you are working on? Do you plan on staying in the horror realm?

A: I'm a huge horror fan. It's really hard to get an original horror film made right now, but yes, horror is my favorite genre and I love horror movies and thrillers and want to make those kinds of movies. Right now I'm working on a crime thriller - it's Hitchcockian but also has an Altman/PT Anderson vibe, with its focus on an ensemble cast of characters. There's a very cool director involved but I can't announce anything yet. I also have a horror script I wrote that I'd love to direct. It's structurally like PSYCHO but the characters are mostly women, so in that sense it's like THE DESCENT. It's a supernatural horror movie and I'd like to try to get that going in the next year or so.

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Huge thank you to TS for the interview! If you like your tweets about Bravo!, True Blood and horror (Yes, yes, and yes) then follow TS on twitter right here and don't forget to vote for Grimm Love in this years Fangoria Fright Fest!

1 comment:

Jack said...

I’m trying to consider if I should do the free trial on Netflix or not. I saw that the Frightfest film were on Amazon and Best Buy for purchase on Sept. 28th, but I’m looking to rent them if Netflix has them.