Exclusive: And Soon the Darkness’ Marcos Effron

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On directing the thriller with Yustman & Heard

A bike trip through Argentina becomes a nightmare for two young women, played by Odette Yustman and Amber Heard, in And Soon the Darkness, a late comer to the 2010 genre slate. Anchor Bay releases the thriller – a remake of Robert (The Abominable Dr. Phibes) Fuest’s 1970 film – on DVD and Blu-Ray December 28 and Shock Till You Drop spoke with feature film newcomer director Marcos Effron about his take on the material.

Shock Till You Drop: The argument supporting remakes these days for studios is name value. Give the audience a title they recognize. And Soon the Darkness is an out of the norm choice…

Marcos Effron: I had a And Soon the Darkness lunchbox, didn’t everybody? [laughs] A couple of years before I got involved, Karen Lauder, our producer on the film, identified the film with a few of the other producers that it was something they’d like to remake. I had never even heard of the film until my agent told me they had this project and were looking for a filmmaker to breathe some life into it. I saw the original and thought it was very atmospheric and it wasn’t gory. It had a charm to it. I wish I could say it was my idea to remake, but I came on later in the process. Jennifer Derwingson had written a screenplay about a year or so before my involvement and that was the one I was operating off of. I took a crack at it and we share credit on the script.

Shock: You have Odette and Amber, both stunning. At any time before shooting did you try flip-flopping their roles?

Effron: When I was envisioning the movie, I saw the character Stephanie as the brunette, the more serious one, and Ellie was the crazy blond girl. We switch that around now. Stephanie is the blond. And if you get to know Amber and Odette, the first time I met them together I thought they were such good actresses because they were playing opposite of who they really are. It worked out well.

Shock: The writing process, I see the core of the original is there, but this story explores a few different avenues the reason behind Stephanie’s disappearance. Did you try on a few different scenarios before settling into this one?

Effron: Yeah, but the mandate going in was that I didn’t want to make torture porn or an ultra gory film. I wanted to go more PG-13, but some of the violence in the film got it an R. The writing process for me was coming up with a take and convincing the producers to send me to Argentina for a month and do the research. Find the locations and the people. Make the landscape and people a big part of the story as well.

Shock: Speaking of locale, you reveal a terrific location in the third act. Where is that? And what are we looking at?

Effron: When I was thinking the third act and where it was going to go, I thought you always want to keep the audience on their toes and not let them settle into a comfort zone with what they’ve been watching, my father is Argentinean and I told him I was looking for a dry lake bed or something like the Salton Sea. Otherworldly. And what he told me about is what we’ve got on film. That location is about a six hour drive from Buenos Aires and we didn’t have to do anything to it. It was a resort and there was a flooding of salt water, then the waters receded so everything has this white sheen to it.

Shock: With the DVD finally coming out, what do you have going on next?

Effron: I have a few projects in various stages. I have this amazing book at Sony that I’m working on with a producer over there. It’s an adaptation of a young adult novel from England. Logan’s Run meets 1984 and hopefully in a year we’ll get that set up. I just finished the script. It’s not officially set up yet but it’s something I’m excited about.

For images and a trailer from the film, visit our database.

Source: Ryan Turek, Managing Editor