Eli Roth: bold new voice in genre film or an overrated, exploitative hack? Well, that depends on who you ask but there is no denying that the filmmaker is a force in the industry. Of course, as a director he’s got “Cabin Fever” and the “Hostel” films under his belt, and he’s been making waves as a producer as well, throwing his weight behind last year’s no budget horror flick “The Last Exorcism,” RZA‘s upcoming “The Man with the Iron Fists” and the fake-movie-trailer-turned-movie “Clown.” And while he directed the “Nation’s Pride” segment in “Inglourious Basterds“, it’s been been five long years since “Hostel: Part II” but he’s keeping his eyes on the prize as his next full length feature is looking to be one he’s been talking up for a while.
Speaking with Screen Daily, Roth says he still wants to make his long-gestating sci-fi apocalypse film “Endangered Species” his next movie, pegging the budget at a modest $40-60 million. First revealed in the spring of 2009, the film is described as being in the vein of “Transformers” or “Cloverfield,” saying at the time that the source of the destruction that will rain down upon the Earth, “is not aliens or robots or a virus — it’s a little more grounded. But when people hear it they are going to be like ‘That is going to be insane!’.”
As he told Capone at AICN last year, when he also stressed this would likely be his next movie, “[‘Endangered Species’] is a tricky film; it’s going to be an expensive movie, so any changes I want to make, I want to make them on the page as opposed to shooting and then re-shooting or fixing them in editing. It’s not like I can just shoot and shoot and figure it out later; this thing has to be mapped out very, very carefully.”
Say what you will about Roth, but this certainly sounds like something that is a new direction for the director, and one that will require greater care and focus than any of his works so far and while we may not be fans, we’re definitely intrigued. But while we wait for that film to get moving, Roth is still busy producing and one effort on his slate is “Aftershock,” a high-octane horror-thriller set during the aftermath of the February 27, 2010 Chilean earthquake that claimed more than 480 lives and registered an 8.8 on the Richter scale. First announced last fall, details have been guarded, but the script has been written by Roth alongside Latin-American filmmakers Nicolás López and Guillermo Amoedo (López is directing), and they will be aiming for something along the lines of the intensity of “[Rec].”
“It is basically set in the aftermath of the Chilean earthquake. That (the idea) came from him (Lopez) describing to me what the hours were like immediately following the earthquake,” Roth tells Screen Daily. “Everybody is on Facebook, everybody is on Twitter, everything is hi-tech. Then, within seconds, it’s like the Stone Age. There’s no electricity, no phones. There are fires. Criminals are out of the prisons and there are no police. You don’t know what the hell is going on.”
Sounds like a pretty primal disaster movie, so again, we’re curious. “Aftershock” will shoot this fall. And oh yeah, Roth is also looking to solve film piracy, claiming “Hostel 2” was downloaded 2 million times destroying its box office take. His solution? Raise movie ticket prices so that the cost will include a free digital download of the movie.
“30 days from the film’s release, you get a link sent to your phone and you get a pristine copy. You’ll already have paid for it (the download) with your ticket. You won’t to have to save the ticket. The code will go into whatever your account is with that movie theater chain,” Roth explains about his proposed plan that seems to forget that if someone sees a movie they don’t like, they may not want that digital download. Stick with making movies Roth.