Eli Roth, director of “Hostel” and the man behind the infamous Bear Jew in Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds,” took to Reddit yesterday to speak about his new gory horror film, “The Green Inferno.” Roth has had quite the history of dealing with uncomfortable subject matters, including using intense violence as art, and he had no problem addressing fans and skeptics alike. He kept his insights short and to the point, though that didn’t stop them from getting to the truths behind “Inferno’s” crazy production.
“The Green Inferno” hits select theaters this Friday. Check out some of the highlights from Roth’s Reddit AMA below.
What do you have to say to all those people out there that are so offended by the violence and gore in your movies? You seem to push a lot of buttons.
To quote Crackers in “Pink Flamingos” once again, “Don’t look if you don’t like it.” I don’t make movies for everyone so if it’s not for you, that’s fine. And yeah I’ve had some amazing surprises of people who were fans. Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens were shockers. I guess it’s a reaction to all those years on Disney.
Do you have any crazy stories you can tell us from the set of “The Green Inferno”?
The first day of shooting in the village was the big arrival scene. All the kids were tied up in canoes and we had hundreds of villagers painted and ready to kill. And we have heads on sticks and dead bodies all over. And as I yell action two boats full of Missionaries showed up. They were certain that Satan had come to the village and freaked out.
Then the villagers said, “It’s not Satan, Eli Roth is here making a horror film.” They were so angry I had beaten them they started disrupting the filming by playing music. The village told them to come back when we were done. It was surreal. I of course tried to film it all but the villagers told me I had to back down, that it was a serious situation so we barely have footage of it.
Do you think the animal violence on display in “Cannibal Holocaust” and “Cannibal Ferox” is justified? If not, do you think it can ever be justifiable filmmaking?
You can’t ever justify killing animals on screen. But if you’re going to go after those films you can’t ignore how many horses were killed making all the westerns in the 50’s. Whenever a horse fell they broke its legs and it was shot after. When you see a chimp in a movie, it’s a baby whose family has been killed to get it. So you can attack these movies, but look at all the other films that use animals, none of those animals want to be there. The animals in “Green Inferno” live in the village and were roaming freely.
What would you say were influences for you when making “The Green Inferno”?
“Cannibal Holocaust,” “Cannibal Ferox,” “Mountain of the Cannibal God,” “Emanuelle” and “The Last Cannibals,” and also “Apocalypse Now,” Herzog, even “Apocalypto.”
How did you get cast in “Inglorious Basterds”? Did Quentin Tarantino just give you a call?
Really my scene in “Death Proof” was my audition. And Quentin had come to my passover Seder. He happened to be writing a part for a Boston Jew and my voice got stuck in his head. But you’d have to ask Quentin. He basically cast me and then acted like I knew I had been cast. I was so psyched, I wanted to reinvent myself in every way. I learned so much as a director by acting under Quentin alongside that amazing cast. Experience of a lifetime.
When is production scheduled to start on “Meg,” and is the rumors of over a $100 million budget true? When can we expect a trailer for “Lake Mead”? Will this be released theatrically or go the VOD/limited release route?
“Lake Mead” – still in post, we’re excited to show distributors. “Meg” – yes, it’s a monster budget movie and I could not be more excited to spend all that money on a giant shark eating people like Ms. Pac Man.
Do you feel that there is a line that no one should cross in film/art? If so, where do you draw the line?
Art is art, I don’t even know if it exists, but you shouldn’t ever have to really hurt anyone or anything to make your point.