|Eric Bress & Jonathan Mackye Gruber - The Butterfly Effect|
by Robert Oppel
IFQ meets up with the minds behind The Butterfly Effect and Final Destination 2, writer Eric Bress and director Jonathan Mackye Gruber.
IFQ: Your first film Blunt premiered at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival. How did you get that film off the ground?
Eric Bress & Jonathan Mackye Gruber: It took us ten years. We brought money in from different areas. The film never sold, but we learned so much from diving in and making it. We were actually writing The Butterfly Effect at the same time. It was interesting starting out as comedy writers but we both agreed, "We gotta broaden the palette." Blunt was more important than any film school.
IFQ: Did you attend film school?
We attended USC; they gave us free permits for the film. We kind of made it [the film] whatever we needed it to be in order to get a permit.
IFQ: How did the film go over?
Miramax and Searchlight weren't interested. It did win "Best Comedy" at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival.
IFQ: How did The Butterfly Effect get picked up?
We actually wrote it in 1995. We had three failed production attempts. Everyone was afraid to touch it, in fear of it not being commercial. New Line stepped up and said, "Let's meet the twisted fucks who wrote this." Then New Line wanted people to be scared and asked us to write Final Destination 2.
IFQ: That movie had some of the coolest death scenes I've ever seen. Have you always written together?
We have written together for 10 years, so we knew each other pretty well. We argue a lot, but we bring our arguments out and one usually has some weight over the other. Even if one of us leaves the room, we'll still yell back and forth. The first time we made money with our writing was six years into it.
IFQ: Who are your influences?
Obviously, [Quentin] Tarantino. We are big fans of [Stanley] Kubrick and the Cohen brothers. Basically, our influences are any filmmakers that keep reinventing themselves.
IFQ: Kind of like how you started with comedy and moved into the supernatural. What can we expect from The Butterfly Effect DVD?
We definitely took advantage of the commentaries and New Line hooked it up with "InfiniFilm" just like the Final Destination 2 DVD. We have the original ending included, which is one of the darkest endings you'll ever see in a movie. It wasn't going to sell popcorn, so we had a theatrical ending as well. Even though it wasn't the original ending, it was cinematically exactly what we wanted.
IFQ: Which was what?
We wanted to drain the audience.
IFQ: Sounds powerful. What advice would you give to writers and directors who are keeping up the fight?
We've had so many ass-fuckings that it's kind of calloused our rectums. We're not making show-art. We're making show-biz. Learn how to play by the rules before you break them. Train yourself. Everything will be easier and then you can work with them [major studios]. Then you can test how far you can push it. Pick and choose your battles.by Robert Oppel
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