On the Movie's Appeal to Fans of the Game
Published Friday, April 21, 2006
Now that the film is opening, do you believe that this movie will truly satisfy fans of the game? If the movie is successful, what will your plans be? Any chance of a sequel?
- Rob L
It is very difficult for me to be objective and to say that this movie will satisfy every fan of Silent Hill. I know a few fans who have seen the film and I have listened carefully to their comments. I think overall we have been very respectful and that fans will not be disappointed. Silent Hill fans want a movie that they can respect and a film that generates conversation and an exchange of ideas. I want the movie to reinforce the cult and intelligence that surrounds the game.
If the film is successful in the eyes of the fans then I will be happy to make a sequel. If the fans aren't happy with my adaptation then it will be difficult for me to tackle a second one.
I approached this film not as a Fanboy but as a director knowing I had a story to tell in 2 hours. To do this well I had to sacrifice key elements in the game. But there are plenty of moments and characters, and so much more of the saga, that I would love the opportunity to explore.
The process of the cinema is that you create a tribe of people. Actors, technicians and artists. They have all put their energy and talents into this picture and I respect them greatly. I want to return with them all to continue our journey through the world of Silent Hill.
On Casting the Movie
Published Friday, April 21, 2006
Greetings from cold Finland! My question is about the casting: SH's cast just about the finest, most visually consistent with the original I've ever seen in a movie based on a comic book, game, or any other source. For example, Laurie Holden is a dead ringer for Cybil. She looks like she was born for the role! How did you manage this? Was there an audition, or were the actors and actresses specifically hand-picked for their roles? If so nice picking! Very enthusiastically (and impatiently) waiting for the movie! Wonderful job, kudos!
- Nonnu P
I didn't try and cast according to the physical type. I prefer to focus on the quality of the actor and how this quality relates to some part of the game. Cybil has an organic quality that I identified in Laurie. When I first saw Laurie she looked nothing like Cybil but I knew she would be perfect because of the way she naturally moves, her inner strength and beauty. When I am writing I have a really good idea of the type of actors I want. My main auditioning technique is actually watching movies. I didn't have to audition any of the cast in Silent Hill. I knew all of them very well through their body of work.
On Translating the Pace and Rhythm of the Game to the Film
Published Thursday, April 20, 2006
I am curious as to how you manage to translate the pacing of the game into the film? In Silent Hill 2, for example, we go from an apartment building to a hospital, prison, and hotel (and that doesn't include the whole town in between). In a game world, however, we are free to take our time and aren't restricted to a 2-hour running time.
- Nick G
A very good question. The idea of the game of course is that you are lost and you must find your way. Then you are given tools like the map to help you. You are constantly referencing the map to work out where you are. I think we succeeded in finding a nice alternative for Rose to work her way through the town of Silent Hill without a map. We had to find an equivalent logic for telling the story. The complexities and the richness of the narrative set the pace. If we had gone too fast it would have been anti-Silent Hill.
Another important factor that we were conscious of in establishing the rhythm for the film is the sound. In the game it isn't just a matter of speed or movement. I think the very specific pace of the game comes from the sound. The sound and the silence. When I play the game I am sitting in the dark wearing headphones. The tempo is heavily influenced by the amazing work of Akira Yamaoka's sound design. With luck he was able to collaborate with us on our movie. I don't think you will be disappointed.
On Interpreting Silent Hill's Monsters and Preserving the Atmospheric Quality of the Game
Published Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Hi, there. A lot of Silent Hill game fans have wondered about the nature of the monsters. Are they people turned into monsters or just manifestations of the character's mind? Will the movie answer this question or will it keep the mystery about the creatures that we all find so freaky?
- Rebecca M
I think that every interpretation is possible. The easiest and most basic explanation of course is that the monsters are victims of the vengeance of Alessa. Grotesque figures of doomed people. People in hell. Another explanation is that they are hallucinations. Monsters coming from the psyche of the protagonists. eg: The Mumblers, small child like creatures ( that we call the Greychildren in the movie,) Harry Mason meets them as does Rose as they search for their little girls. They are not only the twisted figures that inhabit Silent Hill but the reflections of the fear and anxiety of these desperate parents.
The only concrete exception I have made in revealing the origins of a creature is a new monster we created called the Janitor. We see him as a human being (in the past), we see him dead (in the foggy world) and we see him as a monster (in the darkness.) This is one of the explanations of our work. I have said many times Silent Hill is a place where dimensions cross and you can exist in different manifestations. The Janitor is a great example of this concept.
For Rose, did you purposely not give her any weapons to add even more to the terrifying atmosphere of the film? It is rather realistic that she wouldn't be running around the film toting a shotgun at every little thing.
- Richard E
Everyone knows that Silent Hill is not an action game. It is an atmosphere game, a psychological game. I love that in the game you can find a gun but you can only find a few bullets and we have respected this convention in the film too. As soon as you put a character with a gun next to a monster it means that the monster is an enemy. Something evil that must be slaughtered. That, for me, kills their identity and reduces them to a one-dimensional threat. The monsters of Silent Hill have a unique quality because characters can't just shoot them dead. This makes them more complex and much more disturbing.
On The Red Pyramid, Carol Spier as Production Designer, and Exploring Society in Horror Films
Published Thursday, April 6, 2006
Mr. Gans: A lot of people feel that it doesn't make sense for the Red Pyramid to be in the film because he was a delusion specifically for James. While I think it makes perfect sense, can you shed some light on the subject so that peace may finally be restored to all the Silent Hill forums of the world?
- Jared S
Akira Yamaoka and I agree that Red P is not just a creation of James. Saying that Red Pyramid was solely conceived by James in Silent Hill 2 is just one of the explanations for his existence. James is just one point of view. Another perspective is to remember that Silent Hill existed before James and that Red P was one of the executioners in the original history of the town. So clearly, there is not one particular or exclusive manifestation of him as an entity.
My version of the Red P was adapted from the perspective of the female characters. I felt it important that their psyche influence his shape, dress and physicality.
Christophe, I am a design student and am really interested in why you chose Carol Spier as your Production Designer? Having to successfully recreate the environment of Silent Hill must have been one of your biggest challenges.
The Design and Environment are massively important in my movies. This is especially true in Silent Hill. I chose Carol Spier to be my production designer for her female perspective and because she is one of the Top 5 production designers in the world. How can you accurately represent the essence of the world of Silent Hill without leaning towards a female perspective? I really wanted to have a feminine eye to collaborate with because Silent Hill is really a matriarchal world. And as the production designer for David Cronenberg, she gives an intelligent edge that this film genre demands.
In the Silent Hill games, there were always issues and problems of modern society explored, which is a big part of what made the games so shocking, above and beyond the obvious terror and will to survive. My question is: Will this movie contain this element and subtly exploring such global problems or issues through the stories of the characters?
- Vasia T
It is the responsibility of every horror movie to ask questions about society. I think that is the purpose of the genre. Horror movies always appear when there is crisis in a society because it is a reflection of our fear.
The horror films that I consider to be the most important always contain a very strong statement about society, most of them can be considered even as political films. Many of these great genre films were from the 70's, directed by the likes of George Romero, John Carpenter, David Cronenberg. They are not only important artistic achievements but also tackle difficult social issues that make us deal with our own fear.
For me, it was obvious that if I was going to successfully represent the fear that is inherent in the world of Silent Hill, I would have to deal with the fears that are present in our modern world. Every gamer knows that the terror in Silent Hill is not something that is easy to pin point. It is a combination of internal and external fear. When we were working on the script we knew that we weren't making just an illustration of the game but had to capture the complex elements that make the game so shocking.
On Making the Film I Want To Make, West Virginia as the Setting, and Costuming the Monsters
Published Monday, April 3, 2006
Just to let you know that I am back after an immensely absorbing few weeks of editing, mixing and grading the film.
I have read that Silent Hill fans are worried that I have not been able to make the film that I wanted to make due to restrictions imposed by MPAA and the studio. Just to clarify that the film you will see is the Directors cut and has not been compromised in length or content. Throughout the entire process of making Silent Hill, I have been overwhelmed by the generosity and trust extended to me by the team at TriStar Pictures. It is very exciting to work with people who are as concerned and respectful about successfully depicting the world of Silent Hill as I am.
The only person who is disappointed that it is my cut is the guy doing the DVD.
What made you choose West Virginia as the backdrop to the movie?
- Lee S
Roger Avary was doing some research on abandoned towns, and discovered the story of Centralia, in Pennsylvania, where an underground coal deposit had caught fire and is now slowly burning out of control, filling the town with noxious gasses and causing havoc and destruction.
Centralia seemed like the perfect real-world version of Silent Hill. While we had no intention of keeping the "Centralia" name, we used the town and its history as the basis for our 'real world' Silent Hill, changing the state to West Virginia for legal reasons.
The trivia on IMDb.com says that little computer animation was used for this movie, and many of the monsters are people in latex costumes. I appreciate your deviation from the common way of making movies, but what would make the costume usage better or scarier than computer animation?
- Vince G
In a complex movie like Silent Hill, where you deal with different dimensions, rules and realities, I think it is too much to ask an actor to imagine an encounter with such strange monsters. As in the game, we were constantly putting the characters into confined and intimate situations with the creatures and needed their reactions and interactions to be real. If we just used CG, I think we would have lost that feeling of promiscuity that comes from the direct physical relationship between the characters and the monsters. From the very beginning, Patrick Tatopoulos and I loved the idea of putting the actor and creature in the same shot.
I come from the action film genre where I am used to working with choreographers, acrobats and dancers so I am very comfortable collaborating with these physical artists. Each individual performer offered a unique interpretation of the creatures' physical world. In Silent Hill the creatures are living sculptures - bizarre, grotesque components of humanity. Having real people as the monsters enabled us to breathe life into them. Of course I refined certain movements and their look with CG. It was a perfect blend of techniques.