The writers and director talk about their upcoming horror film
After talking to some of the cast of the film, Stay Alive, I really wanted to get an inside look by talking to the people who created it. I was able to speak with Brent Bell and Matt Peterman, the writers of the script; Brent also directs the film.
The film is based on an ancient legend that when a certain video game is played, your life depends on how you do in the game. So, if you die in the game, you die in real life
I started out by letting them know I was doing the interview in my car in the parking lot of a hotel. They joked, by saying 'At least you're in your car and not doing anything bad.' It was a great way to start an interview, maybe lighted the mood.
This is Matt's first film he's written, but something he's been working on for a long time. He's a huge video game fan and really took everything he knew from playing and put it into this script. "Everyone wonders if they could really play these games for real; everyone wonders if they could manage or coach a football team after playing Madden. We wanted to add everything from when we were kids."
Brent added "We even used games from today as inspiration. We'd be playing games as we wrote the script.
I added, 'And I'm sure the Xbox 360 was a write off.'
They both laughed; Brent made sure I was right. "Yep, a nice 300 dollar write off." Matt said, "But we did have games on set for the cast and crew. Everyone had a blast."
Because Stay Alive was originally an independent film, they shot it in New Orleans in 25 days. For the cast and crew, there was really no time to joke around. Brent told me "We worked all day long, we didn't have time to breathe or sleep. When you shoot a movie in 25 days, you only have that time to work."
But there's always time for fun, after all they were in New Orleans. "Oh yeah, there was a party every night," Matt said; "Someone was going out." They definitely had fun while they were down there.
Choosing the right cast was a very hard thing. They basically wanted people who you wouldn't think would be in horror films, such as Frankie Muniz. Brent made it clear that "We wanted actors to go above and beyond what they think they can do. When we contacted Frankie, he was excited to do something like this and shed that image people know him as." Matt said "When he got on set, he was ready for anything! The whole cast was; when we were choosing these actors, we knew we had to pick the right cast to mesh well. And they certainly did; they really bonded well and turned out a great movie."
A funny thing happened with Matt and Brent met up in Los Angeles; they discovered they were both from the same home town of Lexington, Kentucky, a fact that they wish they would have known while they were there.
Both horror fans as well, Brent and Matt really played up the fact that this was one of the scariest things they have written. Brent mentioned "We threw ideas back and forth and tried to freak out each other."
The special effects really make an impact in this film; you're really brought into the video game yourself. It was put into the hands of Wonderlens to make sure the film looked perfect. "They were on the set from the start," Matt said. "We really worked very closely with them from beginning to end." And believe me, it truly looks real
Right now, both Matt and Brent are working on another horror script together, also video game based. They told me it's as scary or even scarier than Stay Alive; look for that sometime next year.
You can check out Stay Alive in theaters March 24th; it's rated PG-13. Along with Frankie Muniz, the film stars One Tree Hill's Sophia Bush, Jimmi Simpson, Adam Goldberg, Jon Foster, and James Haven.