One Week Before Shooting
our behind-the-scenes look...
Maybe you've noticed that we've got a lot of stuff on this
upcoming film Jekyll. Yes, it's the intention of Fanboy Planet
to run frequent updates about putting together a modestly
budgeted horror film. To accomplish that, we'll be checking
in with the writer-director-producer Scott Zakarin and anybody
else who will talk to us about the process.
a week before the filming commences, the staff of Creative
Light Entertainment still has a lot to do. Thankfully, casting
is finished, with an announcement to come sometime later today.
Scott called to let us know where things stand.
When I was down in December, you guys were knee-deep in location
scouting. Have you finished that, and are you satisfied with
what you've got?
Zakarin: We are a week away from principal photography.
We still don't have 25 percent of our locations. It's four
major locations, and lots of little ones. It's going okay;
it's scary, though. Sometimes you end up not finding a location
until you're shooting.
this very short shoot, so we really need to hype it up. All
day Saturday I'll be looking at mansions for a location. And
eventually, I have to pick a mansion.
How much time do you have for that? Is that something you
can push to the end of the shoot?
No, we've got to get this thing done. We need to get everything
by the day that we shoot. I was just suggesting (to the
staff) that it could go outside of that, but it's
tough. It's really tough.
have a lot of money, it's easier. If you don't care what it
looks like, it's easier. But if you want it to look right
for the character, for the movie, you want it to be photographically
pleasing and functional, it takes work. We've got to negotiate
and find those little diamonds in the rough.
What is the budget for Jekyll?
I'm not telling you. I wouldn't say it's low-budget, though;
it's modestly budgeted.
Who determined that? A few weeks ago, certain actors were
circling the script, and a comment made to me was that if
these people signed, this would shoot the budget way up. So
how did you reach the final budget?
You look at the script. I wrote this script knowing that it
would be modestly budgeted, but I also wanted to really make
sure that we explored certain things to the fullest.
effects are a big part of what goes into it. Getting the right
cast is important. But as far as who decides it, in the case
of Jekyll, it's somewhat of a business decision. It's
budgeted based on what we think we can make back. Being an
international sales company, we have a pretty good sense of
movie turns out okay, we know what we can make on it. If it's
great, then the sky's the limit. Especially since it's more
Are you serving as writer-director, or do you also have producer
in your title?
I am a producer as well.
Eric Mittleman tried
to explain to me the difference between Executive Producer,
regular Producer and Line Producer. Heck, I don't know what
a Line Producer is versus a regular Producer.
It used to be a Production Manager. Now sometimes they have
Line Producers and Production Managers. But ultimately, what
it is is people who are dealing with everything that happens
below the line of the movie.
the line is director, stars, and maybe a big rights purchase,
things like that. In the case of Jekyll, above the
line is your producers, script, things like that.
So you're a straightforward Producer.
Bunny from Hell:
In-house, or outsourced?
It varies. Everything is negotiation. I think of the Producers
as the people who put together the movie, then see it through
and take ultimate responsibility. I know that, in my job,
the buck stops here. If the movie stinks, it's my fault.
wonderful people around me, so the only place I can look for
fault is myself.
Last month, all the effects were being planned in-house. Is
that still the case?
We're doing most of in-house. For some of the practical effects,
some of the things you actually see that aren't computer-related,
are being done out of house. We have a terrific company, Abomination.
young, inventive guys who are using this as somewhat of a
showcase, and I think the work they're doing is fantastic.
as the computer graphics, we're doing that in-house with Evan,
Daniel (DeFabio) and Mark
Teague, our production designer.
Let's talk a little bit about casting. The official announcement
comes this week. What were some of the challenges you faced
in casting this film?
In order to make Jekyll and Hyde work, you need an incredibly
versatile actor who can also carry a film. You need a leading
man with the versatility of a character actor. That was the
real challenge. There were some wonderful actors who came
in for it.
I found somebody who I believe is a total find. Once people
see what he does in this movie, he's going to be bigger than
of the challenges, there are a bunch of roles that are very
unique and specific. Not necessarily what somebody looks like;
that's not what makes them specific, but what they carry on
the inside. Can they handle the combination of drama and humor
that the movie requires?
couple of roles, there's nudity issues. Often times, and in
this case, you're dealing with actresses who have issues with
it. The actors always seem to have less issues. I don't know
what that phenomenon is. Men don't seem to mind it, even though
commercially, women's nudity is at a much higher premium.
I understand that one of those issues came up over the role
of the stripper that Hyde seduces. And in the auditions, they
were reading a scene that was, basically, a lapdance.
Knowing what they were auditioning for. And generally, people
were not uncomfortable with the process. They seemed to enjoy
us, and had a good time. But when push comes to shove, "now
I have to let it all hang out there," then it becomes a little
we had a couple of stumbling blocks in trying to cast one
of the main roles, the character of Christy. It's a fantastic,
full-blown character. Ingrid Bergman played that character
in the Spencer Tracy version. I guess I should really say
character archetype (since Jekyll is an update of
didn't ask Ingrid Bergman to do nudity. If they had,
we wouldn't have seen Ingrid Bergman in the part.
still there are those
who would kill for such a thing.
tell you that the gal who is playing her is fantastic, the
best choice I could have ever asked for. She gives me the
performance, the acting style, the dancing, everything. She
does not have an issue with it.
Has casting been the greatest challenge of the pre-production
process for you?
No. It's been very interesting, just to meet all these wonderful
people. To see how they're putting it all on the line. Seeing
who's nervous, who's confident, how they come into a room.
You know who's desperate and who knows that they're a prize.
Seeing the different takes is always very interesting.
who is playing Jekyll actually came in for the last two, to
help cast the leading ladies. He came in and read with all
of them. Doing one scene after another, to see all the different
takes that he would get on the same dialogue, and how it affected
his performance, was also very interesting.
wouldn't say it's frustrating. Actually, I'm loving this process.
It's very thorough. My casting director, Bruce (Newberg) is
just great. His reputation with talent has really helped us
get an extremely high-caliber of actor.
a lot of wonderful people who I hope to be working with in
the future, if not on this film.
Had you worked with him before? He was just recently announced
as officially V.P. of Casting for Creative Light. (Obsessive
Fanboy Note: Newberg did the casting for the film adaptation
This is our first film together. But we did several meetings
to find out that we were a good fit. Bruce actually grew up
in a town that was right next to the town I grew up in, on
Long Island. Not that we knew each other, but it sort of gave
us a connection.
Okay, just ran out of tape. So quickly, how do you feel about
where you're heading on the film right now?
It's been interesting dealing with the compromises you have
to make. Sometimes it's exhilarating, as they say, necessity
is the mother of invention. But other times it's frustrating,
having to give up on a piece of the vision. That's the interesting
thing about filmmaking; it's frustrating and the most rewarding
thing I can do.
discussions with Scott on the Making of Jekyll:
discussions with Scott Zakarin on the Making of Jekyll: