We Have a Ghost Interview: Director Christopher Landon Talks Netflix Film

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke to We Have a Ghost author Christopher Landon in regards to the comedy film. The author mentioned balancing horror with comedy and the 2020 slasher comedy Freaky. We Have a Ghost is now obtainable for streaming on Netflix.

“Discovering a ghost named Ernest haunting their new dwelling turns Kevin’s household into in a single day social media sensations,” says the synopsis. “However when Kevin and Ernest go rogue to analyze the thriller of Ernest’s previous, they turn out to be a goal of the CIA.”

Tyler Treese: We Have a Ghost is a giant departure from a few of your earlier movies. You’re primarily identified within the horror house. We see that background, particularly in a while within the film. So how has that come about and what led to you doing a extra family-focused film right here?

Christopher Landon: Actually, simply getting tender in my previous age — not too tender! No, I believe I’ve at all times had this sort of a film in me and whereas I’m identified for my style work, and I like style. I like horror movies and I used to be raised on them, however I used to be additionally raised on Amblin and other forms of movies and I’ve at all times liked them. So this was one thing that I at all times needed to do. Changing into a dad myself, I believe, had a giant affect on me jonesing to make one thing that my children might most likely see at a sure age. Though I might allow them to most likely watch actually inappropriate horror movies at an early age too, if different folks didn’t cease me.

However yeah, it’s the type of film that I’ve needed to make for a very long time. This brief story offered the primary alternative to do it in a method that, I believe, helped bridge my profession, you understand what I imply? Form of like my previous with my current and my future, you understand?

How was balancing the totally different tones of the film? Within the later part, we actually get to see some stable horror scenes and it will get very suspenseful.

Yeah, I believe if there’s one factor that I do quite a bit, it’s mix genres. My North Star is at all times character-driven. Like in case you current the viewers with characters that they’re invested in, they are going to go anyplace with them. And I imply that within the sense that they are going to transfer by means of totally different genres together with your characters so long as their journey is constant. In order that was one thing that I used to be capable of do right here. And I believe what’s actually enjoyable is that the film does a bit little bit of a trick, which is it lulls you in with some humor — some cute stuff — however the stakes turn out to be actual and it slowly turns into this very emotional journey that has actual jeopardy. In order that’s one thing that I actually needed for the film. I needed this to be a experience.

I actually liked David Harbour’s efficiency right here. How was it, working with a silent major character? We get some groans out of him, however how was it seeing him put a lot life into the character of Ernest whereas not talking?

Yeah, it was magical. When David and I first spoke — proper earlier than he formally signed on to do the film — one of many first issues he mentioned to me was that he was scared of doing this as a result of it had no dialogue. However he’s such an unimaginable actor and he’s the type of individual that doesn’t let his fears dictate his selections. He virtually likes the problem, you understand? I believe that was what actually excited him in regards to the position, finally, was that he wouldn’t get to depend on that in any respect and that he was going to have to actually use his face and his coronary heart to actually convey what his character goes by means of. And he’s simply somebody who is aware of how to do this.

He’s a man with an intensive theater background and I believe that actually got here in useful right here. And he understood the character. Once more, he’s additionally an actor that simply has this means to make you fall in love with him. There’s one thing about him that’s type of a damaged toy that you just wish to repair and also you wish to see him get fastened. I believe that’s one of many issues that David actually brings to the position.

I used to be curious nearly filming with a silent actor. There’s solely a lot you may put right into a script, so I think about when the character’s not speaking like that, loads of that comes right down to David’s efficiency. How was it working with him and seeing that character come to life?

I found out in a short time within the course of that David knew precisely what he was doing. So it was finest to simply, simply get the digicam in entrance of him and let him do his factor. We had loads of conversations about it, main as much as filming. However the different factor that kind of goes unnoted however needs to be is that not solely was he coping with a personality that doesn’t communicate, he was additionally a ghost. So there was this complete different very difficult technical factor that he needed to take care of whereas we had been filming, too.

Each time I shot David, I needed to shoot him 4 alternative ways to attain the look that we now have within the movie. In order that was very, very daunting. It might be daunting for any actor to need to undergo that. So the truth that he brings a lot emotional reality to the character and to the position, but additionally is coping with this complete different side of it, is it’s very commendable.

It needed to be enjoyable writing that character, since you get to find out how Ernest can work together with the world — what he can do, what he can’t. How was it figuring out that and, throughout the writing course of, did his abilities or skills change over time?

I positively needed to arrange the principles as shortly as I might, however not belabor them, you understand? I didn’t need it to turn out to be this like complete rule-y expositional slog. You simply type of lean into the concept that it is a man that’s made from power. That power might be harnessed and managed and that it additionally might be one thing that’s far more malleable and fluid. However past that, look, there was a model of the script the place he did communicate, however he might solely communicate by means of an previous Communicate and Spell — a kind of previous toys.

However then I assumed that voice would drive everybody loopy, and it additionally felt like a cheat. I felt like I used to be bringing this factor in and forcing him to speak as a result of I used to be too afraid of the thought of him not speaking. Then I lastly arrived at a spot the place I used to be like, “You recognize what? Simply do the model of the film that you just needed to do, and don’t fear about that stuff. You’ll discover the fitting man who will do the factor that you just’re searching for.” And naturally, I discovered it in David. However all the things else was simply loads of enjoyable. Attending to make a ghost film is de facto cool.

I liked Anthony Mackey’s character as a result of he’s clearly a really well-meaning father that cares deeply for his children. However he’s at this level the place we see some unfavourable elements of his persona popping out with the newfound fame that he has. Are you able to communicate to working with Anthony and the way he introduced that charisma and heat to the position of the daddy?

What was essential for me was that … within the brief story that the movie relies on, the character of Frank is a complete dick. He’s so unlikable from begin to end. In order that was one thing that I knew I didn’t need, as a result of it’s a giant half. So casting Anthony was key as a result of he’s so likable and he’s so charismatic and the man that you just see onscreen is the man that’s actually offscreen. I imply, Anthony, as a human being, is without doubt one of the most charming, charismatic folks I’ve ever met.

He’s the man that hangs out after we wrap and is telling jokes and making the entire crew snicker and there’s a heat to him that was very important. So I needed the viewers to love him, to grasp him and know that, yeah, he’s attempting to offer for his household and he’s attempting to do the fitting factor, however he’s going about it within the fallacious method. He’s a kind of folks that’s at all times looking for the shortcut, however you may’t take the shortcut in this sort of scenario, you understand? It’s important to put your loved ones first and you’ll’t put your individual wants and your narcissism in entrance of everybody else.

I actually liked how this film parodies social media all through and a few of these scenes are so hilarious. So the place did you get the inspiration for a few of these? Are you a doom scroller?

Oh completely! Who isn’t a doom scroller? All of us stay on this stuff, like we’re all on our telephones and it’s like a sluggish movement automotive crash for all of us. Actually, I believe social media made it method too straightforward for me to skewer it. Quite a lot of the stuff that we see and do is ridiculous. The best way that we, the way in which that we instantly take one thing — one thing at the same time as ridiculous as a ghost — and we instantly are polarized and we’re instantly combating about it. You recognize what I imply? That’s what social media is to me in so some ways.

Now it’s simply the fast, “I’m going to select a subject and I’m going to seize my spear and stand in my nook and scream,” and that’s type of what occurs right here. And it’s type of unhappy and humorous, I suppose … that’s most likely why it’s humorous, as a result of it’s unhappy.

I actually love Freaky, which you wrote and directed and it obtained such a cool haunted home at Common Halloween Horror Nights final 12 months. Had been you capable of examine that out?

I used to be capable of test it out. I obtained to go on opening evening and it was so enjoyable. They did such job. I really feel like they at all times do a fantastic job, so I used to be not shocked or disillusioned, however it was additionally good as a result of it was a film, for me, that’s a bit bittersweet. It type of obtained misplaced in Covid and it didn’t really feel prefer it ever actually obtained its day within the solar. So simply even having that maze was one thing that was actually cool and actually particular to me.

There’s been discuss of a 3rd Completely satisfied Demise Day film. Is there any replace on the place that stands?

No, no updates there. Simply zero motion all collectively. So I don’t know. It feels prefer it’s most likely by no means going to occur, however I imply, look, you may by no means say by no means.

Yeah, fingers crossed that one thing extra constructive occurs there. One of many first film I noticed that you just wrote was Disturbia and that film has actually endured over time and continues to be so beloved. So wanting again at that, how do you type of view the legacy of that film and the way it’s been capable of simply carry on going all these years later?

It’s such movie. I’m actually pleased with that movie. I’m pleased with everyone who labored on the movie, from the director D.J. [Caruso] to Shia [LaBeouf] and everybody concerned, and it’s very nice when a film that you just labored on is ready to type of endure and final and hold discovering an viewers. So it’s at all times enjoyable for me. Look, it’s a traditional story. It’s kind of Hitchcock by the use of John Hughes, and that, for me, nonetheless appears like a system you can’t go fallacious with. So I like it.

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