Spring is an award-winning creature-feature from RESOLUTION writers/directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead.
I was eager to find out all about the filming process of SPRING, in every little detail, and what inspired their award-winning feature..here’s what they had to say…
How different did you guys find your experience making a bigger budgeted feature?
It was actually very similar to the making of RESOLUTION — tons of rehearsal time with the actors and meticulous planning of every element. One big difference was our special effects were punching way above our budget this time around, so there was a ton of planning with MastersFX to ensure we could pull off what Louise’s transformations required.
How was the idea for Spring born?
People often theorize about the monster in our first movie RESOLUTION, and often come to the conclusion that it’s something they’ve seen in other movies. It isn’t, but since we never name it or show it sometimes people just assume that it’s one of the 3 or 4 monster myths you see over and over again in cinema. So that sparked a desire to very overtly show a totally new monster and flesh out entirely unique monster mythology. It seemed like a fun thing that for some reason is so rare. Also, deconstructing a realistic romance seemed like a natural escalation from the friendship in RESOLUTION.
Explain to me the casting process of Spring, did you already have your leads in mind or did you have to audition for the roles?
We did not have any leads in mind and casting was probably the most difficult part. Very unfortunately a whole bunch of actors from teen soap operas were presented to us before Lou, and in Nadia’s case being both a woman and ethnically hard to place, made her very difficult to find. At least in our experience, there wasn’t much diversity presented to us in the casting process. At a certain point, we thought we might have to accept that Louise’s ethnic appearance wouldn’t make logical sense in the story, simply because agencies never sent us any women who weren’t blond-haired, or blue-eyed. Somehow we did end up finding a whole cast of freakishly talented actors and never had to compromise.
How long was the filming process and did you run into any trouble during shooting?
We filmed for 25 days in Italy, and 3 in the US. Honestly, we were prepared for a lot of issues shooting overseas, with Italian production and crew, in a small isolated town, but it ended up just being a lovely time. The biggest issue we had was that every night we’d eat in a restaurant and we’d order “fish” and we’d get like six courses before the fish came out and we were too full and fat and gained weight.
Here’s one! For the final scene of the movie, the timing with the sunrise had to be PERFECT and it had to be on that day specifically, or we’d lose the location forever. Of course, we arrive at location at the proper time and it’s RAINING. The forecast called for rain all day. We were devastated. An old fisherman who worked as a “fixer” for the crew climbed up on the top of a building, looked at the rainclouds, and said “It will not last. Twenty minutes and it will be gone.” And the clouds parted, and we shot the scene, and it was lovely.
Why choose this sort of monster flick over a werewolf/vampire tale?
We just wanted to make a new myth! The human brain seems to jump to one of 10 monsters that are possible to exist in a monster movie, and we see no reason there shouldn’t be new ones invented all the time.
Tell me about the creature design – where did you draw your inspiration for the monster?
Mostly from nature. In ALIEN the psychological impact of the xenomorph is that it’s parasitic, and in SPRING the angle we approached Louise from is that she’s based on our own human evolution. There’s never been a literal connection made (as far as we know) between the fact that werewolves have fur, like our primate ancestry, as well as fangs (like vampires). Or that Lovecraftian sea creatures have scales/amphibian skin, like our primordial forefathers. The idea that these universal monsters could have an origin in our own evolution was the genesis of Louise possibly being the skeleton key origin of a lot of our myths.
What sort of music did you guys choose to go with for Spring and why?
We’ve been fans of Jimmy Lavalle’s music for a long time — he can make something that is simultaneously intensely sentimental and still in no way cheesy. He was always the composer for the movie, really. The hardest thing about working with him was not knowing how to direct his music, it was pretty much perfect as soon as we came in the room. We’d say “darker, more menacing” etc, and he’d jump on one of thirty keyboards, stretch out some crazy sample of his infant son crying, turn it into musical notes and make it all sound so wonderfully moody.
You guys won best international feature film @ Paris International Film Fest … Tell me about that night and all its awesomeness
There’s no place in the world better than Paris. The audience treats watching films like going to church — dead silent (except appropriate laughter/terror etc), with no movement, no chewing popcorn etc. But they were LOUD for us taking home the award. That was beautiful. Then we went out to a 30-person French dinner, talked about everything in the world, and we stayed up far too late with coffee and alcohol, then hopped on a plane to another festival. Was a high point of our lives.
Tell me all the release dates for Spring and what can we expect from the special edition Blu-ray in the near future.
SPRING’s coming out in the US in theatres and VOD on March 20, DVD/Blu-Ray in early June, and also releases in Canada, the UK and other territories right around that same time. The Blu-Ray is absolutely insane, honestly, we put every special feature we could think of on there and it’s really bizarre and you get a bit too much insight, perhaps.
What have you guys got lined up for us next??
Oh, we’re always cooking up something. Right now we’ve got a hot-off-the-press new draft of our Aleister Crowley movie, and we’ve been throwing a lot of work behind a TV show we’re pitching, and some short film ideas, also we have found and confirmed a Higgs Boson particle but are trying to find a suitable publication for our findings.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Justin & Aaron for their time. I wish them every bit of success in the future.
Thanks for reading