Nicolás López and Lorenza Izzo are the director and star of the Eli Roth produced Aftershock. They also collaborated with the director on his upcoming cannibal holocaust The Green Inferno. After sitting down for a chat with Mister Roth himself, a crack team of journalists and I were greeted by López and Izzo for Round Two. It emerges that they're quite the double act.
Who says that horror directors have to be dour, gloomy or quiet and retiring? López is one of the funniest people I have ever met. It's a surprise that any of us managed to get a word in edgeways. Lorenza Izzo, meanwhile, is (in a non-sleazy sort of way) one of the most stunningly beautiful women I have ever seen. If it takes me a while to get a question in, that's because (a) López won't let anyone else get a word in, and (b) I was struck shy, like a child experiencing his first crush. Between the pair of them, they'll go far. Effusive and likeable, they were happy to answer our questions about Aftershock and The Green Inferno.
TABLE QUESTION: Nicolás, I understand you started writing at quite a young age. How did you go from that to becoming a film director?
NICOLÁS LÓPEZ: I wanted to tell stories. I started writing because it was the way of doing stories. At the same time, I started doing shorts. The good things is that I have never shot a film, because I started to direct when cameras were appearing. I was part of that whole revolution. Suddenly you could cut movies in your house. It was way easier than before. Because of that, I did many, many bad movies. Many, many shorts. I did my first feature film, a very weird high school comedy that Eli (Roth) loved. He showed the movie to Quentin Tarantino and Quentin said that it was the funniest movie of the year.
LORENZA IZZO: It's so funny – it's so good. It's true though.
NL: I still think that Quentin was drunk when he saw it. I started talking with Eli about doing something together. Being a director in Chile is like being an Astronaut in Zimbabwe. There is no need. Enough American movies come, being released every year. But you're like, “why not?” I never studied film, I barely finished high school, I don't know how to read... I'm learning - it's so fucking hard.
TQ: Did you find it hard balancing the script of Aftershock between your comedy background and Eli's horror?
NL: It was perfect because I did a trilogy of romantic comedies called Fuck my Life, then I did Fuck my Wedding and Fuck my Family. My family don't like the last one. Eli loved those movies, and we always talked about doing something together... not having sex, making a movie. Even though having sex with Eli...
LI: You would love it!
NL: Especially now with his new haircut. His Top Gun haircut. We had the idea, he was like, “I would love to do a movie that would start like one of your comedies and have something bad or horrible in the middle. Something that would change the tone of the whole movie.” And suddenly the earthquake happened in Chile, 2010, and I survived. When I survived, I called Eli and was like “we have to make a movie about the earthquake”. We were obsessed with the randomness of life, that suddenly you're here doing an interview and something really bad could happen. How do you control that? You're not escaping from a guy who has a mask and is trying to stab you - it's Mother Nature and you can’t escape from that. It’s like a very bad version of The Impossible.
LI: No! It's so different.
|Still from Aftershock
Click image to enlarge
TQ: Were you aware of any sensitivity you had to apply to it, because it was based on a real-life event?
NL: Not at all. I live in Chile, there was an earthquake but I am not making a movie about that earthquake, and I don't make movies like public service. I don't do these movies to win an Oscar. It's a fun popcorn movie and, of course, we used some elements of that tragedy, then the earthquake in Japan happened. We used elements from those tragedies, because I was obsessed with showing what really happens in a disaster. If you watch a disaster movie, if you watch 2012, it's all about how things get destroyed. For me, that's more like pornography. I was like “why don't we make a movie that shows what happens to those little CGI characters that only appear three frames...
LI: The little head that gets chopped off.
NL: What happened to him? What happened to him during the day? There were many movies in the seventies that were aware of that, where they spent time developing the characters. That's something that most of the movies, from the US, lost.
TQ: Have you used CGI in the film, or prosthetics?
NL: Most of the effects were practical.
LI: It was really cool. Things would actually fall. There was a part, at the beginning, where the earthquake starts, I had to be under a table. There was supposed to fall, real cement over me. I started looking at it thinking, “Nico, Is this actual cement? Or is this plastic? “No it's real, because I want it to look real.” I'm like, “Nico, this shit's going to fall on top of the table and I'm going to die!”
NL: But you're under a table.
LI: It looks amazing though. When you see the movie, you really feel the depth of things coming down. That's what actually happened in the earthquake. I think that's the coolness of having practical effects vs CGI. You feel the realness of Mother Nature hitting you with everything.
TQ: Lorenza, did you have to do any special training?
LI: You should focus on my heels. My character is a model, I'm running around in these huge heels, this tiny, tiny tight dress, covered in blood and dust. I'm climbing stairs, I'm climbing... it's insane. No.
TQ: Bad director!
NL: You've been trained your whole life. A drunk model that can run fast in high heels?
LI: It was really cool. I love heels. You're not giving me enough credit here.
NL: You're a method actor.
LI: I trained my whole life for this.
NL: Your whole life. So many pills, so many drugs.
LI: Shut up! Not true, not true! I must say, we did have stunt people. There were some safety measures... some.
NL: The cool thing was that we were working in Chile with my budget company, we could get away with so many things that it would have been impossible to do.
|Still from Aftershock
Click image to enlarge
TQ: How is the Chilean genre scene?
NL: What happened with Chile is that most of the movies are art films so they don't make a lot of genre films. Fuck my Family opened against Life of Pi and we were number one. There was a huge campaign on Facebook that was called “fuck the tiger.” The fucking tiger. It was everywhere.
TQ: Lorenza, do you see yourself continuing in the horror genre?
NL: She's fucked. She has to.
LI: I see myself continuing in movies. I'm just going to continue doing what I love doing. If that means another horror movie, I'm going to go ahead. I love them. Before meeting these two guys I hated horror movies. Now I love them - you need to scream, you need to let out your stress and your everything. Making them is so much fun. There's a whole culture behind it, it's so fucking awesome. If the next movie is a horror movie then yeah, I see myself in it.
TQ: Is there a particular subject you want to make a film about that you haven't yet?
NL: I would love to make a haunted house movie. I think that now we need something new. After Paranormal Activity, all those movies, we need a new twist on that. I would also love to make a comedy in English. Eli plays a part in Fuck my Family in Spanish, and his character – inside the movie, there is a soap opera all the characters watch, called Heart Attack, and it's like a very gory version of Grey's Anatomy, and it's really stupid and over the top. It was a cameo, and when we were shooting, we ended up shooting eight minutes of footage and did two shorts for YouTube. Now we're thinking of turning that into a movie. For me, it's always the idea that, the most absurd idea always wins.
LI: That's so true.
NL: A year ago we were shooting Aftershock and Eli was like “oh, I would love to make a cannibal movie, I have this idea...” Well, make it. Eli, let's do it like we're doing Aftershock.
LI: That's the most absurd idea. Let’s go into the middle of the Amazon, the middle of nowhere, with nothing...
NL: For me, that everybody came out alive after Green Inferno is a miracle. We thought that we were badass, that we could shoot anywhere, and then we were in the middle of the jungle...
LI: No, you proved it.
NL: It was really scary.
TQ: Eli was telling us about the kids, how they were ripping guts apart...
LI: It was so much fun. The kids were amazing. They had never seen ice, for example, and I remember giving them ice, and them being so shocked.
NL: They had never seen a movie before.
TQ: Apparently Cannibal Holocaust was their first movie...
NL: And they thought it was a comedy.
JOEL HARLEY: Had you seen any cannibal movies yourself, prior to making The Green Inferno?
LI: I did see Cannibal Holocaust before. I actually loved it. They had to see that one too. I actually asked them, “what did you guys actually think about the movie?”
NL: They spoke Spanish.
LI: “I need to know the truth. Did you really watch Cannibal Holocaust?” I'm talking about seven year old kids, and they were like “Yeah! Yeah! It was funny!” As I'm saying this, I see a turtle walk by. It was a funny experience.
Nicolás López, Lorenza Izzo, thank you!
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