Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Interview: Rodrigo Cortes Talks Red Lights
Interview: Rodrigo Cortes Talks Red Lights, Written by: Karen Benardello Sometimes people become so set in their ways and ideas, they fear the unknown and the contrasting beliefs that other people offer to present to them. But when these thoughts lead to obsession and turn into rivalries that become life-threatening, they must reconsider what they’re taking a stance on in order to protect themselves. This is a main motivating factor in the upcoming horror thriller ‘Red Lights,’ which is set to hit select theaters on July 13. Spanish writer-director Rodrigo Cortes wasn’t afraid to explore the supernatural and its dark, powerful effects on people’s beliefs in his new drama. ‘Red Lights’ follows veteran paranormal researchers Dr. Margaret Matheson (played by Sigourney Weaver) and Tom Buckley (portrayed by Cillian Murphy) as they debunk fraudulent claims of psychic phenomena. Matheson can detect fraud by what she calls red lights, the subtle tricks behind every staged supernatural occurrence. But when legendary blind psychic Simon Silver (played by Robert De Niro) comes out of retirement, his once-fearless rival Margaret warns Tom to back off, fearing retaliation from her old adversary. Tom is determined to discredit Simon, and elicits help from his star student, Sally Owen (portrayed by Elizabeth Olsen). The two use every tool at their disposal to uncover the truth behind the charismatic mind reader. But Tom eventually must question his own core beliefs in his quest to discredit Simon. Cortes generously took the time to speak with us over the phone recently to discuss the process of writing and directing ‘Red Lights.’ Among other things, the scribe and helmer discussed where he came up with the idea for the horror thriller, the casting process of the main actors and how penning the screenplay helped him in his directorial duties. ShockYa (SY): You both wrote the screenplay for, and directed, ‘Red Lights.’ Where did you come up with the idea for the story? Rodrigo Cortes (RC): I didn’t start working from any specific element, or anything like that. I started to become fascinated with paranormal hoaxes. In a way, this was a concept that was contradictory. You have the paranormal, which can not be explained, and you have the hoaxes, in which people are lying, in which we probably do best. I worked on two levels, with this truth and hopefully compelling story, and also with the hoaxes. I wanted to do something that was physical and tangible. This is the origin of everything. SY: Do you feel that writing the script for ‘Red Lights’ helped you in your directorial duties once you began shooting the film? RC: Yes. You feel like you’re the first director in line when you write your own material. When you’re able to generate your own material, you’re the first in line. To me, writing, directing and editing are all different phases of one creative or narrative process. In a way, I never write in abstract terms. I imagine the film in its final form and shape. When I write, I start imagining the reactions, and even the music and the sounds. In a way, they’re three stages. But in a way, when you direct, you just try to serve the script. You don’t care who wrote it. SY: There are several high-profile actors in ‘Red Lights,’ including Robert De Niro and Sigourney Weaver. What was the casting process like for the main actors? RC: When you read the script, you don’t take for granted you’re going to have these names. When you finish it, you try to get the best and most accurate actors. But in this case, I had two processes. For instance, I never write for anybody. But in this case, for whatever reason, when I was writing Matheson, I found myself writing for Sigourney Weaver. I imagined this character with her face and reactions and expressions. That’s risky, because it doesn’t guarantee a yes. It would have been a problem if she said no. Thank God she said yes. With De Niro, that’s exactly the same thing. I try not to limit myself, not because I think everything’s possible, but because life tends to limit you enough without any help. If you do a list of factors, for instance, from one to 10, logic tells you you’re going to get seven or eight. But you still ascend to number one, just in case. For this film, for some reason, every number one on every list yes, which is pretty amazing. But this is the way it happened. They told me they responded very strongly to the script and the characters and their lines. To continue reading this interview, please click here.
Posted by karenbenardello at 8:24 AM