Tom Green (INTERVIEW)
Monsters: Dark Continent is set in the war torn Middle East and sees the casualties of war against the backdrop of the towering monsters that have now populated across the globe.
First time writer/director Tom Green picks up after Gareth Edwards cult classic with a new vision for the franchise.
BloodGuts: Could you explain what Monsters: Dark Continent is about?
Tom Green: Follows the journey of new recruits led by a sergeant who has Post Traumatic Stress after doing a few too many tours. The film is based on first hand experiences with the war in Iraq At its heart, this is a war movie. In the backdrop you have all of these monsters and thematically continues from Gareth’s (Edwards) movie now that the contamination has gone global. This is a standalone film and we always wanted to make this war movie.
BG: Was it a conscious decision to put the humans at the forefront of the film?
TG: Yes, there is this event that is happening across the world and it has an effect on people. And even though this should bring everyone together, life continues and these pockets of resistance rise.
BG: Was it challenging to keep the film grounded with these skyscraper monsters in the background?
TG: Oh yes! The monsters were always meant to be a catalyst with the army and war at the centre of the story. When we wrote this, we had this war movie in our minds but used this new world to evolve the central characters. Much of the film is set around this relationship between these two personalities and the essence of war. It certainly was challenging to keep it grounded but wanted to keep these monsters organic and feel like they could be real. But yeah, it always felt grounded because of this so it wasn’t too difficult to keep these creatures in the movie.
BG: Was there a lot of pressure to build a sequel to Gareth Edward’s film?
TG: This is a standalone film, and it is like a chapter of life around this huge event. Gareth’s film was different but we wanted to keep this focus that the story was around the people in this disaster and not the other way round. Even when Gareth did Godzilla he kept that story and structure but this is a different film in keeping with the same style.
BG: The monsters are quite tame until provoke, was this a deliberate decision?
TG: Yes, all the way. These are organic creatures and I wanted to keep them as realistic as possible so we studied animals in the wild to see how they would react. I never wanted this film to be about the monsters and a film about them against the recruits but then we had some really good special effects to carry these forward.
BG: Speaking of special effects, there’s a moment in the film of sheer beauty as one of the monsters releases its spores. How did that come about?
TG: Thank you, yes that was a really great scene we wanted to put in. It’s a pivotal part of the movie with the realisation that on the other side of the war there is innocence and in a way this abstract scene plays into the film being an abstract film in a sort of way.
The beauty represents a turning point for the recruits and I hope that that really came across.
BG: What’s next for the Monsters franchise and you?
TG: I really hope it continues, the films are a great platform and support film making like no other series that I’ve seen. I was given the chance to tell my story and it was the one I wanted to tell. This is a war sci-fi movie at its core but the series can tell any story it wants. With Gareth’s film there was this romance and it’s possible for any new film maker to tell a great story.
It was great to be a part of this and is a great platform for small film makers with an original story to tell. I call it “Lo-fy” because the budget was really small. In fact the entire film was made on one handheld camera for the entire shoot, we did what we could and luckily had some great guys to develop these special effects for the monsters while keeping them in the background.