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Posted June 6, 2015 by admin in Resource
 
 

Catatan Produksi Film Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)


About the Production

Imagine a world that lives alongside the everyday; more frightening than your nightmares, it seeps through your dreams into your waking life. This world is inhabited by the dead and the never-alive, and is in conflict with the world of the living. Its demon denizens want to return from one world to the other. Some ghosts hope to make sense of their deaths; some spirits yearn to reconnect with their loved ones. But many burn to exorcise their anger, to indulge their jealousy, to wield their hatred and resentment, to exact revenge at any cost…

This netherworld is The Further, created by Leigh Whannell and James Wan in the hit movies Insidious and Insidious: Chapter 2. WithInsidious: Chapter 3, the terrifying horror series takes a darker-than-ever turn into The Further.

Producer Jason Blum, whose company Blumhouse has also produced the Sinister, The Purge, Ouija, and Paranormal Activity franchises, says, “James and Leigh have created their own unique, terrifying world with Insidious, and this chapter takes us deeper and deeper into The Further.”

“The Further exists on its own plane,” adds Wan, who is a producer on the new movie. “But it can impact any one of us at any time.”

Producer Oren Peli reveals, “We learn more about The Further in this movie – but from a different angle. This take has elements the audience hasn’t seen in the previous movies, and a lot of scares.”

Whannell, writer and director on the new movie, opines that “people who love a good scare dig the Insidious films. We want audiences to be absolutely terrified.”

While dialing up the chills, Insidious: Chapter 3 turns back the clock; it takes place years before the first two chapters which detailed the escalating haunting of the Lambert family. With the family’s fate resolved in Insidious: Chapter 2, Whannell was keen to shine the spotlight on a constant in the tales: indomitable psychic Elise Rainier, portrayed by Lin Shaye.

Elise had been killed off as part of the struggle to save the Lamberts, but “I love the character and I wondered how I could bring her back,” says Whannell. “Dealing with ‘ghost Elise’ wasn’t the idea; I wanted her alive! People enjoyed the time-spanning storytelling that we advanced in the second movie, and I felt that would help me find a story that gives deeper meaning to Elise’s journey.

“I started to devise an origin story, a prequel set a few years before the first movie wherein concepts central to Insidious take shape, and where we could explore Elise’s background. Once I started writing this, I fell in love with the piece.”

Shaye was impressed at how Whannell’s script “gives you more details about the characters; in Insidious: Chapter 3, we learn more about Elise’s personal life. These ideas were exciting, because character and story are what matter to me.”

Blum enthuses that “when you see Lin playing Elise on-screen, you believe that she’s able to communicate with demons and ghosts. In most movies about the paranormal, it’s hard to make the character of the expert feel credible, but Lin is terrific at doing just that.”

Whannell says, “Lin is an actor whom you love having on the set, because she’s 100% committed at all times. When you’re a writer, it’s encouraging having an actor talk over your script so much with you.

“I had a lot of discussions with Lin while I was writing Insidious: Chapter 3, and I feel we’ve made her character even stronger than in the first two films – with a real range of emotions that she can express so well.”

Wan affirms, “Lin Shaye is the beating heart of these movies, and now the new movie is able to continue and expand upon the series’ legacy.”

“It’s a great new story that transpires in the same universe,” elaborates Peli. “Leigh introduces a new family – and revisits some favorite characters from the previous chapters, like Elise. We get to see how she evolved to be the Elise audiences got to know and love in the first two Insidious chapters – the woman who is selflessly willing to sacrifice herself to fight demonic forces for a family’s sake.”

Whannell offers, “I started to see Elise’s arc in Insidious: Chapter 3 as reframing the classic Western story of the gunslinger who comes out of retirement. Or, these days, it’s an assassin who does so. But how often do we get to see it with an older woman?

“When we first encounter Elise with [her colleagues] Tucker and Specs in the first movie, it was clear they already had a work history together. So I could explore how they met – and connect it to the first film through little strands in the telling; there are ‘Easter eggs’ for the fans, and every day I would ask myself ‘What will the fans think?’ I didn’t want to disappoint them, because they really respond to the quirky bits in the films.”

While the new storyline has much to offer faithful viewers of the movies, it is also inviting in an audience that can come to the saga fresh. Whannell reminds, “Everyone has fears, no matter what their culture or country. At its core, every ghost story is about death and loss. That is why they are relatable. Insidious: Chapter 3 is no exception; people can see this movie having seen neither of the previous chapters and they will understand what the characters here go through.

“My approach on this film was to take it back to the realistic horror tone of the first movie, where you’re with a family who don’t know what’s happening to them and can’t imagine what’s to come.”

So it is that in Insidious: Chapter 3, an ordinary family comes under siege: 17-year-old aspiring actress Quinn (Stefanie Scott), 9-year-old tech-geek Alex (Tate Berney), and their widowed father Sean (Dermot Mulroney). Wife and mother Lily’s passing has hurt each member of the Brenner family, but Quinn is particularly sensitive at a vulnerable age and makes the fateful decision to contact clairvoyant Elise in hopes of communicating with Lily.

Whannell comments, “In writing the character of Quinn, I tried to create a teenage girl in an honest way. I feel that they tend to be portrayed a certain way in films, one that doesn’t honestly reflect their goals and concerns.

“Quinn and Elise mirror each other in how they are dealing with loss at a turning point in their lives, and it was important to me that audiences connect with both of them.”

Peli clarifies, “At this movie’s prior point in Insidious history, Elise is not the more assured woman who audiences got to know and love in the first chapter; shattered by the loss of her husband, she has become a recluse. The question is, will she be able to come out of her shell to help Quinn and the Brenner family when the situation gets bad? What she does in this story impacts subsequent events – and her own fate – in the earlier films.”

Shaye notes, “I hear all the time from people who love these movies, so I was aware of the expectations. The challenge was to not repeat ourselves; Elise has different dilemmas in Insidious: Chapter 3, and Leigh gave me a lot to work with and to play.

“Elements of this new story, what this family faces down and what Elise does, will touch people in a very human way.”

Peli adds, “Leigh understands the world of Insidious so well and also sees all sorts of possibilities for The Further and for the characters grappling with it, all of which made him the perfect choice to direct the new chapter.

“With each chapter, we try to up the ante over the last one.”

Blum elaborates, “The people who created a movie make the best sequels – which I don’t talk about with them until after they’ve made the first movie, so that it isn’t compromised – and carry the storytelling forward. When Leigh said, ‘I have an idea for a new movie,’ that was ideal.

“We wanted to make it as comfortable as possible for Leigh to get to do what he wanted to do in taking the director’s chair, because we all felt he should be the next director for these stories.”

Whannell says, “[Blum’s production company] Blumhouse tells filmmakers, ‘You curate this world.’ That’s the key to their success: knowing that the people who invented a series will devote the most attention to it.

“It’s a privilege to be part of telling these stories that connect with people all over the world. Here was this fantastic opportunity, to be able to direct a movie that is going to be released in theaters with people having the chance to see it in a communal way. I love watching the Insidious movies with audiences, especially when they jump out of their chairs.”

In that spirit, and to make his collaborators more comfortable prior to the start of filming, Whannell invited actors Lin Shaye, Dermot Mulroney, and Stefanie Scott – among other guests – to his home for “movie night.” He screened the classic The Shining in an outdoor setting to inspire the group.

Shaye recalls that “making the first two Insidious movies, Leigh was very much present. No one knows the feel of these stories more, or better, than him and James. This was definitely the next step for Leigh in his career.”

Wan, who had directed the previous Insidious movies from longtime filmmaking partner Whannell’s screenplays, remarks, “I am amazed and proud to see what Leigh has done with Insidious: Chapter 3. Leigh understands the nuances that you need to create horror scenes, to create suspense and tension.

“There was no better person to take the reins of the Insidious franchise; I was honored to pass the torch on to my great bud! When I see him directing, even though this was his first feature, he looks like a natural. He’s so comfortable and he has fun doing it.”

“I’ve had a great education,” says Whannell. “This came from sitting behind James and watching him direct, and seeing what he does in the cutting room, with music, with all of it. He is the master of modern horror.

“We both have similar tastes: we like to shoot continuously and not rely on editing or CG effects, working with what’s practical within the camera and within the frame.”

Even so, the writer/director notes that “my style is a little different than James’s, which is important because while I am following the template of the first two movies and Insidious: Chapter 3 certainly exists in the same universe, I knew I wasn’t going to do a carbon copy of what James did. I wanted to continue to build up these stories’ world but not repeat what we’d done before.”

As it happened, production of Insidious: Chapter 3 overlapped with the making of Wan’s newest movie as director, the big-budgetFurious 7. Wan was still able to visit Whannell’s set multiple times – and can be glimpsed on-screen in a cameo role – but more frequently kept up with the project by way of modern communication. “I would text Leigh with scare tips,” remembers Wan. “He would text me back with how to blow up cars [forFurious 7]!

“We were doing what we always do in person anyway – bounce ideas off each other, and help each other out on projects.”

Whannell also availed himself of 21st-century technology to seek out a veteran filmmaker whom he admired. He recounts, “Before I started shooting I sent William Friedkin a tweet saying ‘I am directing my first film – do you have any advice for me? Things you wish you’d known before you directed?’ Mr. Friedkin responded right away, ‘Let’s have lunch and talk.’

“It was surreal. I’d never met the guy. I got to the lunch and we barely did ‘hello’ before he said, ‘You’ve got to scare your actors for real. OnThe Exorcist I fired a gun. Do you think I could’ve gotten the [actor playing the] priest to jump like that [otherwise] when the phone rang [in the scene]?”

Weeks later, in attempting to put the Oscar-winning director’s advice into practice, Whannell sensed that the concept – but not the weapon – was viable. “I used an air horn,” confesses Whannell. “One time only.”

“It worked on the actor,” reveals Dermot Mulroney. “Leigh was on the other side of the set, and it still caused quite a fright.”

In exploring the more physical aspects of confronting demons and The Further, Insidious: Chapter 3 kept everyone on their toes, even the many members of the crew who were veterans of the previous Insidious movies. “We had a talented crew, and a committed cast,” marvels Whannell. “I felt lucky to be so supported on my first directing job.”

As had William Friedkin four decades prior, Whannell found himself guiding a teenaged actress through intense scenes; when readying to film a particularly disturbing twist that transforms Stefanie Scott’s character of Quinn Brenner, the director tried a unique approach. “Leigh walked me into a closet,” recalls Scott. “He made me listen to death-metal music for 30 minutes, in the dark. He had a guard posted outside the door, and he would rush in and check my headphones to make sure I hadn’t turned down the volume. It was awful but by the time I did the scene, I was ready!”

Mulroney remembers, “Something Leigh was hoping for all along finally happened one day: I came in to do my scene, and didn’t see another actor, in full demon regalia, waiting nearby to go on and do his part. It was dark, and I got creeped out!

“What I also didn’t expect was getting scared filming tense scenes, because the environment that Leigh created felt so real that the situations we were acting out got under my skin. He deliberately cultivated that atmosphere.”

Scare tactics aside, as an actor himself Whannell was also aware of the importance of building character and back story for a portrayal.

He was fortunate in that neither member of the on-screen father/daughter duo had ever acted in a horror movie before, but were raring to go. Scott reveals, “I’ve always wanted to do one!”

Mulroney, a seasoned screen actor for over 25 years, adds, “I have a teenaged son who is a huge fan of the horror genre, so I’ve taken him to the first-night showings – and become a fan myself; that’s how I saw the first two Insidious movies. Leigh Whannell enjoys these movies too, and his enthusiasm is contagious. I think his concept for Insidious: Chapter 3 is ingenious: to go back in time and therefore allow himself great range with new characters, while at the same time give the audience the characters they already know – like Lin Shaye, who is so authentic as Elise.

“But, for our new characters, Leigh doesn’t paint a family that’s like a cartoon. They are in crisis, and that’s where the story starts; it’s as much about grief and reconciliation as what might be jumping out from somewhere. In talking with Leigh, we’d speak a lot about emotional resonance, and Lin and I discussed how we felt that the horror extends from what the family is going through.”

“Dermot is a wonderful actor to work with, and Stefanie is beautiful,” praises Shaye. “As a director, Leigh is able to color in things that I’ve thought about, which comes from his also being an actor.”

Mulroney adds, “That’s how you know Leigh will be able to help you get to the most important parts of a character. Leigh is an easy guy to relate to, and as a director nothing gets by him because he has the script memorized and knows what he wants for even the smallest scenes.”

Whannell remarks, “For a first-time director, it’s great to have an actor like Dermot who has done so many films; he knows about the technical aspects of making movies, and can access the feelings we need for his character to express – or not express.”

The writer/director himself is at times on-screen opposite Mulroney and the other core cast, encoring as parapsychologist Specs alongside another series staple, Angus Sampson as Tucker. “They’re everyone’s favorite ghost hunters, and they always add a little bit of humor to the Insidious movies,” smiles Peli. “In Insidious: Chapter 3, we see how they got their start – and we see them get in over their heads.”

Whannell confides, “For Elise, I feel that Tucker and Specs are like the sons she never had. Angus is an old friend of mine, and we’ve spent years perfecting the back-and-forth you see on-screen. I wrote Insidious with him in mind, and a lot of what you’ve seen between Tucker and Specs in these movies is improvisation between us; we know the characters so well.

“On Insidious: Chapter 3, Angus said it was the most relaxed he’d ever seen me as an actor – probably because I had these huge other tasks on my mind and couldn’t over-think my own performance.”

Sampson says that, wearing multiple hats, Whannell promoted “a rich congeniality on-set, and warmth where you wouldn’t expect any, and I found it a treat to have the director in scenes with me and helping me to access very truthful places in them.”

Scott found her director’s attention to emotional detail most welcome. “In the story, Quinn has kept a diary,” the actress explains. “Leigh gave me a blank diary – and a huge box of stuff to decorate it with: jewels, markers, paint. I decorated the cover – and then I wrote in the journal every day as Quinn, about what she’s going through with losing her mother. Leigh also gave me a book about dealing with that kind of loss, which is how I truly started to get an understanding of what it must be like.”

Oren Peli states, “The character of Quinn is carrying a lot of emotional baggage, and Stefanie brings a lot of empathy to her performance.”

Mulroney says, “Stefanie contributes so much to creating the sense of a realistically portrayed family that you’re pulling for in extraordinary circumstances. This is a young actor who takes her job seriously.”

To that end, Scott met early on with stunt coordinator Mark Rayner, who reports that she “wanted to do as many stunts as possible. Given what was called for in Leigh’s script, we knew we would need several stunt doubles for her over the course of the shoot – and, for one scene, three stunt dummies. But, in rehearsals, we worked at figuring out certain pieces of action that Stefanie could get to do herself.”

Whannell remarks, “Stefanie has already been working in this industry for a while, but she doesn’t have that ‘Hollywood child’ quality to her. She has a natural curiosity, and puts a lot of thought into her acting choices; she has range and intuitive subtlety, and will do things that I didn’t notice on the set but would pick up on in [the shooting day’s] dailies. I think she’s going to be a huge star.”

The writer/director drew up for Scott what she describes as “a whole playlist of music, what Quinn is into, all from before her time: Joni Mitchell, Elliott Smith, Jeff Buckley. Leigh gave me vinyl albums, so I would sit and listen to a record player and write in Quinn’s diary.”

Costume designer Ariyela Wald-Cohain worked closely with Whannell during preproduction on all of the characters’ looks – whether in the real world or in The Further – and Whannell specifically asked her to make sure that “Quinn favored the vintage look; she shops at thrift stores in addition to being into music from years back.”

Another song from years back, the series’ signature “Tiptoe Through the Tulips,” will not be heard in Insidious: Chapter 3 – since it is more identified with the Lambert family’s haunting – but has been re-recorded in a lushly seductive version by indie rock band Cherry Glazerr and utilized in the new movie’s trailer. The more central musical component of any Insidious movie has been retained in full, as composer Joseph Bishara returns to score the film after having done so on the two previous chapters.

Further strengthening the project’s musical ties, songwriter/musician Hayley Kiyoko was encouraged by her friend Stefanie Scott to pursue the role of Quinn’s sassy buddy Maggie. Peli notes, “These two have a chemistry as friends in real life that’s hard to duplicate, so it’s ideal to bring on-screen.”

“It’s the path of least resistance,” quips Whannell. “It allows for shorthand.”

Kiyoko landed the part, and while she admits that she was thrilled to be “acting with Stefanie, whom I have such respect for, I actually don’t watch horror movies because I am not able to sleep after. But I figured, ‘Maybe I’ll become less scared after doing this.’ Well, I was terrified at the table read of the script!

“If you want a thrill, this is the type of movie that will have you anxious and then jumping out of your seat. Leigh Whannell is passionate about horror and he brings a lot of positive energy to the set, which is good when you’re doing intense scenes.”

Seeking further authenticity in the presentation of his story, Whannell wanted to provide a realistic environment in which the cast could immerse themselves and inhabit the characters they diligently worked to construct.

The first two chapters of Insidious had been shot entirely in practical existing California locations. Some of those reappear inInsidious: Chapter 3, including Elise’s previously seen home, a century-old Highland Park two-story Craftsman house. Returning production designer Jennifer Spence’s new challenge was creating the Brenner family apartment.

Spence reveals, “I spent a lot of time with Leigh talking about these characters: what they do, and what their history is. It was important for me to understand how to tell their stories visually, in each room; that’s a big part of any Insidious movie, and certainly is in this one.

“Leigh had great ideas, and he would give me detail not in the script, like how Lily was a painter. The Brenners are a family that have lost someone vital to them; even though the apartment would have beauty, it would also be sad. We discussed how, after you lose somebody, you end up with books on grief. The audience might not notice, but we get these elements in there to help create a space for the actors that they can feel real in.”

“Jen is passionate about the little things,” smiles Whannell. “But these details have a cumulative effect; they really do matter. Even when we weren’t working, it was cool to hang out with her.”

Hang time yielded brainstorms just the same, since “Leigh and I talked about great apartments we’d lived in over the years.” comments Spence. “We zeroed in on what we loved about them: French doors, fireplaces, vintage O’Keefe & Merritt stoves. So, creating the Brenners’ apartment was an opportunity to design my dream apartment.”

With the Brenners deliberately scripted by Whannell as living in a Hollywood residential building so as to immediately differentiateInsidious: Chapter 3, Spence and her unit researched “old Hollywood” apartments. While an actual standing building in the neighborhood was secured for use in exterior/establishing shots, “I visited a lot of different buildings and looked at the texture, the layers of wallpaper and whatever else went into their construction,” she explains. “I wanted us to layer he history of those efforts into the building sets so when the characters walk down the hallway, the audience can see the waves of plaster and paint that were applied.

“For the history inside the apartment, influenced by the late mother, we thought about each piece of decoration and where it came from – did they buy it at a yard sale or a flea market, or was it new?”

Preparation was crucial, as Spence and her team had only 15 days to build the Brenners’ residence on a California soundstage, including “building, painting, plastering, dressing the set – everything.

“When we were done, we had a lot of people say, ‘I want to live here in this apartment,’ so I think we did a good job!”

The apartment has different rooms, and the audience is kept off-balance as to when the world of the living will be forced into proximity with the world of The Further. Mulroney remarks, “There are sequences where events happen so fast, it was like we were making an indoor action movie. Like in the otherInsidious movies, there’s a lot going on in little spaces – and in Insidious: Chapter 3, it’s rooms in an apartment, so it’s even denser.”

Accordingly, the “one set” had to be able to be redressed for different looks. Spence recounts, “When we came to one of those junctures in the story, the whole shooting crew would go away while my team went in. To create The Further, we would undress everything, rendering a space devoid of personal items or anything meaningful – just the ‘bones’ of the room.

“There was also another look which I called the ‘dream’ Further, which is when you go back in time and see something that happened in the past.”

Working off of another back story confided to her by Whannell, for the movie’s antagonistic new demon, Spence came up with “a tobacco-colored design for the scenes set decades ago. There are cigarette butts everywhere, oxygen tanks, and apothecary jars full of strange, indiscernible things. It had to get very dark and weird.”

Of course, “very dark and weird” has been part and parcel of the enduring shivery appeal of the Insidious movies, evoking dread and terror – sometimes explainable for the characters, sometimes not. Stefanie Scott remarks, “It’s the fear of the unknown that works on you – like when you hear a noise and think, ‘Huh, that’s nothing.’ But in these movies, it is…something.”

Leigh Whannell adds, “It’s your own imagination that can start freaking you out right away; a floorboard creaking can set you off. In theInsidious movies, we build on that and tease the audience a little.

“Then we go for the unexpected scares, maybe seen out of the corner of your eye. Like in the first two movies, there will be moments inInsidious: Chapter 3 where half the theatre is whispering because they saw something – but the other half didn’t catch it. AnInsidious movie has this creepy atmosphere where you never know what to expect, and up come some images that stick in your mind.

“The Insidious movies are atmosphere-centric,” agrees James Wan. “For the filmmaking team, it’s all about creating the right tone, the right creepiness. The world of The Further looms over our real world and is like a nightmare, except you’re not asleep when you experience these demonic entities encroaching on your world or these ghostly spirits haunting you.”

Oren Peli comments, “I think that fans value the Insidious movies because these are not typical horror movies that rely on gore; the scares are methodical and effective.

“I myself am drawn to the core concept of something lurking in your own normal home, something that you can’t reason with and don’t know how to fight against – but you must, for your family’s sake.”

Jason Blum confesses, “What scares me is being home alone at night and hearing weird things. I think the reason that so many horror movies take place in your own house is because that’s where you feel safest. So when you’re threatened in that environment, it’s truly scary. That’s a big part of theInsidious movies, as The Further bleeds into people’s homes and the paranormal feels real.

“For me, the scariest thing about the Insidious world is definitely the demons. But I’m very proud at how these movies define what scares you most as what you can imagine, not necessarily what’s on the screen.”

Dermot Mulroney adds, “The Insidious movies are about the anticipation of fear, and they use old-school methods to achieve what other movies fail at using modern technology.”

Angus Sampson reveals, “You know a movie’s going to be frightening when the rushes [of the day’s filming] scare you.”

Having confronted all manner of demons in her characterization of the brave Elise, Lin Shaye reflects, “I loved – or, hated – the demons in the first and second movies, but there’s something about the one in Insidious: Chapter 3 that chills me; there is a familiarity to it that is different – and scarier – than what we’ve seen before.”

The new movie’s special make-up effects are designed and created by Fractured FX. Whannell notes, “They did the first two movies, and they are passionate about their work and creativity. We went for horrendous-and-sickly rather than the gothic look of the earlier films.

“I pitched the basic ideals to [Fractured’s CEO] Justin Raleigh and his eyes just lit up. What they came up with was phenomenal.”

Peli praises the work “done by Fractured in creating the main demon here, who will give audiences a serious jolt.”

Wan says, “This new chapter is a good entry point for people who have never seen an Insidious movie to come in and enjoy a scary ride.”

“Quite a ride,” confirms Steve Coulter, who reprises his role as Elise’s confidant Carl. “The things that we grew up being afraid of, that our mothers and fathers told us were not there? The Insidious movies show you that, yeah, they are there. Especially if you look too long into the dark.

“Leigh Whannell is a very nice guy, but he’s got some very bad things in his head. So you’re going to see things in Insidious: Chapter 3 that you’ve never seen in any other movie.”

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