Blu-ray Interview/Review: Director Darren Lynn Bousman on Rebecca De Mornay, 'Mother's Day' and A Possible Director's Cut
For genre fans craving a little blood and guts, nobody delivers the demented better than Director Darren Lynn Bousman. From his work on "Saw 2", plus parts 3 and 4 and the grizzly but highly musical "Repo! The Genetic Opera," Bousman has solidified his place as a horror helmer to be reckoned with. His latest outing is "Mother’s Day" (out on Blu-ray May 8 from Anchor Bay Entertainment) which based on the 1980 Troma film of the same name. The movie that pits sadistic mother Rebecca De Mornay and her sadistic sons up against some innocent party goers during a home invasion, marks a departure for Bousman who makes this one more of a 'horror of the mind' style thriller rather then a graphic gore fest. We’re celebrating the release of "Mother’s Day" with not only a review of the film and its features, but also a little candid one-on-one chat with Bousman himself who talks about his love for the Charles Kaufman original, why the film was delayed for so long and working with the great Rebecca De Mornay. Release the horror hounds, here’s...
How familiar were you with the 1980 Troma movie prior to taking on this film and what was your impression of the creepy and iconic Beatrice Pons (aka Rose Ross) in the original?
Darren Lynn Bousman: Well, first off she’s awesome! I was very familiar with it - it was a movie that I saw numerous times as a kid growing up. Never in a million years did I ever foresee myself remaking a movie, but it’s one of those movies that I thought was awesome and I could actually watch on VHS numerous times. Then I started meeting Lloyd Kaufman at numerous conventions and things like that and again I thought that guy was awesome. So when the project came to me via Brett Ratner I kind of laughed it off at first and thought ‘yeah, right,’ but then I realized they were serious and I thought ‘how can I do this?’ I have kind of an aversion to remakes. I had done three sequels and then getting in to do another remake I thought ‘I don’t know if I can do that.’ Part of the whole reason I got into the entertainment industry was to do something unique, real and different. And then here I am doing sequel after sequel after sequel and now I’m doing a remake. So the question was how could I make it new and unique and still pay homage to the original Charles Kaufman film? What I did was I sat and talked to Brett for a while and then I actually got on the phone with Lloyd and Charles and said, ‘Listen, I don't want to copy your movie. Your movie exists as it is and it’s got a huge loyal fan base, what if we did an updated spin on it? We take the same characters and said what would it be like if they lived today?’ And that’s how we started the whole process.
How did you come to cast Rebecca De Mornay and was it hard to convince her to take on such a harsh role?
DB: Yeah, it was actually. Rebecca is a very moral and just person. She kind of has a squeamish thing about violence. The thing that’s funny about "Mother’s Day" is I just watched it again for the first time believe it or not in about two years – which kills me because we made the movie almost three years ago – and it’s not that violent. I know that sounds weird saying it, but it’s really not. If you watch the movie again it’s vicious absolutely, but for on-screen violence it’s about a quarter, if even that, of the violence of a Saw film. The difference is the characters are so well acted, the portrayals from Rebecca to the brothers, that it makes the deaths much harder to bear and the violence feel much more horrific. So she had a big issue coming into it about how much violence was actually going to be portrayed and a great amount of that violence could be shown off screen. It was the first time I had done anything like that - in the Saw days I would have done an extreme close-ups. That being said it’s still vicious, but it’s not as gory as my other stuff. But once she actually got on set and we started working together we clicked. We found a groove and she was fantastic – she became that character.
De Mornay turns in a real tour-de-force performance – what was she like to work with on set, what is her process and did she come up with some of her own material on the day?
DB: She had very clear defined visions of who mother was. One of the things I wanted to do was the original mother and all the family in "Mother’s Day" were very over the top, very big and caricatures of these rednecks in the woods with an overbearing mother. I wanted to make a crime thriller as opposed to a straight out horror film and as that we had to make sure that the character of mother who is the backbone of the entire movie was not unbelievable - she had to be believable. So Rebecca was very concerned about her costume, very concerned about her shoes, her purse, the way she walked, her wig that she wore, the makeup she put on herself. Everything was very much a decision – she didn't accept just anything. She was a perfectionist and I would say that my experience working with her was a lot like working with Tobin Bell in the fact that Tobin Bell was very particular in everything Tobin Bell did for every aspect of Jigsaw. I would say Rebecca was like that – maybe even more so.
You talk a bit about some of the reasons behind the delay in the release of the film on the commentary track, but were there ever any delays due to the content of the film?
DB: No. The film was originally bought in 2010 and it was supposed to come out that mother’s day 2010 and the company that bought it ended up loosing all their money and it got held for over a year – that was the main reason the film got delayed. The editing was a very tricky process though. When we first edited the movie it was over three and a half hours long and there’s an entire section of the movie that we took out. A twenty-five minute section of characters being killed that you never see. I think at the very end it makes it a better movie, but I can say that if this movie catches on and is popular the director’s cut is gonna be pretty epic.
Will we ever see that three hour Bousman cut of "Mother’s Day?"
DB: I hope so, I mean I love the original cut. It’s so much more character heavy and much more character intensive, so it’s more of a character study. Here’s the problem with shooting a movie like this – we had such great actors and they were so good that I had a hard time picking the best moments because every moment was the best. Even that three hour cut was after cutting out hours and hours of good stuff, so it's hard.
"Saw 2" was exceptionally good I think due to the fact that your script for "The Desperate" that got amended to fit the Saw films was so solid – ever any regrets in changing or using that script?
DB: Yeah, before I did it absolutely, but I think I made the right choice. If I had made "The Desperate" I’d be some obscure filmmaker that no one ever heard of. I think by doing it in the Saw film I was forced to basically step outside of my comfort zone and make something commercial and it put me on the map so I could make movies like "Mother’s Day" or "The Devil’s Carnival" or "Repo! The Genetic Opera."
What’s next for you?
DB: I’m on the road right now on a forty city tour doing The Devil’s Carnival," which is like a touring theater experience - it’s another musical much like Repo! And I’ve got a new movie coming out this year called "The Barrens," which stars Stephen Moyer from "True Blood."
For a little Blu-ray review keep reading!
Title: "Mother’s Day"
Cast: Rebecca De Mornay, Jaime King, Briana Evigan
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Runtime: 112 minutes
Release Company: Anchor Bay Entertainment
The Flick: Watching the kidnapping gone awry thriller "Mother’s Day" reminded me a lot of the old school Wes Craven films that dared to simply used the dark side of human nature to illicit horror chills. Chocked full of some of the most sheer uncomfortable moments since John McNaughton’s "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer," Darren Bousman’s updated version shows a real departure from his previous Saw work and marks a real notable step in the realm of horror of the mind. To boot Bousman has not only bested the original 1980 Troma film (though Rose Ross will always be the creepiest mother ever!), but he provides us with one can’t miss tour-de-force performance from the underused Rebecca De Mornay. Like the meaner and cooler cousin to the nanny in "The Hand that Rocks the Cradle," De Mornay captivates and radiates in a sensationally sinister role that could have been lackluster with a lesser talent. Not that the entire cast isn't decent (Jaime King keeps getting better and better with every film!), but this is De Mornay’s show all the way.
Best Feature: The 'Commentary' track with Bousman and Shawn Ashmore is both informative (why did this one take so long to get released?) and insightful (the thoughts behind some of the more harsh ideas is fascinating stuff!) – a good listen.
Best Hidden Gem: Again, for the woman who made me fall in love in "Risky Business" and then shook me to my core here I humbly bow before the De Mornay prowess!
Worth the Moola: Not for the meek, there is much bite to this bark. (Though mostly off camera where it’s even creepier!) But don't let the title fool you – keep your mom away from this one!
"MOTHER’S DAY" HITS DVD/BLU-RAY MAY 8TH FROM ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT.