BRIGHTBURN Exclusive Interview With Director David Yarovesky About The Superhero/Horror Movie Mashup

BRIGHTBURN <font color=red>Exclusive</font> Interview With Director David Yarovesky About The Superhero/Horror Movie Mashup

Brightburn is now available to buy on digital platforms ahead of its Blu-ray release on August 20th and we recently had the chance to get in-depth about the movie with director David Yarovesky...

Produced by Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, Brightburn caught everyone's attention with those Man of Steel-inspired teaser trailers and brought something new to the superhero genre by delivering a horror movie that essentially asked, "What if Superman was evil?"

There's obviously more to the movie than that and at the helm was director David Yarovesky. 

With Brightburn now available on digital platforms, I recently had the chance to talk to David about the movie and the filmmaker provided some in-depth insights into the making of this unique tale (including that awesome cameo) while also weighing in on the possible future of the franchise and the chances of him one day working on a Marvel or DC Comics superhero movie. 

This interview is packed with fascinating stories about some of Brightburn's key moments, including that gory eye scene, the nature vs. nurture debate, and the creation of Brandon's iconic mask.

I would like to say a huge thank you to David for talking to me and be sure to pick up the film today!


How much fun was it to sit down and brainstorm all the twisted things a kid with Brandon's powers and psyche could do to people?
Honestly, that was so much fun! [Laughs] I don't know if you can underline that but, yeah, storyboarding this movie and the creative exploration of planning it was like being a kid in a candy store. How big can you dream? 'How dark can you dream?', I guess, would be the expression! It was amazing because this is something I've done since I was a kid on the playground arguing with my friends, 'What happens if a superhero can melt someone's brain?' I've been having these arguments my whole life so to now have a crew of people take those conversations seriously and realising it on to a big screen released across the entire's pretty crazy! 
The marketing campaign for the movie leaned heavily on the fact that Brightburn essentially tells the story of an "evil Superman" - how involved were you with those Man of Steel-style teasers that got everyone talking?
The marketing campaign is a diverse set of assets. Sony was responsible for generating so much material and then there were international companies too. When it came to the main trailer, though, I was quite involved with that so much so that very early on in the creative process when I met with the writers, Brian and Mark, and I talked to them about what my vision for their script was, I walked them through a trailer and that was how I explained to them the movie I wanted to make and the direction in which I wanted to evolve that script. Cut to the end of the movie and we're working with Sony and they're delivering cuts of the trailer and I got on the phone with everyone and said, 'Look, at the start of all of this, this was the trailer that I pitched the writers and it's what we've all been working on.' Everyone got really excited, Sony got really excited, James got really excited. So, they went away and a day later, they came back with that cut and the trailer everybody knows and I saw that first thing I pitched to that room so long ago. To answer your question, I was very creatively involved with that aspect. 
You've worked with James Gunn a lot but what can you tell us about your collaboration on this movie? 
Incredible. James know, it's funny, right, because when you work in this town, you develop friendships with people because you have common interests. We like to talk about comic books and movies and go to E3 and play video games together. We're friends. I don't often see him in work mode believe it or not because we hang out as friends. I've been on set with him for a day on Guardians of the Galaxy and I visited him on Guardians 2 but on this, I sat next to him every day. He is so incredibly brilliant and with his grasp for characters and his understanding of film, he has become a master filmmaker. Sitting next to him and learning from him, my goal at a certain point was to suck up as much knowledge from him as I possibly could. I think I did because now I literally have, and I tell him this all the time, a James Gunn Jedi ghost that appears to me and gives me notes on things as I'm working and developing them. Even in post, if he wasn't there a day, he would just appear to me and guide my decision making. 
That eye scene is classic horror so can you talk about the process of bringing that memorable moment to life?
I really wanted to push the boundaries of realism with the violence that we were going to be showing in this movie and I think we succeeded! [Laughs] One of the way we did that, and I'm kind of an avid believer of this, is combining the use of practical effects and digital effects in one. For example, we built a replica of her head. We built an eye and we built a piece of glass to stick in that eye. We went through a pretty elaborate process of what kind of fluid would come out of her eye because the juice in your eye is not blood. I'm sure the doctor has a very medical term for it but we were just calling it eye juice and that is a different thing than blood so it was important to me that you could see the separation of eye juice and blood. All of those things are practical elements so we shoot it all practically and then we shoot her head and then we shoot the actress reacting and wincing to it. We use parts of the fake glass going into her fake eye, add the eye juice and blood and then use the digital aspects to clean up the scenes and then attach her real reactions to the fake head. 

There are some great Super Easter Eggs in the movie – were those just for fun or a sign that that and Brightburn could be part of a shared universe?
[Laughs] Are we hinting at a shared universe? Well, I like to leave that sort of thing uncommented on so that people can discuss and debate and hopefully if we get the opportunity to make a sequel, I will twist up and surprise all of your expectations with the weird ideas in my head! [Laughs]
The Michael Rooker cameo is also an awesome surprise – how did that come about?
Well, it's no secret that James and Rooker have a longterm friendship and working relationship and it's probably not a huge secret that Rooker has become a friend of mine...and I was one of his Ravagers! We literally just asked him if we would do it. 
You made a cameo appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy...any chance the same will happen in The Suicide Squad?
I don't think I can comment on that! 
Going back to Brightburn, you didn't have the same budget as a blockbuster superhero movie so in what ways would you say that either helped or hurt the movie?
Every director you ever ask wants more money for their movie. They just do. Because you can always imagine X or Y. We knew what we were making. We were making an Indie, low budget movie with big dreams and big hopes that one day someone would release it on the scale that it got released. It's quite amazing that we were able to do that and I'm really proud of that. One of the things about this movie is that it is a horror movie. We didn't need to have a $50 million VFX sequence of all of the explosions and chaos because at a certain point, the movie becomes Jaws in a way. You don't know where outside he is, you know he's coming for you but you don't know where or how he's gonna get you. It was about showing less and building anticipation. 
Brandon has a good home life but as soon as he finds that ship, he starts losing control – how much thought did you give to nature vs. nurture with his character? 
I think that's an essential theme of the movie and part of the storytelling in that we used colour to tell that story. If you rewatch the movie and, we use his outfit to tell that story. His relation to colour blue in the movie represents his Earth life and red is his alien life. If you watch his costume, you can see where his allegiance lies at any moment based on the colouring. At the same time, the way we shot the movie and the way I framed shots and everything is constantly telling us whether his allegiance is for Earth or for his alien life. At the same time, there's so much in this movie about the choices his parents make and the affect they have on him. Someone could get to the end of the movie and see that while Brandon went through a moment where things got dark, he could have been pulled back but every decision the parents made seemed to push him further away from them. 

What was the inspiration behind the mask Brandon fashions for himself? Was it hard to come up with a design that didn't remind people of certain comic book villains or characters?
My wife designed the costume and did an incredible job. It was not an easy task we asked of her because I went to her and said, 'There's a tall order here. I want you to create an iconic mask.' The way I described it was that I have a lot of friends who collect toys and they have shelves where their favourite Funkos are and there you would see Freddy and Jason and Michael Myers and Leatherface and I wanted it to be a distinct mask that could sit on that shelf and stand out. I think she created something that has that kind of uniqueness that speaks to people and captures the imagination. The reaction to the mask has been just crazy. The amount of fan art and cosplaying already has totally blown my mind. 

After getting a taste of the superhero movie genre, are there any Marvel or DC characters you would be interested in bringing to the big screen?
Oh, yes. [Laughs] Ohh, yes! But I don't want to say. Definitely. [Laughs]
No one mentions superheroes in Brightburn but were you ever tempted to play into that by having Brandon look at comic books for inspiration or did you want to keep this completely original?
In horror movies, the most common concept is that other things don't exist. For example, most of the time when you make a vampire movie, people don't inherently know the rules. They have to learn them. They don't know who Dracula is. Because this was a horror movie, it made the most sense to me – and by the way there are plenty of examples that counter that but those come from a post modern perspective where movies can become self referential like post Scream and after the Kevin Williamson revolution – but I felt like that people should not know things. It just opens too many doors creatively. 
You mentioned gory imagery like people having their eyes burned out but was it difficult to convince Sony to let you do those things in the superhero genre or were they happy with you pushing that R-Rating?
To be totally honest with you, we made this movie independently and it was acquired by Sony. Throughout the entire process, because I had never worked with a studio, I expected Sony to step in one day and say, 'Hey, you can't do that, man.' Sony was really great and they never did. They allowed me to put the movie I made out and we didn't get any pushback. Every single time I had to show the movie to someone I was like, 'This is the day that jaw shot dies.' I was waiting for that to happen and it never did and there are a lot of people in Sony who deserve credit for that.  
Have you given any thought to where you would take Brandon in a sequel. Is it possible we'll see where he came from, for example?
I have a very canned answer for you on that front and by the nature of the answer I'm going to give you, telling you that it's canned is even more important. When we released Brightburn and when we exposed what we'd been working on to the world, it caught everyone off guard and people had that huge reaction to the trailer. I would say that if we were so fortunate to be able to make a sequel, I would like to repeat that and not tell anyone what we're working on and then surprise everyone with some crazy things that no one sees coming.
I really hope you do get that chance because it's rare to see something as fresh as this in the genre, especially with those horror elements! 
I feel really fortunate that in my life I was able to make a movie like this that broke boundaries and did something different. It's been a hell of a ride. 

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