‘Life’ Director Daniel Espinosa On Anxiety, Night of the Living Dead, and Ridley Scott

LifeRory Adams (Ryan Reynolds) with David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal) in Columbia Pictures' LIFE.


The world will be getting its first look at Daniel Espinosa’s sci-fi horror LIFE today at South By Southwest, and the director sat down with Deadline recently to talk about some of the influences that shaped the film. He mentions one of the most shocking endings in classic horror, that of George A. Romero’s original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD:

“For me it feeds into an old tradition, and if you walk back and look at both horror and space movies, you want to remember, say, one of the most glorious endings of all time, Night Of The Living Dead… ‘Please, we’re here.’ ‘I got a live one.’ ‘Take him out.’ Boom. That’s the best ending of all time. I thought to myself, you want to try and maintain the cinematic quality of science fiction.”

He also thought about what made science fiction and horror work so well in film, how they were rooted in anxiety:

“I don’t know if you’ve ever suffered from severe anxiety, but there are two planes. One is white. White is endless and you stand in this endless room and it is the worst thing you can imagine. The other is black, and that is claustrophobia. If you look at these heroic movies in science fiction, you have Solaris by Andrei Tarkovsky. You look at 2001 and Alien, and these are all submarine movies. You look at modern achievements like The Martian, and that has elements of a submarine movie…When I made the movie I had two kind of major anxieties, and one was claustrophobia. The other was that I just became a father for the first time. What hits you is this fear that all your weakness, the horrible parts of you, will infect the child, that you’ll pass them on like a disease.”

It’s easy to listen to these statements and agree. One of the scariest concepts of ALIEN wasn’t just a large, spindly creature chasing you down. It was that it was chasing you down in a ship, with limited places to hide, in SPACE! You literally have nowhere to go.

In the upcoming feature LIFE, a group of scientists aboard the International Space Station eagerly wait to receive a probe containing soil samples from Mars. What they end up getting exceeds all expectations, and then leads to pure horror as their research becomes a threat with nowhere to hide, and nowhere to run to. Directed by Espinosa and written by DEADPOOL scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, LIFE stars Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Olga Dihovichnaya. It is due to hit theaters on March 24, 2018.

Are there similarities you can already draw between this and other claustrophobic sci-fi horror? Will you be checking LIFE out when it arrives?


source: Deadline

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