Little is known about the film. Cameras quietly rolled late last year in Toronto and Universal originally had it pegged for a February 2011 release. A trailer, however, received a good response and a free slot opened up on the studio’s schedule earlier than expected. Now, Devil is expected to reign in theaters on September 17.
John and Drew Dowdle, the brothers behind 2008′s Quarantine and the still unreleased The Poughkeepsie Tapes (thanks to the once indecisive and now ailing MGM), sat down with Shock Till You Drop to talk with me about their time directing and producing Devil, a film they became attached to while developing The Coup.
We cover all of the bases, from script development to working with Shyamalan to the film’s PG-13 rating.
Shock Till You Drop: Did Shyamalan seek you guys out for this or did you vie for the job? He actually saw The Poughkeepsie Tapes and he loved it. But he wanted to know we could do something fun. So he saw Quarantine and the next day invited us out.
Drew Dowdle: Poughkeepsie was one of the first movies he watched in his new house with his wife who has a PHD in psychology. They both loved it and hated it and hated the fact that it was the first movie they watched in their new place. Either way, it affected them and from that one viewing, it got us a meeting.
Shock: It’s cool Poughkeepsie is a demo reel of sorts for you guys even though it’s still unreleased.
John: And it got us both the jobs for Quarantine and Devil, separately.
Shock: You would figure the go-to project is the one that was the studio picture that made money.
Drew: He did want to see Quarantine, but it was just a confirmation that we could do something with some mass appeal.
Shock: Devil is Shyamalan’s story, but Brian Nelson wrote the script, correct? Right, it was Night’s story. We read the synopsis and loved it. It was fun, Hitchcockian and a bit like The Twilight Zone.
Drew: We loved the confined space. It was a ten-page treatment we read. And he had hired Brian before he hired us, so we talked to Brian about it. It was a challenging adaptation for sure. The story was great.
Shock: So you did have involvement in the script? Very much. .
Drew: We worked closely with Brian from the very first draft. It was a collaborative effort
Shock: Quarantine posed a particular challenge in that you were telling a story from a single camera and you needed to stick to that visual language. Devil seems to propose a new hurdle, tell a story in a confined space. Was that particularly difficult at times? .
John: One thing we learned from Quarantine is how difficult subjectivity is. If you’re in one place, moving through a space, that’s a powerful first-person thing. When you’re in this elevator in Devil, we tried to show one character and then what they were seeing and it places the audience in the elevator and it saved us from doing 500 shots in just this single elevator
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