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Interview: Adam Green, Director of 'Frozen'
'Frozen' a horror film by Adam Green features 3 friends stranded on a chairlift
Adam Green is the iconic director of the neo-horror genre, who struck it big with Hatchet in 2006. Last year he filmed Frozen which was released last weekend. The story centers on 3 friends who get stuck on a chairlift after the ski resort shuts down at the end of the weekend and they are left hanging for days. Think about that next time you head up to Mammoth.The film is definitely a departure for Green as it is a much more psychological film vs. the amusement park fun gorefest of Hatchet. Frozen is an independent film up against the Big Hollywood remake of Wolfman but it definitely deserves your movie dollar - Green and his cast do so much with so little, it's inspiring. See it tonight before it leaves theaters. [Look for Hatchet II to be released before Halloween - Green is just finishing photography this month.]
LAist: Your film is a take on a nightmare that a lot of winter sports enthusiasts have.
Adam Green: I think anyone who has ever been skiing has had that fear. That chairlift always, undoubtedly stops for some reason, usually because somebody fell getting on or off of it. But there's this collective fear of everyone on the chairlift wondering "If the chairlift doesn't start again, how are we going to get down?" And that's how this project started.
LAist: Did your cast feel an immediate empathy with your story?
Adam Green: Pretty much everybody who read the script could relate to it because even if you haven't skied you can relate to the fear of heights and isolation. Normally with the horror genre, there's an element of fantasy to it, a monster or villain, that lets you distance yourself from it. But in this situation the whole time you're watching the movie you're trying to second guess what they're trying to do and trying to figure out what you would do to get out of the situation.
LAist: Are you familiar with the episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" where Larry David gets stuck on a chairlift?
Adam Green: Yes! In fact, somebody on line made a mock trailer and took the Frozen trailer and spliced it with scenes from that episode and made"Frozen with Larry David".
LAist: A lot of the things you touch on he does as well, you both addressed the same situation but veered off to different places.
Adam Green: Yes, he went the funny way and I went the sick and twisted route.
LAist: The chair lift seems like a 100 year old technology.
Adam Green: That's how I feel about airplanes. Why haven't they updated the airplane? Some critics have said [Frozen] would never happen at a ski resort because the employees have to do their job, but how many pilots have been caught flying drunk? You can't trust anybody because of human error and while the circumstances in Frozen are unlikely to happen, they could happen.
The reaction from the ski community has been amazing because they are so scared of this film and they should be the ones celebrating it I think. It's funny how the resorts are so angry about this film, saying that "This would not happen at our mountain" but all of them, when we were researching shooting locations, they admitted it could happen but not at their mountains.
LAist: How have your screenings been so far?
Adam Green: We showed Frozen at Sundance and it was the best experience we could hope for. Every show was sold out and there were waiting lists for people trying to get in and they added more showings. There were people fainting and running out of the theater, where they waited [safely] for the end of the film so they could come back in and do the Q&A.
LAist: Explain to us how you shot this film, your actors (Emma Bell, Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers) were on an actual chairlift, how long were they up there?
Adam Green: The whole movie was shot practically, which means not on a soundstage or green screen, they were always really up there. They probably spent about 4 hours before break, and then 5 to 6 hours after break. We kept trying to send up handwarmers to them or hot coffee, but our little rope up to them didn't really work.
They were excited about it because they were in their own element and in the moment. When actors are working on a set they try to stay in their moment but there's like 50 people around them in the crew who are talking, laughing, and moving around but here they were up there, 50 feet off the ground, where they couldn't really hear anybody on the ground.
It was so great to get 3 actors that were willing to do that because when we announced the film, every young actor in Hollywood came out for it until they found out how we were shooting it and then at least 70% of them went running. This was an intimidating script because it rested on the actors, on their faces, giving a performance of a lifetime for 90 minutes.
LAist: I think that this film will freak people out even more about chairlifts.
Adam Green: Hopefully that's what happens, hopefully it becomes part of peoples' psyche an the next time they're on a chairlift and it stops, somebody nudges their friend and says "Hey, do you remember that movie?" and their friend says "Dude! Shut up!"
Frozen is being show at at least 10 theaters in the LA area - see it before it leaves the big screen.
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