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Scraps of info about JEEPERS CREEPERS creator Victor Salva’s ROSEWOOD LANE have been leaking on the web in the last few days, but only FANGORIA has the full scoop on this psychotic-paperboy movie! See below for an exclusive interview with writer/director Salva (pictured), who spills the beans on not only ROSEWOOD LANE (including the latest genre-friendly actors just signed!), but also his next projects: a new franchise horror character to rival the Creeper and a Clive Barker anthology show!
FANGORIA: What is ROSEWOOD LANE about?
VICTOR SALVA: ROSEWOOD LANE is what I call a “house-next-door thriller.” This particular suburban nightmare is about a popular radio talk show host who, after her alcoholic father dies, decides to move back into her childhood home. When she does, she finds out that her neighbors are terrified of their local paperboy. She thinks they’re all crazy—until she meets the boy herself and discovers the teen is not just dangerous, but a terrifying and cunning sociopath…one who may have killed her father and even others.
FANG: After eight years, will it feel good directing a thriller/scary movie again?
SALVA: It will be right up there with the good feelings a kid might get walking into his favorite candy store after eight years.
FANG: How horrific will ROSEWOOD LANE be?
SALVA: There are probably more scares in this script than in either of my two JEEPERS films. The scares here are in the vein of Carpenter’s original HALLOWEEN, my all-time favorite house-next-door thriller. ROSEWOOD LANE could take place in anyone’s home in anyone’s neighborhood. I think it helps the scares a lot when you put them right in your own backyard. It certainly makes them all the more nail-biting in this case. With ROSEWOOD LANE, I wanted to see how many great jump-out-of-your-seat scares I could pack into one film. And there is one particularly favorite scene of mine in the film, where I hope to do for cat doors what Hitchcock did for showers.
FANG: What kind of budget are you working with?
SALVA: The kind of budget that many genre films are being made for today. I cut my teeth on the no-budget indie thriller with NATURE OF THE BEAST and RITES OF PASSAGE. And don’t forget my first theatrical film, CLOWNHOUSE, my first suburban thriller, which Francis Coppola paid for out of his own pocket. That budget couldn’t have been more than $100,000 back in the ’80s.
I’m glad the ROSEWOOD budget is substantially larger than that, but I’ve been making films since I was 13, so I learned early how to shoot a movie on a paper-route paycheck. It was great early training for coming to Hollywood, because I was prepared to make films at every budget level, large and small. No matter what the budget, there’s never enough money. Ask the directors of the biggest-budgeted movies in the world, even $200-million movies, and they would all say they didn’t have enough money. So it’s really all relative.
FANG: What are the characters like, and who would you like to see star?
SALVA: This is the first film I have written with a female lead. She is strong and courageous, but like most of us, when the doors close and she can drop her public facade, she is lonely, scared and vulnerable. And like most characters in a Victor Salva thriller, her ideas and beliefs about life, about good and evil and about what is possible and impossible, are put to some very intense and scary tests. In the case of ROSEWOOD LANE, it’s when she runs into an outwardly normal-looking paperboy who in reality is a tremendously dark, homicidal and—who knows?—possibly even supernatural force. The terrific Rose McGowan will be playing the lead, and I hope a lot of the JEEPERS CREEPERS cast will be joining us too, including Ray Wise and Tom Tarantini. Casting is still underway, but at present we also have DEXTER’s Lauren Velez, Lesley-Anne Down [NOMADS, FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE] and Lin Shaye [2001 MANIACS, DEAD END]. We also have most of the talented film family who created the JEEPERS films with me: film editor Ed Marx, director of photography Don E. FauntLeRoy—who is also producing the film with me—and the talented Bennett Salvay scoring the film.
FANG: When will ROSEWOOD LANE be ready to show the world?
SALVA: Hopefully by late spring or early summer.
FANG: What can you say about THE WHITE?
SALVA: My polar-bear thriller is doing the funding dance like so many of my features are doing in this, the most difficult time for indie financing, probably in the history of the industry. But I am told there are interested parties and that there may be good news soon.
FANG: With MGM out of bankruptcy, do you see JEEPERS CREEPERS 3 on the horizon?
SALVA: Though I have been beating this drum for so long that people have started not to believe me, I am told they are very close to closing a financing deal for the third film in the trilogy. So I want to say yes, but let’s not jinx it by saying any more. My script for the film, which was written some time ago, sets up a TV series that features Poho County and The Creeper. The script has been ready to shoot for a while now.
FANG: Any other future projects you can tease us with?
SALVA: In this crazy business, you have to keep about 10 balls in the air at once, knowing that only one may actually become a finished feature. There is a lot of activity again on my WWII supernatural thriller THE WATCH that I am doing with producer John Goldstone [JONAH HEX]. There is also renewed interest in the horror anthology series I’m shopping to TV with partner Del Howison. Del and I want to bring the award winning DARK DELICACIES books and a great deal of my own short horror fiction to TV screens as a weekly horror show. Since I was about 10 and made my first attempts at writing, it has always been a dream of mine to stake my claim in Rod Serling territory. Over the last few years, I have written almost 30 hour and half-hour episodes for the DARK DELICACIES show, all of them jump-out-of-your-seat thrillers tailor-made for TV screens. And Del and I got our good friend Clive Barker to agree to be our onscreen Rod Serling to introduce the tales each week. Del and I are hoping the new trend in horror TV [WALKING DEAD, TRUE BLOOD, VAMPIRE DIARIES, et al.] might help find a place for it, because we truly do have the scariest series that’s ever been on television. In fact, Del and I call it “The scariest series on TV that nobody’s seen yet.” It’s looking for a home.
But the most exciting project on the horizon for me right now is a new horror franchise that I created out of my frustration with not being able to get more JEEPERS films funded the past few years. It’s called THE RATTLEMAN, and will also have a comic-book incarnation as well. The Rattleman is a supernatural killer that can use any shadow anywhere as a portal into and out of our world to hunt and kill—it’s a truly terrifying and unique horror idea we haven’t seen before. I am planning at least three RATTLEMAN films at present, and would like to do one a year, as was the plan for the JEEPERS films. The title character is my latest dark demon of a movie star, who is named The Rattleman for some very grisly reasons better left undescribed for the time being. The first RATTLEMAN film in the series could be shooting as early as this spring, shortly after ROSEWOOD LANE wraps.
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