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After two highly rated previous films, MTV and director
Jacob Gentry round out their trilogy with MY SUPER PSYCHO SWEET 16: PART 3,
premiering tonight at 10/9c. Fango spoke to Gentry and executive producer
Alexander Motlagh, who has also been with the franchise from the beginning (and
whose collaboration with Gentry goes back to his breakout horror feature THE
SIGNAL), about their teen-slasher sequel, for which we also have some exclusive
Scripted by SUPER PSYCHO stalwarts Jed Elinoff and Scott
Thomas, the third movie opens with Skye Rotter (Lauren McKnight) heading off to
college with best friend Sienna (Jillian Rose Reed), a couple of years after
the last rampage of Skye’s psychopathic father Charlie. A surprise phone call
from Skye’s sister Alex (Kirsten Prout)—with whom Skye did not leave things on
the best terms—leads Skye and Sienna to a large, remote mansion, where Alex is
throwing a party for her 16th birthday. Things are chilly between the siblings
once Skye and Sienna arrive, and they soon become chilling as a psychopath
starts picking off the teenage guests.
FANGORIA: How did you two first meet?
ALEXANDER MOTLAGH: Jacob and I went to college together at
the University of Georgia, and freshman year in the dorm, I had my door open
and Jacob was walking by, and I had a poster for Michael Mann’s HEAT on my
wall. He saw the poster and came in, and we started talking, and we just hit it
off. I was in the journalism department and he was in the theater department,
and I had access to cameras and editing equipment and he had access to actors,
so we came together and started working on short films and theater in Georgia.
FANG: How did you and the writers come up with the storyline
to continue the SUPER PSYCHO saga in PART 3?
MOTLAGH: We just started talking about general themes and
where we wanted to go, and pitched a couple of ideas to the writers. They gave
us a treatment, and we worked pretty closely with them in developing it and
writing the script. That’s the model with these films; they change a lot in
production, obviously, because the locations are so specific: The first one was
in the Roller Dome, the second was at the Boneyard and now this one is in the
house. There’s a rewriting process that happens when we find the location, to
make the kills and the horror scenes more suspenseful and unique to that place.
We have an idea of what we want, but until we find the location, it’s kind of
difficult to plan everything out.
JACOB GENTRY: We had to sort of reverse-engineer certain
things based on the location. For example, there was a pool at this place
connected to the back deck, so we kind of tailor-made some of the sequences and
setpieces according to the location. Ultimately, we wanted to do kind of a DIE
HARD meets CLUE [laughs], about the idea of these people being trapped in the
house, and having to deal with each other.
FANG: Was the conflict between Skye and Alex always the
starting point when you were developing the storyline?
GENTRY: Yeah; we had such a great cliffhanger at the end of
the second one, we wanted to fulfill the promise of that, whatever that may
mean. The cool thing about this trilogy is that, from the beginning of the
first one through the end of the third, it hopefully feels like a continuous
through-line of story. Even though we’ve had new supporting characters every
time out, this isn’t like a FINAL DESTINATION movie—as much as those are
great—where you get a whole new and different crop of people. This really is
about Skye Rotter; it’s a series of movies about one girl growing up through
MOTLAGH: The fun thing about the third one is that we already
know the characters of Skye and Alex, and you can almost view the first two
movies as, not really origin stories, but you see the beginnings of Skye in the
first one and Alex in the second one. You have the background, you know who
these girls are, so we didn’t have to tell that so much and could get straight
into the action, since we’d laid the foundation in the previous films.
FANG: This movie series started as a takeoff on MTV’s
reality show MY SUPER SWEET 16, and some of the characters in the third one
feel right out of JERSEY SHORE, especially Nico. Was that intentional?
MOTLAGH: Yeah, there may be a little bit of a reference or a
riff on that. It’s always fun playing with those archetypes and putting them
into our world, and having the opposite of them in Skye, serving as our guide
through those characters. I think Nico’s going to be one of the breakout
characters here; his name was actually Grant, starting out in the script, and
when we met [actor] Niko Papaj, and got ahold of his personality, we changed
the name to Nico and just said, “Be yourself.” That is Nico.
FANG: Did you take any cues from the fan feedback to the
MOTLAGH: A little. We definitely set up the second one for
an Alex-vs.-Skye conflict; that was the promise going into the third film.
Then, reading the feedback and what people were excited about, they really
picked up on that, thinking that now Alex might be the killer or Skye might be
the killer. They knew some kind of conflict or showdown was going to happen
between the two sisters, so we definitely deliver on that in this movie.
FANG: Has it been a fun process working with McKnight,
developing the character of Skye over the three films?
GENTRY: Absolutely. That has always been the tie-in for me;
I think anyone can relate to, and especially I can relate to, the whole emotion
of someone who wants to fit in. The first movie is essentially about Skye
trying to fit in, the second one is about her finding a sense of family and now
the third one is about her trying to move on, and have a normal life outside of
the shadow of her father. In that respect, it’s really one continuous story
about this girl. If you take all the horror and all the action and all the teen
soap opera out of it, it’s still, at the root of it, a pretty compelling idea.
MOTLAGH: Lauren is a phenomenal actress. We love her, and
we’re developing more projects with her. She kind of grew up with these films
over the last three or four years, and to have her as a contributor was a
really cool experience.
FANG: How did you find the great house you used in MY SUPER
MOTLAGH: Location scouting. We make most of our films in
Atlanta, and there’s a close community of filmmakers and crew there I work
with. Tony Holley is our location manager, I’ve known him forever, and we have
a spectacular production designer, Jeffrey Pratt Gordon, who did a phenomenal
job with the house. It had a great mansion-y feel to it; it was out in the
suburbs of Atlanta, and Jeff came in and gave it an identity and made it a
character. That’s what we try to do in all these films: The location is a
character as well. Jacob, Jeff Gordon and myself went through these rooms and
said, “What can we do to make this unique?”
FANG: Has it been easier to get more gore past Standards and
Practices over the course of making the trilogy?
MOTLAGH: What they’ve let us get away with, we’ve actually
been quite surprised. I don’t think we could ever show direct penetration, but
they’ve always let us go a little bit further than we thought they would. I think
because it’s hyper-real and over-the-top, that makes it a little more
GENTRY: We’ll see what the fans say, but PART 3 has its own
unique chills. I think the setpieces are new and exciting in comparison to the
other movies, and the horror elements are very different. That has always been
the case with these movies; we’ve always tried to raise the bar from one to the
FANG: You’ve worked with A.J. Bowen on THE SIGNAL and your
upcoming film SYNCHRONICITY; was there ever any talk of bringing him into the
MOTLAGH: We always wanted to, but we never found the right
part. It’s funny, when we were making these movies, he was always at an age
where he wasn’t young enough or old enough to be in them. We would have loved
to put him in there, but we never found the right role for him. On one of them,
I think he was working on YOU’RE NEXT when we had a role for him.
GENTRY: It’s weird, isn’t it [laughs]? On the third one, it
ended up being that there wasn’t a non-teenage part, except for a couple of
supporting characters in the beginning. Actually, I’m a little annoyed at
myself that I didn’t get him into one of these movies somehow.
FANG: Has there been any talk of doing MY SUPER PSYCHO SWEET
16: PART 4?
GENTRY: I think it might end up being a little bit of a
CRYSTAL SKULL situation if we did [laughs]. At the end of THE LAST CRUSADE, you
know, Indiana Jones and his father ride off into the sunset. I never say never,
but ultimately, this movie has a great conclusion, and ends in a way that’s
very satisfying and is a completion of Skye’s journey. Unless there’s a way to
tell Skye’s story in a fourth movie…
FANG: You could have Skye grown up, and her daughter’s
having a sweet 16 party.
GENTRY: Yeah, we come back in 18 years! She’s a young mom
and has a daughter… Ultimately, that’s the thing; we kind of engineered these
movies at the outset to play upon that sweet 16 thing, and at this point, we’ve
run out of people who are germane to the main conflict who could have a sweet
16 party. Like I said, never say never, but I feel this is a great conclusion
to the series, and it’ll feel really satisfying to the audience.
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