Daybreakers did really well: M. Spierig

Director Michael Spierig says last week’s comments about the performance of Daybreakers were blown out of proportion, and all he and brother Peter want is to build a local industry, not alienate it.

“It was a little bit too harsh but we sorted it out with [head of Hoyts Distribution] Robert Slaviero. I know how hard distributors work and I how difficult and risky it is to release a movie, so it’s unfortunate that it got so blown out of proportion,” Spierig told Encore.

Daybreakers did really well, it’s profitable and nobody lost money.

“The last thing I want is for the industry to be pissed at me for making some comments, when all I want to do is build an industry here. We could easily go to LA and make movies, but we so desperately want to stay in Australia and give our crews work and build an industry! We want to be part of a new kind of genre industry in Australia, where we’re making movies that people actually want to go and see,” explained Spierig. “Our goal is to create films like The Power of the Dark Crystal that become big, fun cinema experiences. The last thing we want to do is alienate the industry.”

The creative twins are currently developing TV projects with Blacklab Films (“still early stages”) and doing the pre-production of Dark Crystal with Omnilab Media.

The script – a sequel to the 1982 Jim Henson/Frank Oz fantasy – was written by Craig Pearce (Moulin Rouge). Spierig called it “wonderful”, and said they would “start from there”, adding their own ideas to it.

The Spierigs are currently creating animatics for the entire film.

“It saves you an enormous amount of money when you get to the shoot, because you’ve pre-planned it so carefully beforehand; you’ve done the story once and you really are just creating what you’ve already previsualised, which is wonderful – particularly in something like Dark Crystal, which is so technically complex, and the animatics let you know what’s puppetry, what’s CGI, what’s a set, and allow the entire crew to know exactly what they’re doing,” said Spierig.

The brothers did the animatics for Daybreakers themselves, as well as a considerable number of VFX for the film, and although Spierig says they will not do that again this time, “we kind of can’t help ourselves; if it’s about adding a little bit here or there, we’ll just do it, it’s the way we are… but we’re working with so many talented artists on this production that I’d imagine the majority of the work would be out of our hands”.

In terms of look, Spierig said they want to honour the Henson legacy as well as the first film – “a huge favourite of ours when we were kids; it scared the hell out of us and it’s so influential on our careers” – and they’ll do what Henson himself would have done if he were alive today, and utilise every technique possible to create the fantasy world.

Spierig anticipates that the shoot will take place “next year”, but doesn’t know the specific dates.

“The shoot is not the biggest part of this production; it’s all the pre-production and a massive post period,” he said.

The Spierigs achievements have not gone unnoticed. Filmmakers like the creators of The Dark Lurking have admitted the Spierigs have inspired them to pursue a career and make low-budget films in the vein of their $70,000 project Undead.

“It’s good to know there are like-minded people out there that want to do genre pictures, that there is a community out there… and it’s nice when people say we’ve influenced them,” said Spierig.

There will be much more about the Spierig brothers in our August 2010 issue.


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