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Feature: Wes Craven's Cursed

Siblings Ellie (Christina Ricci) and Jimmy (Jesse Eisenberg) find they have strange new powers

We talk exclusively to editor Patrick Lussier and FX designer Greg Nicotero about the troubled genesis of Wes Craven’s new Horror movie…

Initial evidence suggests that Cursed should have been a relatively straightforward experience for director Wes Craven. After all, many of the filmmaker’s trusted crew from times past were onboard – including Scream writer Kevin Williamson (who also serves as a producer) – and Dimension Films, the same studio that supported the Scream trilogy, were also behind this latest terror project. Little did anyone expect that two and-a-half years after filming began, back in Hallowe’en 2002, audiences would still be awaiting Cursed’s cinematic début. Consequently, rarely has a film’s title been so apt – and after re-doing 80 per cent of the movie in 2003, followed by the shooting of two replacement endings in 2004, one can understand why Craven’s latest effort has attracted so much curiosity.

A werewolf film that features Sleepy Hollow’s Christina Ricci, The Skulls’ Joshua Jackson and rising star Jessie Eisenberg (featured in last year’s blockbuster The Village), Cursed also re-unites Craven with KNB Effects maestro Greg Nicotero and Dracula 2000’s Patrick Lussier, who acts as the movie’s Editor and Second Unit Director. Not that this impressive cast and crew stopped Dimension Films from sinking yet more time and money into Cursed – as the process of producing the finished product turned from weeks to months and finally to years…

“Well, you know, the studio puts a lot of weight in the relationship between Wes and Kevin because their previous outings were the Scream films, which made lots of money – and then Kevin teamed with Robert Rodriguez on The Faculty,” states Nicotero, explaining the reasoning behind Cursed’s many re-shoots. “I think the studio really wanted this movie to work and they just kept going back and finessing it a little bit more. Whether Wes was interested in it or not, the studio wanted to go back in and say, ‘Let’s try this now,’ and they went in quite often. We went back in last April, where they shot a new ending, and then we put that together. Then in September they shot yet another new ending and we had some minimal involvement in that one but, ultimately, what happened was just a lot of people saying, ‘We should do this’ and then ‘No we should do this’.”

Patrick Lussier’s relationship with Wes Craven dates back to the director’s short-lived Nightmare Cafe television series in the early Nineties, and he has edited every project for Craven since 1994’s New Nightmare. Although Lussier has since gone on to be a superior film-maker in his own right, with his popular Dracula 2000 (re-titled Dracula 2001 in the UK) spawning two enjoyable sequels, he was happy to return to the editing suite for Cursed – and serve as a Second Unit Director. “Any film that you work on is a challenge,” admits Lussier, “And Cursed was no different in that regard. You can expect the finished movie to be a rollercoaster ride that hooks you into two likeable characters, played by Christina Ricci and Jesse Eisenberg, then straps you into their adventure as they begin to realize that they have been cursed ‘by the mark of the beast’. As for the appearance of the werewolf… well you’ll just have to go and see it to find out.”

by Calum Waddell

Get the full interview in
Shivers #119

Photo © Dimension Films
Feature © Visual Imagination 2005. Not for reproduction

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Shivers #119, see below for ordering options
Shivers #119
March 2005
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