12 Things I learned from Eric Heisserer and Lawrence Grey at the Lights Out Press Day
On Sunday, July 17, 2016, I was lucky enough to sit down with some of the cast and crew of the upcoming horror film, Lights Out. Each interview lasted about 15 minutes and was an absolutely blast. Everyone was very friendly and I learned a lot from everyone who I got the chance to talk with. Instead of trying to combine every single interview into one really long article, I have decided to break down each of the interviews into a series of interesting tidbits that I found to be the most interesting. I will be releasing one daily leading up to the release of the film on Friday, July 22, 2016. The interviews will be released in the order in which they were conducted so the first was with actress Maria Bello and has already been posted. It can be read by clicking here. This is the second interview and features writer Eric Heisserer and producer Lawrence Grey. The third interview will feature Teresa Palmer and Alexander DiPersia and the fourth and last interview will be with director David F. Sandberg and his wife Lotta Losten.
Interview: Eric Heisserer and Lawrence Grey
12. James Wan had some input early on, however, he left most of the film up to Sandberg and everyone else involved. Both Heisserer and Grey believe that if you watch the film you will clearly see Wan’s fingerprints all over the film.
11. The film is all about nobility. Heisserer wanted to make all these characters strong and had a sense of bravery to them; even if it took a while to come out.
10. It only took a year for Lights Out to go from page to screen. This was the fastest Grey has ever seen a film made.
9. Heisserer really hates motion activated lights and admits that they scare him. He mentioned that he was so happy that he was able to incorporate them into the film.
8. Sandberg gave Heisserer a laundry list of ways that he wanted lights to be used in the film. He wrote the first draft looking at Sandberg’s post it note.
7. Both Heisserer and Grey wanted to make sure that the film showcased its characters as smart as possible but were well aware that there needed to be a few sequences showcasing standard horror fare.
6. Sandberg, Heisserer, and Grey all agreed that they didn’t want the supporting characters to be the ones that do the stupid things in the film. Heisserer and Grey mentioned that there are far too many horror films where you know exactly how certain supporting characters roles are going to play out. They both didn’t want that with this time but still wanted to include several “I cannot believe they just did that” moments.
5. Heisserer said it was very important for him to leave things up to the audience to think about. He mentioned that he didn’t want to overdo the characters backstories nor focus heavily on characters such as the stepfather, who don’t really have much of a role in the actual story being told.
4. The first draft of the Lights Out script was only 80 pages long and was originally a drama. The horror elements were never part of the original draft and were only later added in.
3. Heisserer and Grey wanted the characters to be real people. They talk about Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) and how she has commitment issues because of her family background and issues with her father.
2. Bello and Palmer have both dealt with mental illness in their lives. They wanted to be part of this project because of that element in particular.
1. The reason why Lights Out is so short is because director David F. Sandberg thinks that most American films are too long. He wanted to make sure the film was short and right to the point.