Q: The H.P Lovecraft story, THE COLOR FROM SPACE, was previously adapted for the screen as DIE, MONSTER, DIE (1965) and THE CURSE (1987). How would you say that your take on the story, COLOUR FROM THE DARK, is different than those others?
I have seen both the adaptations you mentioned and I can easily say that my point of view is very different. Neither of the previous movies show the entity and do not use the "Colour" as a character like I did with my movie. A lot of the work we did with this movie was thinking about how to show the "Colour" and how it interacts with the actors. I treated the entity like a Lovecraftian God, that fight against the other Gods and the symbols that represent. I think my adaptation brings the essence of the Lovecraft tale without betraying him. I have the utmost respect for him and his work and I think I have remained so with my adaptation. Of course, I have changed some points of the tales, forced to adapt his tales in order to fit the stories for the screen. Yet the atmosphere I've created in the film is similar to what he wrote with his stories. When I adapt his stories I'm not focused on just the prose or with the characters, I put my interest on the mood of the tales. By this point of view I could say my adaptations can be considered very close to Lovecraft's ideas.
Q: Why choose the setting as WWII Italy?
Well, Lovecraft's tales are usually tied to the past or the love of the past things, so I thought it was the right decision to set my film in the past. Then I've decided to set the film during the WWII because this choice gave me the chance to analyze the aspects and the differences of the two kinds of evil, the nazi-fascism and the strange creature from the heart womb. I must say I don't know which is the most dangerous. Sometimes they are similar, sometimes they are different. The evil created by humans is probably the worst, you know. The entity from the well has to survive, needs to eat and it follows its instinct just to survive, like all of us.
Why Italy? You know, Italy is my country, so it was natural for me to set the film to the place I live. I can tell the story with more accuracy since I tell things that I know directly. This is the reason I didn't set the story in the New England (apart the budget issue, obviously), I don't know anything about New England.
Q: Did you have Debbie in mind for the role of Lucia from the very beginning? How did you cast for the other actors?
During the writing I don't think about the cast, it can distract you from the essence of the character. I start thinking about the actors when the script is completed. I've started thinking about Debbie after I've seen a movie with her. That movie was American Nightmare and she was amazing. After the vision of the film I contacted her through Fangoria. Most of the rest of the cast is English, Irish and some Italians. I really like work with a cast that comes from different countries of the world. It creates a strange synergy on the set.
Q: The one thing that really stands out is the cinematography, which really sets the mood of the movie. You have shot all the movies you have directed? How is that an advantage for you?
I've always photographed my movies. This is the way I conceive the movie making process. It's hard for me to imagine a director who directs a movie sitting in this chair, screaming "action" and "stop". This is not how I do it. I want to be involved directly in any aspect of the process and I like all the phases of moviemaking, from the writing to the sound. I don't know if this is an advantage or not, but this is the way I work. I can't imagine myself directing a movie in a different way.
Q: How did you get that location of the farm-- it is great.
The location is an uninhabited farm encircled by dozen of cornfields. It wasn't hard to find that place because it's near to the house where I live, but it was hard to work inside of it because we had a lot of strange and mysterious problems, during the principal photography. A strange entity broke a couple of HD cameras as well as some cars and sets. We felt the presence of a ghost in the corridors of the very old farm. We asked the owner if that place was infested or if any violent deaths happened in the past but he said no.
Q: Who did the CGI effects? I liked it that they weren't over the top.
Massimo Storari is the VFX supervisor. He's worked with me from the beginning, when he was a make up artist. He is a true artist and his work is very important, especially for this movie. You're right when you said that VFX are not over the top, but with the budget we had we made some miracles.
Q: How long did the production take, from shooting to final edit?
Q: What was the most challenging aspect of the whole thing?
The challenge was the entire thing, because in a movie everything has to work. Every aspect of the film is important. With this movie we had some challenges. One was the hard work it took to create the "Colour" as an entity and a character of the film, which interacted with the human characters. Then we had the challenge of a ghost that infested our set and caused us a lot of delay during the production. That ghost caused electrical problems during the post-production, too. The current challenge is to fight the bad economy that is slowing the distribution of the film worldwide.
Q: What is happening with the movie now?
Well, it is going to be distributed everywhere. March 2010 is the release date for the USA, distributed by Vanguard Cinema. Germany has already distributed it, France is coming, then we have a lot of Asian countries, like Japan, Thailand and Russia. All the process is a bit slow, but we are going ahead. Currently we have some little theatricals distribution in the USA for the Halloween period.