FF Q&A: Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski Talk ‘The Void’
Making its world premiere at Fantastic Fest on September 22, The Void marked a departure in style for two members of Astron-6, Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski, a group known for lower budget horror comedies. The impressive, practical effect driven creature feature is a pure visual assault on the senses, and invokes that ‘80s nostalgia that horror fans have been missing (review).
After the premiere, we sat down with Kostanski and Gillespie at the fest to discuss the difficulties of making this project, it’s surprising ties to the fest itself, and more. Read on:
Steven: I mean, people can read whatever they want into it I guess. I don’t really feel the same way; I feel that it’s in a pretty unique space compared to everything else that we’ve done. I guess it goes off the rails in similar fashion, but that’s just how we like movies in general. We want the movie to end when at the start of the movie you had no idea that it would reach that point. Like it needs to be so polar opposite at the start of the movie and it needs to be such a crazy escalation.
Jeremy: I feel like that’s the one thing that we always try to do, is start kind of small and then end big.
Jeremy: Yeah, I definitely think all of the pieces are there for the audience to put together, if they want to do that. It’s a weird movie; it’s a bit of an assault for sure. But yeah, I think there’s, just as audience members ourselves, I personally like a movie to leave a lot to the audience. Like make them work a little.
Steven: Yeah, well it leaves you something to discuss afterwards, too, and kind of ruminate on. Instead of just being like, yup! That’s the movie! Leaving a question mark at the end is always a good thing.
Steven: Yeah, it got very chaotic on set. And also a lot of it is supplemented by insert shooting. Which is typical for creature effects, where you come in after the fact and shoot tight shots of like, ax going into sacs, or head getting chopped. You try to organize it in a way that all of these little pieces can be done after the fact and you focus primarily on the actors when you’re doing your main shoot. So that’s how it worked for most of the creature sequences.
Jeremy: Yeah, and the nature of practical effects is you usually have just a few useable frames, instead of one shot so you have to get as much as possible so you can cut together a full sequence.
Jeremy: In a way it’s almost harder with a bigger movie to do this stuff, because you’re so beholden to a schedule and timeline. Whereas if you’re just doing it on your own, you can just do anything you want really.
Steven: Yeah, and you have a lot more creative freedom, too. If it was on a big movie, they’d give you the concept art and then tell you to make exactly that thing. Then you go and you do it. It becomes more like a factory and less like an artistic space. Whereas on this you try to give people the space to put their own personalities into the creatures and the effects. Just kind of put a bit of themselves into it, which is what every effects artist wants to do. That’s why you get into it.
Steven: All of it. Every step of the movie.
Jeremy: There was no easy aspect. The cast was pretty easy.
Steven: Yeah, the cast was very easy. Very professional. Brought a lot to the table. Super talented, and elevated the movie, for sure.
Jeremy: They were great. Everything else? Difficult.
Steven: We were at a lunch at Tim League’s house, and we were just wandering around his property and just throwing ideas back and forth for an atmospheric, contained horror movie.
Jeremy: Yup! And then cut to years later.
Steven: Aged like 20 years.
Jeremy: Yeah, I think there’s kind of like that hint of Lovecraft kind of world that people were very excited to see on screen. You don’t really get that, that much.
Jeremy: Yeah, I think maybe people think it’s just too old fashioned or something. I don’t know.
Steven: Sleep time for weeks and weeks.