I'm doing an over-the-shoulder shot on a dog. I'm putting the camera behind the dog's shoulder. This is craziness. You just accept it in the movie [Valley of Violence], but when you make the movie, it's the weirdest thing. There's dog coverage, like it's a person.— Ti West
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The hardest animal was the vulture. But the horses were great, the dog was great [in Valley of Violence]. It was really easy.
It's unreal. I mean, the dog backflips. It's amazing. Google Jumpy on YouTube - I had seen the dog first and I was like, "Y'all don't even know."
There are people - I think this is why there are so many commercial directors doing well in big studio movies, for whom it's not a personal choice - it's "What's the coolest, most effective way to make them laugh, make them scream?" It's a very calculated approach. And that's different. It's not better or worse. It's just a very different approach to filmmaking. That's always been the case.
The second half [of Valley of Violence], you're with the guys that you should hate, but when you start seeing what their real lives are, you're like, "I do hate you, but at the same time, all right - maybe take it down a notch." The complications of all that are what's so interesting to me, those esoteric details - that's what people will hopefully take away from the movie.
I found Jumpy on YouTube. I wrote a movie about a guy with a dog and was like, "What have I done? This is going to be a nightmare. We're a small movie and we're never going to be able to do this."
You get to actually make your movie. As a filmmaker, that's the dream. That's why you get up in the morning, to be able to do that. You feel constrained sometimes, but if the movie makes sense in the budget realm, then it isn't hard.
I like movies that leave things in the hands of the audience.
It's very important to me to find ways to relate the audience to the characters.
This is the first thing to go in most mainstream horror films.
[Valley of Violence] was written for James Ransone.
PJ's a friend of mine, I've known him for a long time, he's always like, "Dude, when are we going to make a movie together?" I finally called him.
We've become so postmodern as an audience and we're so familiar with the style of horror movies that they all kind of feel the same. I think if you can do something a little bit unexpected, then you as a filmmaker end up being one step ahead again. I think that's the key.
That's what's interesting about people.
It can be funny, but when [John] Travolta got there and did [comic moments] you're like, "Oh! This is really funny." Or when Karen [Gillan] and Taissa [Farmiga] do something, I'm like, "This came out so much funnier."
It is a very classic Western [Valley of Violence], and if you like Westerns, you'll like this movie, but there's a tone to it that's all its own that I think is unique and memorable.
They're both [Ethan Hawke and John Travolta] so good.
It's hard to explain. But they're consummate professionals and you see the little choices they make - you see it in their eye. You see these little details they do where you go, "That's why they're them."
I've done it with all my films. I always keep an eye on the first time I show it because... I don't know. Neurosis.
I always talk about movies a lot beforehand, and then we would get there, and I'd say, "Let's play around and see how it goes." And they would do it, and I'd go, "Well, that was awesome." It was really - I don't know, it was really special to watch them.
It's not the plot [of Valley of Violence] - the plot is the reason to get all these things to happen, all these character moments to happen. It was always meant to have these two perspectives.
With my horror movies or with this movie [Valley of Violence], same thing.
The subtext of this movie is what to take away from it. Plot is never something that's been my driving force as a filmmaker.
Movies aren't "slow burn," and aren't serious, aren't interesting, because everything from the movie to the promotional materials is telling you that you have to see it between Friday and Sunday, and then you can forget about it. It's not an important movie, it's just a lowest-common-denominator thrill-ride for three days when you've got nothing to do. That does a major disservice to the quality of the films
I have a romantic comedy I'd love to make, but I can't get the money for it.
It's hard to get people to give you money for an arty romantic comedy when you've done a horror movie. So I can just sit there and keep complaining about that, or I can go make another horror movie this year. People will get behind me on that, because I'm relatively bankable. As long as I can do my own thing with it, I'll keep doing it.
I just really like seeing mundane stuff in movies. It's realistic.
I did the movie [Valley of Violence] from two perspectives.
You're with Ethan [Hawke] the whole movie, but for the first half, you're really with Ethan. For the second half, you're with him, but also you're with the bad guys because he kind of becomes the bad guy. No one's really good in the movie.
To me it's not so much that the movies are slow-paced as much as they are about spending time building a relationship between the audience and the characters. If you don't spend an adequate amount of time doing this, then how can you expect to scare anyone?
I think having funny characters is just one way of having three-dimensional characters.
We can't make a giant sprawling movie.
We're going to make a small movie. And what we got is what I could get, performance-wise.
Really, I wanted to make a movie [Valley Of Violence] about: How does violence affect people? This is a take from me on how violence affects people.
I always feel like the less you say when you're making a movie, as a director, is the best. That means everything's going great.
Older actresses apparently have no sense of humor about being older actresses.
There's nothing stopping you from making movies. You can always make and try different things.
I'm not sure I understand the compulsion to label things.
In general, I go to see the stuff that for me is, "Thank God for that actor, he's doing something that I never imagined; thank God for this filmmaker, because if this person didn't exist, this movie wouldn't exist." That's why I go to the movies. That, to me, is what's so exciting about this movie.
Tommy Nohilly, who plays Tubby [ Valley of Violence], he came down to see the movie for the first time and I was like, "You've got to come just to see people react to your [big scene]." I knew that would go well, but it's satisfying to me when he's sitting there and it actually does.
Sometimes I look at it [Valley of Violence] and go, "How did we do that?" But it's a credit to Ethan [Hawke], he had done White Fang, so Ethan is like, "Oh God, that's right."
Typically, in Westerns, people who are in a Western feel like they're in a Western. It's almost like they know they do all these Western things.
It's Ethan Hawke and John Travolta [in Valley of Violence]. It's awesome. They're awesome.
It's funny, because I don't think of my films as "slow-burn.
" I don't even know if I was familiar with the phrase until people started labeling me with it.
The movie [ The Innkeepers] is in no way a comedy, but I would put some of the funny scenes up against some of the funnier comedies this year. I think it's genuinely really funny, but it's out of the gallows.
I don't generally watch the movie [ The House Of The Devil ].
It's sort of like hearing your voice on tape.
I don't go to see movies to see plots. I'm not interested in puzzles like an Agatha Christie story.
You want to be able to say [to Ethan Hawke's character], "Dude, it's okay," but maybe it's not. Maybe he's not a good person. I don't know. That's the thing about people. There is no real good guy or bad guy [in A Valley Of Violence]. It's all context.
You're limited to one image, but you can have 50 audio tracks.
It's something you'd be foolish not to experiment with. So I'm also very interested in sound that happens offscreen. I think that's a way to expand the scope of the movie. And it's all very planned out from the script stage. For me, sound design is a major part of the narrative. I think that's what makes working with certain people on the producer level difficult.
Everything Jumpy could do [in Valley of Violence] was too much.
If I put it in the movie you would all check out. When he wraps himself up in the blanket, that's as far as I could go, and that's not even close. The dog's amazing.
Ethan [Hawke] just - they got along great.
He got to act with a dog, for real, and it felt like Jumpy was acting with him. It was a surreal thing to watch. When you watch the movie [Valley of Violence], you just kind of accept it. But if you do think about how we show - there's a dog and a movie star interacting - and you buy it. That's crazy.
Jumpy is the most incredible animal of all time.
The movie [Valley of Violence] is the tamest example of what that dog is capable of.
I think you make the movie in your head that you have to make, and you have to get it out of you. You have all these pretentious reasons why you want to do it, and you set out to accomplish them. And you think "This is important for what I'm trying to accomplish for the story," and I think those reasons will come through to an audience, and they will find it. That's the best you can do.
I'd been all hyped about it, I was like, "Please come," and to have that and know Tommy Nohilly is probably going like, "This is cool," it makes me feel good.
It's one of those things, when you look back on it, you'd go, "Oh, I could've done without that. If I could go back in time, I would do it different." That's the thing with violence in general.
If you ever see the director pulling people aside, that means something's not working. Because you're trying to figure out why it's not working. But we would show up, we would talk about it.
It definitely could have been a horror story [Valley of Violence], oh my God, if the dog was impossible. So could the horses.
The Innkeepers were two nerds in a dead-end job and then they try to get involved and they get in over their heads, and how does it affect them? That, to me, just seems like what happens to people.