Unfriended plays out entirely on Blaire’s (Shelley Hennig) computer screen. Shortly after starting up a video call with her friends, they notice that they’ve got an uninvited Skype user in the mix as well, someone claiming to be Laura Barns, a girl from their high school who committed suicide a year ago. I was fascinated by the concept the moment I first heard about it, but it did seem like an impossible challenge. However, if you caught my review of the film, you already know that writer Nelson Greaves and director Levan Gabriadze pulled it off exceptionally well.
While in Austin for Unfriended’s US Premiere at SXSW, I got the opportunity to sit down with Greaves and Gabriadze to discuss how they did it and the process is absolutely fascinating. Hear all about the special camera rig they developed, the giant flowchart required to record sound properly, shooting the film from start to finish in just one take and more in the video interview below. Unfriended is set to hit theaters nationwide on April 17th.
Nelson Greaves & Levan Gabriadze:
- 00:00 – How Timur Bekmambetov came up with this idea.
- 01:35 – Is timeliness a concern; what if Internet trends change?
- 03:39 – How Gabriadze prepped for the shoot; approaching the film as a play.
- 04:51 – Being able to shoot the film in its entirety in one take.
- 06:10 – The GoPro/laptop camera system that allowed the actors to see each other while shooting.
- 08:30 – The shooting was the easy part; editing with so many layers was the challenge.
- 09:35 – What a typical day of production was like.
- 10:08 – How many times did they shoot the whole movie through?
- 10:35 – The biggest challenge making this film.
- 10:57 – What happened when there were glitches with the camera system.
- 11:22 – The giant flowchart required to record sound properly.
- 11:56 – The changes they’ve made since the film premiered at Fantasia last year.
- 12:43 – Fine tuning the film through discovery, trial and error.
- 13:40 – Making everything feel real; “cool is the enemy of this movie.”