One of my favorite things that I get to do on Collider is the extended interview outside of a press junket. The thing you need to know is the press junket is not necessarily a bad thing. You get a ton of reporters together in one place with the people that made a movie or TV show and you give everyone a little bit of time to ask some questions. While not ideal for any one reporter, it’s an easy way to promote the material. However, it’s not great when you want to go in-depth with someone about a wide variety of subjects. You can’t drill down on any one thing because you only have so many minutes.
But a few days ago I sat down with director McG in his Hollywood office for a wide-ranging conversation that not only covered his new Netflix horror-comedy, The Babysitter, but his previous movies and TV shows like Terminator: Salvation and Charlie’s Angels. In addition, we also talked about the state of the movie industry, how the TV landscape has changed, and a number of his future projects like True Lies, I Feel Pretty with Amy Schumer. Finally, we also got into what happened with his take on Masters of the Universe, how he’s trying to get a movie made about Shel Silverstein with James Franco, and if they still have any unreleased Terminator: Salvation deleted scenes. Trust me, this is as in depth an interview with McG as I’ve ever seen.
If you haven’t seen the trailer for The Babysitter, I’d check that out before watching the interview. It’s a crazy ride that involves first broken hearts, first kisses, and first encounters with homicidal maniacs. The film was written by Brian Duffield and stars Bella Thorne, Samara Weaving, Robbie Amell, Hana Mae Lee, Andrew Bachelor, and Judah Lewis.
- The development of The Babysitter with New Line, Wonderland, and Netflix. How he thought that the movie is too quirky, “too weird to go out on 3000 screens” and that he thought that Netflix was a better fit for it.
- How the “gold standard” in filmmaking has changed over time to not just be theatrical two-hour movies, but television series as well. “dare I say, the finest story telling today is happening in 10 1-hour increments.”
- The evolving landscape of how people get entertainment, theater vs television vs streaming.
- When filming The Babysitter was it always the plan to be on Netflix?
- What the experience was like working with Netflix?
- The good of having a lot of healthy competition for movies and series, keeping good product coming out instead of the same old disappointing types of stories.
- The editing and test screening process, what did he learn from the test screenings, “the power of post-production.”
- How the protagonist of the movie is a kid actor and the current changing landscape for child actors, the connection that audiences are having with these stories.
- Was there any resistance against the film as it was being made, how he likes to do very different things and sometimes he gets push back because of it.
- Talked about the music/songs in the movie, how he wrote a letter to the three surviving band members of Queen to ask for the use of their songs in the movie, talked about the importance of music in his home growing up. We also talked about Queen and their legacy.
- The similarities of making an album, when you have nothing and you are striving to prove yourself and then you make it and you have nothing to say, and how that is similar to making a movie, how throwing money at a project will not make it better if you don’t have the story.
Memorable moments from filming The Babysitter.
- How different it was making films 15 years ago versus now; the comfort with things that used to be taboo or completely off-limits.
- Talks about putting together and producing a successful TV franchise (ie Supernatural)
- How he gets involved in a television project; he approaches everything the same way, “what is cool?”
- Talks about trying to put together True Lies as a television show.
- What are his thoughts and plans for the length of his future projects, will he start doing shorter runs instead of the industry standard 22? Talked about the pushback from the studios about making shorter seasons.
- What kinds of stories work as a movie versus a 10 episode series.
- The current trend of ranking shows and movies against each other.
- Talks about making I Feel Pretty with Amy Schumer.
- Working with women on creative projects.
- The premise of I Feel Pretty and when it comes out.
What happened with the Masters of the Universe movie.
- How much good television is out there right now.
- What was his take on Masters of the Universe– he tried to have a similar tone to that of Guardians of the Galaxy.
- What of his own upcoming projects he is excited about: I Feel Pretty, TrueLies, The Babysitter. Everything else is pretty much in development.
- Trying to get a movie made on Shel Silverstein with James Franco, but unsure if it’s going to come together.
- How there are some deleted scenes for Terminator: Salvation that have never been released. Says it’s really tricky to talk about them because of how the movie was received.
- Talked about how great Charlie’s Angels is going to be with Elizabeth Banks, how he is really happy to have passed the torch to her.
- Did he ever share what his plans were for the future installments of Terminator; they had it completely figured out, but he failed to deliver the results necessary to make the sequels.
- Talks about wanting to work with Netflix on future projects because it was good to work with them on The Babysitter.