Director Neil Marshall Talks CONSTANTINE, THE DESCENT, His Thoughts on the Recent MAD MAX: FURY ROAD Images, and More at the Saturn Awards

     June 28, 2014


Last Thursday, Collider attended the red carpet festivities for the 40th Annual Saturn Awards, held at at the Castaway Starlight Ballroom in Burbank, Calif.  Always one of the best events for geeks with eclectic tastes, this is the only award show where you can find cinematographers from obscure exploitation movies walking the red carpet right alongside A-list directors, with both getting equal attention.

While working the carpet we got a chance to chat with director Neil Marshall about a slew of his past, present and future projects.  During the conversation, we discussed how The Descent is arguably scarier than a gun pointed at your head, the upcoming book of essays on the film’s themes, the origins of Doomsday and his thoughts on the new Mad Max: Fury Road stills, how network censors cured Constantine of lung cancer, what the NBC series’ monsters may look like and more.

Here’s the video interview with Marshall.  Further down the page is the time index/transcript.

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the-descent-movie-poster00:00 – Question:  The Descent was scarier for me than having a gun shoved in my mouth later that evening.

NEIL MARSHALL:  Thats quite a compliment, Ill use that quote.

00:25 – The feminine themes of The Descent and their relation to the film’s cavern setting.

MARSHALL:  Absolutely.  I think theres a whole book being written about it in the UK.  I dont know if you can get it here.  Its about all the hidden messages and meetings in this and the fact that it is about women and the fact that this cave is full of blood and all this kind of stuff.  And when I was making it, I didnt make it with that specifically in mind, but I always had it in the back of mind and I thought, Lets just throw it in there and see what people make of it.  And people seem to be making quite a lot of it.  So I dont want to spell it out or say this, that or the other.

1:15 – The tension and thrills before the monsters even show up.

1:25 – Is there a shared aesthetic between the monsters in The Descent and the demons Marshall has created for NBC’s Constantine?

MARSHALL:  So far? No, not yet. I want to try and create new looks and new things, but equally scary, hopefully.  But a new kind of style.

1:50 – Can John Constantine smoke on TV?

MARSHALL:  No were not.  Its the one thing, a compromise I guess.  On network its the one thing you cant smoke on network.  Thats one of his character traits.  Were working around that.  Were trying to get aspects of it in there as much as possible.  Well see.

2:15 – Does he still have cancer of some type, can you say?

MARSHALL:  I have no idea where the story is going to go beyond the pilot, so I cant answer that one.

In the pilot, does it make any mention of him having any kind of cancer?

constantine-tv-series-matt-ryanMARSHALL:  No, it doesnt.

2:25 – Finding the correct tone and keeping the immense darkness of the character on NBC – not CW – primetime?

MARSHALL:  Hannibal is on NBC, and thats pretty dark and disturbing.  Whatever the regulations are, you can be as dark and disturbing as you want and were going to go in that direction.  The intention is to be as dark and scary as possible with the show.  And that was our whole kind of plan going in, to make it scary.  So were going to explore all kinds of things.  But the smoking is very frustrating.  Who knows where it will go; where the story will go; where the character will go?  Theres still lots of options.

Are most of the demons humanoid in form, or are we going to see…?

MARSHALL:  Im not going to give anything away.

I love creature effects though, and you’ve done some really great creature effects.

MARSHALL:  You want a mix, you know?  There will be humanoid demons and creatures.

  • 3:50 – Thoughts on the new Mad Max stills.
  • MARSHALL:  Yeah, I thought they looked like Doomsday.
  • 4:10 – Is there any jealously or feelings of being ripped-off by the Charlize Theron character? Specifically with her robotic arm versus Rhona Mitra’s cyborg stylings?
  • MARSHALL:  Just [Mitras] eye.  So much of Doomsday is taken from the early Mad Max films.  So I can hardly complain.
  • 4:35 – The pastiche approach to Doomsday?
  • 5:05 – Jumping from Excalibur as a reference point on Doomsday to a question about my current favorite what-the-hell movie, Exorcist II: The Heretic, also directed by John Boorman.
  • MARSHALL:  Ive seen Zardoz, but not Exorcist II.
  • 5:30 – Marshall’s thoughts on William Friedkin’s interpretation of Satan vs. G-d stories.
  • 6:05 – How many episodes are you scheduled to direct this season on Constantine?
  • MARSHALL:  Just the one at the moment, just the one – beyond the pilot – but well see. Id like to do more.

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