Jeff Betancourt Talks Boogeyman 2Thursday, November 1, 2007
Filmmaker and long-time Sideshow collector, Jeff Betancourt, took some time away from the editing bay to answer a few questions about his first feature film, Boogeyman 2!
From Ghost House Pictures comes a more intense and terrifying sequel to the original Boogeyman! A young woman attempts to face her fears… with chilling results. Laura Porter checks herself into a mental health facility, still haunted by a paralyzing fear of the Boogeyman after witnessing her parents’ gruesome murders as a child. Upon her arrival at the clinic, other patients begin dying in horrifying ways that manifest their worst fears and phobias, leading Laura to believe that the Boogeyman has finally returned.
We had a chance to check this film out at its very first public screening during Los Angeles’ annual Screamfest Horror Film Festival, and believe us when we say that fans of the horror genre (especially the slasher sub-genre) are gonna love it! It’s our Halloween Horror recommendation, and is due to be released on DVD January 8th, 2008. We have heard that more public screenings are in the works as well, so keep an eye out for a chance to see it on the big screen! For more information about the production of the film, visit the Ghost House Pictures site.
Sideshow Collectibles: Congratulations on Boogeyman 2! How does it feel to have your first feature under your belt as a director?
Jeff Betancourt: Thanks! I had a great time making it. I’m so proud of the movie our crew put together and it’s such a blast to watch it with an audience. We set out to make a scary, fun movie and I think everyone involved really delivered!
SSC: So, we heard that you pulled off principle shooting of this film in 18 days. That’s an amazing feat! Did your background as an editor help out with this?
JB: My background definitely helped. As an editor, my job is to help the director tell the story in the best way possible. I’m constantly looking for the pieces to help communicate an idea and get a story point across. As a director, I could really focus in on those pieces we needed. Since we had to move so quickly, we didn’t have time to second-guess ourselves.
SSC: You created some gruesome practical effects in this film. How smoothly did all of that go during production? Was there a lot of pre-production involved to ensure that it went smoothly on set?
JB: We worked very hard in pre-production planning out all the set pieces and kills. We used a lot of storyboards to show specifically what we wanted to see on film, and I made sure the make-up team, cinematographer, and production designer all sat down together in the same room so we understood what we wanted to accomplish. It was important that our make-up artists not waste time and money on prosthetics we would never see.
Since we had such a limited budget, we could only perform some of the effects once. We used two cameras to make sure we captured each moment. The ‘horror’ is really the star of the picture, and I wanted it to be as real, intense, and visceral as possible.
SSC: Your cast overall was young, however they were all familiar faces. What was it like working with a young, yet experienced, cast?
JB: Casting was one of the most enjoyable parts of the process. We set out to cast the best actors we could find, and because of our schedule, I knew that experienced actors would be able to keep up with the speed and contribute ideas. Danielle Savre did an amazing job… fans will know her from Heroes. The process of making the film was relentless, and she was always up for whatever we asked her to do.
SSC: Tobin Bell was great in his role as the doctor. He had a similar personality and air about him as he did as the Jigsaw killer in the SAW films. Did you direct him that way? Or is he just a creepy guy in real life?
JB: Meeting Tobin Bell for the first time was really intimidating! I was nervous because he has so much experience as an actor, and you cannot help staring and thinking, “I’m eating a sandwich with Jigsaw!” In reality, he is such a nice guy… he cares about the film as a whole and gives so much to the other actors. At the same time, he understands how people perceive him and enjoys playing with the persona he is known for. By the way, he modeled his character after Dick Chaney. When people see the film, they’ll have to let me know if that came through!
SSC: When can the general public get a showing of Boogeyman 2?
JB: Boogeyman 2 is being released on DVD on January 8th, 2008. We’re hoping to put together some more screenings, and as soon as I have info I will let you know!
SSC: You have worked as an editor with some great directors: Sam Raimi, Takashi Shimizu, etc. Have those experiences influenced your style or approach to directing your own films?
JB: I’ve been so lucky in my career so far. The filmmakers I’ve worked with have taught me so much. No one works harder than Sam Raimi. He’s constantly striving to tell the story in the best way possible and he really enjoys hearing ideas from everyone. Everyone around him is encouraged to share ideas, and I hope as a filmmaker that I’ve done the same. Shimizu is a great friend as well as a collaborator – he doesn’t speak English very well, but he is also Sideshow collector -despite the language barrier we became friends the moment he saw your 12-inch Freddy and Leatherface figures I keep in the editing room!! The biggest lesson I learned from him was that you can not always scare everyone. You can only convey what is scary to you, and not everyone is frightened by the same things.
SSC: You have edited a few different genres of films: horror, comedy, drama… Which genre do you prefer to cut and why?
JB: Editing comedy and horror is a lot of fun. You get such an immediate reaction from the audience, and you know immediately if something works or not. I grew up as a horror fan, so in some ways I feel very at home in the genre. I really look forward to doing more horror films and seeing how far I can push it. I really admire Peter Jackson and Guillermo Del Toro, who have taken everything they learned in horror and transferred to projects that transcend genre and reach so many people.
SSC: How did you first get into editing, and then directing?
JB: When I was an undergrad, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I loved film and telling stories but I always felt that was for “those people in Hollywood.” I saw Scorsese’s Goodfellas and was totally blown away. As soon as the credits rolled I knew that this is what I HAD to do. I was determined to move to L.A. and enrolled in USC’s film school. Upon graduating I began editing tiny independent films for little more than gas money, but it gave me a lot of experience that I’ll always rely on.
SSC: We love the book The Ruins. It’s awesome that you are working as editor on the film adaptation! How close will it stick to the book?
JB: The movie is going to be great. We’ve stayed close to the book with a few new twists that fans of the book will enjoy. We showed a rough cut to Scott Smith, the author of the book, a few weeks ago, and he was relieved and very happy to see what we’ve done.
SSC: We know you’re a long-time Sideshow Collectibles fan! How long have you been collecting?
JB: I’ve been collecting toys and figures since I was about 4 or 5. One year my parents covered the Christmas tree with Mego Superhero action figures – that led to Kenner’s Six Million Dollar Man figures and eventually to Kenner’s Star Wars figures. You could say I never grew out of it. I’ve been collecting Sideshow for about 7 or 8 years and I think it started with the little 6-inch Universal Famous Monster Figures – I was so excited when Lugosi’s Dracula finally came out! The Sideshow/Weta stuff really got me hooked, though. I remember hitting refresh when the original Balrog first went on sale! As a filmmaker I love the accuracy and detail Sideshow puts into their projects.
SSC: What is your favorite piece that you own?
JB: The original Balrog might be my favorite because I love those films and that line so much. I have Darkness from Legend preordered so that could change once he’s in my hands… I just realized they are both pretty demonic, but I’m really not an evil guy!
SSC: If you could have any one collectible that doesn’t exist right now, what would it be, and why?
JB: Pan’s Labyrinth, hands down. The world needs a 1/3 scale maquette of “The Fauno” RIGHT NOW!
SSC: How awesome would it be to see something from one of your films be reproduced as a collectible?
JB: My goal as a filmmaker has always been to connect. If you’ve connected with an audience enough that there is demand for a figure, you know you have done something right. One day I hope to reach people to that extent. In other words it would be extremely awesome!
SSC: Thanks again for taking time out to talk with us!
Be sure to catch Boogeyman 2 on DVD January 8th