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David Michael Latt

David: "He said, "You direct." That's what I did".

Conducted by Phil Davies Brown
August 11th, 2004

David Latt is a man with impeccable taste. Not only does his production company (The Asylum) share a name with this website, but it is dedicated to bringing us some new kick ass horror films, one of which 'Detour' which stars Tiffany Shepis, will be released here in the UK on August 23rd.

When I chatted to David, production was just wrapping up on his latest film 'El Intermedio' which stars Edward Furlong, Amber Benson and Cerina Vincent. With a cast like that the film is sure to be a great indie hit when it is released next year.

When did you first become interested in the medium of film?
I made my first film when I was eight, with my 8mm camera (remember those?). The film was THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR BOY. I played the boy, and I wrote, directed, and produced the piece. You see...I was a multi-hyphenate then!

Did you study film at school?
Yes. Loyola Marymount University. I now have a degree so I can make films. No one cares.

How did you get your start in the business?
My favorite instructor answered a very popular question by freshmen students: "How do you direct a feature?" He said, "You direct." That's what I did. Out of school my producing partner offered me the opportunity to direct a romantic comedy called SORORITY HOUSE PARTY.

You directed Scarecrow Slayer, how did you land the job?
I was young...I needed the money...

Actually, it's all true except for the young part. We had helped Emmanuel Itier make SCARECROW, and so we were approached by York to help with the sequel. At the time my company was doing nothing so I jumped on board to direct once again. Running a business is tough on the cash flow so looking at the possibility of directing, writing, editing and producing the film made financial sense at the time. Unfortunately for me my company took most of the money so I ended up making very little on the project. Bastard.

How much time did you have to prepare and shoot?
Depends on the project. For KING OF THE ANTS we were prepping for months. For our film-a-month program we have three weeks. Normally, it's about 4-5 weeks prep.

I know Emmanuel had problems on the set of the first one. Did you encounter any major problems?
Time. It's always a killer. My second unit, led by Anthony Ferrante, ended up shooting whole scenes. Also, I only had about two months to create over 200 effects shots in post...in addition to my other duties at The Asylum. It was intense, and at the end the final product was released about 20% brighter than it was supposed to so all of the effect shots were ruined. To this day I can't watch that movie unless I turn down the brightness.

David: "Time. It's always a killer".

How did you enjoy working with Tony Todd and more to the point how did he get involved?
I LOVE TONY TODD!!!!! He was my first choice. My only choice. I gave a list of actors to York and they approached him. Unfortunately they told him that they had to convince ME to use HIM! So he was a little confused when I gushed over him from his earlier career (PLATOON) to FINAL DESTINATION 2 (which my wife took me to for Valentines Day). I have no idea why they lied to him - when they were the ones that never heard of the man! I even had my company pick up a film of his because he was in it (BURNZY'S LAST CALL). I am an obsessed fan, and would love to work with him again.

Were you pleased with the final outcome?
I don't know why, but I really like this film. Yes, the fans and the reviews are mean, but, like Emmanuel, I'm just blinded by this movie (that being said it was nominated Best DVD release of 2003 by Femme Fatales magazine). I don't know why I enjoyed it so much. I enjoyed making it, editing it, and producing it. My biggest regret is the effects...but what can you do? It's a shame because it takes away from great performances by Tony, David Castro, Nikki Kingston, etc.

Why didn't you work on the third one?
They didn't ask me. But that being said, I have such a bitter taste about the effects and it being tampered with that I won't work on another York project for a while. Plus my two contacts that worked there left, so there is no real incentive. I suppose the more political way of saying this, is that I'm making a film every month so I'm real, real busy.

You produced and edited King of the Ants, I'm interviewing Chris McKenna about the film and coincidentally just rented it today so am looking forward to watching it.
Chris is great. Stuart Gordon is great. Enjoy the film!

How did you get involved with the project?
Everyone else in town turned it down, but it made sense for our small company to do something big. It was good timing.

Did you work closely with Stuart on the film or did he give you instructions and just leave you to get on with it?
We worked closely, but that being said...it's his film, his vision, and his cast.

It must be nerve wracking when working on someone else’s project, incase you do something and the director doesn't like your work. Has this ever happened to you?

Yes. A film called BEGGAR'S OPERA CAFE. Unfortunately, the filmmaker was too full of herself and did everything on the project and had a tough time letting go. Her cut did very poorly in test screenings so she hired me. The test screenings after my cuts were very high, but she still couldn't let go...so she fired me. That was six years ago. She still hasn't finished the film yet. I think about that film on occasion. It was a lovely project that had some nice potential. Oh well.

You are now mainly producing movies and Detour is out here in the UK next month how did the project come about and what can we expect from it?
Again, it's a family thing. Steve Taylor (the writer/director of DETOUR), wrote our first film, SORORITY HOUSE PARTY. We helped him with SOCIAL INTERCOURSE, and produced THE SURGE. DETOUR was also good timing. We needed a horror film and this was a good one. Expect cute girls, good acting, and a lot of fun.

I'm friends with Tiffany Shepis and have also interviewed her; did she deliver another great performance for you in the film?
Tiffany is a pro. She's out of commission for a while, but I can't wait to work with her again. I recently recommended her for a friend's film, ABOMINABLE. He loved her too.

David: "Chris McKenna suffers torture
in David's 'King of the Ants'".

What makes Detour stand out from all the recent road/cannibal movies?
Who knows? I like it. But that and two dollars won't even by you a drink at Starbucks.

What can you tell us about Bloody Bill?
I can't wait to show everyone BLOODY BILL! This is a lot of fun. Byron Werner (the director) really knew what he was doing. Combine that with a script that just moves from page one, AND some great acting, AND some great zombies...and this is the movie. I am very proud of this film. I think it really hits the beats.

Evil eyes sounds really promising and has a great cast, how is that going?
The editing process stalled with an editor that thought he was God's gift to editing. We ended up pulling it away from him, and now it's in much more talented hands. We should be done this week with the edit.

I am really excited about 'El Intermedio'. How did the project come about?
Like EVIL EYES, this was a script that was submitted to us blind. We loved it. Every cast member that we gave it to loved it, so it was easy to "cast up". Andy Lauer, the director, works with these actors hard...and it shows. This is a very intense script. We start editing next week.

How did you get your cast? You have an excellent cast of hot new talent.
Casting is easy if you have a good script. We've only used a casting director once (which was worthless), so I end up talking to agents and managers. Some are dicks, but some like to give their clients work. I like those people more.

Are you aiming for a theatrical release?
We have never released a film theatrically, but there is always a first.

When can we expect to see the finished film?
EL INTERMEDIO should be completed by Jan. 2005.

I hear that you are also prepping The source 2? What can we expect from it?
That project is on hold. Sorry.

What's next for you and The Asylum?
The next films in production are, BRAM STOKER'S WAY OF THE VAMPIRE (horror), THE BOB CLUB (crime thriller, I'll be directing), FIESTA (latino romantic comedy), ALIEN ABDUCTION (sci-fi).

"Thank you ever so much for taking part in this interview David.
And we wish you the very best of luck in the future."

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