Jeff Renfroe is an acclaimed and
experienced director whose new film The Colony stars Lawrence Bill Paxton
and is a survival horror set against the terrifying bleakness of the next
Hi Jeff, thank you for talking
with me today.
Hi there. No problem.
The Colony is your new film,
please tell us a little about it.
Sure, itís a story of the last known group of survivors in the next ice
age who have to defend themselves from a group of people who have
essentially run of resources and run out of food, and who have gone feral
and cannibalistic. What really drove me was that, despite it being a great
rock níroll popcorn movie underneath weíre really playing with some cool
themes such as sustainability and climate change, themes of what we could
become in desperate times.
How important was it for you
to maintain a sense of believability in the story, working on an idea that
this could really happen as opposed to aliens or monsters or something
I was really focussed on that. Early drafts of the script before I came on
board were really centered on the supernatural aspect. Not only has that
been done to death but wouldnít it be great to be more grounded and strip
away all that? What we made is essentially a monster movie based on the
thought that if we ran out of food you or I could be the monster rather
than some farfetched supernatural, alien, vampire thing. These are all
myths that we know as fiction. I just felt that there was something
grittier and more tangible in that the monster could be you or I if we
cross that line.
Jeff: "I really believe that film should be for a wide audience and those are the type of films that I like to watch".
The Colony seems to fall
between traditional genres; there is disaster movie and sci-fi and horror
and this makes the film different. I just wondered if this was in your
mind at all when you began making the film, to combine these
I really believe that film should be for a wide audience and those are the
type of films that I like to watch. It was a balancing act as there was
one desire to make it more of a horror movie and another to make it more
of a sci-fi movie but in the end what you see is what you get.
The setting for The Colony is
hugely atmospheric. How fundamental to the feel of the film was the
location and Iím curious to know if you needed to ďdressĒ it up at
Iím a big advocate of location shooting, especially for any kind of
thriller where the setting and the environment is one of the main
characters. Really we went with the NORAD facility because it was
underground and was actually a survival bunker. Every little piece of that
world was amazing. It always informs your actors more than when theyíre
just on a set. We also used locations like water sewerage treatment plants
and one of the oldest coal plants around. We didnít dress anything up
really so what you see is really what was there.
Jeff: "Of course Bill Paxton was awesome, the quintessential Wildman both on and off screen!".
With the huge growth in the
number of independent films being produced and with studios financing
remakes or franchises do you think itís easier or more difficult to get
new and original ideas made?
I think itís great that the technology is at a place where you can just
get out there and shoot something. With science fiction it can be more
challenging but there are some great examples around. We had a modest
budget but one that's quite large for independent film in Canada. Of
course thereís never enough money but we had enough to make what I think
is an impressive science fiction movie.
You call it a popcorn movie
but you have two iconic actors in Lawrence Fishburne and Bill Paxton on
It was definitely by design as this was how we were going to justify our
ďmediumĒ sized budget and as a director you always want to work with great
actors. Lawrence is just fantastic in that he brings such heart and
gravitas to the movie. The same with Kevin Segers. He pulled off a really
understated, honest and empathetic role as the hero which goes against the
machismo you get in a lot of movies these days. Iím really proud of what
they did in their performances. Of course Bill Paxton was awesome, the
quintessential Wildman both on and off screen!
As a final question what your
favourite horror films are?
Well number one would be The Shining for sure. Rosemaryís Baby would be
right in there too. Funny Games maybe, that was frightening. Iím not sure
you can call it a horror movie but it scared the shit out of me!
Thank you very much for your
time today Jeff.
No problem, thank you.
"Thank you ever so much for taking part in this interview
And we wish you the very best of luck in the future."