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An Interview with Steven C Miller

Steven: "Joe Dante especially has influenced me".

Steven C Miller
Interview conducted by John Townsend
21 July 2013

Steven C. Miller's new film is Under The Bed, a take on childhood nightmares and fears. After spending some time in Hollywood he has gone back to his independent roots.

Hi Steven. Under The Bed is your new film, please tell us about it.
Sure. Under The Bed is this really cool little genre film Iíve been wanting to do for a while. Itís basically the idea of two brothers taking on this creature hiding under their bed. I love the concept of kids taking on adult problems, that 80ís Amblin type vibe like Gremlins. Itís not really a horror movie, it could be a kids movie or even something else. I think it has a lot of really fun things going on and thatís what I really love.

The film taps into those childhood fears and nightmares. Did you draw on anything from your own childhood or is it something that takes more precedence now that youíre a father?
Both I guess. I grew up with a lot of brothers and we all had different sorts of issues with this at different stages. I remember a banding together kind of thing, building fortresses or defences. Now that I have a toddler, watching them go through it, the monsters in my closet thing, itís kind of funny but it takes you back to when you were a kid and what you were thinking about. I just donít think they make movies like that anymore.

The relationship between the brothers is central to the film. How easy or difficult was it to create such a close bond and how was it working with those two young actors?
They were great. If the relationship didnít work then the movie didnít work. We needed actors who not only looked a little alike but who instantly got along and acted like brothers. When we found Jonny and Gattlin we just put them in a room together and it was instantaneous. You could immediately see this bond and it was incredibly cool to see, like they were looking out for each other right away. To then see them on set together was great and credit needs to go to their parents also who loved the script and encouraged them in these roles.

Steven: " At one point we thought about where the monster came from and maybe how many monsters could we have".

Watching the film it seemed to me that you had almost too m. Did you ever consider a series of films or more monsters perhaps?
Yeah we did. At one point we thought about where the monster came from and maybe how many monsters could we have. We tried to condense it into one movie and there was so much going on, so many ideas that it was hard to do. There was back-story we thought about like what the monsters world is like and how they interact with our world. Itís definitely something we want to explore in the future.

When your film does shift gear I was reminded of early Cronenbergesque body horror. Was this an influence on you and which other directors would you cite as inspiring you?
Definitely. Joe Dante especially has influenced me. With films like Gremlins you were never sure what sort of movie you were watching, there was this weird tone. People donít make these movies anymore. Kids films seem to be just fluff and donít deal with adult themes and that was the film I wanted to make.

What other films have influenced you and what sort of film would you like to make in the future?
Creatively Iíve been influenced by everything from Alien to Back To The Future. To me itís about the storytelling and not one particular genre. I think next Iíd like to do a thriller that I can have fun with and not necessarily have lots of blood. Iíd like to see if I could do that.

Steven: "To me itís about the storytelling and not one particular genre".

I read that youíd been in the studio system and become so frustrated with delays and stalling that you decided to go back to your roots and make an independent film again. Do you think itís more difficult to get your own ideas and films made at the moment?
That was a big deal for me. I was involved in a lot of projects and development but then things would fall apart or change and I had to deal with the problems and politics of that. It was the exact reason I went back to making my movie my way. There was no way I could have made Under The Bed in the studio system. One day Iíd like to go back and do all that but right now it feels so over saturated with big budget stuff that itís great to be able to make something like this rather than worrying about this or that. We made the movie because we wanted to make the movie.

It seems a shame that Hollywood is ignoring the independents.
Itís exciting in a lot of ways because anyone can go and get the technology to make films. Thereís all these young guys going and making them without money and eventually Hollywood will have to recognise that, maybe a change from just big, giant movies to something fresh and new.

What will see next from you?
I have a movie Iím starting soon where itís characters in a limo and the limo goes off a cliff into the ocean and itís all about them trying to get out. Itís a really great, tense script and Iím really excited about that.

Thank you for your time today Steven.
No response!

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


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