MANGOLD ON IDENTITY
FANGORIA caught up with director James Mangold this afternoon to chat about the website to his new horror-thriller, IDENTITY (which you can check out by clicking here). The website, a pretty in-depth interactive experience that sends its viewers through multiple rooms, impressed Mangold when he first saw it.
'I'm blown away,' admits Mangold. 'What I set out to want with this thing was just something better than your average movie site, which consists of key art and a link to a trailer. What happened was here at Sony and these wonderful people at Big Spaceship in Brooklyn when we started gathering more and more of the art, information, dialogue and Alan Silvestri's music tracks and something wonderful just started happening and expanding.'
The Flash-animated site is built on many layers and could take the average user quite some time to get through. Of course, that's exactly what Mangold had in mind. 'It's very much an exploration,' Mangold explains. 'It was built on the idea of you have a motel with these ten rooms and these rooms become virtual worlds to explore full of clues, full of music, shadows, details. A lot of where they've gone with this is really amazing. I'm just hoping people take a look at it. To me, it's not only a wonderful piece of marketing for the movie, it's also a remarkable stand-alone collage and piece of art-making from all these elements of the film.'
With the marriage of various mediums coming together with film these days, the question of maintaining the same tone from the film to a site created by someone other than the filmmakers seems like a given. But Mangold worked closely with the website designers to maintain that mysterious tone to clue visitors in to what they'd be getting into with the film.
'A lot of what we wanted to set up was a tone of unraveling,' Mangold says. 'The movie is that. It's all about unraveling. It's all about what you learn and in what order and how you peel away to get to the truth at the center. For me, making the film was about the dispensation of information and in what order and how. In many ways, we put the same attention to the website trying to make sure there was a tone of horror in the classical sense. The kind of unease and disturbing heart ? something that gives you prickles, something that makes you nervous, something that gives you unease ? and making sure that the site itself tried to play with a similar tone that the movie does.'
Of course, with such an in-depth site, the idea that it might give too much away about the film seems a pertinent question. Mangold had no problem putting as much as he could into the site, however. 'We put everything in,' enthuses Mangold. 'We felt that we had nothing to fear because anyone who shows that much interest in the movie is going to want to see the movie. The movie, if you will, is the eleventh room. Clearly, there are a lot of things in there and if you saw the film and then went back and looked at the site, you'd see a lot of bread crumbs towards secrets that the film holds. I'm interested in having people enjoy using their minds and playing with this puzzle. The film itself is a puzzle and the site sets you up as a prologue puzzle to the movie.'
IDENTITY not only marks James Mangold's first foray into horror, but also his first interactive website. After the success of such online marketing campaigns at the one behind THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, is having a horror film with an attractive website something that could help the box office?
'Genre helps,' Mangold tells us. 'In terms of genre, I'm a pretty eclectic filmmaker so that I'm not sure what you'd do with KATE & LEOPOLD the website nor am I sure when we did GIRL, INTERRUPTED, you know, what could you do? Do you tie into the book? Do you tie into the bios of the actresses? There's something about the unabashed operatic quality of a horror film that lends itself. The environment becomes a character in a way and exploring this environment and enjoying and savoring the atmosphere of the haunted house, of the rain storm, of feeling trapped, of feeling isolated, of feeling coincidences are adding up too fast to be coincidences, then compiling those feelings seemed to gel for me and for all of us in the idea of creating a website more than, per say, a straight drama or emotional film or a cop movie like I made with COPLAND. Innately, IDENTITY is about a mystery. It's about something hiding beneath something. Innately, the internet is about the same thing. It's about digging, it's about turning over rocks, it's about finding the thing behind the thing, it's very much about the same kind of energy.'
IDENTITY hits theaters on April 25th.'
Courtesy of Fangoria