Seven years after making a big splash in theaters and on-line with his first movie, THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (co-directed by Eduardo Sanchez, currently in post on his own fear follow-up, Rogue Pictures’ ALTERED), filmmaker Daniel Myrick is finally ready to unleash his next opus, SOLSTICE. After all this time, the big question is, why did it take him so long to get back into filmmaking, considering BLAIR WITCH’s success?
“I’ve been doing a lot of writing,” says Myrick. “There are several scripts which I’m planning to produce now. I also did an independent series for the web called THE STRAND [for more info, check out www.strandvenice.com]”.
SOLSTICE (scripted by Myrick, Ethan Erwin and Marty Musatov) is quite different from BLAIR WITCH—yet even though it’s not as “small” a project as Myrick’s debut feature, it isn’t a big-budget Hollywood product either. The filmmaker says it’s a darker story, and coming from him that really means something. “It’s about a young girl who reunites with her friends after the tragic suicide of her twin sister,” he explains. “They spend a weekend at her parents’ lake house, only to find that she’s being haunted by what she thinks is her dead sister’s spirit, when in reality it is something much more frightening.”
Despite having more money this time around, the director says the shoot was no walk in the park. “It was fast and furious. Endgame Entertainment, with Jim Stern and Adam Del Deo producing, set up the financing. I’m not at liberty to talk about the budget, but suffice to say it was quite modest. We shot in 25 days in New Orleans, and one of the most difficult scenes was the seance that takes place in the lake. Shooting in water always makes things much more difficult.”
One crucial element of the film is its cast, which consists of familiar faces who are nonetheless not your typical Hollywood stars. The ensemble is headed by Elizabeth (POINT PLEASANT) Harnois as the living and dead sisters, along with Shawn Ashmore (Iceman from the X-MEN films), Tyler Hoechlin and Matt (FRAILTY) O’Leary as the male leads. “I was very involved in the casting, along with Endgame,” Myrick says. “We wanted to go with a smart cast who didn’t fall into typical stereotypes that you see so often in studio films.” An extra bonus of genre fans is the presence of the new TEXAS CHAINSAW films’ R. Lee Ermey. “He’s a great guy,” Myrick says. “Very professional, kind and has a sincere enjoyment for his craft. It was a pleasure working with him.”
After a hit like BLAIR WITCH, any filmmaker would be concerned about the expectations of repeating that success, and Myrick admits, “There’s definitely pressure, most of it put upon myself. I just don’t like doing projects I don’t feel good about. We were offered a lot of bad scripts, so it took some time to find the right project, since they take so much out of you to produce. But this year will be quite productive for me. I’m doing three films that will be coming out later this year in 2007” under Warner Home Video’s Raw Feed banner; he’s teamed with X FILES’ John Shiban and 24’s Tony Krantz to produce Shiban’s REST STOP (debuting October 17), Krantz’s tentatively titled SUBLIME and his own CULT. Myrick will provide this site another scoop on his future projects later this week. For more info on SOLSTICE (including Myrick’s online diary and behind-the-scenes shots like the one above), check out the official website here.