I have a cameo in every movie. In '50/50,' I'm in the back of the bus.
It's rare that movies can sort of capture the tone of life; movies always feel like they have to be one thing or another.
I like a pretty relaxed, fun set. Everyone knows they can bring whoever they want and hang out.
As a director, there's no natural career progression. So after 'The Wackness,' which was very personal to me, I was very, very picky about what I was going to do next, to the point where I think that I was almost too picky.
Usually, the kills are almost Wile E. Coyote kind of things in horror movies.
Right after 'The Wackness' came out, it was a really exciting time, and then it was a bit disappointing when it came out. Even though not that many people saw it, I was still getting offered some movies. I was thinking that people would just stop calling me since it didn't do very well at the box office.
I was Paul Schrader's assistant for six months before I went to film school, and he's very much about knowing what's going to happen on every page before you even start writing dialogue - the entire plot and character arcs are mapped out.
I'm a writer and director. And the movie I've seen a million times is 'Coming Home,' directed by Hal Ashby and starring Jon Voight, Jane Fonda and Bruce Dern.
'Warm Bodies' was a more long-term thing; I had to write the script, who knew if it was every really going to happen, if I'd find the right actors, and so on, so I grabbed '50/50' because I just fell in love with it.
I really hope everyone who saw 'Twilight' sees 'Warm Bodies,' but at the same time... I don't resent the comparison on a level of quality because I don't judge other movies like that. Now that I make movies, I see how hard it is to do everything. I pretty much love all movies.
I used to obsess on critical reactions to my films, and it's really not a healthy way to live your life, so my new take on it is simply, 'I hope people like it!' I'm not going to be looking at the tomato meter for at least a year! I was very lucky on '50/50' that most critics really liked it.
I was actually shooting 'Warm Bodies' on the day that '50/50' came out, which I don't recommend to other filmmakers because I was sort of a wreck. Actually, it was good for me, because I had work to do, so I couldn't obsess all day and be checking how '50/50' was doing!
I kind of viewed '50/ 50' and 'Warm Bodies' both as my next films after 'The Wackness.' In my head, I was just like, 'I'll try the big, fun, adventure-weird movie, and I'll do the small, heartfelt comedy-drama, and one of them will probably work out, and I'll get to work more.'
I think that's the great thing about zombies, is, you know, going back to even 'Night of the Living Dead,' they've always been a tool for kind of holding up a mirror to us and showing us something about ourselves that we might not otherwise know.
I think I'm always conscious of not letting things fit into a specific box. Being a filmmaker and trying to chart a career, you never want anyone to be able to pigeonhole you into one specific thing.
I definitely think for up and coming filmmakers, people graduating from film school, people that want to do their own movies, horror movies are a great way to go.
I've been a huge fan of Hal Ashby forever. And I think that the distinctive thing about 'Coming Home' is the love story, and how - kind of emotionally real it is, and how these two characters allow each other to see their - kind of vulnerabilities. And it's great because it's a love story that's not really that cheesy, either.
I like zombie movies, and I like genre movies a lot. To watch. Less so to make, I think. But I grew up on that stuff. I would just grow up watching a lot of horror movies, a lot of slasher movies and then zombie movies.
For whatever reason, the films I gravitate towards do have these strange sort of tonal balances to them... I kind of realized on '50/ 50' why I liked these blending of tones, because I think it's kind of what life is like: funny one minute, sad the next, scary the next.