Nick Simon Talks THE GIRL IN THE PHOTOGRAPHS

The-Girl-In-The-PhotographsNick Simon’s terrifying slasher film THE GIRL IN THE PHOTOGRAPHS is currently impressing audiences in theaters and on VOD and rightfully so, it’s scary as hell. A very unique approach to the genre, TGITP bypasses a lot of horror tropes, giving horror fans something different and is a film that will most definitely stay with you long after the credits roll. We had a chat with Nick regarding the film, as well as it being the last film master of horror Wes Craven produced before his passing last year. Read on!

How did this project come to fruition and at what point did Wes become involved?

The script was first conceived in 2010. Oz Perkins and myself were talking about how we would love to see something in the slasher realm that hasn’t been done for a while. We came up with the original ideas based on the American Apparel billboards all over LA. We thought it would be interesting to have a photography angle and thought it would be fun to pay a little homage to one of our favorite films, “Blow Up”. We worked on the script as kind of a side project/spec whenever we had free time. We were both working on other projects. After a few years I met Wes. Wes was my assigned mentor through the WGA. We used to have dinners at his house once every few months. One day he asked what I was working on. I mentioned “The Girl In The Photographs” and told him the premise. I also told him that I’ve been working on it off and on for years and wasn’t sure if it was good. He offered to read it. I sent it over and told him to be brutal with his notes. At that point, I think I needed to hear one way or another if I should try and get it made. He wrote back ten days later and told me he loved it and came on board as a producer.

I love how the characters were portrayed, they felt different than your typical horror characters. Was it important for you give genre lovers something different?

I love these characters and the actors that play them so much in this movie. We always planned on it not being a who-dun-it film. Wes did that better than anyone with “Scream” so we never wanted to do that. Revealing who the killers are early on was something we hadn’t seen done in a while. Tom and Gerry are such interesting antagonists because I think that the horror they bring is real. What they do in this film could really happen. Also with the performances that Luke Baines and Corey Schmitt deliver are what make them so real and creepy. During rehearsals we came up with the “Of Mice and Men” type relationship. With Peter Hemmings (Nod to “Blow Up”) we wrote that character based on what we believed a modern slightly sleazy fashion and celeb photographer would be like. That character is an exaggeration. I met with and worked with photographers and let them read the script to make sure that we were on the right track at least a little. Patrick Hoelck, who is an amazing and well respected photographer , thought that the script was hilarious and he loved it. He shot all of the photos that are in the film, as both Peter and Tom.

You have a very visual approach to the film, something that to me, felt original and very unique. Are there any directors or just films that may have helped shape your approach to filmmaking in general and more specifically, the horror genre?

I’ve been influenced by many filmmakers. Growing up in South Dakota and being completely adverse to sports and outdoor activities kept me in the cinema at all times. My biggest influence is John Carpenter. I grew up loving his pictures so much. I saw “Escape From New York” at an early age and fell in love with movies and knew right then I wanted to make them. Having Dean Cundey as my cinematographer on the movie was a dream come true. Having the guy to shot all of the movies that made me want to make movies was just surreal. Obviously Wes Craven was a big influence as well. Wes’ stories were always so ahead of their time.

I felt like THE GIRL IN THE PHOTOGRAPHS was a perfect last film for Wes to be involved in,, you did a great job directing such an intense, character-driven horror film. Were there any fun or interesting stories you have from shooting the film?

Thank you! I really appreciate that. I remember once going to Wes’s house before we started shooting. It took several months to get the film off the ground. He brought in a list of around 10 or so projects that he was working on. Wes passed away way too soon and I know for a fact he had more stories to tell. I believe that some of those are still in development and I really hope that they are made. He was very involved with all of the projects he was working on. Throughout the process with “Girl” he was always a huge help. He would watch the dailies all the way through the shoot. During the good times and bad he always had great advice. One funny story from principle photography, we were shooting the scenes with Katharine Isabelle being yanked from the car in the opening. Luke Baines would actually let out a yelp whenever she would be yanked out. I had to remind him a few times that he was the killer and probably shouldn’t be revolted by what was going on.

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