Rupert mentioned Army of Shadows and Battle of Algiers as inspirations for himself. Along with those ’70s films, were those movies on your mind as well?

Yeah, I mean Army of Shadows definitely was so inspirational, but I think that that notion for me, I would say…what this brings to mind, and it’s a little sideways so forgive me, it’s less about certain movies. One thing I just kept on thinking about were things I read about, probably two main pieces on the Middle East, but certain pieces about Belfast and Northern Ireland. I remember reading something about Lebanon and how it was called the Terrace of the Middle East, and that it was the incredibly beautiful city. For myself, growing up with all the pictures and the images, all you got about Lebanon was essentially that it was kind of a pile of rubble and similar now to places in Syria or Palms, where you think of a smashed up place, and to imagine those places as the Paris or the thriving city that they were.

I really want to bring that contrast to life. This notion that we can actually do it together, placing that kind of situation in the near future here in America, so that you could really see like, Palms was Chicago and realize that it can happen in an instant. Life can really change and go from something that’s ordinary everyday to something where you really are put to the test. Again, the tagline is “Go to this movie and have fun,” you know what I mean? I pray that it is not medicine, right? But if you take away from it that, to feel a little bit more lucky for the small pleasures we have every day, that would be great.

The movie takes such a grounded approach that you don’t have to do so much explaining, but I was wondering, what rules did you and Rupert make for the aliens and the world?

As you can imagine that is very important for this movie and very important for science fiction in general, and hopefully, they make your job as a storyteller easier as opposed to harder. For example, we tried, as you rightly pointed out, in terms of the look and the feel of the movie, that everything was really grounded. So we didn’t want to make any choices starting out that would go against that. We wanted to always reference history or references from the animal kingdom or whatever makes sense of it, so it hopefully had an internal logic. For example, in a way wanting that ’70s thriller vibe in the middle of it, we wanted to strip out the modern technology but also have a real logic to that. It was looking at totalitarian regimes, for example Russia right now, trying to make their own internet, basically, so they can control content.

Okay, so if you were trying to control humanity, one of the first things you would do is outlaw the technology that connects people and at this point serves a extension of our own brains, right? You’re literally crippling a society if you do that. Well, it makes perfect sense that they would do that, that they would take that away and that they would want all that information for themselves, because as much as they are strip mining the planet of its resources, human history and knowledge is a resource as well. They are taking all that away. And also, again that extends the storyline because then you get the fun of people having to communicate in different ways, which as you know, plays a big part in the storytelling.

Without spoiling anything, with the ending this movie has, how did it dictate or influence your choices in the build up? Building towards this ending, how did it make writing this script different from past experiences?

I think that, for us again, it was important that the ending of the movie, hopefully if it went the way we wanted it to, it would have genuine emotional impact, and that is not easy thing to achieve in any kind of storytelling, but particularly in genre storytelling that can be hard. Working back from that, with a limited amount of dialogue and hopefully every scene furthering the plot and the action of the movie, how you get to know these characters well enough so that when you find out what happened to them, there is a real emotional impact to that. So it was always that. It was, hopefully one line or one look or one exchange bring these characters to life in a real human way so you would get that emotion at the end in edition to the story.

Rupert says he wants to tell more stories in this world, so are there any ideas in particular you’d want to continue exploring in sequels? 

Oh yeah. We’ve talked about that. We talked about that. I mean, I grew to love so many of these characters so much and I think, I’m just always interested in particular people in fringes and the margins of society and how much everyday bravery can be found there, and obviously, how that can get elevated in a movie like this or whatever. I’m sure he talked to you about what the second movie would be and what the third movie would be, and how maybe…again without spoiling anything, depending on whether they succeed or fail in trying to light the match, what would be happening in other cities and places in the world, where people were trying to do the same thing or bringing the next level of conflict. Going from there, I think, that would be really fun.


Captive State is now in theaters.

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