With his 1944 thriller Lifeboat, legendary auteur Alfred Hitchcock proved that just by setting a group of survivors in a boat at sea for an entire picture, you could create cinematic magic.
Filmmaker Adam Green has the same theory about ski resort chair lifts.
“When you first tell people it’s about three people who get stranded on a chair, at first they think, ’Well, you can’t make a movie out of that,’” explained Green during an interview to promote his new thriller, Frozen.
“(But) it’s the type of thing that strikes a chord with everybody who hears about it. Especially if you’ve ever skied, you know what that feeling is like when the chair stops — the first thing that goes through your mind is, could I jump from here?”
Simple as it sounds, the premise about a trapped young trio struggling with the elements, issues of acrophobia and a hungry pack of wolves does present a commanding chronicle of high anxiety which Green admits was influenced by the likes of Lifeboat and Steven Spielberg’s Jaws.
“You would never want this thrill in real life,” said Green, equating the tension to the experience of going on a rollercoaster.
“You want to know what it’s like but you want to do it in a way where you know at any moment you can leave or it’s going to be over and you’re going to be safe — that’s sort of the big thing with these (types of) films.”
Green isn’t shy to credit the courage of his young cast either.
In fact, Green relied on tempered Canadians Shawn Ashmore (X-Men) and Kevin Zegers (Transamerica) after announcing he was going to shoot the film in sub-zero temperatures on a real mountain — a prospect that scared off many young American thespians.
“Guys like Kevin and Shawn realized that this was a chance to be onscreen for 90 minutes where the entire movie rests on their shoulders,” said Green. “Every night they were bringing everything they had to the point that they couldn’t physically stand up when they got off that chair, they were so exhausted.”