My Soul to Take marks the first feature film Wes Craven has directed since 2005’s Red Eye, and the horror auteur has learned a valuable lesson during that time: He’s happier making his own films than he is running a company.
“There was long period where I had a little company, and we were developing projects and so forth,” he says. “And there was a point — and I think about where I got the idea for this film — where I was feeling like, ‘You should be writing and directing films and leave it at that.’ So it was just kind of like, get back to your basics and stop having to kind of push other people to be creative in a way that you like when it’s just easier to do it yourself. And better.”
My Soul to Take also marks Craven’s first foray into 3-D, something he is the first to admit he was resistant to, especially since it wasn’t shot that way. “It was done totally as a 2-D film. We never thought of 3-D,” he says. The idea came from folks at the studio after some executive shuffling.
“They approached me and said, ‘How about 3-D? We would love to do it in 3-D,’” he remembers. “Yes, there was a lot of pressure. There was never, like, ‘We’re not going to release the film if you don’t.’ But it was just, ‘Would you just give it an honest look.’ And that was back around the time when Clash of the Titans had just come out and Roger Ebert was saying it was the worst thing that had ever happened to cinema. And my first impulse was I’m never going to say yes.”
But a visit to the company that had converted Clash of the Titans to 3-D changed his mind — and illuminated a lot of the problems in the controversial world of post-converting films to 3-D.
“They explained in great detail how the showing of a 3-D movie has to be done very carefully, and it’s all new kind of infrastructure and new processes and skills down at the theatre level,” he says. “And that is a huge part of the success or failure of 3-D, is that it is shown right. You are going into a pipeline that ends in these theatres that are getting new equipment in, and there’s a learning curve.”
More than anything, though, Craven admits he just doesn’t want to get left behind. “Everything I’m reading about it is that this is not something from the ’50s that they’re just trying again for the hell of it,” he says. “I think we’re into a world where 3-D is emerging and it’s going to be here. I want to be the man that’s on the boat, not standing on the dock when the boat sails away.”