Interview: ‘Monsters’ Director Gareth Edwards On Pushing His Actors, Delays Caused By Prison Riots, and Stretching a Micro Budget

[Laughs] See those are bold words right there. So, in 23 years we’ll be seeing something on the scale of Avatar from you?

I don’t think it works that way. There are a lot of people that make better films than Piranha 2 and don’t go on to do what James Cameron did. It just makes me feel better. [Laughs]

Have you had big studios knocking at your door?

They don’t knock at your door, but what happens is you get sent to them.

You get summoned?

Yeah, you have to go. It’s the law. They do what they call a couch tour, where you get to meet everyone. Basically, I met loads of people, but it’s weird because the reason we made the film the way we made it is because we never thought Hollywood would come knocking. So, you have to figure out how to do it on your own. When you’ve done it, they come knocking, and it feels a bit like the love of your life proposing to you after you’ve gotten married to someone else.

You start to wonder if you really need it. Maybe we can go make films on our own. There’s plenty of people like Peter Jackson and George Lucas who went off to make films without Hollywood and they did well with it.

The landscape is changing so much, and I don’t mean it quite like this, but in ten years, things will be so different than how they are now or how they were when I went to film school that it’s like, well, maybe the cleverest thing to do is not to run off and make Transformers 5. Not that anyone was offering that out. But maybe, the people reading your site, it’s going to be in their hands more than it is in Hollywood’s.

That’s me and my wishful thinking. I’m standing here on the phone looking right at the Hollywood sign, being flown over here by Hollywood money to slag them off on the phone.

The great thing about slagging Hollywood off is that no one considers themselves Hollywood. Anyone you meet, they’ll all slag off Hollywood. You can’t really offend anyone by slagging off on it.

It’s an ethereal entity not housed or owned by anyone.

Everyone’s fighting the machine. No one actually is the machine.

That raises a great question. Do you want to join the studio system or would you rather head out into the jungle again?

That’s a tricky one. The honest answer really or the pretentious answer is…I want to make a good film. So you picture a good film if you can, and you work out the best way to make that. My best guess is that it would involve a more down and dirty guerrilla approach than it would a high end, multi-million dollar approach, but never say never.

I just think, the more money you have, the more you have to appeal to a broader audience to get that money back, and the more compromise you have to make, and the less unique the film will be. I was just saying something earlier to someone that there are a lot of examples of people who made unique films that made a lot of money, but it’s far less common than the people who made films with very little money because there wasn’t so much at risk to jump off the cliff.

So I’d like to jump off the cliff again.

Well, what was the budget of Monsters?

I honestly can’t tell you. The main reason being that I don’t know, and if I did know, I still wouldn’t tell you.


[Laughs] It’s like low, low, low, low budget. Micro-budget.

The key is to get the studio to give you that budget and $50,000 more so you can get people on set to bring you coffee.

Yeah! Maybe I can make a movie in…well, I was in Costa Rica so I should have had good coffee all the time. It just didn’t work that way. Apparently they export their best coffee. The best coffee is over here.

So now you have to make a guerrilla film over here to get Costa Rican coffee.

That’s like all stories isn’t it? If you go away to find something better, you find out that there’s no place like home.

It sounds like your situation with Hollywood, but it’s also heartwarming.

Yes, the moral to the story is that the best Costa Rican coffee is not in Costa Rica. It’s right in your house.

Monsters hits theaters Friday, October 29th.

A veteran of writing about movies for nearly a decade, Scott Beggs has been the Managing Editor of Film School Rejects since 2009. Despite speculation, he is not actually Walter Mathau's grandson. See? He can't even spell his name right.

Read More from Scott Beggs
Get Film School Rejects in your email. All the cool kids are doing it:
Previous Article
Next Article
Reject Nation
Leave a comment
Comment Policy: No hate speech allowed. If you must argue, please debate intelligently. Comments containing selected keywords or outbound links will be put into moderation to help prevent spam. Film School Rejects reserves the right to delete comments and ban anyone who doesn't follow the rules. We also reserve the right to modify any curse words in your comments and make you look like an idiot. Thank You!