Thursday, November 27, 2008
George Romero on "Martin"
Where did the idea for the story come from?
GEORGE ROMERO: Initially I was thinking of doing a comedy. I just got one of those ideas that comes to you in the shower: If there really were vampires, they'd have problems living hundreds of years. They'd have to keep changing their passport photos, they'd have all these practical problems. So I wanted to do a comedy about the practical problems of a vampire in today's age.
I had started to keep a notebook on it. One day it just occurred to me that I could do this a lot straighter and I could do a thing about somebody who's not a vampire at all.
I just thought that that would be more -- not romantic -- but it would be, in a way, more of a tender story and a whole new spin that was not comedic. I wanted to just spin a vampire yarn a bit differently and leave the door open as to whether he is or is not a vampire.
You left it open for the audience, but did you decide going in that he wasn't actually a vampire?
GEORGE ROMERO: The decision that I made was that he was not. In my mind, Martin is not a vampire, he's a kid that's been fucked up by family and mythology and movies and whatever else has influenced him. You just have to make that decision in the dark room somewhere and keep both doors open.
Like your other films, Martin isn't really about what it appears to be about on the surface. It's not really a vampire movie, just like Night of the Living Dead is more than just a zombie movie. They're really more reflections on the times we're living in.
GEORGE ROMERO: That's what I try to do. I try to use the framework and use the genre, because first of all it's the easiest way for me to get financing. Really all my films are people stories. Even at the heart of Night of the Living Dead, it's really about the people and how they screw themselves over and can't get it together.
I like that theme tremendously, the lack of communication, the idea that people are still working their own fiddles and have their own agendas even faced with sea changes in the world. I also like that "monster within" thing, which is in the zombie films and in Martin to some extent. Even in a couple of the things I've done that Steve King has written. The ones that I'm drawn to are those, like The Dark Half.
Martin is even sympathetic in the sequence where he goes to kill a woman and is surprised that her lover is there, which is a remarkable scene.
GEORGE ROMERO: That's my favorite sequence. I think it's the most successful sequence I've ever done.
I like its complexity. It's a very complex situation and you have to be watching the movie closely to get everything that happens in it. But what I like the most about it is the execution of it. It's very close to what I had on the page and I was able -- again, because of the small, dedicated crew and all their cooperation -- to do it, make all the shots. There are a hell of a lot of shots in that sequence. And the geography is clear, you don't get lost.
You can't do that sequence without a lot of shots and these guys moved fast and we got it. It was great. I still think it's maybe the best-executed thing that I've ever done.