with novels like Horns’ And NOS4A2 and love comics Locke and Key Having previously been brought into the world of live-action, writer Joe Hill is no stranger to seeing his material adapted and reimagined in exciting ways. Despite seeing how this process unfolds, the latest adaptation of his work, black phone, gave the author all new opportunities. Given that the source material was a short story, a feature film required elaboration of various elements, while his personal relationship with directors Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill meant a change in the collaborative process. black phone Now available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD.
In the film, Finney (Mason Thames), a shy but cunning 13-year-old boy, is kidnapped by a hermit killer (Ethan Hawke) and trapped in a soundproofed dungeon where screaming is rare. When a disconnected phone on the wall begins to ring, Finney learns that he can hear the voices of the murderer’s previous victims. And they are ready to make sure that what happened to them doesn’t happen to Finney. The film is produced by Derrickson & Cargill’s Crooked Highway and presented by Universal and Blumhouse.
ComicBook.com contacted Hill to talk about the collaborative process, the film’s successes, and the franchise’s potential future.
ComicBook.com: The movie is obviously pretty weird. The story itself is also quite strange. When you were collaborating with Scott, when you were collaborating with Cargill and they were combining elements and re-imagining things in different ways, were there elements like black phone The movie — that got you thinking, “Man, I wish I had thought like that,”?
Joe Hill: I thought of a whole bunch of stuff. black phone Has been a wonderful experience. From start to finish, it’s been a truly extraordinary experience, and you don’t know if it will ever happen again in your life. There are all kinds of aspects that make black phone Uniquely special to me, but there’s a fact that we went out… this movie got made, and it was made by some of my friends, not strangers, not professional colleagues, but friends.
I have known Kargil for almost a decade. Kargil says it was always inevitable that we were going to be friends as we have all these friends in common. We have similar tastes, a similar flair, and we were both writing horror, fantasy and science fiction, thrillers in the same time period. And we’re both about the same age. So we met over lunch in London like a decade ago and have been friends ever since, even I occasionally send early drafts to Cargill and get their views on them. We’ve talked, and he’s talked about the stories he wants to do, and I’ve made suggestions and said, “Well, what about that?”
In Scott’s case, who I think I initially met through Cargill, for a time Scott was developing Locke and Key Was committed to directing further Hulu adaptation with me and Carlton Cuse Locke and Key, and then it didn’t come together. It melted as he had other professional commitments. but he really wanted to pilot Locke and Key, in some ways, black phone We had a makeup call. So just the fact that the movie exists and it’s made by two friends of mine, that alone is amazing.
In terms of his changes in material, I mean, he used everything in the short story, every single line of dialogue, every single scene in the short story that’s in the movie, and, for a writer, it’s incredibly satisfying. Is. But they came up with much more that enriched the story and enriched the characters. There’s a huge component of the film that’s so autobiographical, it’s a lot about the childhood of Scott Derrickson who grew up in the dirty, violent 1970s of North Denver. I love that, and I think it gives the film and the characters a texture and emotional depth that they wouldn’t have if it’s about Finney in the basement.
Then secondly, in the short story, Finney is kidnapped by Grabber and locked in this dungeon with a disconnected antique phone. The phone begins to ring with a call from one of Grabber’s slain victims, a child that Phinney actually knew by the name of Bruce Yamada. And I guess, it’s been a while since I read the story, but I think only Bruce calls Phinney on the phone.
But Kargil noticed it and said, “Actually, Grabber had a bunch of victims and they could all call on that phone.” Then the structure of the film becomes an escape room, where everyone who calls on the phone has another clue for Finney, and if Finn can figure it out, he’s very close to escaping. So that’s what Kargil brought to the film that I think is really unique and satisfying, this set of interlocking puzzles that builds the story into a really breathtaking escape room structure. and I like that. I think this is great. I think it’s a big part of the movie… I think all three flavors work together to make this one delicious, frosted, chocolate cupcake with peanut butter in the center. It is that mix of flavors that makes it so satisfying and captivating for audiences everywhere.
the delicacy of black phone Eagerly looking forward to that tie-in at Cupcake Friendly.
Grabber’s mask will soon be on top of bakeries everywhere black phone cupcakes
When I spoke with Scott, he mentioned how he changed a line of dialogue a few weeks before the film’s wide release, proving just how perfectionist he is. Do you think, as an artist, are you a similar perfectionist, where until something is published, you’re doing it right?
Oh my god, yes. I hate that man, but yes, I am that man. A short story of mine was published not long ago. So it’s a little bit inside baseball, but when a book is going to press, you get something called a “first pass page” where you can see what the story looks like when it’s printed in the book, and you can do the final edit. can do . But it’s really difficult to do final edits because they want to keep everything, for pagination reasons, they want to keep the paragraphs the same size. It costs them money to reset and make changes, so they hope you won’t do too much. But then there’s the “second pass page”. And, at that point, it’s really like, “Please don’t make any changes unless you absolutely have to because that could delay the book. It’s really painstaking to fix things.”
I had a short story, not too long ago, and in the second pass pages, I almost completely rewrote the last two pages of the story from the beginning. And I mean, my email was overly apologetic, but I’m like, “Guys, I wasn’t satisfied with the way I read this and I had to redo it and here it is.” Nobody said anything. There was none — I wasn’t even sure I had received my email until the book came out, and I was able to read it, and I looked back and saw that they had made all the changes, but probably someone somewhere. There was Joe Hill Voodoo doll near some publishing house after I got my email.
Scott has already said that he’s talked to you about a possible follow-up, and I don’t want specifics or spoilers or anything like that, but looking ahead, do you think you might see a black phone Spiritual sequel or do you think you can follow specific characters? Do you think this is another story that belongs in this world? How far along are some of these conversations about what you want to do with the sequel?
There’s been some really good conversation about the sequel. And the thing is, as soon as I saw the mask, which was designed by Tom Savini and Jason Baker, as soon as I saw the mask, I thought, “If this movie is a hit, there will be a sequel,” because the mask is so iconic. Is. It’s like Freddy Krueger’s glove, it’s like Michael Myers’ mask, this is the thing where it’s the imagery, the iconic imagery, that haunts people’s sleep.
And, look, in horror, people like Jason Voorhees, and Freddy Krueger, and Frankenstein, and Dracula, none of these people remain buried. They all walk out of the grave for a sequel and then a threequel. There have been discussions about how to make a sequel that doesn’t go to waste. How to make a sequel that doesn’t cheapen a movie that came before, that’s still scary, that’s still intense, that feels organic. And those conversations have been great. But if I had to give any details, Scott and Cargill would lock me in the basement in the movie, and that’s it. And the phone doesn’t work. As you know, the phone does not work. I can’t call anyone to come out. So I’ll refuse to give any real finer details about a potential sequel.
Undoubted. And, I don’t know if you’ve heard, there’s a really cool sequel called doctor sleep Which went in an interesting direction. so i like to think about it black phoneThat I know that whatever you and Scott and Cargill come up with, it won’t go to waste and it won’t be what people anticipate.
Overall, I am a huge fan of Stephen King. I adore Mike Flanagan’s work, and I’m a sucker for Ewan McGregor movies. I think he is such a great actor and stuff. i didn’t really see doctor sleep, I did not see doctor sleep Because… I’ve read almost everything that my dad has published, but that has fallen through the cracks. I haven’t read that book yet. I know a lot about it because there were some bad guys in it doctor sleep who was somewhat similar to Charlie Manx NOS4A2,
and so the really bad guys doctor sleep make a cameo NOS4A2and charlie manx makes a cameo doctor sleepBut I haven’t actually read the book. When I finally read it, I’ll read it again Glazed before and then doctor sleep, and then I’ll watch the movie. But it’s one of these rare cases where I haven’t really gotten over it yet, so I don’t have any thoughts on Mike Flanagan’s adaptation on The Doctor, which is weird.
I have some connections that I will contact, so that you can get the . get a promo copy of doctor sleep,
Oh that would be cool. If you know someone, if you can pull the strings somewhere.
I’ll put a good word and maybe get a DVD of it doctor sleep, Not streaming or Blu-ray, but a DVD we can settle for.
I’d appreciate it. That would be great. very thoughtful
black phone Now available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. you can contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter,
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Reference from comicbook.com