Updated: March 25, 2013 6:25AM
When the movie is called “The Last Exorcism,” how do you do the sequel?
“It’s like, wait just a minute. There is just one more exorcism?” laughs Eli Roth, producer-director-writer-actor on “The Last Exorcism Part II,” out Friday.
Ah, yes, that elusive Part II.
Instead of the box-office devil making him do a quick sequel to his 2010 hit, Roth waited until the right idea sparked
“I didn’t want to knock it out,” he says of the three-year gap between films. “The breakthrough was when we decided that the idea of the first film exists as a viral video. People don’t know if it exists.
“Our main character has no idea what happened or if it happened. It’s fun to watch her slowly discover her life again.”
The first film was made for $1.5 million. “We thought it would be a hit if it grossed $5 million,” Roth says, “It ended up grossing over $70 million.”
He says that smart horror never goes out of style. “I really care about horror movies. People seem shocked when there is actually good acting in a horror film. I’m sitting here saying, ‘That’s the way it should be.’ Just because it’s a horror film is no excuse for bad writing and bad acting.”
As an actor, Roth is known for his turns in Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” (2009), “Grindhouse” (2007) and his own “Hostel” (2005).
He also just wrote, directed and produced “The Green Inferno” about students from New York City who travel to remote Peru for a protest. A local tribe of cannibals decides that they will make a very tasty value meal.
“We went to a remote area of Peru with no running water and no electricity. I had to set up generators to film. I also had to gather the local tribe and explain to them what a movie was,” he says. “We screened a film for them, and I thought it would be ‘E.T.,’ but it was ‘Cannibal Holocaust.’
“They loved it. They thought it was a comedy,” he says with a nervous laugh.
As for the cannibal aspect of the film, he says, “It’s gory, but it’s palatable. It’s also really scary.”
Roth is also producing and directed the Netflix series “Hemlock Grove,” coming out April 16. The film is about a werewolf who struggles as a monster and as a human. “I wanted to show this can be done in a fun, adult way with a terrific cast,” he says of the project starring Famke Janssen and Dougray Scott.
Did he always plan to do it all in show business? The Boston native says, “At my Bar Mitzvah, the rabbi asked me, ‘What do you want to do with your life?’ I said, ‘I want to be a producer or a director. ‘ He said, ‘Pick one.’ I said, ‘Sir, you have to be the first one to retain the integrity of the cut.’ ”
Big Picture News Inc.