MB: How is he [Silver] to work with?
VN: Wonderful. I was terrified to work with him - he has a reputation, he's a very powerful man - but he was tremendously respectful to the film, and to me, very deferential. Just a great ally.
MB: Were there any alterations requested by the studio once it got picked up?
VN: I totally had my say, but they had suggestions ... mostly picking up the pace and clarifying. There's one story point that we shot that needed just a bit more of that. But all the places you'd anticipate a studio would want changes, they didn't. It was mostly cosmetic and cleanup work, but everything weird and dangerous about the movie was left untouched.
MB: I've been seeing the trailers running a lot on TV. They're selling it as, "hey, here's a monster movie!" I can't wait to go see this on opening night with an audience that doesn't know quite what's coming.
(Note: This interview was conducted almost a month ago, and already there were TV spots - an unheard of level of promotion for a low-budget, adult scifi/horror movie in the summer.)
VN: [excited] Yeah, it's going to be interesting to see. It's definitely being sold in a certain way that doesn't entirely represent what the movie is, so I'll be interested to see if they're disappointed or pleasantly surprised.
MB: Most Frankenstein stories have been about neglectful fathers who won't take responsibility for what they've created and see it only as a monster. It strikes me that what you've got here is a Frankenstein story about an obsessive mother who takes too much responsibility for what she's created. Where did it come from, approaching this material this way?
VN: Well, first, I had two co-writers - Antoinette Terry Bryant and Doug Taylor - and I'm sort of aware enough of these kinds of movies that I didn't want to imitate them. And the way to push it into the 21st Century was to make it a love triangle, that it's a couple who create Dren. What I was very aware of not wanting to do was the usual plot where the creature might escape. I would be much more interesting if the scientists cage their creation and start destroying it, becoming more monstrous than the monster. But a lot of it really comes from having ten years to work on the script - it took a long time to get this movie made.
MB: Kind of a geeky science question: Is there a master list of what Dren is supposed to be made of?
(Note: This is about where the "this fellow really likes to talk science!" comes in.)
VN: Oh! That's a great question, actually. The answer is no. Here's why: What Clive and Elsa have done is taken the material from Fred and Ginger [more basic animal hybrids from earlier in the film] and added human DNA. But in the voodoo of their splicing technique they've accidentally awakened what are called "Junk Genes" - dormant genes that we all have that are left over from evolution. So we'll never know 100% what Dren is; it'll always be a mystery.