British director M.J. Bassett has directed several films surrounding horror, drama, and action, but with ‘Endangered Species,’ the filmmaker is branching off in survival.
The film follows two parents played by Rebecca Romijn and Philip Winchester who take their teenaged children on a trip to Africa for a vacation. After their rented vehicle breaks down, they are captured by poachers, whose leader, played by Jerry O’Connell, forces the family to act as prey for a hunt.
Bassett, who also co-wrote the screenplay, recently set down with the Illuminerdi to discuss the movie’s inspiration and why the ‘Deathwatch’ director prefers indie productions.
When discussing one scene in particular, where the family’s vehicle gets rammed by a rhino, the director explained that the scene was based on a real event.
“Specifically with this film, there’s a couple of incidents in this movie which I kinda lived through,” the filmmaker said. “The rhino attack, I nearly had that happen to me with my family many years ago when my kids were young. I’m this arrogant westerner, we went around, I let my son drive, he was maybe 15-16 years old at the time, we came around a corner, and there was a huge white rhino in the middle of the road, almost exactly like in the movie.”
“She had her head down, she looked at us, and their eyesight is terrible, so she’s kinda peering at us and her ears came forward like ‘I don’t want you people in the middle of my road!’ So she lowered her head, she pawed the ground, and she was coming towards us. And we were all yelling in the car for Tom to reverse, and he was trying to figure out how to reverse, and the rhino peeled off, and there was no danger at all,” the director added. “I remembered that feeling, and when I was writing the script for ‘Endangered Species’…”
When asked about the director’s time on Marvel’s ‘Iron Fist,’ Bassett elaborated on what it is like to have creative control on an indie film versus a franchise.
“I like my independent movies. I don’t mind having no budget and sole creative control. When you get into something like the Netflix/Marvel world…it’s very much a corporate thing. There are lots and lots of people overseeing every single decision. There’s creative freedom, but painted within very specific lines of a very specific palate,” Bassett, “It’s never a no, it just depends what it is.”
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