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Scott Beck & Bryan Woods Interview: 65


Mills, an astronaut, crash lands on an alien planet in 65. However, he soon learns it is actually Earth 65 million years ago. To survive, he must work with Koa, the sole living passenger from the crash, to traverse unknown terrain full of dangerous prehistoric beasts, including dinosaurs.

65 stars Adam Driver, Ariana Greenblatt, Chloe Coleman, and Nika King. Scott Beck and Bryan Woods wrote and directed 65, but they are best known for writing the acclaimed horror film A Quiet Place. They are also penning the screenplay for The Boogeyman, an adaptation of the Stephen King short story of the same name.


Related: One Detail Proves 65 Is Continuing Jurassic World’s Best Dinosaur Fix

Screen Rant spoke with the writers and directors of 65 Scott Beck and Bryan Woods. The pair discuss collaborating with Adam Driver, describing the experience as a master class. Woods and Beck also tease what fans can expect from their upcoming horror movie, The Boogeyman.

Scott Beck & Bryan Woods On 65

Adam Driver in 65 in a misty forest all soaking wet looking very terrified

Screen Rant: Congratulations on 65. It is a thrill ride. It had me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. I love the pacing of this film. What inspired 65? And what other films influenced you while crafting 65?

Scott Beck: We love survival tales. I think survival tales are a way to live out that question of, “What would I do in this circumstance, and would I be able to survive?” Movies like Castaway or Gravity were certainly at the forefront of our minds. But then, there’s a character journey throughout this movie, so we’re always trying to find ways to convey emotion and basically get the cinema to tell the story instead of dialogue. And so, early silent films like Charlie Chaplin and Jacques Tati, those are movies that we adore because they’re so good at using the camera and all the tools at filmmaking disposal to really get the ideas across.

Bryon Woods: And look, there’s no question that when Scott and I were kids, we saw Jurassic Park in theaters, and it blew our brains apart. And ever since then, both as children making movies with our action figures but also as adult professionals, we’ve been asking ourselves, “How can you do a dinosaur movie? How can we come up with an idea for a dinosaur movie that we haven’t seen before?” And that was a challenge we put on ourselves for the last 10 years.

Can you talk about working with Adam Driver and Ariana Greenblatt developing the onscreen chemistry, because they are the heart of this movie and they do a phenomenal job without actually being able to effectively communicate with each other?

Scott Beck: Thanks for saying so. Ariana and Adam were fantastic. And Adam was a first choice that we had. We never expected we could get him to be in what, on the surface, is just a dinosaur movie. But I think the script was able to win him over because it is kind of a nuanced character that is dealing with loss and dealing with grief. But he’s so good at communicating ideas without having to open his mouth.

And so that was the challenge in trying to find, ultimately, Ariana who would play the part of Koa. We needed to find somebody that was 13 years old and would be able to deliver the physicality to do all the different stunts that the movie required, but also be able to communicate using just nonverbal cues and using her eyes to communicate something. The whole dynamic between them lives and dies on there being a conflict and this issue of a language barrier. And so we couldn’t be happier to be able to end up with both of them in the film.

You guys caught me on a couple jump scares here and there. And I know that you guys wrote A Quiet Place. Did you guys talk to John Krasinski or get any advice from him about the storytelling in 65?

Bryon Woods: We didn’t, but we’ve been students of how well he has executed the A Quiet Place movies. These are movies, we watch out of obligation on some level because we’re involved with them, but also out of love and respect. And watching his career trajectory. Watching how he started with some independent films, like The Hollars and Brief Interviews, and his career certainly as an actor in The Office. How he’s been able to transition and become a great storyteller and a great horror storyteller of all things. So we’re always taking notes, for sure.

Scott Beck: Yeah, it’s always about trying to find levity amidst the suspense and scares. Always trying to find that human touchstone so audiences are invested in character.

One of the producers on this film is the incredible Sam Raimi; he’s a legend, and he’s known for having such amazing practical effects. I think this film does a really good job of blending in the practical effects and the CG, so can you talk to me about the usage of practical effects in this film?

Bryon Woods: There was this day that we keep thinking about because it was a nerve-wracking day for us as directors. We had a bunch of circus performers basically dressed up in giant raptor suits. And Adam was on his way to the set, and in our heads, we were hoping it would help the performances. And Adam’s pulling up to set, and Scott and I look at each other. And we look at these hilarious raptor suits. There’s like six people in raptor suits standing around drinking coffee, but they look like raptors. And we’re like, “Is this the moment when Adam’s just like, what is going on here? What did I sign up for?”

And we set up the scene: he walks over to us and points at the dinosaurs. And he’s like, “This is just so fucking cool. This is so cool that we have some practical elements to react to.” That made us sigh a great big sigh of relief that it felt like, “Okay, this is a good marriage.” We’re attempting to service the performances because, with these big visual effects movies, it’s so hard for people to have nothing to react to. So we tried to use practical dinos and certain elements to give them to react to. And then other times, it’s just the pure imagination of our visual effects team, which did a really great job bringing some of these creatures to life.

Now you guys tap into a variety of genres with sci-fi, creature feature horror, and action thriller? How do you find the balance while still focusing on the characters and the heart of the story?

Scott Beck: Our whole thing is, what’s the entry point to a big idea? And it’s always the characters. What’s the heart of the story? What’s the theme of the story? For us with this movie, when writing it and thinking about it, we were thinking about the end of the dinosaur era is actually kind of poignant and sad. And there was this event that decimated almost all life on Earth. And yet there was a rebirth from that. That grew into a civilization of us talking together on Zoom right this second.

And we thought about that in the wake of who Adam’s character is and who Arianna’s character is, and that they kind of have suffered their own loss. And the question is, are they able to move on from tragedy and find a way forward? And so those themes were always in the background of these sequences that were then translated into suspense and terror, just trying to make sure that there was this roller coaster ride for the audience. But there were also some layers beneath there for anyone that wants to dig beneath the surface.

Yeah, I love the element of family and found family in this film, as well. Now, as writers and directors of this film, how did the script evolve over the course of production?

Bryon Woods: Well, I think one of the biggest pieces of evolution that happened was just having a collaborator like Adam Driver, who shows up every day, and we talk through the scenes, we workshop the script, early in pre-production, but then also like on the day of filming. He’s somebody who brings a lot of ideas to the table. And he was also somebody who really encouraged us to embrace the spirit with which we made the movie.

We really wanted to make a movie that [did not have] a lot of dialogue and really relied on pure cinema. And it relied on the performances behind the lines to communicate the story and the feeling. So there would be times where Adam would be like, “I don’t think we need this line, and what if we did this? What if I came over here and approached her differently?” Workshopping scenes on a masterclass level, I feel like we aged 100 years as directors just working with him. Absorbing all of his experience from working with some of the greatest directors of all time. It felt like school every day, in a good way. We felt like we learned a lot.

I know that you guys are adapting Stephen King’s The Boogeyman. Can you talk to me about what fans can expect from that?

Scott Beck: The Boogeyman is a short story that we love that is only 11 pages long about a man named Lester Billings that walks into a psychiatrists office and says, “The Boogeyman killed three of my kids.” And so it’s a terrifying launching off point for what the feature film is. We love the idea that the boogeyman is this universal idea that’s used to scare children to stay in bed.

And so to put that on screen, hopefully it will tap into these innate fears. And we couldn’t be more excited to be able to have the movie come to theatrical after it was officially turned from a Hulu movie to a theatrical movie, because there’s nothing better than sitting amidst a whole community of theatergoers and undergoing that same experience simultaneously. It’s a really beautiful thing that we hold dear.

About 65

65 Adam Driver

An astronaut, Mills, crash-lands on an unfamiliar planet but realizes he’s actually been marooned on Earth 65 million years ago. Mills and the sole surviving passenger, Koa, must travel across an uncharted and dangerous landscape full of prehistoric beasts, including dinosaurs, as they struggle to survive.

Check out our other 65 interviews:

Next: Stephen King’s Latest Horror Movie Success Continues A Great Horror Trend


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