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EXCL: Scott Glosserman, From Behind the Mask to The Truth Below

On his MTV thriller and Leslie Vernon’s future

Out of the crop of promising filmmakers we saw emerge in 2006, Scott Glosserman is the one who has been off the radar the most. The director of Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon hardly disappeared, however. He much of his time developing Playing House for Paramount Vantage. When that didn’t materialize, he helmed the 2010 documentary Truth in Numbers? Everything, According to Wikipedia. Tonight, his second fictional feature effort, The Truth Below, debuts on MTV, a channel that has been enjoying its success in the genre with original productions such as My Super Psycho Sweet 16, its sequel, and the new series Teen Wolf.

The Truth Below stars Starring Gillian Zinser, Reid Ewing, Ricky Mabe and Nick Thurston as four pals who become trapped in a car when they’re hit by an avalanche. Patience and air begins to dwindle. Realizing they might not be rescued, they begin to reveal their darkest secrets.

Shock spoke to Glosserman this week about his return to the genre. And it sounds like he brought a certain level of maturity and intellect to the material – despite various creative clashes – that another director might not have tapped.

Shock Till You Drop: After Behind the Mask, one project grows cold, you then do this documentary, where did that leave you in Hollywood?

Scott Glosserman: I had to go back and find a wonderful, contained script. This segued into The Truth Below. It was something I discovered and it was done by a really great writer [Wendy Diane Miller]. I was trying for a long time to get a meeting with her. When I did, she liked my take on it and we developed several iterations of the script. This was a script everyone loved and there were great moments, but no one wanted to make a $5-10 million movie. So I told them I could do the movie for around $3 million with a few script changes.

Shock: I still find it interesting to see MTV bolstering its place in horror with ambitious directors like yourself.

Glosserman: MTV did some self examining and tried to do something bold and courageous. They’re trying to do something grounded, real and raw as opposed to the wish fulfillment that’s in these reality shows and music videos, I think they’re trying to draw real emotional chords between the characters and their audience. MTV gave me and my cast the chance to explore real adolescent emotion and that was amazing.

Shock: Has the film changed since your initial vision of it? What is MTV like to work with?

Glosserman: The movie that is airing is different than the original movie I developed – that happens to a lot of movies. There were more scenes outside of the car, initially, and there was a secondary narrative. When we took out that storyline, the challenge was how to make this exciting and dynamic in the car. That posed a creative challenge that I was excited to take on. We convinced them to cut some of the cars, so we could have a plethora of camera choices. We had a lot of creative differences and challenging debates on this film, but ultimately everyone wanted the most grounded film. They gave us the support and tools we needed. The vision kind of changed but the passion was there on both sides.

Shock: How did your cast hold up in such confined quarters?

Glosserman: We had long, long day spent in this car. Maintaining concentration level with them was key. Gillian Zinser was courageous to take on the role she did. Lots of vulnerability. Reid Ewing is not only vulnerable due to some embarrassing things in the movie, but he also needed the cleverness to drive the movie forward because he’s constantly pushing people’s buttons. Nick Thurston is going to be a movie star. He makes very particular, thoughtful choices every time he does a take. I think he’s something special.

Shock: Did you see growth in yourself between Behind the Mask and The Truth Below?

Glosserman: I felt I had far more of a command over the technical aspects of filmmaking than I had before. Behind the Mask was trial by fire. I created all of my own trust exercises. I knew my characters, vision, the story in my head. If I could relay that, everyone would get it. But I didn’t know about lenses, pulling focus. All of that. But this film I could do far more to articulate my vision because I knew more of that technical end. I could set up dynamic shots and I think my filmmaking abilities have increased between my first and second film.

Shock: There‘s a lot of talk about B4TM, or, Before the Mask, is that next for you?

Glosserman: Before the Mask is a labor of love. We have such a great script, everyone is back, they all want to do it. The locations are there. The crew. I just really want to do the movie, but it might not happen until fall. I have this high concept horror film called Departure I’m in the midst of setting up. There are some scripts I have in turnaround that I might be able to finally pull them out. I’m definitely going to have to prove myself if I’m going to break through. Visibility all over the place.

Head to MTV to learn more about The Truth Below and watch a few clips. And be sure to “Like” the official Facebook page for Before the Mask: The Return of Leslie Vernon!

Source: Ryan Turek, Managing Editor