Teejay McFly – First, I want to say thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
David F. Sandberg – “No problem. But yeah life is pretty crazy right now. Last night was the premiere of Lights Out, this morning at 6:20 I had a radio interview and now I’m on set directing Annabelle 2. It’s insane but awesome.”
Teejay McFly – For the readers who don’t know who you are, give them a little background about yourself.
David F. Sandberg – “I’m from Sweden and I’ve always wanted to be a filmmaker. As a kid I made little shorts with my friends and as I grew up I tried my best to make a living as a freelancing animator and filmmaker. The animation I was reasonably successful at but my goal had always been to make live action horror films.”
Teejay McFly – The short film you did titled “Lights Out”, which was fantastic by the way, is being released as a feature film this summer. How did that all get started?
David F. Sandberg – “My wife Lotta and I tried to finance horror shorts back home several times but were always rejected. Eventually we figured screw it, we don’t need money to make shorts. I have a camera and she’s an actress, let’s just do it. The first one we did was called Cam Closer and we had a lot of fun making it.
Shortly after we saw that the Bloody Cuts guys in England were having an online short horror film competition.
We shot it in an evening after Lotta got off work and just tried to do the scariest short we could in an apartment and with a cast of one.
I won best director in the competition but we didn’t make the top six finalists so we figured that was it but then a couple of months later it started going viral online and suddenly lots of people in Hollywood were emailing. We had no idea that a simple 2.5 min short could lead to all of this. It shows you that every filmmaker’s dream is still alive.”
Teejay McFly – What was it like to collaborate with James Wan? What kind of tips did he give to you?
David F. Sandberg – “I was honored that he wanted to produce this first of all. James has quickly become the modern day horror master. The advice he kept repeating was to just have fun with it because it’s a crazy business and process. He has a somewhat similar story in that he came from another country and made a short that was turned into a feature. It was hard to just have fun with it though since it was my first movie. This was my one shot at Hollywood so I better not fuck it up…”
Teejay McFly – You clearly didn’t fuck it up(laughs). So people loved the short film and the early reviews for “Lights Out” have critics raving(including Hella Butter) – How does that make you feel? And this is your directorial debut!
David F. Sandberg – “Surprised most of all. Horror movies aren’t exactly known for getting good reviews. There’s of course things I don’t like about the film (as a filmmaker I think that’s always going to be the case) but, especially for a first time feature, it’s pretty damn good. The last 20 minutes or so when shit really starts going down is what I’m most proud of.”
Teejay McFly – Last but not least – your next project, Annabelle 2. You are about to start shooting in a few weeks. By not giving too much away, what can we expect?
David F. Sandberg – “Yes, on the set shooting right now! Up next is a scene between Miranda Otto and Anthony LaPaglia. I mean how awesome is that? I’ve been very lucky with gettin great actors in both Lights Out and this.
What you can expect is quite a different movie from the first Annabelle. I love that I’ve gotten a chance to play in the Conjuring/Annabelle universe and do my own take. In Lights Out there are a lot of humorous moments. In Annabelle there will still be a few but it’s probably more horror, more like The Conjuring. Although we’re not done shooting yet so we’ll have to see how it turns out.”