We had a talk with Horror filmmaker Tyler Savage about his new movie INHERITANCE and his future in horror.
Inheritance is one of the most visually gorgeous indie films, we’ve ever watched. Was that a goal in itself or just brilliant movie making?
Thank you! From the jump, I knew I wanted to make a visually arresting film. I took a sort of quiet and brooding approach to telling a story, so conveying the tone and feel through images and sound rather than dialogue or genre tropes was key.
You’ve mentioned in the past that Inheritance is inspired by your own life experience. How does this come across most clearly?
This all came out of my desire to explore the ways in which I might be darkly defined by things outside my control, mostly family and genetics obviously. I have a history of addiction and mental health on both sides of my family, both of which are touched on in subtle and not so subtle ways in the film.
Do you have plans for autobiographical stories in the future?
Love that question! I actually have a script I’ve been developing off and on for about a year now that’s about my relationship with my father while I was still in school in the late 90s. Don’t think it will be the next project I fully pursue, but I think most of the strongest stories feel autobiographical on some level for the teller.
On casting and sequels
Casting for Inheritance is spot-on, in our opinion. Did you have casting in mind when writing the script?
That’s really nice to hear. Chase is a close friend, and he was cast as Ryan before the script was even done. Alex Dobrenko, Ashley Spiller, and Drew Powell are all also close friends, so much of the cast came together organically from my personal life.
Could you imagine doing a sequel to Inheritance?
Absolutely. I’m developing a project now with Dash and JP (our producers) that is very much an unofficial sequel to Inheritance in terms of themes, but it will be set in a new location with a new cast of characters.
Major studio or Indie films
You’ve worked in development for Warner Bros. and as an assistant for Terrence Malick. How do you feel these two very different experiences helped you make your own movie?
Yeah, I got a taste of both extremes in a way. I think these contrasting positions inspired this film in a way, because I wanted to find a balance between traditional genre expectations and my more avant-garde instincts.
Would you like to work with a major studio in the future or is indie production better for you?
I’d be thrilled to work on a bigger studio project, but I obviously love the creative control that you can maintain with an indie production. I’ll definitely want to get a few more smaller projects under my belt before moving onto anything big. I’d rather pick a smaller target and nail it rather than have millions to spend and not feel confident about my approach.
You both wrote and directed Inheritance along with several short films. Could you imagine directing someone else’s script?
I like the idea of directing from someone else’s script, but I’m sure it would take some effort to turn off my writer instincts and embrace the separation of duties.
Also, would you write a script for someone else to direct?
I started as a writer when I moved away from production with Malick, so yes, absolutely! Dash Hawkins and myself actually made the Top 3 in Final Draft’s Big Break contest this year, for a studio-level horror film that we hope an established director will sign onto.
On female protagonists
In Inheritance, your protagonist – and many other prominent characters – is male. Of course, there were also several female characters, so we’re not forgetting about those. Being a horror website run by women, we were wondering if you have any plans to do movies with a female protagonist?
That’s definitely a fair observation. This was a father/son story in a big way, so I think that may be why the cast may have had a masculine lean. But I did try to make sure that there was a range of female characters, that there was nuance there. That said, the project I hope to shoot next (early 2019 fingers crossed) is a hyper-subjective psychological thriller with a female protagonist. I couldn’t be more excited about it!
Would you ever do a “classic” (some might say stereotypical) horror movie with a “final girl”? Maybe even a franchise?
That’s a tough one. Career-wise I obviously wouldn’t want to do anything that hurt my trajectory. But I think I would at least have to be able to bring something fresh to the project. For example, I think Andy Muschietti brought his voice to IT while being true to the source.
What does the future hold?
Which actors would you like to work with in the future?
So many it’s hard to say, but here are a few: Riley Keough, Jack Huston, Olivia Cooke, Eddie Marsan, Elizabeth Olsen, and many, many more.
Without doubt, there are people who want to work with you after having watched Inheritance. Are there any writers, directors or producers that you dream of working with?
I really appreciate that encouraging sentiment, and certainly hope it’s true! There are too many I’d like to work with to name, but after years of working in both development and production, I just want to work with people who truly love film. Because sadly, many of those in power positions don’t in my experience.
What’s in store next for Tyler Savage – and when can we watch it?
We’re just beginning to go out to cast and financiers for this next female-lead psycho thriller, so hopefully it won’t be long! I can’t tell you how much appreciate your interest and kind words. As an indie filmmaker, this sort response from true genre fans and cinephiles means everything.
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