FRANCOIS DURAND/ 2013 GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTOJim Mickle co-wrote and directed "We Are What We Are."

FRANCOIS DURAND/ 2013 GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTOJim Mickle co-wrote and directed "We Are What We Are."

‘We Are What We Are’ director Jim Mickle talks about stuff behind the horror

Jim Mickle is part of a generation of horror filmmakers doing something new: Rather than trying to make a quick buck with cheap copies, they reinvent and reinterpret classic themes.

“We Are What We Are,” a remake of a 2010 Mexican film of the same name, is sort of about cannibals, but also a family drama. His previous movie, “Stake Land,” was sort of a mix of vampires and zombies, but really about people in extreme situations.

Mickle and his co-writer Nick Damici only watched the original film only once before working on their screenplay. “There are some elements that we hung onto,” says Mickle. “I've spoken to people who saw both films and didn't even make the connection.”

Mickle wanted to set his story during a torrential downpour, but the skies were dry. To save money, production designer Russell Barnes built rigs using existing creeks and water sources. They also employed sprinklers and garden hoses.

“You're trying to get actors to do really emotional scenes, and then you call ‘action’ and these PAs start squirting them with a garden hose,” he laughs. “It's absurd what we put actors through.”

Mickle loved working with 6-year-old Jack Gore, too. “Kids have an awesome ability to play and be imaginative,” he says.

Gore had to play a scene in which a hand reaches out and grabs at him. The boy kept asking Mickle what the hand was going to look like. Finally, when the scene actually occurred, Mickle says, “He screamed and he ran out, and then he said, ‘That's not scary at all.’”

Movie buffs may recognize Kelly McGillis, star of the 1980s hits “Top Gun” and “Witness,” in “We Are What We Are” as well as “Stake Land.”

Mickle, looking for someone to play a nun in “Stake Land,” was having a hard time finding an actress in her 40s or 50s who didn't look like she was trying to look younger. When McGillis learned the shoot was only 20 minutes away from her house, she signed on.

“It was the least Hollywood shoot that she had ever been on, and I think she loved it,” he says.

Now the two are friends.

“We stay in touch,” he says. “We talk about gardening, about which mulch is better.”

IF YOU GO We Are What We Are

Starring Ambyr Childers, Julia Garner, Bill Sage

Written by Nick Damici, Jim Mickle

Directed by Jim Mickle

Rated R

Running time 1 hour 45 minutes

artsJim MickleKelly McGillisMoviesWe Are What We Are

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Construction in the Better Market Street Project between Fifth and Eighth streets is expected to break ground in mid-2021.<ins></ins>
SFMTA board to vote on Better Market Street changes

Agency seeks to make up for slimmed-down plan with traffic safety improvements

U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks during an event to name President-elect Joe Biden’s economic team at the Queen Theater on Dec. 1, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS)
Kamala Harris to resign from Senate

Bridget Bowman CQ-Roll Call Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will resign from the… Continue reading

A view of Science Hall at the City College of San Francisco Ocean campus on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
CCSF begins search for next chancellor amid new challenges

‘It’s arguably the biggest single responsibility the board has,’ trustee says

Some people are concerned that University of California, San Francisco’s expansion at its Parnassus campus could cause an undesirable increase in the number of riders on Muni’s N-Judah line.<ins></ins>
Will UCSF’s $20 million pledge to SFMTA offset traffic woes?

An even more crowded N-Judah plus increased congestion ahead cause concern

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) speaks during her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Pelosi called for the impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump a day after his supporters stormed the Capitol. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
Feds seeking woman whose ex says she stole Nancy Pelosi’s laptop during Capitol riot

Jeremy Roebuck The Philadelphia Inquirer Federal authorities have obtained an arrest warrant… Continue reading

Most Read