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Q&A: Cast, director share details about Netflix’s ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ sequel

(From left to right) Elsie Fisher, Sarah Yarkin, Nell Hudson and Jacob Latimore play Lila, Melody, Ruth and Dante, respectively, in Netflix’s “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” sequel. (Courtesy of Netflix/Yana Blajeva)

"Texas Chainsaw Massacre"

Directed by David Blue Garcia

Netflix

Feb. 18

By Ashvika Sharma

Feb. 18, 2022 3:40 p.m.

Taunting the next generation of young adults, Leatherface is back with only murder on his mind.

Releasing Friday on Netflix, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” returns with a modern take on the original 1974 movie. The sequel follows four friends, Lila (Elsie Fisher), Ruth (Nell Hudson), Melody (Sarah Yarkin) and Dante (Jacob Latimore), looking for a business opportunity in a Texas ghost town. Sheltered in the barren settlement, the chainsaw-wielding killer Leatherface returns to torment a new generation of teenagers and protect his secluded home.

Fisher, Yarkin, Hudson and director David Blue Garcia spoke with the Daily Bruin’s Ashvika Sharma and other student journalists in a virtual roundtable hosted by Netflix to discuss how they connected with their characters on and off screen and the thought process behind creating the sequel.

[Related: Q&A: Creators, cast of ‘The In Between’ examine union of love and grief in new film]

 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Daily Bruin: There is always a little bit of pressure to live up to the original film when making a sequel. Did you feel this pressure?

David Blue Garcia: Yeah, absolutely. Horror fans are very precious about their classic films and very skeptical about new takes on things, so I wanted to live up to their expectations and hopefully exceed their expectations. As a Texan, I was always aware of how important (the original) was. There was a source of Texas pride there, and I was getting the opportunity to reinvent it.

The Vanderbilt Hustler: Social media plays a large role in the film, especially for the scene where everyone is live-streaming while Leatherface is about to kill them on the bus. What was your take on expressing the gravity of the situation but also the comedy behind that and the commentary on how focused we are on social media?

DBG: That’s one of the first things I added as a director. I felt like there should be this moment of suspense when Leatherface is meeting 2022 for the first time. Up until now, he’s lived in his own world, which is old-fashioned. He’s not on the internet every day. He doesn’t know what’s going on in the world. And then he walks onto this bus, and it’s blue lights, and it’s rap music. It’s a bunch of hipsters wearing clothes he’s never seen, and they’re holding up these rectangular devices at him.

I just really wanted to introduce Leatherface to contemporary time. Again, I played it for levity because it’s a funny commentary on the way we are as a culture, addicted to cell phones. Also, (it comments on) the idea that we don’t know what’s real anymore – we’re so used to prank videos and prank shows.

[Related: Sundance 2022: Q&A: Directors retrace friendship, journey of Ye film ‘jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy’]

DB: For Elsie, while we don’t see much of a backstory for Melody, Ruth and Sarah, how would you say Lila’s backstory of being a school shooting survivor ties into her emotions throughout the movie? What techniques did you use to convey these emotions?

Elsie Fisher: I wanted to do a lot of research into specifically how people who are survivors of school shootings cope. I just know there’s a lot of media about school shootings that’s come out within the past few years, and it was just really important for me that she wasn’t completely defined by that being the thing that happened to her. I just think that’s really unfair to people who’ve actually been through that.

In terms of trying to convey her story, a lot of acting is doing the unsaid thing. It’s almost about what you’re not doing. She’s maybe even more extroverted than she might have been before because she doesn’t necessarily want to focus on these bad things that have happened to her, or maybe it’s easier to just take out how she’s feeling about everything on her sister.

SMU Daily Campus: For Sarah, how did you want to channel the original characters into your iteration? It’s arguable that they all are a little bit one-dimensional, which can’t be said for specifically Melody.

Sarah Yarkin: What really stuck out to me when I read this script was that this wasn’t some hot blonde running around in a miniskirt crying for help. Melody isn’t sexualized in any way. She has no relation to a man or anyone in a romantic, intimate way at all. The real love in this movie is for her sister. That’s the core of her, and every decision she makes is because of that.

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