Interview – Nick Robertson

As Horror fans, the desire for new thrilling stories that will make one jump out of their seat is always high in demand. The same goes for directors, although there are several legendary ones who have brought true Horror classics to the big screen; a fresh face with a new vision is always a plus! This just so happens to be the case with Australian Director Nick Robertson, who has recently made his big feature debut with the film The Pack. This film is a Thriller Horror creature story that is being enjoyed by audiences everywhere. Although this is his first big project, Horror connoisseurs have seen what he can do and look forward to what this new talented director has in store for the world of Horror. Nick Robertson took time out of his busy schedule to talk about why he got involved with the world of film, future projects, and the inner story behind The Pack. – The Pack is your directorial debut. First, tell us, how did you get involved in the world of filmmaking and decide to become a director?

Nick Robertson – I’m actually a third generation filmmaker. My father has been both a director and producer and it obviously had a huge influence on my early days. My grandfather was also a producer in Australia during the 1950’s. But deep down, I just loved the movies. Everything about them seemed so extraordinarily different to any other profession.

Still from The Pack – That is awesome that the love for film has been passed on from generation to generation. Do you recall the first film you watched that had a major impact on you?

Nick Robertson – Without sounding too pretentious, but Hitchcock had a huge impact. I was watching Thrillers like Rear Window (1954), Rope (1948), Vertigo (1983), and The Birds (1963) well before I fell into the Spielberg/Lucas matinee camp that I loved as a teenager. Hitchcock really knew how to seduce an audience with pure film craft. He had a fantastic understanding of the language of film and the power it could evoke. I loved that feeling of absolute gripping suspense he conjured up when you sat through Rear Window for the first time! – Could not agree more, Hitchcock is legendary and a favorite of many. As stated, The Pack is in fact your directorial debut. With that in mind, have you been involved in any other film projects prior?

Nick Robertson – Yes, I’ve been involved in many different projects, none of which gained any traction. The Creature Feature genre was something I knew would attract interest quickly and always believed would be a good entry point into the Thriller/Horror genre.

Still from The Pack
Still from The Pack – That is great you did not give up because it is quite an intriguing film with a good story. Where did you come up with the concept? The story was written by Evan Randall Green. How did you connect with Evan and what attracted you to the story?

Nick Robertson – Evan and I have known each other for some time, and we’ve been trying to get up a wonderful Thriller he’s written, titled The Fall. The Fall is an ambitious story and we realized we needed to prove ourselves on something very small and contained first. The concept for The Pack came from an Australian news story, where wild dogs are becoming of great concern to many farmers and rural communities. The idea just ran from there, we wanted to create a new spin on the crazy dog gone wild! – That is awesome, a lot of viewers may have not had clue about that source of inspiration! In The Pack, the dogs are not rabid; just a wild pack of animals. That is quite a different approach to a film of this genre. What are some keys, as a director, to bring this terror to life?

Nick Robertson – I wanted the dogs to feel like they were real. So we used real dogs. We were lucky enough to work with a family out of Sydney who breed attack dogs for private security firms and various armies around the world. We figured if we could stage real attacks in a controlled, safe environment, then the results would be better than anything created in post. Another aspect I tried to push was to limit the amount of screen time for the dogs. I remember Ridley Scott talked of Alien and how little he wanted the audience to view it (the creature). An audience’s imagination is always far more powerful than anything one can create on screen. It’s what you don’t see that really screws with your head! As a result, sound design became a big feature in creating the terror. – Totally, the fear of the unknown is always a terrifying circumstance. Do you foresee a possible sequel for The Pack? If so, what direction would you like to go?

Nick Robertson – Maybe, but unfortunately, that will come down to how well it’s received. Evan and I have a couple of great ideas for a sequel, which would bring it into the city…possibly Asia/Eastern Europe where wild dogs are a serious issue!

Still from The Pack
Still from The Pack – Very cool. Audiences will have to check out the story behind that and hope you do make a sequel! Being that your first film was a Horror film, are you opposed to working in the genre more, or would you like to explore other genres first before diving into another Horror film?

Nick Robertson – I’d love to do another Horror. I think it shows a great understanding of the human condition and explores our darkest recesses and emotions. Horror also allows you to explore the suspense language of film. There is a reason why many respected filmmakers dive into the genre at some point in their careers. – That is true, Horror allows us to explore so many things and makes one feel a variety of emotions that they did not know they even had. On that note, do you have any future projects on the horizon?

Nick Robertson – Of course and I’m hoping to get them up and running before the year’s out! The Fall, in particular, is something very close to my heart. Evan and I have been working on it for over 6 years.

IFC Films – That is a long time to work on a project and it is certainly something to looking forward to! With the future ahead of you, do you have any actors/actresses you would like to work with on future projects?

Nick Robertson – No one, in particular. I do, however, love the work of fellow Australian filmmaker James Wan. He’s someone who’s reinvigorated the Horror genre. I’d love to work with him in some capacity one day as I feel he really gets the mechanics of good Horror. – James Wan is truly amazing. Our last question for you is pertaining to, you guessed it, Horror films. Since does cover both Horror and Sci-Fi films, we are wondering what are some of your favorites in those genres and why?
Nick Robertson – A very difficult question because there are so many good ones…but here goes. Alien (1979) because Ridley understands the power of the dark and what lies beyond it. The Shining (1980) because Stanley assaulted us with his disturbing take on isolation. The Birds (1963) because Hitchcock was the first to see something in nature gone awry. The Conjuring (2013) by James Wan because it’s so beautifully crafted in a time where that’s often forgotten. Oh, and, I’m still waiting for David Fincher to turn his hand to Horror.

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures
20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox

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