This past week, I had the opportunity to speak with director Adrian Garcia Bogliano about his upcoming Spanish horror film, SCHERZO DIABOLICO. If you’ve been wondering where you have heard his name before, you won’t have to look far. Adrian has been writing and directing movies since the late 90′s, with some of his most notable films being HERE COMES THE DEVIL, THE ABCs OF DEATH (segment “B Is for Bigfoot”), and one of my favorites of 2014, LATE PHASES. We here at Nightmarish Conjurings are honored to have Adrian Garcia Bogliano with us today as well as excited to learn more about SCHERZO DIABOLICO.
Shannon McGrew: Hi Adrian, thank you so much for taking time out today to answer some questions on your new movie SCHERZO DIABOLICO. It’s such an honor and pleasure to be speaking with you as I’m a big fan of your work. You have become somewhat of a master in the horror genre, what is it about this genre in particular that keeps you coming back and wanting to make more horror films?
Adrian Garcia Bogliano: Thank you very much! The basic thing is I love horror. Although I enjoy watching all kinds of movies, I love to see horror films. I have a very strong idea of what might be missing in the horror films nowadays. It’s a thing I do because it’s a line of work I like and I want to learn more and more about this craft. As a fan, I want to connect with the audience in the ways good horror films connect with me.
SM: How did you come up with the idea of SCHERZO DIABOLICO and did anything in particular inspire you to write this film?
AGB: I was a bit frustrated because I was supposed to do another film and it fell apart. I think part of that frustration translated in the main character’s frustration with his work. Also, I was interested in exploring how men in their thirties tend to change a lot and decide to just go for what they think they deserve, no matter what it takes. It’s some sort of pressure that has to do with society’s standards. You have to achieve a certain number of things by a certain age. Otherwise, you’re a failure. That was what I had in mind. Also, as I knew I was going to take some chances in terms of structure and do something that’s not easy to explain. As filmmakers, the industry kind of forces us to make films that are easy to explain. You have to make an elevator pitch out of them and write scripts that explain their intentions in the first five or ten pages. I thought, “No, I’m going to do something that just keeps unfolding. Something you have to read - and in time, see - in it entirety to really understand.”
SM: Each of your horror films has a different theme throughout. I was completely enthralled and loved every minute of LATE PHASES and I found HERE COMES THE DEVIL absolutely chilling. What makes SCHERZO DIABOLICO different from your other films?
AGB: There are always very personal themes in all of my films. That’s my way to connect with a story. It’s not about the visual aspects or the toys I’m going to use, but about asking, “Why is this film important to me? How does it resonate in me?” If I can find that connection, I can try to make other people connect with the film, too. And also, films are something you’re married to for life. You better have a good reason to make them, because you will be explaining them for the rest of your life! In LATE PHASES, which was a script I didn’t write, the writer and I had similar thoughts about the themes of the film and some similar life experiences, so it was easy. In the case of SCHERZO DIABOLICO, not only am I around the same age of the character, I know many people who went through those kind of dark moments when they felt they need to redefine themselves based on what society says. It also gave me the chance to work with a canvas that I’m more familiar with for the first time. I’ve been living in Mexico City for many years now and this was the first movie I was able to shoot there.
SM: You’ve casted Francisco Barreiro in many of your films. Did you know you wanted him to be an integral part of SCHERZO DIABOLICO? How did you go about casting the other remaining roles?
AGB: Francisco is one of the best Mexican actors we have today. I’ve been very lucky to work with him. He did an amazing job on HERE COMES THE DEVIL, not only in front of the camera, but also in helping other actors who were less experienced. He’s a very generous guy. So when I started thinking of SCHERZO DIABOLICO, he was my first choice. I wrote the script for him, thinking that if he gave such an amazing performance in HERE COMES THE DEVIL with a character that was relatively simple, I needed to see what he could do with something much more complicated as Aram on SCHERZO DIABOLICO. The rest of the cast was a combination. Milena Pezzi, who plays his wife was the other actress I wrote the part for. She’s really powerful and I imagined how she could be overwhelming for Aram’s character. Pau Alva, who plays the mistress, was another actress I worked before with in commercials and I also wrote the part for her. I thought she was really cool because she has this mix of sensuality and perversion that could work great for a character that doesn’t explain herself so much on the film. My partner and producer Andrea came with the idea to cast Jorge Molina for the role of the boss and I thought that was an amazing, ballsy idea. Molina is a Cuban actor who has been the biggest cult director in Cuba for more than two decades. He’s a force of nature whose style of acting is the opposite of what Francisco was doing in the film. It was great to have that contrast. The rest of the actors were suggestions of both the producer Carlos Melendez and Francisco himself, who was key to filling some of the remaining roles.
SM: What do you want audiences to take away from SCHERZO DIABOLICO as they are leaving the theater?
AGB: I want them to question everything they see. I think we’re used to being spoon-fed by movies where we know exactly what to expect and who the good guys and bad guys are. I feel this movie not only plays with the expectations in terms of what’s going to happen next, but it also plays with the idea that you don’t really know who you are supposed to be rooting for. At some point, all the victims are victimizers and the other way around. Nobody - at least of the main characters - is really good or entirely bad. Everyone has their own motivations and that makes the film more compelling, in my opinion.
SM: Last, but certainly not least, what can your fans look forward to from you in the future?
AGB: I have several projects and they’re all horror. I’ll stay in the genre, that’s for sure. Other than that, I’ll tell them to expect the unexpected.
SM: Thank you so much once again for your time and answering questions for Nightmarish Conjurings. We will wish you success on SCHERZO DIABOLICO and look forward to seeing more from you in the horror genre! Make sure you check back soon as we look forward to posting our review of SCHERZO DIABOLICO in the days to come. Also, contributing writer Jay Kay, will also be sitting down with Adrian Garcia Bogliano for our friends over at Icons of Fright! Make sure to check them out and give Jay’s interview a read!