Earlier today it was announced that Spell Caster Media would be filming a biopic on one horror's most notorious, and underappreciated, writers, H.P. Lovecraft. To learn more about what this film will offer, Craig spoke with Ryan Grulich about THE LOVECRAFTS and discussed everything from Lovecraft's racism to his fandom.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Where does your interest in Lovecraft come from?
Ryan Grulich: Lovecraft found me at about 13 years old. I read "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" and loved the settings, characters and generally bizarre tone of the piece. I read it twice in the same weekend. Since then, I've continued the habit of reading his work and learning about him as a human being.
NC: What inspired you to want to make this film about Lovecraft?
RG: He was an incredibly interesting, though paradoxically dry, character in his personal life. He wrote hundreds of thousands of letters in his time, and through these letters we have been able to learn a great deal about him. My partner on the project, S.T. Joshi, has most of these letters in his possession, as he is the editor of many volumes of Lovecraft's personal communications. I am drawn to his militant atheism, repulsed by the xenophobia and racism that surrounded the entire period in which he existed and at the same time in love with the idea of a socially awkward New England gentleman, refusing to give in to the pressures of financial stress and do work that he didn't agree with simply to make a buck. Lovecraft has inspired countless works of popular art, though I believe in an almost symbolic literary manifestation of his true life Cthulhu has overshadowed the man himself, as most of his life was spent toiling in a vague anonymity while a growing faction of devotees arose around him. I think this paradox is probably what has compelled me to tell his story. I feel as if to the general public, very little is known about Lovecraft as he truly existed.
NC: How did you go about getting noted Lovecraft author S.T. Joshi to come on board?
RG: S.T. is a true gentleman. He and I both dwell in the city of Seattle, Washington and had several discussions prior to either of us committing to this project. I believe that his involvement will keep the story true to its subject's life, which is my ultimate goal. I am grateful to have his involvement in the film.
NC: How will your approach differ from other Lovecraft based biographies?
RG: In the realm of biographical film, you are talking about only a few, though very well produced, documentaries. This film will be a narrative biopic in the sense that it will not be fictionalized, but it is also not a documentary. We are tasked with arduous work of casting H.P. Lovecraft in a film and bringing a fascinating section of his life to the screen. Not to discount Christopher Heyerdahl's performance in the 1998 Out of Mind series, but our film is something new in the Lovecraft universe.
NC: In what ways do you plan on addressing his racism/sexism?
RG: I will say that it will not go unaddressed, and that while this is the hot button issue in the mythos around Lovecraft, it is one facet of an entire life. The exciting thing that I have found as I have begun digging into the story is that we have the opportunity to explore the cultural underpinnings that create these social cancers. I also have found myself drawing almost frightening parallels to some of our current day civic circumstances in the United States, even though we are almost one hundred years past when Lovecraft was in the prime of his writing.
NC: How are you approaching Lovecraft's passionate fan base?
RG: I am blessed to work with a wonderful team including Executive Producer James H. Carter II and the incomparable Little Nikki (both of whom are known for Foolish Mortals and Creepy Kingdom) to reach out to Lovecraft readers and fans of weird fiction via the usual online protocols, but we do intend to have some unique events and opportunities that will spawn up in relationship to the project.
NC: If you could give people one reason to see this movie, what would it be?
RG: Lovecraft's life was just as bizarre as his fiction.
Stay tuned for more news about THE LOVECRAFTS.