Daily Dead recently caught up with iconic horror filmmaker Stuart Gordon to discuss his plans for the Nevermore feature film adaptation, based on his hugely successful one-man play of the same name that starred Jeffrey Combs as Edgar Allan Poe.
A blending of fact and Poe’s fictional tales, Nevermore is Gordon’s exploration of the last days of Poe which have been shrouded in mystery ever since his death in 1849. During our recent chat with the Master of Horror, he talked about why he chose Kickstarter to fund the feature version and how the industry has changed for filmmakers who are looking to create original stories. Gordon also discussed his thoughts on other Poe adaptations, how Combs has perfectly embodied Poe over the years and more.
Daily Dead: I absolutely loved “Nevermore” when I went to see it a few years ago and I’m excited by the prospect of you and Jeffrey making this into a feature film. Was that something you had envisioned years ago or is this something you guys decided to do more recently than that?
Stuart Gordon: Oh, thank you so much. It progressed naturally. Everything really started with the “Black Cat” episode we did for “Masters of Horror” which was inspired by Poe’s original story. Then in 2009, it was the bicentennial of Poe’s death so we decided to create this one-man show about the man himself since there’s so much we still don’t know about him. That’s what makes him so fascinating- that and his incredible talent.
So when we started the “Nevermore” play, we quickly realized this was something special and Jeffrey was absolutely amazing in it as well so we decided to take the show on the road, as they say, and we played around the country. We received a lot of great responses from taking “Nevermore” to other cities so we thought, wouldn’t it be great to tell Poe’s story like this but do it on a grander scale and reach an even bigger audience than we already have through the various stage shows?
Daily Dead: What was behind the decision to do a Kickstarter campaign for Nevermore?
Stuart Gordon: Well, I’ve been fascinated by Kickstarter for a while now. I think the idea of movies being funded by the public is such a radical idea and it seems like this is the direction that the business is going in now. The sad fact is that it’s just getting harder and harder to find funding for everyone especially when it comes to original material. Alternative funding sources are a great way to not only reach out and involve the people who really care about these projects, but it’s also a way to invest them in it as well. Studios aren’t interested in making anything that isn’t a ‘property’ or a sequel or a remake so when you want to try and do something different, you’re forced to work outside the system.
Daily Dead: I know everyone has their own personal reasons, but why do you think we’re still so fascinated by Poe, his life and his work after all these years?
Stuart Gordon: People, and Jeffrey is included in that, will often compare Poe to Van Gogh- an artist who was undervalued and underappreciated when he was still alive but since his death, his work has come to mean so much more to this world and that’s a very good analogy I think. People never understood him when he was alive and it was often referenced that Poe was indeed his very own worst enemy so I think over the years, we’ve all struggled to try and understand him through his work which is why there have been so many adaptations of his work over the years. Good storytelling doesn’t age.
When we made “The Black Cat,” we made it because no one had ever tried to adapt Poe’s story in the manner in which he wrote it and when I saw Jeffrey play Poe for the first time in that episode, I knew he was Poe. The moment he stepped on set, Jeffrey disappeared and he was Poe. He was the perfect embodiment of this tragic figure in history and I can’t imagine anyone else playing him as well as Jeffrey does.
Daily Dead: What’s the one thing you’d like the fans to know about Nevermore and your plans for the feature?
Stuart Gordon: Well, there’s never really been a serious or truthful exploration of Poe’s life in cinema before which is what we’re going to do. Because of the mysteries surrounding his death, there’s been so much misinformation over the years that audiences don’t really know a lot about Poe that’s factual. I recently saw The Raven- the John Cusack movie- and while it was shot beautifully and had an interesting idea to it, there was so much that was wrong about Poe in that movie that it really missed the mark for me. The whole pet raccoon thing was another issue- I know they incorporated that into the film because there had been some theories around that time that Poe had died from rabies but there’s no truth to him having a pet raccoon. The Raven had an opportunity to tell an accurate story and they couldn’t get it right.
I’ve been very appreciative of all the support we’ve received so far and I’ve enjoyed being able to engage the fans in our Kickstarter campaign too- there are just no fans in the world that can compare to horror fans. It’s so true. What I love most about them is that the more that you scare them, the more they love you (laughs).
To read more about Gordon’s Nevermore Kickstarter campaign or to donate, click here.