After haunting theaters early this year, The Bye Bye Man is now available on Digital HD and comes out on Blu-ray and DVD beginning April 11th from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. To commemorate the home media release, we caught up with producer Trevor Macy, who discussed the unrated version of The Bye Bye Man and also talked about his exciting slate of upcoming projects, including Mike Flanagan's adaptation of Gerald's Game and the anticipated sequel The Strangers 2.
Thanks for taking the time to talk with me and congratulations on the upcoming unrated version of The Bye Bye Man. What can horror fans expect to see in the unrated version that they didn't see in the theatrical cut?
Trevor Macy: There's a bunch of things. The interesting thing about this particular movie is that the Blu-ray version is the way the movie was originally designed. So, when I developed the script and brought [director] Stacy [Title] on board, this was how we conceived it. This is why I'm super excited that we're releasing it.
The opening scene plays very differently than it does in the theatrical cut. It's a single shot. We had a great time doing that with Leigh Whannell. Another notable one is that the climax of the movie plays out in the same way, but it's designed very differently. We didn't have the restrictions of a PG-13 cut to worry about on the Blu-ray. I'm excited to put that out there because it allowed us to amp up the impact of both those sequences in particular, but there are a few other scenes as well.
Were you pretty involved with Stacy in putting together the unrated cut?
Trevor Macy: Yeah. It's funny, this actually kind of happened backwards. The unrated cut was the original cut. Then there was so much enthusiasm from teenage audiences that we decided the theatrical cut should be PG-13. It's funny, the answer is "yes" for both cuts, but it played out a little backwards from the way I do it most of the time.
It was nice to see an original horror villain with that Freddy Krueger-type villainy. It's not too often these days that you see a new character like that introduced on that scale. Was it important to you to support a project that was looking to introduce something new to the genre?
Trevor Macy: Yeah, always. I love scary movies and I make a fair number of them. I try each time to have something fresh. Really interesting villains and really interesting monsters are two things that you just don't see that often. The Bye Bye Man was one of those, because the only weapon he needs is you. Whatever your weakness is, he will take your worst fears and your best intentions and pervert them both into something awful for you. I always liked that about him. That's what drew me to the project in the first place.
Because there are so many ways that this franchise could go, and there is so much potential if there is enough of a reaction to the unrated version, could you be interested in exploring this world further in potential sequels or a prequel?
Trevor Macy: I would love to, yeah. It's funny. Films have a life of their own and sometimes home entertainment really vaults something into a place you didn't really think it could go. So I'd love to explore the universe more. We always thought there was more to do with this character. I think after the home entertainment release, we will see what kind of opportunities are out there.
How much additional footage do you think is in the unrated version overall?
Trevor Macy: It's hard to estimate because the cuts differ a little bit. We had to tell the story a little bit differently. I would say the overall length is only a couple minutes' difference—three or four minutes longer, but there are a lot of things that went in and a lot of things that came out. So people who have seen both will really notice the difference.
It wasn't PG-13 versus R when you're doing theatrical cuts. Sometimes it's micro surgery. But this is not that. It's not just like, "Make it a little less bloody. But it's the more visceral, shocking, penetrating version of the movie. It grabs you right at the opening. The opening shot in particular will highlight my point.
Would you be interested in continuing to explore different time periods if the opportunity arose?
Trevor Macy: Well, you'll see a little more in this cut about his [The Bye Bye Man's] history and origins. There is more to that story that we've got and we'd love to tell it. If we were to revisit this, we would definitely want to reveal a little more about how he came to be and how he became more than human. I think there's a lot there.
In addition to The Bye Bye Man, you have a lot of really exciting stuff coming up. In particular, I’m really excited about the adaptation of Gerald’s Game, because you’ve re-teamed with Mike Flanagan on that, and I’m a huge fan of the book. It’s one of those books that’s not the easiest to adapt, so what kind of an approach did you guys take with Gerald’s Game to bring that story to life?
Trevor Macy: Well, I’m a big fan of the book as well, and one of the more fulfilling moments in my professional life was showing this cut to Stephen King and having him tweet how excited he was about it. I think the challenge with that—if you’re a fan of the book, so much of it takes place internally, in her [Jessie’s] head. So, “how do you do that in a cinematic way?” was the fundamental question when you’re taking that particular book into movie land. It isn’t done quite the way it’s done in the book, but I’m very proud of it, and fortunately Stephen King’s very proud of it, so I think audiences are going to like it.
Is it safe to say that even though it may not be a page-for-page adaptation, that it does keep that same tone from the book that worked so well?
Trevor Macy: It’s a very faithful adaptation in that way, it’s just that there’s a—I don’t mean to be too cryptic, but I don’t want to give it away [laughs]. There’s a storytelling device that we use that the book doesn’t. It’s really nice to get Stephen King’s support in doing that, even at the script stage, so he feels and we feel that it’s a very faithful adaptation.
The fact that you’re doing Gerald’s Game with Netflix, which you did Hush with, I’d imagine that you had a little more freedom in really telling that story.
Trevor Macy: Yeah, Netflix was great. It’s a movie that genre fans will love, but it’s not only a genre movie, and Netflix is a great place for things like that these days.
Another project you have on deck is the highly anticipated The Strangers 2. It was announced that you’ll be looking to film this summer and you have Johannes [Roberts] on board [as the director]. Is there anything that you can talk about with that movie as far as continuing that universe all these years later?
Trevor Macy: I think expectations are very high on that movie. The original Strangers had a very timeless quality that I think the sequel will, too. So I’m hoping that it doesn’t feel like as long as it’s been.
Based on the synopsis that has been announced, I think it will be really cool to see the mobile home park and to see that different environment. Is it safe to say that we’ll be seeing the return of the three masked killers from the original movie? Is that kind of the continuation from the original?
Trevor Macy: I think that is safe to say.
Before I Wake is slowly starting to get out there and get that audience internationally, but is there any update you can give on a potential release Stateside?
Trevor Macy: There's no specific update I can give other than I think no one feels the fire to get that out in the US more than Mike and I do. And unfortunately it's just been tied up into bankruptcy. We very much hope that that's coming to a head and that we'll be able to get it out soon.