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©2006 website by Gone West

Eric Fosberg

Writer of Snakes on a Plane... er... Train

© Girls and Corpses Magazine
all rights reserved

issue #10

GRIN CREEPER: Eric, congratulations on the release of your movie "Snakes on a Plane." What's that you say? It's Snakes on a... train? WTF! What's next? Snakes on a crane, Snakes on a Dame? Snakes with a cane? Snakes finding Fame? Snakes Got Game? Snakes on a Whole Grain Muffin, The Snakes in Spain Fall Mainly on the Plain?

eRiC: Any one of those titles could be a hit film. They are called Mockbusters (coined by the New York Post) and they follow closely in the wake of their sister Blockbusters, kind of like a kid on a skateboard grabbing hold of a bus.

GRIN CREEPER: So, here you have one of the great marketing ploys off all time. Was it all just wacky coincidence or ingenious marketing? Or, is it the convergence of ideas "phenomenon" where studios make the same themed movie, such as when two Volcano pictures are released at the same time or boxing pictures or football moves?

eRiC: This was no coincidence and it is completely ingenious marketing. America has a film industry dominated by who will finance the film, how much will they invest and how much will the film make. After those decisions are made they hire directors and writers like me. In this environment the little independent film companies are David and the big studio, big distributor system is Goliath: and David has just picked up a good sharp rock. The Asylum has simply found a way to interest more viewers and more buyers in their independent horror films so they can continue to make movies. For instance, when a blockbuster Pirate movie is announced to be released next year then you know the studio is going to spend tens of millions of dollars saturating the marketplace with pirate toys and pirate posters and pirate commercials. So any company, ANY film that has to do with pirates is going to benefit.

GRIN CREEPER: How did "Snakes on A Train" come about and when did you write it? How far into production were you when you learned of "Snakes on A Plane"?

eRiC: I was hired to write the script out of the blue. David Latt, one of the Asylum partners called me to write a haunted house script, fast. So that night I came up with a bunch of haunted house premises ready to pitch. But the next day David told me things have changed. He said that the Asylum met with their buyers and pitched them a film called 'Snakes on a Train'. They wanted it. "What's it about?" I asked. "Snakes that are on a Train" answered David. We were set to shoot in two weeks. So the big question for me was, how was I going to write a movie about snakes on a train and make it different from snakes on a plane and not let it suck or be stupid. It was a challenge. So I thought, Snakes are Mezzo American magic symbols to me and trains are old ways of travel, border travel, hobo travel, for stowaways. The two came together very well: Mayan snake magic, curses, worms oozing out, inner monstrous totems coming to life and lovers trying to make their way over the border before it is too late. Two weeks later I had an approved script. I even wrote a part in the film for my daughter, Lola, who has been in quite a few horrors and is a good little actress. Then, about four days before shooting was finished I was told that the buyers want the snake to get really big and eat the train like it shows in the poster. "I'll have the changes to you by this afternoon" I said. The rest was up to the special effects team.

GRIN CREEPER: You are beating Snakes on A Plane's release by a few days. Did you ever have a chance for a theatrical release? How did you promote your movie for a DVD release?

eRiC: I guess the theory is the heat is on. I would love for this film to have a theatrical release. It looks great and it works. But I am sure that The Asylum will choose to get it straight onto the video store shelves. I am not part of the distribution or the promotions wing of the picture so I don't know for sure but I expect that its promotion is mostly word of mouth, articles like this and visual appeal in the store (cover design, theme and story). There is a huge built in fan base for The Asylums films. After all as good or as bad as they might be at times they are still independent films that take risks and stick their necks out to do cool, new things.

GRIN CREEPER: I heard that you turned down Samuel Jackson for the lead, because he is scared of trains. Is that true?

eRiC: He begged to be in it but the director chose Alby Castro because he was tougher.

GRIN CREEPER: Was it strange marketing your movie at Comic-Con San Diego, just several booths away from Snakes on A Plane? Are they aware of your film?

eRiC: The screening at Comic-Con went great. And the folks from New Line popped over and checked out the film for a while and thought that it was a hoot. They all know me over at New Line now. "Hey, that's the guy who wrote snakes on a friggin train." They gave me an open door over there and we are already talking about me doing a future project with them, maybe even CROAK, a creature feature which they liked the pitch.

GRIN CREEPER: What did you think of Snakes on a Plane?

eRiC: I was very pleasantly surprised and it is a good film, with a good story and suspense and horror and gore and dark magic and a wonderful little girl actress (Lola Forsberg) that gets eaten by a snake.

GRIN CREEPER: How do you feel about snakes? How about killer racoons?

eRiC: I have thought a lot about snakes recently so they don't scare me as much anymore. But I haven't given a rats ass about raccoons so they still freak me out.

GRIN CREEPER: Tell us about Asylum Pictures and your next picture Leben Tod. Sounds like my new magazine Kilts and Lederhosen. We understand it is about our favorite subject... the undead.

eRiC: My first horror feature was a big sci fi horror, but budget was small. So I began writing a script that was specially designed for the limitations of an ultra low budget production called NIGHT OF THE LEBEN TOD (Leben means life and Tod death in German). It was a single location small cast gore fest. But The Asylum didn't want to produce it; they asked me to produce it myself and said that they would buy it from me afterwards. That made the budget even lower and I had to come up with the cash. But I was in love with the script so I asked my wife, Karen to executive produce it for me and we formed a company called Cerebral Experiment and funded the film ourselves. We sold our house to get the money. Leben Tod went great, and being my own producer gave me the opportunity to put the money right where I wanted it, into the sets, the make-up and the special effects. The film is wall to wall gore party in the spirit of Reanimator and Sargento. We are still negotiating our deal with the Asylum but if they release it the film should be out in November (very likely under another name like The Dead that Live or The Living Death.)

GRIN CREEPER: Mmmm... sounds like our kind of pic. You also directed and wrote "Alien Abduction" for the Sci-Fi Channel. How did that project come about? How did you feel it was working on such a tight budget. What would you do differently with your next directing assignment?

eRiC: After writing spec scripts and working my ass off as a PA an AD, a casting director and a field producer, I got a chance to pitch one of my horrors to a production executive, Sherri Strain, over at The Asylum. It was my creature-feature titled CROAK (the same one New Line likes). The three partners, Sherri, Latt, and David Rimawi optioned it and I thought, wow, I made it, crack the Champagne. But a year went by and nothing happened. Then one day I got a call from David Latt saying that they had just scored a big direct to DVD deal with Blockbuster Video and that they wanted an Alien horror movie. So I wrote the first of many drafts of a film called ALIEN ABDUCTION. We were shooting it in less than a year with me directing. It was a great experience working with 35mm and having a professional crew, but the film requirements were so high that I struggled everyday with nonexistent props and missing special effects, rewriting my script on the set to match what things were available and what cast members were there. Luckily I had a great cast, especially the lead, Megan Lee Ethridge who really carried the movie nicely. ALIEN ABDUCTION was released in 2005 to some great reviews and it just played on The Sci Fi Channel. I hope for more exposure like that.

GRIN CREEPER: You have produced, written, directed, acted and wrangled snakes. What haven't you done yet, which you would like to accompish before you are the undead?

eRiC: I haven't lost weight. I need to loose fifty lbs. That's a lot harder than making a movie.

GRIN CREEPER: Don't worry you'll lose weight when you are a zombie. It just falls right off. Lastly, what do you think of the Time Magazine of the 2000's -- Girls and Corpses Magazine?


Thanks for the interview Eric. ROT ON!!!

The Grin Creeper