Chronicle: Director Josh Trank Interview

He’s the first-time director who’s created a new spin on both the found footage and superpowered slackers genres. And yes, he’s heard of Misfits!

Chronicle is now out on DVD and a special extended Blu-ray edition. SFX talks to director Josh Trank.

SFX: Chronicle feels like you phoned up our readers and asked them what they wanted from a movie. Did you consider it a superhero movie while were you making it?

“I don’t think it’s a superhero movie. I think it’s a character-based drama about how super powers would affect the lives of ordinary teenagers. Dramatically-inclined ordinary teenagers.”

Having said that, the end boasts one of the most impressive superhero slug-fests ever filmed – especially for a low budget film

“Thank you, I don’t deserve praise like that. I bought in so many influences. I’m a big, big movie fan; really I’ve seen everything. I really mean that too. There were so many films here that I think I’m celebrating and I hope that comes across in the ending. But I wanted to make the experience in this movie not just a homage to a lot of those other superhero films but to stand on its own two feet as a unique, thrilling movie.”

Have you ever heard of a British show called Misfits?

“Yeah! I was told about Misfits when we were in prep for Chronicle, and I wanted to watch it badly because I’m a fan of that kind of stuff. But I stopped myself because I was very careful about not getting too much contemporary influence. And yeah, there is always the fear of ‘crossing the streams’ a bit. But I ended up watching the whole series – I had a week off at the end of production and I was very happy that we weren’t doing exactly the same thing. And now I’m a very big fan of the show. Really love it.”

I didn’t mean it as an insult.

“No, no!”

It’s just that in Britain, when we heard about the film, it was easy to label it as “the American Misfits” just going by the trailers. But watching the film, you realise it’s not as simple as that.

“Why [scriptwriter] Max Landis and I felt so passionate about Chronicle and getting Chronicle to see the light of day, was that I’d never really seen a film, in live-action context, about what would happen to people if normal people had superhuman powers. In that they wouldn’t go out fighting crime or anything like that. In superhero movies it’s all about moral conquest and there’s a very strict objective that superheroes live by. And this movie isn’t a reaction to those films – it’s not like I have to make my comment on superhero films. But this is a very stripped-down kind of basic approach – how would superpowers affect a pre-existing internal conflict? Carrie and a lot of Cronenberg’s movies have really dabbled in that zone, but we didn’t want to make this necessarily a horror movie or a science fiction movie – just a drama. I love how Misfits is a drama-comedy. So yeah, there is a similarity.”

More of this interview on the next page…