With the release of “Drive Angry 3D,” his seventh film in 10 years, Patrick Lussier has proven that working your way up through the ranks may be less showy than becoming an overnight sensation, but it’s a much surer way to establish a directing career.
Lussier spent the first decade of his career as an editor, collaborating closely for much of that time with venerable horror filmmaker Wes Craven, before getting the opportunity to helm his own film, the 2000 straight-to-DVD sequel “The Prophecy 3: The Ascent.”
Although Lussier indicates he never planned to be a director, it was a logical step to take after spending time cutting others’ films. “After working for Dimension Films for so long, they said, ‘Do you want to direct one?’?” Lussier recalls. “I think Bob Weinstein’s quote was, ‘So you’re going to make a movie for us? That’s great. We’ll beat the shit out of you!’ He did, and it was a fascinating experience.”
Craven credits Lussier’s easy transition into directing to his deep-rooted knowledge of genre and technique and an ability to maximize the raw materials he’s given. “He really knows all of the various permutations of the genre, from slashers to vampires to you name it,” Craven says. “(Lussier has) a tremendous ability to get an enormous amount on the screen for a modest amount of money, which he proved in the ‘Dracula’ series — they’re just beautiful films. The only negative thing about him becoming a director is that I lost a fabulous editor.”
One of the few helmers comfortable working in live-action 3D, Lussier tested the format on 2009’s “My Bloody Valentine.” Now, with “Drive Angry” opening in February — the retro, drive-in-style exploitation pic pits Nicolas Cage against a cult — Lussier says he has multiple options for his next movie, including a reboot of the “Hellraiser” franchise and “Circle of Silence,” a docudrama about the 1972 shooting of a police officer at a Harlem mosque.
“A lot of it is finding the project that speaks to me at the moment, then finding the right combination of somebody to help us produce and find financing for it,” he says. “I would love to direct all sorts of movies. The horror genre has been very good to me, but it’s all about the story.”
Homebase: Los Angeles
Inspired by: “L.A. Confidential” for the complexity of interwoven characters and “Jaws.” “In reading about the obstacles overcome, you realize that in everything that goes wrong on set, there is an opportunity to trade up to something better.”
Reps: Agents: Valarie Phillips, Trevor Astbury, Paradigm; Lawyer: Jeff Frankel, McKuin, Frankel & Whitehead.
Looking for the next big thing
Richard Ayoade | Daniel Espinosa | Ed Gass-Donnelly | Elgin James | Patrick Lussier | Baran Bo Odar | Andre Ovredal | Denis Villeneuve | Juanita Wilson | Jason Winer