Leatherface is back, and director Jonathan Liebesman is now giving audiences the creation myth of famed killer in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning." Liebesman (who may also be directing the next "Friday the 13th" film) spoke with Rotten Tomatoes about reviving an iconic character and the visceral impact of horror films, among other things.
Rotten Tomatoes: When you’re taking a series or a character that’s been around for a long time, how do you approach this material and make it new?
Jonathan Liebesman: Well, I think firstly, you’ve never seen the story of how Leatherface became Leatherface. In itself, the story was new. Stylistically, what was cool was Marcus [Nispel, director of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"], with the remake, started a new wave this kind of almost pornographic gore/horror. And certain movies after that pushed that. So it’s almost like you get to take this new style of horror filmmaking and marry it to Tobe Hooper‘s movie, and couple that with a brand new story which no one’s ever seen — we’ve never seen how this family became killers — and I think everything about it is exciting and fresh.
Director Jonathan Liebesman with producer Michael Bay
RT: Do you think the iconic story here sets it apart from a lot of contemporary horror films?
JL: I think the trend now is realism, with "Saw," "Hostel," all that stuff. The cool thing about doing franchise horror is you’re dealing with mythic characters, and I love that. I think it gives you a chance to tell a story that has certain moments that have much more weight because they have the baggage of 30 years of movies behind them. A lot of people might say that’s a weakness, but to me that’s awesome, because the movie itself is a star that’s been going for a while, and you’re reviving the star’s career. I think that’s an exciting opportunity.