My Site Exclusive Interview
With Scott Spiegel
Scott Spiegel (R) directs Muse Watson on the set of Texas Blood Money
-- Scott Spiegel (R) directs Muse Watson on the set of Texas Blood Money


Scott Spiegel may be best known to genre fans for his work on the Evil Dead films and for most, it was no surprise when it was announced that he would direct the From Dusk Till Dawn sequel, Texas Blood Money. Scott was super nice to do this interview so I have to say a big thank you to him and also a big thank you to Andrew Rausch for hooking us up for the interview. This interview was conducted on 9/30/99.


Mark: You and Quentin Tarantino have been friends for quite some time. How did you first meet?

Scott: I MET QUENTIN IN LATE 1989 THROUGH SHELDON LETTICH, A FELLOW WRITER/DIRECTOR (RAMBO III, BLOODSPORT, DOUBLE IMPACT). QUENTIN WAS WORKING AT IMPERIAL ENTERTAINMENT SELLING VIDEOS OVER THE PHONE TO MOM & POP VIDEO STORES. SHELDON HAD HIS MOVIE "BLOODSPORT" IN PRODUCTION AT IMPERIAL AND QUENTIN KNEW OF SHELDON AND ALL OF HIS CREDITS. THEY STARTED TALKING AND QUENTIN MENTIONED SHELDON'S STORY CREDIT ON THE FILM "THOU SHALT NOT KILL... EXCEPT". MY NAME CAME UP AND QUENTIN KNEW OF ME AND MY CREDITS (THOU SHALT NOT KILL... EXCEPT, EVIL DEAD II, INTRUDER).

I THEN GOT A CALL FROM SHELDON. HE TOLD ME ABOUT QUENTIN AND THAT HE WAS A BUDDING FILMMAKER AND WANTED TO MEET ME AND FIND OUT ABOUT THE WORLD OF INDEPENDENT FINANCING, ETC.

I SPOKE TO QUENTIN AND WE MET AT THE HAMBURGER HAMLET IN HOLLYWOOD. HE WAS ONE OF THE MOST ENERGETIC, GREGARIOUS AND CINEMATICALLY SAVVY GUYS I EVER MET. WE TALKED ABOUT THE MOVIES I MADE AND MOVIES IN GENERAL. HOW TO RAISE MONEY/FORMING A LIMITED PARTNERSHIP AND ALL THAT JAZZ.

QUENTIN GAVE ME A SCRIPT ENTITLED "NATURAL BORN KILLERS", A MOVIE HE WANTED TO DIRECT. I READ THE SCRIPT AND WAS BLOWN AWAY. I WONDERED WHY THIS GUY WASN'T MAKING MOVIES ALREADY. WE BECAME FAST FRIENDS.

BOB KURTZMAN OF KNB EFFECTS GROUP HAD A TREATMENT CALLED "FROM DUSK TILL DAWN" AND WAS LOOKING FOR SOMEONE TO WRITE A SCREENPLAY. ON THE STRENGTH OF "NATURAL BORN KILLERS " I SUGGESTED QUENTIN. BOB KURTZMAN LIKED WHAT HE READ AND PAID QUENTIN $1,500 TO WRITE A DRAFT.

THIS WAS QUENTIN'S FIRST PAID WRITING GIG. WAS HE A HAPPY CAMPER. I WAS DOING LAST MINUTE REWRITES WITH MY FRIEND BOAZ YAKIN ON A CLINT EASTWOOD MOVIE CALLED "THE ROOKIE." BILL LUSTIG, A DIRECTOR FRIEND OF MINE, AND ME HAD SMALL PARTS IN SAM RAIMI'S "DARKMAN" MOVIE. BILL WAS ONE OF THE FIRST GUYS TO HIRE ME TO DO A REWRITE (UNCREDITED) ON ONE OF HIS MOVIES WHEN I FIRST CAME TO HOLLYWOOD (HIT LIST). HE WANTED ME TO WRITE A SEQUEL TO A MOVIE HE HAD JUST DIRECTED (RELENTLESS). I TOLD HIM I WAS BUSY DOING REWRITES ON "THE ROOKIE." I SUGGESTED QUENTIN. I CALLED QUENTIN AND TOLD HIM TO SEND BILL "NATURAL BORN KILLERS" AND "TRUE ROMANCE" AS WRITING SAMPLES.

BILL LUSTIG LOVED "TRUE ROMANCE" SO MUCH THAT HE BOUGHT THE SCRIPT FROM QUENTIN TO DIRECT HIMSELF. SUDDENLY QUENTIN HAD MONEY. I INTRODUCED QUENTIN TO LAWRENCE BENDER (WHO PRODUCE MY FIRST FILM "INTRUDER.") AND THEY MADE "RESERVOIR DOGS" AND, WELL YOU KNOW THE REST OF THE STORY.

Mark: Had you seen the original From Dusk Till Dawn?

Scott: I HUNG OUT ON THE SET OF "FROM DUSK TILL DAWN." WAS THERE WHEN THEY WERE DOING THE RITCHIE VAMPIRE TRANSFORMATION AND GEORGE CLOONEY WAS BATTLING THAT WEIRD RAT, BAT CREATURE. TOM SAVINI AND I JOKED AROUND. MET GEORGE CLOONEY, ONE OF THE ALL TIME NICE GUYS. TALKED WITH THE HAMMER (FRED WILLIAMSON WHO IS 10 FEET TALL, HUGE GUY.)

I WAS AT THE PREMIERE OF "FROM DUSK TILL DAWN." IT WAS AN EXTREMELY COOL MOVIE BUT I WAS THERE FROM THE BEGINNING SO I KNEW ALL THE GORY DETAILS. I REMEMBER QUENTIN READING ME PORTIONS OF THE VERY FIRST DRAFT IN MY KITCHEN. HE ACTED OUT ALL THE PARTS PERFECTLY. HE ALSO DID THIS WITH SCENES FROM "PULP FICTION" AND "JACKIE BROWN." AND THE REALLY COOL THING ABOUT IT IS THAT THE SCENES END UP IN THE FILMS WORD FOR WORD, ALL OF HIS ENERGY AND ZEAL INTACT. PRETTY COOL STUFF. I GET A REALLY WEIRD SPECIAL THANKS IN THE CREDITS OF "FROM DUSK TILL DAWN." NEAR THE VERY END OF THE CREDIT ROLL IT SAYS "SPECIAL THANKS TO THE CITIES OF BARSTOW AND LANCASTER AND SCOTT SPIEGEL." BUT WHAT I REALLY APPRECIATED MOST WAS QUENTIN'S DEDICATION IN THE MIRAMAX BOOK OF THE "FROM DUSK TILL DAWN" SCRIPT. IT READS; "DEDICATED TO SCOTT SPIEGEL, WHO GAVE ME THE GREATEST GIFT, A CAREER."

Mark: How did Tarantino and Rodriguez approach you for Texas Blood Money?

Scott: ON FRIDAY, OPENING DAY QUENTIN AND I WENT TO A MIDNIGHT SHOW AT THE CINERAMA DOME TO SEE "FROM DUSK TILL DAWN." WE BUMPED INTO BOB WEINSTEIN WHO JUST WANTED TO SEE THE MOVIE WITH A REGULAR AUDIENCE.

ON MONDAY I GOT A CALL FROM BOB WEINSTEIN ASKING ME IF I WANTED TO WRITE AND DIRECT A SEQUEL TO "FROM DUSK TILL DAWN." I JUMPED AT THE CHANCE. QUENTIN HAD EARLIER SHOWED BOB THE FIRST MOVIE I DIRECTED (THE NO-BUDGET "INTRUDER") AND BOB DUG IT. I THEN CAME UP WITH A STORY WITH BOAZ YAKIN. I PITCHED IT TO BOB WEINSTEIN, QUENTIN AND ROBERT RODRIGUEZ. THEY LOVED IT.

Mark: You had a large hand in the formation of the script. What did you bring to it once you were approached to do the film?

Scott: QUENTIN AND I WATCHED A LOW-BUDGET FILM CALLED "STRIPTEASER" WHICH DUANE WHITAKER WROTE. WE LOVED IT. DUANE PLAYED MAYNARD IN PULP FICTION. SO QUENTIN HOOKED ME UP WITH DUANE WHO WAS TO CO-WRITE AND COSTAR IN "DUSK 2." DUANE AND ME WORKED GREAT TOGETHER. HE GAVE THE SCRIPT A REAL TEXAS FLAVOR AND HIS DIALOG REALLY STANDS OUT. I TRIED TO KEEP THE PLOTTING TIGHT AND THE SET PIECES STRONG. IT WAS TOUGH BECAUSE YOU WANT TO KEEP THE SPIRIT/SPECTACLE OF THE FIRST FILM BUT YOU ONLY HAVE A QUARTER OF THE BUDGET.

Mark: In your original version of the story, both Seth and Ritchie Gecko appeared in the film. Can you tell us a little about what your plan was for them and how they would have been portrayed in the film?

Scott: IN THE ORIGINAL VERSION OF THE SCRIPT WE HAD THE SAME BUNCH OF GUYS (BUCK, LUTHER, JESUS, C.W. AND RAY BOB). THEY WERE WAITING TO HOOK UP WITH SETH & RITCHIE WHO HAD THE PLANS TO A MEXICAN BANK THAT WAS LAUNDERING BIG GRINGO DRUG MONEY.

SETH & RITCHIE ARE WAY LATE. OUR GUYS ARE GETTING NERVOUS. SUDDENLY THE GUYS SEE SETH ON THE NEWS BEING CHASED BY A BUNCH OF COPS. THE STORY PLAYS OUT ON THE NEWS AND SETH IS TAKEN DOWN IN A HAIL OF GUNFIRE. WE INTRODUCE FBI AGENT STANLEY CHASE HERE. THE GUYS ARE MIGHTY BUMMED. ONE OF THE GUYS HAS THE INFO THAT SETH & RITCHIE MET A THE TITTY TWISTER. MAYBE RITCHIE IS STILL THERE? IF NOT, MAYBE THEY KNOW WHERE HE IS? STANLEY CHASE FINDS THE GUYS ADDRESS IN ONE OF SETH'S POCKETS. THE BOYS ACTUALLY SEE THIS ON THE NEWS. THEY KNOW CHASE WILL BE ARRIVING SHORTLY. THE GUYS MAKE FOR THE TITTY TWISTER, QUICK LIKE.

THE GUYS ARRIVE AT THE TITTY TWISTER LATER THAT NIGHT. LUTHER FINDS RITCHIE IN A DARKENED BACK ROOM. RITCHIE TALKS OF BEING BORN AGAIN, SPOUTS SOME REALLY WEIRD SHIT. HANDS LUTHER THE MEXICAN BANK PLANS. A BAT DARTS THROUGH THE ROOM/ LUTHER FREAKS/KNOCKS THE HANGING LAMP WHICH ILLUMINATES RITCHIE'S HIDEOUSLY DEFORMED FACE AND GNARLY FANGS.

LUTHER GOES FOR HIS GUN BUT RITCHIE PUTS THE BITE ON HIM. RITCHIE IS KING OF THE VAMPIRES. THE DOORS ARE BOLTED AND THE OTHER GUYS/PATRONS ARE TRAPPED INSIDE. A VAMPIRE FEEDING FRENZY ENSUES. MEANWHILE SOME COPS HAVE TRACKED DOWN THE PLATE NUMBER TO THE BOYS CAR PARKED OUTSIDE THE TITTY TWISTER.

BUCK STAKES RITCHIE AND HE MELTS DOWN. THE VAMPS HAVE THE UPPER HAND AND IT LOOKS LIKE THE GUYS ARE GONERS UNTIL THE COPS BLOW THEIR WAY INSIDE. THE VAMPS ATTACK THE COPS ENABLING OUR GUYS TO MAKE A GETAWAY. THEY REALIZE THAT LUTHER IS STILL BACK INSIDE. THERE'S NOTHING THEY CAN DO AND THEY HEAD TO THE EL COYOTE MOTEL TO REGROUP.

CHASE SHOWS UP AT THE TITTY TWISTER LATER THAT NIGHT BUT THERE IS NO SIGN OF POLICE CARS AND THE BAR HAS A LARGE "CLOSED FOR REMODELING" SIGN HANGING OVER THE FRONT DOORS.

AT THE EL COYOTE MOTEL THE GUYS SHOOT THE SHIT ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED AT THE TITTY TWISTER AND HOW THEY ARE GOING TO PROCEED. THEY CAN'T DO SHIT WITHOUT THOSE BANK PLANS AND STANLEY CHASE IS ON THEIR ASS.

JESUS MEETS LUPE/THEY HAVE SEX. LUPE IS ON TOP OF JESUS. SUDDENLY SHE TURNS INTO A HIDEOUS VAMPIRE AND GOES TO BITE JESUS BUT HE KNOCKS HER BACK. LUPE SCREAMS. SHE'S NOT A VAMPIRE AT ALL. JESUS WAS JUST HAVING A TITTY TWISTER FLASHBACK.

A BAT FLIES TOWARD THE EL COYOTE MOTEL. LUPE TAKES A SHOWER. AND THE STORY GOES ON MUCH LIKE IT DOES IN THE FILM ONLY ALL OF THE GUYS BECOME VAMPIRES, EVEN BUCK.

Mark: What was the shoot like?

Scott: THE SHOOT WAS REALLY GREAT. WE HAD AN EXCELLENT TEAM WORKING ON THE MOVIE. SOUTH AFRICA WAS BEAUTIFUL AND SCARY AT THE SAME TIME. IT'S A COUNTRY WITHOUT WARNING LABELS. IT WAS FRUSTRATING IN TERMS OF CHOICE. IF A CERTAIN PIECE OF CAMERA EQUIPMENT BROKE, THAT WAS IT. YOU REALLY GOTTA BE RESOURCEFUL. JUST TRYING TO FIND LEFT HAND DRIVE CARS WAS A NIGHTMARE. I EXPLAINED TO ONE OF THE TRANSPORTATION GUYS I NEED AMERICAN/MEXICAN LOOKING COP CARS. HE KEEPS SHOWING ME PICTURES OF VANS/BUSES, SOME REALLY NUTTY LOOKING VEHICLES. I'M LIKE "WHAT!?" HAVEN'T YOU SEEN A "LETHAL WEAPON" MOVIE? "NYPD BLUE"? I GUESS NOT. STUFF YOU TAKE FOR GRANTED IN THE UNITED STATES SUDDENLY BECOMES A MAJOR STUMBLING BLOCK IN SOUTH AFRICA. BUT THE PEOPLE WERE GREAT, THE FOOD WAS EXCELLENT AND THE SUNSETS WERE INCREDIBLE.

Mark: Something that a lot of the people who have seen the film comment on is the unusual camera work, in particular the POV shots. How did all of that evolve?

Scott: I'VE ALWAYS LOVED THE VISUAL ASPECT OF HORROR FILMS. HITCHCOCK WAS A BIG INSPIRATION. LOVE SAM RAIMI'S STUFF. CO-DIRECTED SOME EARLY SUPER-8 FILMS WITH SAM. WE WERE ALWAYS DOING WACKY CAMERA STUFF. WHENEVER BRUCE CAMPBELL AND SOME OF MY OTHER FRIENDS WOULD SEE A WEIRD SHOT IN A MOVIE THEY'D SAY "SCOTT SHOT." I LOVE PUTTING THE CAMERA IN UNUSUAL PLACES. IT GIVES IT ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE. SO MANY MOVIES AND TV SHOWS ARE SHOT "MASTER," "TWO SHOT," "OVER THE SHOULDER," ETC. WHY NOT TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT?

Mark: You have a very strong stable of talent on this film. How did you like working with the cast?

Scott: THE CAST WAS JUST GREAT. THEY ALL GOT INTO THE SPIRIT OF THE FILM AND BROUGHT SO MUCH MORE TO THE SCRIPT/MOVIE. TOTAL PROFESSIONALS. PLUS IT WAS SO MUCH FUN HANGING OUT WITH THEM WHEN WE WEREN'T SHOOTING. THEY MADE IT A TRULY MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE FOR ME.

Mark: Another old friend of your's, Bruce Campbell, makes a cameo in the film. How did that come together?

Scott: I CALLED BRUCE, ASKED HIM IF HE WANTED TO DO THE MOVIE, HE SAID YES. HE WAS IN NEW ZEALAND AT THE TIME SO HE JUST FLEW OVER TO CAPETOWN.

Mark: Do you have a favorite scene in the film?

Scott: YES. A FAVORITE SEQUENCE. FROM THE POINT WHERE JESUS AND LUPE ARE HAVING SEX, LUPE ATTACKED BY THE BAT IN THE SHOWER, JESUS ATTACKED BY LUTHER AND THE VAMPIRE LUPE ATTACKING JESUS ALL THE WAY TO WHERE LUTHER KILLS THE MOTEL CLERK. I ALSO DIG THE ENDING WITH ALL THAT SHIT BLOWING UP AND THE GUYS TALKING ABOUT PORNO FILMS AND JESUS' STORY ABOUT THE GUY WHO BLEW EVERYONE AWAY ON THE PORNO SET.

Mark: Is there anything that you wanted to do with the film that you weren't able to do?

Scott: IT'S ALL A COMPROMISE WHEN YOU'RE TRYING TO DO SO MUCH WITH SO LITTLE. THE STUNT WHERE THE S.W.A.T GUY IS TOSSED OFF THE ROOF AND LANDS ON THE ELECTRICAL WIRES, FRIES AND BOUNCES OFF/I HAD THE CAMERA PLACED JUST PAST THE WIRES LOOKING STRAIGHT UP AS WE SEE THE S.W.A.T GUY FALL RIGHT TOWARD THE CAMERA, THE CAMERA MOVES BACK TO REVEAL THE WIRES AND THE GUY HITS THE WIRES AND FRIES AND BOUNCES OFF. WE ACTUALLY SHOT IT THAT WAY ORIGINALLY BUT IT WAS DARK/WE HAD A NIGHT SKY, THE S.W.A.T GUY WAS DRESSED IN BLACK AND THE WIRES WERE BLACK. SO IT WAS ALL TOO DARK. WE USED JUST A QUICK CLIP OF IT IN THE FINISHED FILM. THEN WHEN THE S.W.A.T GUY FALLS ONTO THE CAR WE HAD THE S.W.A.T GUY SUSPENDED ON A WIRE ON A HUGE CRANE, HIS CHEST AGAINST THE CAMERA, LOOKING STRAIGHT DOWN, AND THEN HE FALLS AWAY FROM THE CAMERA AND LANDS ON THE TOP OF THE CAR BLOWING OUT THE WINDOWS. I WASN'T ABLE TO GET THIS SHOT BECAUSE THE REMOTE CAMERA CRANE MALFUNCTIONED AND THERE WASN'T A REPLACEMENT TO BE HAD. I LEARNED LATER THAT THE COMPANY DIDN'T EVEN BOTHER TO REPAIR THE CAMERA CRANE AND THEY RENTED IT THE NEXT DAY TO ANOTHER SHOW.

Mark: Of all the work you've done so far, what are you most proud of?

Scott: EVIL DEAD 2. THE SCRIPT TO "THE NUTTY NUT," PARTS OF "THE ROOKIE," "INTRUDER." A SORT FILM SAM RAIMI AND I DID CALLED "THE SAPPY SAP." I'M VERY PROUD OF "FROM DUSK TILL DAWN 2."

Mark: What's your dream project?

Scott: REMAKING "THE NUTTY NUT."

Mark: Is there anyone out there that you'd REALLY like to work with?

Scott: I'D LOVE TO WORK WITH SAM RAIMI AGAIN. WE WROTE A SCRIPT A WHILE BACK CALLED "SIX MONTHS TO LIVE." A COMEDY BASED ON A SUPER-8 FILM WE DID YEARS AGO.

Mark: What's next for you?

Scott: DIMENSION FILMS HAS APPROACHED ME ABOUT DIRECTING A COMEDY FOR THEM. DON'T WANT TO SAY TOO MUCH MORE, THINGS CHANGE SO QUICKLY IN THIS BUSINESS. I'M CURRENTLY WRITING MY OWN COMEDY SCRIPT. TALKED TO BOB WEINSTEIN ABOUT IT. SO ONLY TIME WILL TELL. AND IF TIME DOESN'T, NEWSWEEK WILL.

Mark: Thanks for doing this interview, Mr. Spiegel!

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