Sundance 2015 Interview: Corin Hardy on ‘The Hallow’ & ‘The Crow’

The Hallow

CraveOnline: Did The Hallow lead directly to getting the job on The Crow?

Corin Hardy: Yeah. I was in the final stages of it and very kindly, Edgar Wright was having dinner with Ed Pressman, kindly recommended me and they checked me out. They saw an early version of The Hallow to check out and offered me it.

They did have another director on it. Did you have a totally new pitch for The Crow?

I mean, there’s been a history. I’m aware of the past. All I can really say is I’m a huge fan of the original Crow, particularly the graphic novel, James O’Barr and particularly what caused James O’Barr to write the story is the starting point really. It’s an emotional story, really dark. When I was 17 I was really obsessed with The Crow as a fan and that’s what I’ve gone back to as a starting point. 

The movie always meant a lot to me and it helped me deal with grieving Brandon Lee. It’s the only franchise where I thought maybe they shouldn’t make sequels out of respect for Lee, but now that 20 years have passed I think I’m more ready to revisit it.

I agree.

Did you have any hesitation about the tragic history of The Crow?

Absolutely. Like I said, as a fan of the whole Crow origination and film, I definitely thought long and hard about it. I feel like a time has passed and there is room for a new interpretation that will be very much faithful to and coming from where James O’Barr came from when he wrote it. Looking into that graphic novel, the images, the illustrations and the paintings that he did, some of them which aren’t the comic book stuff but actual illustrational artwork is so potent still, and I think there’s a lot more that can be done with it.

Will you use some practical birds?

You’ll have to wait and see but I think you can guess. 

You said some of the babies in The Hallow were animatronic? I couldn’t tell.

That’s great. The fact that no one’s brought it up, like I heard recently in the film American Sniper, people brought up something.

It’s glaring.

In The Hallow, I realized with horror when we’re prepping that actually there’s a baby in almost every scene in the movie, and when there’s not one, there’s two. Actually I realized it’s kind of a leading character, so it was a bit of a nerve wracking process. We had to cast a pair of twins to play the babies. You had to cast them two months before production started and I had to get my special effects team to sculpt based on photos I’d taken of the babies. They had to predict what they’d look like in two months time in order to sculpt as close a likeness as possible which is quite a tricky process. 

We had a full animatronic baby, a full silicon rubber correct weighted prop stunt baby, we had a changeling baby and then we shot the real babies against blue screen to comp into shots. We had a CG element as well, and if you look at some of the shots later on in the movie, for the changeling, there’s a whole mix of techniques going on.

I tweeted about it so I was wrong. “I said The Hallow has a real baby for the whole movie. Take that American Sniper.” 

That was you. As I said, there’s a mixture of seven different babies.

That’s what was so frustrating about American Sniper. You can touch it up. You can use a fake baby and hide it or use some CGI movement. Movies have done that.

I’ve not seen American Sniper by the way but I was just conscious, if you were to scrutinize it, every scene there’s a real one, there’s not a real one, there’s the prop one, there’s the animatronic one, there’s a real one. It’s a real mix.