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Long Weekend

Talking Pictures #17: Jamie Blanks, Director of URBAN LEGEND

Today’s guest is Australian horror movie director and genre aficionado Jamie Blanks. Jamie made a name for himself with his 1998 feature film debut URBAN LEGEND, a neo-slasher movie that came out in the wake of Wes Craven’s SCREAM movies and which told the story of a madman whose killings are based on popular urban legends. With a great cast of people like Alicia Witt, Jared Leto, Joshua Jackson, Robert Englund and Brad Dourif and a keen sense of style, the film became a hit which spawned two sequels.

Jamie then made another stylish slasher movie, VALENTINE, which took its cues from the Italian giallo movies and again featured an excellent cast of actors like Marley Shelton, Jessica Capshaw, Denise Richards and Katherine Heigl. Jamie directed two more movies in his home country, the grim, intense backwoods horror movie STORM WARNING, and a remake of an Australian 70’s cult classic, LONG WEEKEND. In recent years, he’s worked as an editor and composer, most notably for popular Mark Hartley B-movie documentaries like ELECTRIC BOOGALOO or NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD.

Jamie Blanks (left) with URBAN LEGEND producer Neil H. Moritz (middle) and star Jared Leto.
Jamie Blanks discussing a scene with URBAN LEGEND star Rebecca Gayheart.
In our conversation, Jamie discusses how he got the opportunity to direct URBAN LEGEND after he was originally briefly involved with another well-known horror film of that era, he talks about his stylistic choices and the screen history of some his actors, and he recalls receiving some very good advice from Wes Craven himself.

We also discuss Jamie’s other movies and talk about how his student short film SILENT NUMBER paved the way for URBAN LEGEND, we talk about the feminist tendencies of VALENTINE, the extreme aspects of STORM WARNING, the challenges of remaking LONG WEEKEND, his influences, the appeal of Australian horrors, and much more. Jamie even teases a new project he’s working on a as a director.

On the set of VALENTINE, with star Marley Shelton.
Directing a particularly gruesome sequence on the set of STORM WARNING.
The interview with Jamie Blanks was conducted in connection with our German-language podcast Lichtspielplatz, so if you speak German, check out episode #51, which features an in-depth discussion of the first two URBAN LEGEND movies. Also, make sure to listen to Talking Pictures episode #18 in which I talk to the director of the URBAN LEGEND sequel, renowned editor and composer John Ottman.

So without any further ado, here’s Talking Pictures with Jamie Blanks!

The mp3 file can be downloaded HERE.

All photos courtesy of Jamie Blanks.
Thanks to Dr. Wily, my Lichtspielplatz podcasting partner for audio editing. The music was created by Clark Kent.

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