Total Film: It's been a while since Eli Roth stepped in front of the camera, but after years in the acting wilderness, he returns for Aftershock - a disaster movie that swiftly evolves into something far gorier and more horrific.
Not only does he star, but he also produced the movie - and here he gives us exclusive commentary on the dark and unsettling truths behind the real life locations he used to film...
Uncovering new talent
Eli Roth: Lorenza Izzo was the discovery of the film. Originally Nicolas had cast her as the bartender in the night club, and before shooting started, this Adidas party came up that said we could film there, so we went AND did an impromptu shoot of the guys having fun.
Lorenza had starred in Nico's film Que Pena Tu Boda ( Fuck My Wedding ) and came to the Adidas party to just play a girl who danced with us, to at least guarantee some interaction with a girl in the scene.
When I said hello to her, she spoke to me in perfect English, like an American. I couldn't quite process that she was Chilean, she had zero accent whatsoever, and then she explained she had spent her early teenage years in Atlanta and learned English with zero accent.
I asked Nico why we had never considered her for Kylie and he said "I've never heard her speak English! Why would I? She speaks to me in Spanish." We were about to cast another girl for Kylie, but after the party we read Lorenza and her acting blew us away.
She had studied at Strassberg in New York - she was a superb actor. Lorenza has the most incredible, expressive eyes - all her emotions are right there. I was so blown away by her performance in Aftershock I cast her not only in my Netflix series Hemlock Grove as the cheerleader whose murder kicks off the show, but as the lead in my new film The Green Inferno . She's amazing.
Eli Roth: On all my sets, the crew loves to make fun of my posing for publicity photos. I knew we needed shots of us in distress covered in blood, and filming had to move so quickly that no one ever stopped to take still photos.
Lorenza and I grabbed Eduardo our stills photographer and took this shot, while the crew and other cast made fun of us. Then when it ran in all the newspapers and magazines in the U.S. the other actors were pissed they weren't in it. So, yeah, this is us being total posers.
Eli Roth: We filmed this in a real cemetery. What you see in the photo is not set dressing, this is what it looks like right now.
This entire wing was destroyed in Chile's 2010 earthquake and was too damaged to be repaired. We basically put up cameras and shot. The guy in the middle is played by Matias Lopez, Nicolas' brother. These guys were fantastic, and we dressed their tattoos from real Chilean prison tattoos.
When the earthquake hit, the prisons actually broke open and there was a curfew because the streets were filled with escaped prisoners, and no phones or communication of any kind anywhere. It was chaos.
Shooting on the scene of the disaster
Eli Roth: The scene in the cemetery was my most difficult scene, mainly because everything around me was real.
I looked at one of the cracked open graves and saw the bones sticking out and said to Nicolas "Wow, set dressing did an amazing job." He just laughed and said "Set dressing!?! You're so Gringo."
That's when I realized everything was real. There were bones and hair and piles of dust. I was inhaling dead people.
Eli Roth: I don't even know why this photo's in there, it's such a poser shot, but we took it at like 5am after we spent five nights in the cemetery.
We were all going a little insane. There was a guy in burn makeup who was charred head to toe and had a mouth appliance on, so he couldn't drink or eat or talk, and was breathing through a tiny hole. We got so caught up in filming we forgot about him.
Finally at like 6am I asked Nicolas if we were going to film the burned guy, and he had completely forgot about the shot. The guy had been in makeup since 3pm the day before. He was wandering around the cemetery all night like a zombie. We finally took his makeup off and suffice to say he was more than a little unhappy.
Luckily by then I had jumped in the van home to completely avoid this situation like any producer would. I think we gave him an extra $50.
Lorenza and Andrea
Eli Roth: This is Lorenza Izzo and Andrea Osvart. Andrea's a terrific actress from Hungary, she works a lot in Europe, especially Italy where she has won a number of awards. Both Lorenza and Andrea really did a great job of capturing the feeling of terror and the loss of control as the world around them collapses.
Dark, dark tunnels
Eli Roth: The underground tunnels that we reference in the film where priests and nuns used to meet and have sex and bury the babies if the nuns got pregnant are real.
It's something that's rarely spoken about in Chile, but apparently it happened in Spain too. We saw the tunnels but were not allowed access to film there, but there actually are tunnels filled with the dead babies. Nicolas told me about this while we were scouting Valparaiso and we incorporated it into the story.
Lorenza and Marcial
Eli Roth: This is Lorenza Izzo and Marcial Tagle. Marcial is a terrific actor, and is mostly known for comedy in Chile. He was the neighbor on the Chilean "Married with Children" and actually became more popular than the Al Bundy character.
Nicolas has worked with him in his other films and cast him in this dramatic role. Marcial did a great job, this scene with him and Lorenza is one of my favorite in the film.