LEGLESS CORPSE: Your directing career goes back to 1971 with Twilight of the Mayas, then you went on to direct Commando, Showdown in Little Tokyo, and Firestarter, what brought you to the campy, fun, little film Poseidon Rex?
MARK LESTER: (Laughs) Well I’ve been making films for 43 years believe it or not, so I just keep going and going. It’s just fun making these outside the studio system, you don’t need a hundred million dollars to make a really good film now, in P-Rex we have hundreds of CGI shots. I’m just trying all kinds of movies I really wanna make and I’m a big fan of creature horror monster movies. I remember the old movies I watched as I grew up like Godzilla, so I thought I’d bring back something like that, create a sea-creature dinosaur.
LC: I loved the film
ML: Oh thank you, it’s a lot of fun and I’m doing a whole series of these, Sand Shark, Dragon Wasps, Jurassic Attack, Posedion Rex, I have a new one coming out Dragons Of Camelot, were there’s King Arthur and the knights of the round table fighting Dragons. Then I’m doing Vikings Vs Dinosaurs which will be a good one. Yeah, so it’s all a lot of fun and you can control your own movies when you have the means to do it.
LC: After shooting Pterodactyl and now P-Rex, both CGI monsters, but also utilized practical creature effects, do you have a preference of one over the other?
ML: Well I love the CGI. I tried to combine the two, like in Pterodactyl, I had a big giant pterodactyl but it didn’t really fit with the CGI so I found you have to go one direction or the other. With CGI you can really do a lot with, you don’t need the puppeteers and all the makeup people on the set. I just really started to love the CGI. You can do these amazing creatures and create this big fantasy and combine it with the actors. It’s really quite a huge advancement in movie making. You don’t have the old green line around the effects in the movies, like the movies I grew up watching at the drive-ins where you could tell, like The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. This is really seamless now with the CGI it’s amazing what you get and not even for a whole lot of money.
LC: How did you land the directors gig on P-Rex?
ML: I just took it myself since I financed the movie (Laughs) I did a couple down in Belize that I had other directors shoot. We did Jurassic Attack and Dragon Wasps and I thought I’d like to see how it is to direct down there, you know a lower budget film, in these kinds of locations. I did it just to have fun and I liked it so I shot another picture in Whales that will be ready in about three weeks which is Dragons Of Camelot. I’m going to make one in Iceland, Vikings Vs Dinosaurs, and I’m making a remake of Class of 1984 which takes place today in a private school.
LC: The location is beautiful, where was the film shot and what made you decide to shoot there?
ML: Well it was filmed in Belize and you know we did it because it had a lot of beautiful locations and the ocean. There were no restrictions to what you could do, like what would happen in LA, when you have environmentalists in the ocean with you. Down there you can do pretty much what you want and it’s beautiful. We had shot two other movies in the jungle there and they have these great barrier reefs and the water’s pristine. You can rent the boats and go out there and have speed boat chases and dinosaurs chasing people. We got up on land and it’s very inexpensive to film down there and a lot of cooperation.
LC: What do you think you’re bringing to the table that’s different from other creature feature-type films?
ML: Well I haven’t seen this before, the ocean mixed with the land and just trying to do a fun romp with a thriller plot where their looking for the gold too. So it’s not just a straight creature movie. Plus, I bring some pacing and style that sometimes you don’t get in the lower budget films.
LC: In low budget filmmaking there are a ton of compromises and limitations, what is the toughest obstacle, for you as a director, shooting with a limited budget?
ML: Well the more days you shoot the more expensive it gets so you got to kinda get a lot of coverage in a shorter schedule. I had the second unit go in, which was directed by my son, Jason Lester, who’s becoming a director, he did the underwater stuff cause that took like 3 or 4 days right there. If you have a good second unit doing some of this kind of stuff it makes it better, but the biggest problem is the shooting schedule because the longer you shoot the better the movie can be so on a limited budget you can’t stay forever, with all these people on location spending money that’s the hard part. As far as the compromise you can’t get big stars but you can get these creatures which are the stars of the movie so we don’t need big names we are selling the creatures.
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