Filmmaker Kimberley Peirce has never been afraid of a challenge. From her directorial debut "Boys Don't Cry," telling the tragic story of Brandon Teena, to the Iraq war drama "Stop-Loss," Peirce has tackled difficult subject matter head on. But last year's remake of "Carrie" provided the director a different set challenges, foremost of which was re-telling a story that had already been made famous thanks to Brian De Palma's iconic horror film. But bringing her own perspective and insight as a woman, Peirce spun her own version, one she likened to a "superhero origin story."
And with the film headed to home video today—complete with deleted scenes and an alternate ending—we got a chance last week to chat with Peirce over the phone about the movie. And in our brief chat she shared with us her thoughts on a sequel, the status of her Judd Apatow produced queer comedy "Butch Academy" and the possibility of her long-developing Hollywood murder mystery "Silent Star" finally getting made.
I want to start with the end of "Carrie," with that closing shot. For me, it suggested that the story could continue somehow. Were there any conversations about making a sequel?
That was something that came up, the idea of Carrie two, three, four, five, six, seven and eight. I was very much against it. I think franchises and sequels are great, I don't see "Carrie 8." So no, my intention [with the closing shot] was not to say here's a sequel coming. My intention was simply to get out of the scene in a way that didn't leave you falling off a cliff. And in fact, if you get the DVD/Blu-ray there's an alternate ending which, I think is a better ending, it's a different ending. It's a little more tidy, a little more shocking and a little more dangerous. Certainly the ending in the theatrical release, it wasn't intended for a sequel.
You have to be very careful sometimes ending movies when your protagonist has died. Because you can leave the audience hanging. In fact, when we made "Boys Don't Cry," we screened it about eight times and recut radically by listening to the audience. I mean, it was very nuanced. But there was a time when we ended, rather abruptly, Brandon died and the movie was over. People rebelled. They literally got angry at us and let us know ... it was such a change from what had happened before and they were like, "How dare you, I'm really mad. Why did you kill Brandon?" We were like he had to die, so I ended up writing that voiceover at the end. So these are the things I'm aware of, just being very sensitive to audiences.
Do you feel that's your responsibility as a filmmaker to acknowledge the audience's perception of the story?
Well yeah, I make a movie to satisfy an audience. It's very interesting, I love the Stephen King novel, I can read it on my own and find great pleasure. If I'm going to bother to make the movie, then my whole goal is to basically bring you inside my experience of this thing that I love. I loved the Brandon Teena character, I can love him on my own. What will it mean to make a movie where I can get you to love him and to go through the journey the way I did? So, in many ways, I don't think it's pandering to an audience, I think it's loving an audience. It's saying, I want to tell you this story and I want you to experience it the way that I experience it. So therefore, I have to screen it for you and you tell me what you think, if at the end of it you feel angry and pissed off that I didn't let you spend enough time with Carrie or with Brandon, when I’m extending the time with them, I'm not pandering to the audience, I'm just saying oh, that didn't work out the way I wanted it to work out.