The trailer for The Brick House, a new full-length feature by two South Floridian filmmakers, might leave you a little unsettled. After all, it's men in pig (and wolf) prosthetics acting out the premise of a favorite childhood fairy tale -- but with some decidedly adult violence, suspense, and drama. Think Mother Goose meets There Will Be Blood.
But push past the weirdness, and admit it -- these dudes are damn creative. And this movie might just be ridiculously awesome. This is the genius of Gustavo Cervantes and Doug Layne Anderson, the men behind filmmaking collective Pocket Full of All Stars.
The flick itself, a serious drama with both thriller and Western elements, was funded solely through a Kickstarter campaign. Beginning with a $7,000 goal, the team raised more than $10,000, most of which went to pay for make-up and prosthetics.
Cervantes, a graduate of our own New World School of the Arts, was inspired to update the nursery rhyme for grown-ups during his school days, after a sample trailer he created for a class assignment drew an enthusiastic response. Years later, the film came into full fruition with the help of Anderson and, later, a whole cast of other players.
Despite their Miami roots, the filmmakers shot the feature entirely in Oklahoma with a Tulsa-based cast. Stars Josh New, Gallagher Goodland, and Thomas Andrew Johnson portray the pigs, while Brendan Hopkins, Bill Aaron Tarpenning, and Andy Woodard are the wolves.
"We wanted it to have the feel of a Western, so we wanted the scenery to have that iconic look of long rolling plains, barns, things like that," Cervantes explained.
When it comes to the odd appearance of the characters themselves, namely the choice to use prostheses, Cervantes says it was Toronto-based mask-making company NorthFur that sealed the deal. The duo knew they wanted to do a live action flick, but when they came across the actual products, they were sold.
But why the masks? Why not have the characters stay human, and let the symbolism speak for itself?
"We wanted to create a different kind of creature where you could see just as much human as you could animal," Cervantes said.
The goal was for the audience to be able to look past the masks and see humanity, while still remembering the animal symbolism and ties to the original story, he added.
Hence the masks, and masks alone. No fur. No hooves. No squealing.
The plot follows an outline similar to the story we all know so well. (We're guessing the wolves' house-destroying techniques are a little more sophisticated than huffing and puffing.) The three Pig brothers inherit an uncle's fire-damaged farm property and decide to fix it up. Their arrival attracts the interest of a group of unsavory wolves -- business tycoons looking to buy up land and build a railroad. The brothers soon uncover a deeper conspiracy and find themselves in serious trouble.
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While there are a few months of post-production work left, the buzz for the flick has already begun. The trailer was posted July 19, and has already surpassed 149,000 YouTube views.
So what's next for The Brick House? And where can you catch the film if you're as teased by the trailer as we are?