As a writer, Scott Derrickson has worked on all sorts of movies, but as a director, he has been working his way up the Hollywood ladder in leaps and bounds. His first film, Hellraiser: Inferno, was a straight-to-video sequel, and his second, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, was a modestly-budgeted hybrid of the horror movie and courtroom drama genres that did surprisingly well at the box office three years ago.
Now he has directed his first tentpole picture, a big-budget studio movie with major movie stars and pricey special effects—and it's a remake of a universally loved sci-fi classic, to boot. The Day the Earth Stood Still stars Keanu Reeves as Klaatu, the alien who comes to Earth to give us a warning, and Jennifer Connelly as the scientist who sort of befriends him—though not without some difficulty, at first.
Derrickson—who has often talked openly about his Christian faith—spoke to CT Movies about the film from his hotel room in New York City.
Note: Some of this interview includes mild spoilers about the film, but nothing major that isn't already implied or shown in the trailer.
Your last film was your own project, initiated by you, whereas the studio had been working on this film before you came onboard. What was it like to work on someone else's story, especially something this big?
Scott Derrickson: It's a different experience than generating something yourself. I think there's a good and bad side to it. The bad side is that you never feel quite as connected to the material, and you're sculpting something from something that someone else did, much more than you're continuing a process that started from the beginning with yourself and your own ideas. And that becomes a challenge. On the positive side, ...1