You might want to avoid hospitals for awhile. Yesterday Lionsgate released Nurse 3D, its wild horror flick that features Paz de la Huerta (Boardwalk Empire) as the titular character, who does more killing than she does caretaking. To find out what exactly was up with this definitely different movie, BFTV phoned up director Douglas Aarniokoski on Monday and quizzed him about the making of Nurse 3D and his inner "film geek."
"I'm so proud of the whole movie, just because we got to do what we wanted to do, which was make this sort of over-the-top sex thriller horror movie," Doug told us. "It was a blast. Everyone we met with, we just said 'Here's the movie. We're going over the top. We're not trying to be this social experiment. It's going to be campy, it's going to be fun, it's going to be f--ked up, it's going to be sexy, it's going to be nasty.' And they were all in for it. And that was what was fun."
Does he have a favorite scene from the movie? "I always sort of chuckle when Paz and Judd Nelson, about two-thirds of the way through, are having their sort of conversation that leads into the morgue," he said. "To me, that's sort of the essence of the [main] character Abby. She sets you up like a great poker player...And that to me is who Abby was and certainly who Paz created Abby to be."
Doug also kindly explained to us how exactly one shoots a movie in 3D. It's not necessarily something that's done after the fact. "There's two different ways. A lot of films are doing post-production converts," he told us. "We shot the movie in 3D, which is insane when you're doing a medium to low-budget horror movie. It takes twice as long to do everything. When you're looking for locations or building sets, you can't shoot up against something that is black, because you lose the whole 3D perspective.
Then there's the camera. "You're shooting with this giant 3D rig with two cameras. Twice as much equipment. It's twice as heavy, twice as big," he continued. "I said 'Show me this camera rig,' because I [also] operate, and it was like 60 pounds. I had to start taking up yoga so I could build up my core strength!" So not only is directing a crazy, campy horror movie in 3D fun, it's also great motivation to stay in shape.
Doug's used to working in adverse conditions, having come to the set of Nurse 3D immediately after wrapping another smaller film that coincidentally also had a high body count. "We did an independent movie called The Day, which is a post-apocalyptic movie with Shawn Ashmore, Shannyn Sossamon, Cory Hardrict, Ashley Bell, [and] Dominic Monaghan," he told us. "It was a labor of love. We all did the movie for nothing. We all loved the script. It was crazy freezing cold in Ottawa, Canada. We went up there and shot it literally in two weeks for no money. It's a very dirty, gritty, exciting [film with] great characters, a great backdrop and a great story."
In addition to shooting movies like Nurse 3D and The Day, he has also established a career helming for the small screen, which is something he's still doing today. "I directed an episode of Sleepy Hollow last year," he said, while en route back East for that series. "I'm directing and I will also be producing three episodes of Sleepy Hollow this season. [Next] Wednesday will be my episode of Arrow for The CW. I absolutely love both those shows. They have such amazing talent and the crews are incredible. We just laugh and have a great time."
But what we like most about Doug isn't that he can carry around a 3D camera or that he's also a TV guy. It's his enthusiastic love for filmmaking and the art of entertainment in general. "I'm such a film geek guy," he told us. "Any time you get to be a storyteller, it's not even a job. We're all so blessed. Anyone that ever complains about it should be taken out back and given a real day's work somewhere."
Having discovered his interest in films at a young age, with trips to the cinema watching three to four flicks at a time, and making his own movies in the backyard with his friends, Doug wants to encourage other people to pursue what they love. "If people out there have that passion, what's important to me is that people follow through with what's important to them," he said.
He also hopes that film fans have a little perspective on all movies, whether they're giant Hollywood blockbusters or smaller movies like Nurse 3D. No matter what the size of the film, no matter what the type, the finished product is still something that's the result of a long journey and a lot of hard work.
"Appreciate the process. Appreciate what these 75 or 100 people did, whether it's 60 days or six months of their lives, trying to tell a story," Doug told us. "We all get there and work 12 to 14 hours a day, doing the best that we can do. Sometimes it doesn't end up the way that you would like it to. But nobody sets out to make a bad movie. If you just take it for what it is and appreciate the process, then I think for me as a storyteller, that's what I love."
Nurse 3D is now available on Blu-Ray and DVD; you can click here to order your copy today. For more on Doug, be sure you're following him on Twitter (@DougAA). His episode of Arrow airs on Wednesday, April 23 at 8 PM ET/PT on The CW.