Podtalk: Director Richard Stanley Finds ‘Color Out of Space’

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CHICAGO – Richard Stanley has finally steered clear from one of the most infamous chapters of movie history. His new narrative feature film is “Color Out of Space.” It is his first since being let go from the 1996 “The Island of Dr. Moreau.” After much gnashing of teeth and a documentary about it later, Stanley went back to his childhood roots for “Color,” a horror sci-fi epic featuring Nicolas Cage.

A family is on the brink in the fictional town of Arkham, Massachusetts (part of the universe created by sci-fi author H.P. Lovecraft). After they inherit a rural family estate, their struggling artist patriarch Nathan Gardner (Nicolas Cage) is trying to keep his wife Theresa (Joely Richardson) and children (Madeleine Arthur, Jullian Hilliard, Brendan Meyer) focused on adaptation. That changes one evening when a small meteorite crashes in the yard. Although the purple-glowing orb soon withers into dust, it infects the local water supply. While this effect on the crops is bountiful, the alien presence soon begins to take an ill effect on the Gardner family.

Director Richard Stanley (right) on the Set of ‘Color Out of Space’
Photo credit: RLJE Films

Richard Stanley delivers a completed narrative feature film for the first time since “Dust Devil” in 1992, after the success of his debut “Hardware” (1990). It was his third feature – one that he spent four years preparing – that became one of the most talked about incidences in movie making meltdown. “The Island of Dr. Moreau” featured the oil and water actor combination of Val Kilmer and Marlon Brando, and Stanley was let go from his pet project after only four days, to be replaced by a destroy-the-original-concept director, veteran John Frankenheimer. Bring up that film with any movie buff and be prepared for a myriad of legends and opinions.

Regardless, the artistry of Stanley was wedded in his roots of growing up in South Africa, the son of an anthropologist (his mother) and great grandson of famed explorer journalist Henry M. Stanley (“Dr Livingstone, I presume”). Between “Moreau” and “Color” he wrote screenplays, produced documentaries and directed short films. His lifelong passion towards the works of H.P. Lovecraft was the genesis for his new film. 

They’re Here: The Mind-Blowing Beauty of ‘Color Out of Space’
Photo credit: RLJE Films

In a Podtalk with Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com, director Richard Stanley talks about the roots of “Color Out of Space,” its visual pallette and yes, how he learned to go on after “The Island of Dr. Moreau.”

”Color Out of Space” opens nationwide on January 24th. See local listings for theaters and show times. Featuring Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson, Madeleine Arthur, Elliot Knight, Brendan Meyer and Tommy Chong. Screenplay adapted and directed by Richard Stanley. Not Rated.

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2020 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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