Wednesday, January 9, 2008

LAist: Matt Reeves Interview

Los Angeles website LAist has an in-depth interview with Cloverfield's director Matt Reeves, and some great new photos from the set.

Reeves has some interesting comments about Ethan Hass, fans speculation, and true origin of the title Cloverfield.

LAist: Interview: Matt Reeves, Director of Cloverfield

The film has had a very successful viral campaign. What do you think of Ethan Haas and the other people who took it upon themselves to capitalize on it?

All I knew was that we made this teaser trailer and had not given any information about it. People immediately started making connections, some of which connected to things that we were setting up, but others had nothing to do with us.

Some were amazing. ...we wanted to let people know that it was a monster movie in some way without saying, “Hey look! It’s a giant monster movie!” ...

I got up there and said into the mic, “I saw it! It’s alive! It’s huge!” That would be an indication that this thing was alive and huge. Apparently I speak very quickly, so people in the audience heard, “It’s a lion! It’s huge!” I remember coming home from shooting all day and I look online to see what the response has been to the trailer and I’m seeing that people have done a spectral analysis of the audio. They’ve got my voice and they’re playing it slowly. I read further and they’re convinced that I’m saying “It’s a lion!” and that it’s a voltron movie. I didn’t really know anything about voltrons before this, and they’re apparently giant robot lions [see the "leaked footage" parody on the YouTube video].

That kind of stuff started building. Then when there was all this weird Ethan Haas stuff, I remember Bryan and J.J. and I turning to each other and saying, “What is that? We don’t even know what that is.” That’s what happens when you confront people with a mystery. You can’t be surprised if they start making connections that have nothing to do with you. That’s exactly what happened.

When I look at the message boards to see what’s going on, and there will be somebody who has purported to have seen the movie and they’ll give details—very specific details—that have nothing to do with the film. I think, “People are amazing!” It’s fascinating and it’s just something I’ve never really been a part of prior to this. I mean, we had online fans during Felicity, but it was very different.

Tell us the real story behind the title Cloverfield?

When we started the project there was going to be an announcement in the trades. In this case, they wanted to keep everything under wraps. So the movie was going to be made under this outside corporation that was basically a property of Paramount. That corporation had a name that I don’t know the name of. I think Clover was the first part of it. Maybe it was Cloverdale. When Drew [Goddard, LOST writer] was putting a name to the project, there was supposed to be a name for the project like there was for The Manhattan Project. So he said, "I am going to use that weird mysterious thing," and he misheard it. He didn’t even understand that it wasn’t Cloverfield, it was Cloverdale. Maybe that was because of the street by J.J.’s old office, but the truth is he just misunderstood it.

* Thanks to B Met for emailing me about this!


  1. ;O First Comment! <.<
    The funny origin of the name Cloverfield =]

  2. Damn.. and i thought maybe it was alluding to the monster having 4 heads.

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  4. Nothing to do with clovers? I guess my theory of sequels being about pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars and blue diamonds is shot.

  5. Thanks for doing another interview, Matt. :) I missed the last twenty-seven interviews where you said the same exact pointless information. I'm glad you've said it again, I might never have known that people misheard your exclamation of "It's alive!"

  6. sadly this normal information needs repeated all the damn time. i lost track of how many times ive had to explain to people that the ad isnt saying its a lion. same with telling people its not cthulhu or godzilla. next ad should just say "its not cthulhu, its not gozilla and if defiantly isnt a damn lion"

  7. In case you don't live in NYC :)

  8. ...because i plan on winning Rob's going away party which might lead to a free screening - LOL :)

  9. I already got my tickets for the Orlando early screening Which is actually in Winter Park. So my countdown clock says 7 days...woohoo.

  10. I'm still sticking by the idea that it is a live action Captain Planet movie.

  11. Hey guys if you do screen earlier than the rest of the world, please dont ruin it for us who didnt get to see it yet.

    I hope Dennis deletes any spoilers. Of course feel free to say if it sucked, or was awesome. Just keep things based on opinion and leave out the specifics.

    Also, yes, I'm starting to think that Reeves is trying to mis-direct us. He keeps sayin same stuff over and over. Either that or he wants people to not get so pissed off when there's no reason for "coverfield" in the movie, and there's no name for the monster.

    I will certainly be pissed and feel cheated MR REEVES AND JJ ABRAMS.

    I am however optimistic that the movie will be awesome, since they do have the confidence to advance screen it worldwide. So if it's a B-movie bombfest, then they're going to look like idiots, because there will be hell to pay (since they teased us for a good 6 or 7 months for a piece of crapolah).

  12. Dont worry I personally would never spoil. And Smokey, regarding Reeves misleading. I have from the very beginning taken with a grain of salt when someone would say "Well JJ Abrams says this" or "Matt Reeves says that". Because honestly, they do not need to be completely honest with us as to what it is or is not or what its about. Why take thier word for it? I for one am anticipating a huge curveball being thrown at us right before release.

  13. 9 more days!!!! When it's a week away I'm going to not watch ANY previews or footage of the movie at all, so it's better in the theaters. Fear not, I'll still stay tuned here. :)

    Dennis, did you get that Something-something- borg font that the Cloverfield posters have? I heard it was rare.

  14. There can be little doubt that Matt and JJ are masters of hype so I agree--I wouldn't take anything seriously until you have your movie ticket in hand.

    It still amazes me to see pictures from the set where principal photography is being done with a HDV camcorder! I know that changes later in the movie but I will be very curious to see the results on screen.

    Congrats on a great site!