The Jungle: Interview with Writer/Director Andrew Traucki
By: Devon B. on November 5, 2012 | Comments

A few years ago, Andrew Traucki's debut film Black Water was announced, and it sounded like someone was making a movie just for me. I quickly contacted Andrew and interviewed him about the film (read that interview here), and when it was released Black Water became my favourite Australian genre film.

Andrew followed Black Water up with the similarly impressive The Reef, and now he's getting ready to deliver his third film, The Jungle. Andrew was gracious enough to take time out of his schedule while doing post-production work on the film to answer a few questions.

Devon B.: Tell us about The Jungle.

Andrew Traucki: It's the story of an Australian leopard conservationist who goes to a remote Indonesian jungle with his documentary filmmaker brother to look into reported sightings of an endangered species of leopard. Their trek becomes ever more ominous – and they realise they are being stalked by a deadly, unseen predator.

DB: Is it a killer panther?

AT: Can't tell you I've been sworn to secrecy.

DB: But you keep posting pictures of leopards on Facebook and the poster looks like it's an animal with black hair! There's nothing more you can say?

AT: If you go to the crowd funding page you'll find out all about The Jungle.

DB: Your first two films featured a lot of water, for The Jungle how did you adapt your style to accommodate shooting on dry land?

AT: Funny you should ask because it poured for the first week. I figure I must have offended Poseidon in a previous life or something.

DB: You've started a crowd funding project for The Jungle on Indiegogo to raise money not for the filming itself but for the post production. I made a contribution that entitles me to a screen credit, can that be as director?

AT: As much as I am extremely grateful for your contribution, Devon, I'm not sure it's enough to justify taking credit for what I've been through!

DB: You've successfully made it look like you had your cast interacting with crocs and white pointers, and will presumably strike a third time making it look like your cast are in genuine peril in The Jungle. What's been the hardest image to make look convincing out of the three films?

AT: Interesting question…

DB: But then all my questions are interesting aren't they?

AT: Keep telling yourself that. Probably some of the shark shots in The Reef were the hardest.

DB: You seem to enjoy having playful teaser marketing for your usually serious in tone films, why is that?

AT: I'm playfully serious.

DB: You've done three movies that seem to be catering to me, so are you sure you don't have plans to make a film about a killer polar bear?

AT: But polar bears look so cuddly.

DB: Are there any plans to release your first film Black Water on Blu-ray?

AT: I wish! It's not up to me but the distributors - contact Pinnacle Pictures on the Gold Coast and ask them to do a Blu-ray.

DB: I was worried before The Reef's release that it would be too much like Open Water but was pleasantly surprised that it was a very different film. What sort of steps did you take to keep The Reef feeling unique?

AT: One, I used real sharks. Two, I showed the shark and it was big. Three, I tried to keep it as real as possible but make it theatrical as well.

DB: The Australian Blu-ray of The Reef opens up the matte, which I thought made the film look better, but what was your intended aspect ratio?

AT: Wow, that's a bit technical.

DB: I'm a nerd.

AT: I can tell. I like the best looking one, i.e. I prefer wider.

DB: The Jungle is being referred to as part three of your "Three Colours Red" trilogy. Does that mean you're done with dangerous animals after The Jungle?

AT: Actually I've decided to call it Traucki's Trilogy of Terror - has a better ring.

DB: Does that mean The Jungle will have a fetish doll?

AT: A fetish polar bear. I would like to do other films that feature bad humans, but given humans are animals I'm not sure I'll ever leave the dangerous animal canvas.

The Jungle

DB: The shark breech in The Reef is one of the best things I've ever seen in a cinema and even looks great frame by frame. How did you get that moment so perfect?

AT: A lot of tuna.

DB: It looks like The Jungle features some deadly mammals – how much easier was that to film than crocodiles and white pointers? Were you able to used trained animals at all?

AT: Can't tell you I've been sworn to secrecy.

DB: Again? A lot of local genre films seem to be aiming for an international feel by making the actors use dodgy North American accents, yet you've kept most of your characters Australian. Is there a reason for that?

AT: Yes, they are Australian. But seriously I want my films to play internationally but have an Australian feel. That way people will hopefully get to know and respect Australian horror and thrillers.

DB: In The Reef there's an eerie shot early on of some fish fleeing from something unseen. Later in the film a similar shot is used (it might even be the same shot flipped?) and there's definitely a shark in the area. Was there a shark stalking the characters in that first scene?

AT: Can't tell you I've been sworn to secrecy.

DB: But this was a question about a different movie! How long is this other secrecy vow in effect for? Your previous two films have been based on real events, is that the case with The Jungle?

AT: Unfortunately not. I looked and looked for another real story featuring a deadly predator but couldn't find one I liked.

DB: Are you able to tell us what you'd like to do next, aside from a movie about a killer, fetish polar bear?

AT: Actually I am feeling quite hungry so I think I'll go get a sandwich.

DB: Make sure it doesn't swear you to secrecy. Is there anything else you'd like to add?

AT: It would be great if people got behind the campaign to raise the final amount needed for The Jungle. With this $ we will hopefully make a better, scarier film so please get on board.

Thanks to Andrew for taking time to speak with Digital Retribution. For more information on The Jungle visit the filmmakers on Facebook and be sure to offer whatever support you can at the Indiegogo project to help Andrew deliver another awesome movie.

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