NAME Oren Peli
GIG Writer and director of found-footage phenom Paranormal Activity and producer of PA3, set to tingle spines in October. Peli’s next directorial effort, Area 51, will feature found-footage alien freakery, but further details (including a release date) remain highly classified.
BEFORE THAT Worked as a videogame programmer on Sony’s NFL Xtreme and the MLB: The Show franchise. Before that: adapted Mortal 3 for PC.
- Bump-in-the-night inspiration:
“I had a girlfriend who was very jumpy. One night we heard a really loud banging noise coming from inside the house. You’re asleep in your bed and then suddenly you get this adrenaline rush and you’re in ‘defend your life’ mode. A couple of days later we found out what it was: One of those big-ass Costco laundry detergents had fallen from the shelf, bounced off the washing machine, and landed behind the door.”
“For the first PA, I couldn’t afford to pay any real money for actors. And for a found-footage-style movie, there’s a definite advantage in using unknowns, because it helps sell the illusion that it’s real. A known actor would get in the way of the suspension of disbelief.”
- Just-in-time production
“After we were done filming for the day, I would immediately upload the footage and apply the visual effects so it was ready for the actors to watch on camera the next day. I had to get really fast at visual effects.”
- Spooking Spielberg:
“The first time he saw Paranormal Activity, he was home alone at night and got too scared to continue watching. The next day, when he came home, his bedroom door was locked from the inside—where the DVD was. The locksmith had to saw part of the door open. After that he said, ‘I don’t want this anywhere in my house,’ and took it back to the office.”
- Spoiler protection:
“Our best ally is the amount of misinformation out there. There is so much speculation and ‘My uncle works on the set, so I know what’s really happening’ that even if someone does release real spoilers, they get absorbed in all the noise.”