Director Xavier Gens is no stranger to cinematic violence — from horror (Frontiers) to action (Hitman) he knows how to spill the blood and put on the hurt.
He seems like a cool dude, and I have to say that all the actors who've worked with him have had nothing but kind things to say about him; however, I didn't have kind things to say about The Divide when it came out in theatrical release earlier this year (read my review here)
But that doesn't mean I can't separate the art from the artist. When I interviewed Gens about the release of The Divide on DVD and Blu-ray (available now, from Anchor Bay), I was genuinely interested in what he had to say. I thought he had some pretty good answers, especially his explanation about why he wanted to add yet another post apocalyptic thriller to the canon.
Staci Layne Wilson: This is such an eclectic cast! Which actor surprised you the most?
Xavier Gens: I think they all surprised me. they were amazing, we shoot in chronological order and, like, I want to see their physical degradation, so we put all the cast on a diet some of them lost 17 pounds! They are fantastic and very generous. For example Rosanna Arquette and Michael Eklund were bringing new ideas every morning. It was such a awesome experience for me.
SLW: Which character do you identify with, if you had to choose one whose shoes you'd step into?
XG: If I was in this situation I think I will be like Sam. I like this character, and how Ivan Gonzales bring him to life… and he is French, like me! But to be honest I think the best position is the character of Milo Ventimiglia, because he is the king of the shelter!
SLW: What is it about the post apocalyptic genre, in the context of horror, made it something you wanted to explore?
XG: For me it was very interesting because since 2008 we are in an strong economic crisis and The Divide is a metaphoric film about this, about selfishness of human beings and how that selfishness bring us to our end.
SLW: Is there anything in particular in the aspect of the violence depicted in the film that made you think twice?
XG: The treatment of the violence in The Divide is a very realistic violence, not gory or fun. It's more for me like in Taxi Driver, a sudden violence that makes you feel bad. I think it's more interesting when you feel the violence and when you turn your head from the screen, than the violence that makes you laugh.
SLW: What's your favorite "extra" on the DVD?
XG: My favorite extra is the documentary Surviving The Divide which explains how we financed the film. It's an amazing story of my intern Nathaniel Rollo, who become producer and saved the film!
Synopsis: In this graphic and violent post-apocalyptic thriller, nine strangers – all tenants of a New York high rise apartment - escape a nuclear attack by hiding out in the building’s bunker-like basement. Trapped for days underground with no hope for rescue, and only unspeakable horrors awaiting them on the other side of the bunker door, the group begins to descend into madness, each turning on one another with physical and psycho-sexual torment. As supplies dwindle, and tensions flare, and they grow increasingly unhinged by their close quarters and hopelessness, each act against one another becomes more depraved than the next. While everyone in the bunker allows themselves to be overcome by desperation and lose their humanity, one survivor holds onto a thin chance for escape even with no promise of salvation on the outside.
The Divide Blu-ray/DVD combo and DVD includes an audio commentary with director Xavier Gens, and actors Michael Biehn, Milo Ventimiglia and Michael Eklund. There's also a making-of featurette, and the theatrical trailer.