"It's coming no matter what we do!" Buckle up, you're in for a crazy ride. These films are getting better and better! Oats Studios has unveiled their next new short film, titled Zygote, an intense horror action story starring Dakota Fanning and Jose Pablo Cantillo. This is perhaps the most cinematic film that Oats has released yet. Directed by the main man himself, Neill Blomkamp, this film features one helluva gnarly monster that appears halfway through. I also love the score, by Lorne Balfe, which makes this feel even more intense. At the bottom of the post, I've included a few answers from Blomkamp to follow-up questions after my first interview about Oats. It's so awesome to see them experimenting with projects like this that would never ever see the light of day in Hollywood, but now we get a chance to experience them. Get ready!
Zygote is directed by South African filmmaker Neill Blomkamp. The script is written by Neill Blomkamp and Thomas Sweterlitsch. This is the latest feature from Oats Studios, an experimental sci-fi studio based in Vancouver, where they are testing various ideas and developing everything all under one roof. Read my initial interview for more background on the studio. See below for a few answers to more questions about Oats. And stay tuned for the latest updates. You can watch the first film, titled Rakka featuring Sigourney Weaver, here; and the second film, titled Firebase set in Vietnam, here. For updates, follow Oats on Twitter @oatsstudios, or follow Blomkamp on Twitter @NeillBlomkamp. You can also visit the Oats website and buy the content on Steam to support them and keep the studio up and running. Thoughts on Zygote? Best yet?
How is it going so far with Oats Studios so far? Are you making money yet? Is looking like it might be sustainable?
Neill: No, the DLC thing was never a viable way to pay for things the size of the short films. It was more of a way for us to gather data to see if anyone was interested in that kind of thing - beyond watching the films.
Zygote is totally gnarly awesome! How are you getting top quality actors like Dakota Fanning and Sigourney Weaver for these films?
Neill: Thank you! In the case of Zygote, we were already busy prepping it when I got asked to do the BMW commercial I shot [watch here] featuring Dakota, so right after we finished shooting for BMW, I went to scout the "Deifenbunker" (a nuclear fallout shelter that Zygote was shot in) and I realized that Dakota would be amazing for the role of Barklay, having just worked with her days before. So I sent her the script and she seemed to really respond to Barklay. I think she was more interested in the character than in the sci-fi/horror elements. I loved working with her. Would like to do more in future.
Are you building the sets for these films in the same location in Vancouver?
Neill: No, only the smaller stuff is shot in Vancouver – like, we shot four God shorts, four cooking shorts, and most of all the CG mo-cap shorts there, but the bigger stuff is on location. Zygote was filmed in a former Canadian nuclear fallout shelter in Ontario. We added production design elements to make it feel slightly futuristic. Firebase was shot in real jungle foliage.
How long does it take from start to finish to originally come up with, and then complete a film? Can someone give you an idea today and it would be finished in two months?
Neill: No way. The bigger pieces took over a year, but that was to do four simultaneously. So it's hard to know exactly. Start to finish on something– Zygote, and Zygote alone, maybe 6 months? 7 months.
Have you heard anything from Hollywood? Has anyone come to you guys yet with plans to make something bigger out of any of your ideas at Oats?
Neill: Yes and no, not in ways you would expect. For now I want to just keep it all in house. Figure out how to get the audience to help us finance this stuff going forward.
What is the best response you've had from the outside? Have you seen anything totally crazy sent in yet?
Neill: -Gonna leave this blank for now-
A big thank you to Neill Blomkamp for his time, and to Oats Studios for arranging this chat.
For more info on Oats Studios, visit their official website. Or head to Steam for more details on the assets available. You can also follow Neill on Twitter @NeillBlomkamp or Oats on Twitter @oatsstudios. Have fun.