The end is in at movie theaters and on TV lately. With “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,” Oblivion,” the upcoming “This is the End,” “Revolution,” “The Walking Dead,” and others, filmmakers and film-goers seem more intriguing by the apocalypse than ever before. When Topless Robot’s Luke Y. Thompson sat down with apocalyptic indie comedy “It’s a Disaster” director Todd Berger and star David Cross, he asked them about just that, and how they see their film as different from other “it’s all over” movies.
LYT: While coming up with this movie, were you aware there would be this trend of apocalypse comedies, like Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, and Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s This Is the End?
TB: No! And now, there’s the Simon Pegg one? No! Not at all. I wrote this script, and actually…I wrote another script a few years ago that maybe I’ll make one day. It’s more of a Mad Max, post-apocalyptic comedy, set years after the world ended. I’ve always been fascinated with the topic. I wrote this, and I’d actually been meeting with America Ferrera. We were having lunch the first time we met, and she brought up Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, which was a script she had read. I was like, “What’s that?” She said, “Oh! It’s a movie about a comet that’s going to hit the Earth.” I had not heard of it. I saw a movie in the late ’90s, I believe it was called Last Night. When I heard about the plot for Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, I said, “Oh! That sounds like Last Night!” And I remember really liking Last Night, about what would you do if it were your last night on Earth. That always stuck with me as this cool idea. We always talk about…if you had one day left, what would you do? If you knew you were going to die in a week, what would you do? Those were the topics.
But really, this was all inspired because I wanted to make a zombie movie about people trapped in a house. Then I decided zombies were kind of such in the zeitgeist right now, and Shaun of the Dead so perfectly satirized zombie movies, I said, “Well, that’s been done. Let’s think of something else that we force people to stay inside of the house.” And I said, “Oh! A disaster, a post-apocalyptic disaster would do that.” It was very important that they had to stay inside the house. It couldn’t be an earthquake. It couldn’t be a hurricane. It couldn’t be anything that would allow them to open the door and see what was going on, because we didn’t have the budget for that.
To which Cross added:
I don’t see this as a disaster film in any way whatsoever. It’s just a writer’s contrivance to put all these people in this room, and have them witness this important, life-altering event taking place outside. As you saw, you never see it. You only allude to it. We believe it’s real, but we don’t see any…it doesn’t feel like a disaster film in any way, shape or form, except for the title and the thing that’s happening outside that we never see. It’s almost like a weird, existentialist one-act. I really don’t see it as fitting that category. It’s not even scary. It’s an extremely low-budget indie approach to a disaster movie. There’s no zombies, or terrorists or anything. You never see that. You believe it, but it’s just alluded to.
“It’s a Disaster” is out now.