CULVER CITY, California — Writers are a superstitious bunch. Some compose their best work in dimly lit rooms, while others prefer Internet cafes. Many insist on sitting in the same chair, using the same computer or even going old-school with pencils and a legal pad or (gasp!) a typewriter. One of the hottest writer/directors in Hollywood, in fact, has seen such superstition turn him into the most solitary man this side of O.J. Simpson.
Eli Roth became a hot commodity six months ago with the release of "Hostel," a demented, depraved, delightfully perverse flick dreamed up over several months of hermit-like seclusion. Naturally, when it came time for a sequel, the manic 34-year-old told MTV News six weeks ago that he was determined to "unplug [his] phone, shut off [his] e-mail and write the script" (see " 'Hostel' Yields A Sequel — And Perhaps A Few Babies").
This week, Roth briefly emerged from a Howard Hughes-like exile to storm the MTV Movie Awards, an appearance so last-minute that someone else's credentials were hanging around his neck.
While sneaking a long-overdue peek at the light of day, Roth was all too eager to offer his fans some details.
"I shaved today for the first time in three weeks because I haven't left my house — I've been working on the script for 'Hostel 2,' " Roth reported. "I don't think 'Hostel' is gonna be winning any Oscars, so it's nice that we got a Best Frightened Performance nomination for Derek Richardson."
Those who've seen the movie will remember Richardson as the dude who gets his Achilles tendons sliced open. Because of that and the ensuing bloodiness, let's just say that Richardson wouldn't be the best person to ask about sequel possibilities. Roth, however, is looking forward to his second chapter.
Through the existence of this Italian hostel, Roth plans to reveal that the Slovakian stopover from the first flick is actually part of a chain — kinda like a Motel 6, but with decapitations instead of a continental breakfast.
"It's all part of the organization; they've got the whole thing set up all over the place, and they have different scouts," Roth said. "We're going to learn a lot more about how it all works. In 'Hostel 2,' you're really going to see the ins and outs of the whole organization and how they get people and kill them.
"And there will be plenty of blood and torture," he added with a sadistic grin. "I can tell you that."
"Hostel" didn't leave a lot of actors' story lines open for sequel possibilities, but Jay Hernandez did survive — at least, most of him did. Roth happily reported that Hernandez's Paxton has been written into the film and will be encountering the three girls in Italy.
"Jay has a few less fingers, so it might be difficult for him to blend in," the director said. "But yeah, he's not out of the woods yet."
Roth's script begins the moment the original "Hostel" left off, a tribute to the similarly timed second chapters of his beloved "Halloween" and "Porky's."
" 'Hostel 2' is going to start literally with the next cut, and you're going to see [Paxton] at the same time. You'll see that he's totally messed-up from the experience. It's completely wrecked him, and his life is in ruins."
Hernandez will express his mental collapse in some of the tossing-and-turning scenes Roth is composing.
"You know, when they have a sequel, and you see the guy and he's having nightmares and can't sleep and is going crazy," the filmmaker said, sounding as if Hernandez might finally turn into the villain Roth wanted him to become in an early draft of the original flick.
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Although he has spent most of the last few weeks alone, Roth has made time to once again solicit some advice from an equally twisted mind.
"Quentin [Tarantino] was really helpful when I told him the story idea. I was like, 'What do you think about this?' and he's like, 'Oh man, what if we did it with girls?,' " Roth said of the "Hostel" producer. "I saw Quentin last night, and we started to talk about some different death scenes, and anytime I'm like, 'Oh, what if we killed someone like this?,' he's got three other different ways to kill them. When he reads the script, it inspires a bunch of things."
Roth hopes to begin shooting in August and to release the film in January 2007.
With all those details revealed, Roth once again looked forward to unplugging the phone, shutting off the e-mail and finishing up his script. But he eyeballed the entrance to the Movie Awards and reminded himself of one last thing he was eager to do beforehand.
"If we win, that's great, but if Derek Richardson loses to Paris Hilton, I get to make fun of him for the rest of his life and say that Paris Hilton is a better actor than him," Roth laughed. "So it's kind of a win-win situation." (Neither Richardson nor Hilton got lucky: The award went to Jennifer Carpenter for "The Exorcism of Emily Rose.")
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