Justin P. Lange interview for The Seventh Day

Last week we at Infamous Horrors got to sit down with the director of The Seventh Day, Justin P. Lange who was extremely cool to talk with about his new film starring Guy Pearce and Stephen Lang.

AJ:
Hey, I’m actually with Infamous Horrors. Good day. So, Justin, first question is how was it getting the cast together, especially Stephen Lang and Guy Pearce in this?

Justin:
It was great. I mean, it was pretty soon after we started the process, because Guy was really, really high on my list. We went to him and just… I like to say it seems like I did something… I mean, I was a Saint in my previous life or something, but.

AJ:
Right.

Justin:
He responded to the script and watched my first film, which was called The Dark, and really responded to that. And so, yeah. I was lucky that he was interested and came onboard. He’s better than advertised.

AJ:
Right.

Justin:
And Stephen as well. I mean, Stephen came on for a few days on this one, and it was just such a joy to work with. So fun and so I would love to work with them again in a heartbeat. I mean, he’s just such a great presence on set. And yeah, I mean, again, it was just a question of responding to the material as far as I know.

AJ:
Yeah, and Catholic horror movies have done a lot throughout the years, and especially exorcism films. Was there anything new you wanted to add to the mythology of exorcism films when doing The Seventh Day?

Justin:
Well, yeah. I mean, ultimately, after I finished my first film, I was exploring kind of what I wanted to do next. Then I had read this book by Malachi Martin, who’s a famous, he was a famous exorcist and wrote a lot about this subject. And that really opened my eyes further to, I’ve always been a big fan of the exorcist movies, the original Exorcist and also The exorcism of Emily Rose, and the Exorcist three. And so it really sort of got me interested enough to start doing some digging and researching. And around that time in late 2018, I found some articles, that were recent articles at that time about this phenomenon, where all that stuff that Stephen Lang’s character talks about in the Archbishop’s office early on in the film, is sort of like art imitating life.
That was real to some extent, where there had been over the last decade, this 70% increase in the demand for exorcisms nationwide. And so the Catholic church started teaching the right again and opened new academies in Chicago and, Don’t quote me on that one, I can’t remember, but definitely Chicago. And basically the goal was to have a dedicated exorcist for every diocese across the country. And that was a few years ago, so I’m assuming they probably met that goal by now. So I really found that fascinating and terrifying, both that was happening in real life and that people were turning to that. That there was a general sense of fear and anxiety and pain.
And for me, even though I grew up very Catholic, I’m not anymore, I understood. And it actually sort of mirrored my experience in a way, I also felt those anxieties and fears growing over the past decade or so. And so that’s usually my way into something. And I did, I wanted to bring a sense of subjectivity, where we’re with this younger priest. And I wanted to have a journey where it’s not just get a subject and try to expel the demon, but there’s something a bit more human there.

AJ:
Right, like there’s more connection to it.

Justin:
Yeah. And just about sort of why he’s doing it, what he’s doing. And sort of needing to find this point of seeing the forest through the trees. And it’s sort of a call to action in a way. It’s like finding a way to see through the rituals and to just really focus on if there’s a person at stake and a boy. And despite all the noise and despite everything he’s hearing and being taught, he needs to remember why he’s there in the first place, which is to do the right thing and help this boy.

AJ:
Right. And you kind of touched on this a little bit in that answer, but what are some of your favorite exorcism films or books if you have any?

Justin:
Yeah. I’ve mentioned before, The Exorcist, of course, is one of my favorite films. Also, The Exorcism of Emily Rose. I watched about as many as I could get my hands on. And just to, not even necessarily to do. I also love this South Korean film called, The Howling. I’m sorry, not The Howling, The Wailing. I love it so much I forgot the title. But it’s just an interesting subject. I can’t say that I love every single one, but it was something that I wanted to, but I appreciate them all in different ways, and I wanted to sort of have that reference point, even if it’s just to want to do something slightly different and a bit more cerebral and sort of explore sort of psychological with this main character. But yeah. And then, like I said, Malachi Martin, The Hostage To The Devil, I found really, really enlightening and interesting, just sort of the way he talked about the experience of exorcist, as almost these weathered war veterans.

AJ:
Yeah.

Justin:
I mean, it was just, it was a really fascinating account and something, it was just a prison through which I hadn’t really seen it discussed before.

AJ:
And when directing, was there anything in the script you wanted to shoot, but necessarily couldn’t shoot because it [inaudible 00:07:33] didn’t fit that story or because of budget issues, or was everything you wanted to shoot in the script, just an easy fit?

Justin:
No, nothing was an easy fit. So, I mean, this is my second film, so I really sort of just kind of threw everything against the wall. I didn’t put any constraints on myself, so I really broke something a lot. My first film was fairly intimate and so this one, I tried to go a little bit bigger. And it is significantly bigger than my first film, but the budgets are actually very similar between the two films, so it was a challenge because a lot’s happening in The Seventh Day.
And so I really give the tremendous crew that I worked with, just a loads of respect and thanks for being able to just working tirelessly to pull off the things that we do in the film, especially given the constraints that we had. And I think they did a phenomenal job. And I’d be lying if I said there were a few things that we tried that maybe didn’t work as well, that didn’t make it into the film, which happens.

AJ:
Right.

Justin:
But overall, I think it’s a very, very ambitious film for the budget level we were talking about.

AJ:
Yeah. And if you could do a prequel or a sequel to The Seventh Day, what kind of mythologies are just another story, when you like to tackle with it?

Justin:
That’s a good question. I really haven’t thought about it that way much. I mean, I think there’s probably… I find Guy’s character in the film and his history really fascinating and the idea of the sort of, he’s sort of the last one standing at the beginning of the film.

AJ:
Yeah.

Justin:
I sort of modeled him a little bit with what I read from Malachi Martin. And this sort of mythology of these rogue priests who are going underground because the Catholic church was just not interested, I was sort of basing that off the account, the exorcism that happened in Germany, that The Exorcism of Emily Rose is based off of that became very public.

AJ:
Yeah.

Justin:
And the girl sadly ended up passing away. And so this idea of these sort of rogue priests trying to out there…. Within the mythology, it’s very risky for them to do so, at a great personal risk. So I find that really interesting, almost like a band of misfit priests going around and fighting evil. [crosstalk 00:10:40]

AJ:
Kind of like the underbelly of the priesthood.

Justin:
Yeah. I mean, it’s like magnificent seven. So yeah.

AJ:
Or I guess more along the lines of like eight millimeter.

Justin:
Oh, yeah. That’s another one, yeah. So, there is an interesting world there. And then moving forward, Daniel’s journey as far as going off into the world and basically doing that on his own, similarly, he’s sort of taking over that mantle and there’s the-. Well, yeah, I won’t give that away, so.

AJ:
Right. Well, Justin, thank you so much for joining us at infamoushorrors.com today. It’s been really fun talking to you.

Justin:
You as well. Thank you very much for taking the time. I appreciate it.

AJ:
All right. Have a great day, Justin.

Justin:
You too. Bye.

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