The 13th Floor

Five Facts We Learned from THE GIFT’s Commentary Track with Director Joel Edgerton

This story is part of a series done in partnership between Blumhouse.com and THE GIFT.

THE GIFT released to DVD/Blu-ray last week, and fans now have an opportunity to take home this highly acclaimed thriller which took audiences by storm in late summer. Blumhouse.com has composed a list of five facts we learned from the DVD/Blu-ray commentary track with writer/director/actor Joel Edgerton. WARNING- Here there be SPOILERS!

Edgerton was very excited to cast Jason Bateman in a thriller.

As an actor, Joel Edgerton loves it when directors give him roles outside of the normal casting box. He knew that Bateman, who is usually known for comedies, would be a charismatic and likeable choice for the leading role of Simon. Edgerton ultimately chose Bateman because he had the ability to simultaneously seem pleasant and manipulative, coming across as very polite guy who is also a colossal bully.

The commentary track provides great details about the house they used in the film.

The majority of the film was shot in the San Fernando Valley, just a few minutes North of Hollywood. The cinematographer discovered that the house was incredibly hard to light because of all the glass and windows. He made the choice to use ample lamps to keep the environment dim, which in itself gave the house its own sinister character. The gift of the koi fish and food was originally written as a bird house and bird seed, but after the production crew saw the house, they knew the koi pond would be perfect!

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The production team wanted to subvert the expectations of the “thriller” genre.

THE GIFT was all about subtlety and slow reveal. The team worked a lot with sound or even having no sound at all to gradually set the viewer on edge. But they chose to keep the characters seemingly friendly, thus making the twists and turns more shocking and dramatic. Edgerton often looked at different versions of the script and completed scenes to determine which ones would build the best suspense, rearranging and restructuring entire sequences to better heighten and mask the tension.

Edgerton worked hard to craft a story that allowed the viewer to shift allegiances between characters.

Director Edgerton decided to play with the roles we have in high school and how these roles shape who we become. He also wanted the audience to see Gordo through Robin’s eyes at first, because she is not scared of Gordo. Yet while portraying Gordo as an endearing gift-giving friend, Edgerton chose to nuance from early on in the movie that Gordo does not belong the house, that something about him just doesn’t fit with the scenery.

This photo provided by STX Productions LLC shows, Rebecca Hall, left, and Jason Bateman, in a scene from the film, "The Gift." The movie opens in US. theaters on Aug. 7, 2015. (Matt Kennedy/STX Productions, LLC via AP)

THE GIFT contains references to other movies that creatively influenced Edgerton.   

While APOCOLYPSE NOW is mentioned directly and even givien as a gift in one scene, the sound effect of the helicopters circling above (in this case circling Los Angeles) was used throughout the film to help keep the viewers and characters on edge. There are also multiple nods to Kubrick’s THE SHINING. The logo on a wine bottle at the beginning of the film has the same pattern as THE SHINING hedge maze. And when Rebecca Hall’s character stays in the hospital, she stays in room 237- the same as the haunted room in THE SHINING’s Overlook Hotel.

Be sure to check out THE GIFT, now available on DVD, Blu-ray, and VOD.

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