Video interview: UPGRADE writer/director Leigh Whannell on creating killer lo-fi Sci-Fi

Video interview: UPGRADE writer/director Leigh Whannell on creating killer lo-fi Sci-Fi

I first met Leigh Whannell back when the original SAW came out in 2004. He and James Wan crafted the popular horror series, and proved they still had tricks up their sleeve years later by launching the INSIDIOUS franchise. Between this dynamic duo, it was Wan who typically served as director, with Whannell sticking primarily to writing and occasionally acting in their films. But that changed when Leigh took on the director chair for INSIDIOUS CHAPTER 3. His sophomore directorial effort is UPGRADE, which made a big splash at this years South by Southwest Film Festival. It even won the Midnighter Award at SXSW, and once you experience it, it’s easy to see why. The movie stars Logan Marshall-Green as a man who witnesses his wife’s brutal murder and ends up paralyzed by the bad guys, then is offered a chance to try an untested cure that implements AI and heightened abilities. So naturally he and the new voice in his head decide to go after the men who hurt him, and the end result is crazy, awesome, fun and surprising. Check out my interview with Leigh about the new film, and if you haven’t seen them, take a look at the movie’s trailers and see what you think. Check local theaters for showtimes, in Dallas you can find UPGRADE at the Alamo Drafthouse Cedars (where this interview was filmed) and the newly-opened Alamo Drafthouse Lake Highlands, along with several other local movie houses.

UPGRADE is a thrilling and hyper violent vision of the future from the producers of GET OUT and THE PURGE, and the creator of SAW and INSIDIOUS.

After his wife is killed during a brutal mugging that also leaves him paralyzed, Grey Trace (Logan Marshall Green, SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, PROMETHEUS) is approached by a billionaire inventor with an experimental cure that will “upgrade” his body. The cure – an Artificial Intelligence implant called STEM – gives Grey physical abilities beyond anything experienced and the ability to relentlessly claim vengeance against those who murdered his wife and left him for dead.

And here’s the less violent green band version of the trailer:

UPGRADE opens June 1, 2018

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About the Author

Born and raised in Dallas, Mark has been a movie critic since 1994, with reviews featured in print, radio and National TV. In 2001 he started the Entertainment section of the Herorealm website, where he contributed film reviews and celebrity interviews until 2004. After three years of service there, he started, which has become one of the Dallas film community's leading information websites. Bigfanboy hosts several movie screenings in the Texas area, and works closely with film and TV studios and promotional partners to host exciting events and contests. The site also features a variety of rare celebrity and filmmaker interviews, and regularly covers the film festival circuit as well. In addition to Hollywood reporting, Mark has worked for many years as an advertising and sci-fi/comic book artist. Clients have included Lucasfilm Ltd., Topps Trading Cards, The Dallas Mavericks and The Dallas Stars. From 2002 until 2015 he managed the Dallas Comic Con, Sci-Fi Expo and Fan Days events in the DFW area. He currently catalogs rare comic books and movie memorabilia for Heritage Auctions, and runs the Dallas Comic Show conventions, but remains an avid moviegoer and cinema buff.