“My resume belies some of my appetite for gross out humor,” laughs the South African born, Toronto-raised producer of the Seth Rogen hit This Is the End.
But today we’re not talking about his edgy work with Rogen, his writing (he co-wrote the satanic comedy Teen Lust which debuts at the Toronto International Film Festival this year) or his award winning short films.
“I love using the scope of filmmaking and really getting the wheels turning,” he says, “being larger than life and creating a world. I thought The Calling had all of that, elements of mystery and comedy and drama, that I thought were a real draw.”
The Calling is his feature directing debut and stars Susan Sarandon as small-town Canadian cop tracking down a serial killer.
“I still pinch myself that it all came together the way it did,” he says. “There’s a saying in casting, ‘Who’s going to be your cast magnet?’ We had a pretty powerful magnet with Susan and once she was involved we were able to attract talent as diverse as the top line cast, Topher [Grace], Ellen [Burstyn] and Donald [Sutherland].”
The movie is a throwback to, as Stone says, “propulsive thrillers with big ideas executed by brilliant actors.” He says movies like Kiss the Girls, Along Came a Spider and Silence of the Lambs, “used to be the bread and butter back in the early 90s and if we could even be put in the same breath as any of those I’d be thrilled.”
“Those are some of my favorite movies of that era. There is so much character in them. I feel like the studios have replaced a lot of the character in those mid range films with spectacle. It takes a lot more money to make your money back so you have to appeal to a much broader audience. I guess that means adding robots.”
Not that he’s unwilling to make a mega movie one day.
“I hope to have a long career making the films I’d love to make,” he says, “so if the right story comes along and there’s a budget behind it I feel like I’d definitely jump at the chance if there was a story I could connect to and I thought there was some humanity to it. I would like to think I would only make something I feel a personal connection to.”