“We agreed from the beginning that this needed to be an R-rated movie,” Landon says. “I think, again, it speaks to the concept of a body swap film which tends to be soft and cute. So in my mind it was like, how can we make the goriest Disney movie never made? It felt like in order to really set us apart and to give this body swap concept real contrast in terms of this genre mashup, going gory was the only way to really do that.”
While Jason Blum admits that he wanted the movie to be PG-13 and that he “fought hard and lost” in that debate, Landon is pleased with the outcome.
“I was grateful that Blumhouse and Universal let us do it and really agreed to it,” Landon says. “If I’m being frank, that was a deal breaker for us, in terms of where we were going to make this movie. If Universal had said, ‘you’re going to have to make it PG-13,’ we would have walked. We would have taken our movie elsewhere. So that was a big deal for us.”
Jason Blum happily acknowledges that Landon, who has written and/or directed nearly half a dozen hit movies for Blumhouse, has “carte blanche” to do whatever he wants at the company, adding, “There are very few who are in his category.” If Freaky proves as successful, Blum says that it only adds to Landon’s unique position as a filmmaker in the horror genre.
“I really admire him, obviously,” says Blum. “I think he’s one of the most talented writer/directors out there. He’s got a real specific voice, which I think is hilarious and great. Clearly Happy Death Day and Freaky are related to one another. In particular, horror movies that are funny are just really tough, and usually they are bad. But Chris is just great at that tone. He really gets it. He also really understands genre, he is a genre fan, and he understands what genre fans want.”