No pigs were harmed in the making of Carrie, the reimagining of Stephen King’s classic novel and new take on Brian De Palma’s 1976 film – at least, that’s what producer Kevin Misher assured the capacity crowd at New York Comic Con. There was certainly a fair amount of blood showcased in the world-premiere teaser, so we’ll have to take his word for it.
Misher joined director Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry) and stars Chloë Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore to discuss the new direction of the remake and, yes, quantify precisely how much synthetic blood was dumped during filming.
The short teaser pans over a quaint, tree-speckled town. A voiceover offers snippets of conversation from townsfolk as a burning school appears in the frame, and – as the camera continues to sweep over a burning path of trees and homes – the voices offer both supportive and despicable opinions about Carrie White and her mother, some slinging words like “fanatic,” others saying, “She wasn’t a monster, she was just a girl.” The camera speeds up and delves to street level until it stops on Carrie in a prom dress, covered in blood. She’s staring intently at the ground until a quick zoom jars her attention into the camera for a full-on shot of her red-streaked face. The crowd cheered, but wasn’t quite satiated: Chants of “More!” echoed around the room.
Peirce, who’s friends with De Palma, immediately addressed what source material she pulled from to create her version. “I do want to do a little shoutout to Brian, because I think he set a lot of emotion by making a fantastic movie,” she said. “I’m a huge fan of his movie, but I didn’t take anything from his movie. For me, it was reading Stephen King’s absolutely fantastic novel.”
She said she spoke to De Palma at the beginning, and he was very supportive. As for whether she’ll borrow his trademark split-screen technique, Peirce teased, “That’s yet to be seen.” Misher hinted at some larger-scale telekinetic carnage by noting, “The destruction in the book was bigger than the movie.”
Speaking of destruction, Moretz described her blood-covered scenes as, “Probably the most fun for about the first two weeks of it, and then after that it just got sticky and wet and it was like 40 degrees outside.” It turns out there’s not just one kind of fake blood. “We have the wet blood and the dry blood and the fire blood,” she said. “I just got used to going home at the end of the night covered in blood.”
Referring to the infamous scene in which Carrie is pranked by being doused in pig blood, Peirce quantified how much was used during production, saying, “There was like 50 blood dumps … let’s say if it was five gallons per bucket … that’s 250. I’m going to go with 1,000 gallons.”
Moore discussed the challenge of taking on the role as Margaret White, Carrie’s controlling, unstable fundamentalist-Christian mother, explaining she focused on the backstory King created. “She’s somebody who moved away from her family and joined a religious sect,” Moore said. “Her only community is Carrie. It does come out of a sense of love and family and desire to keep her there, but it’s abusive.”
Peirce called the mother-daughter relationship, “The heart and soul in our entire story” and Moore admitted, “One thing that’s exciting about working with Chloë is that she’s an actual adolescent … Sissy [Spacek] was 27 at the time when she made the movie.”
The director hinted that bullying as a modern social issue informed the events of this version in that, “There is a wider awareness of bullying since the time De Palma made his movie and King wrote his book … in some of the scenes, there’s more of an awareness by the teachers … there’s one particular dangerous through line with some social media that builds and climaxes.”
Moretz closed the panel by urging fans to participate in a viral campaign as the screens in the room flipped to the words “Call Carrie” with the phone number 207-404-2604 below. “Just do it, it’s fun!” she promised. She explained that, depending on when you call, you’ll reach either Carrie or Margaret White.
Carrie hits theaters March 15, 2013.