Interview By: Chris Hammond
THE BLACK DEMON stars Josh Lucas (“Yellowstone”), Fernanda Urrejola (Cry Macho)and Julio Cesar Cedillo (Sicario). The film was directed by Adrian Grünberg (Rambo: Last Blood) and written by Boise Esquerra (“Blackwater”) from a story by Carlos Cisco (“Star Trek: Discovery”).
Director Adrian Grünberg (Rambo: Last Blood) chatted about the new film THE BLACK DEMON. We discuss Tlaloc (the Aztec god of rain and fertility), Megalodon (which protects the sea) and more.
Grünberg discusses the main things that attracted him to this script and why he should be the one to film it
“The main this was the shark was maybe secondary for me. The whole Spanic and mythological aspect of the original script and working with that and transforming that into more of Mexico and more of the Aztec and more of the Tlaloc was definitely what attracted me to that in a context of a popcorn movie, a Hollywood-style movie about a shark in a Latin environment, I’m in!”
THE BLACK DEMON is a film that is in the same vein as the creature feature films of the 1950s. It’s got a message about the world around be it a social or environmental one. Grünberg explains what he hopes the audience going to see the film gets as a message beyond just being entertained.
“Hopefully if we did our job properly, me in particular. There’s this whole sense, first of all of the family, right? and family dynamics and it’s not just about being in a good place with your family, it’s how you got there. I think that’s what Paul (Josh Lucas) eventually we end up realizing is his struggle is not understanding you are going through a struggle is what in part has drawn our society a little bit to where we are today in the bad sense.
There’s a good way and there’s a bad way, we get absorbed, even as good people in things that if you think about it twice you might say, you know there are maybe more ethical ways to go about it. I think the way he starts off and then realizes who he was and what he had become without even wanting it or doing it on purpose, is not as in your face as it usually might happen. So there’s the family aspect and then there’s obviously the whole nature aspect to it and what I felt was nice is to come at it a point of not global warming, but this is what a little thing can do to a little village and a little area of the world, when then if it happens here and here and here and here and then here it becomes a global thing. I think it’s closer to people when it happens in the village, in the streets or you know, rather than in the city, in the country or in the world, it just brings it closer to us, I think”.
Everyone in the cast really feels like family and works so well together. I was curious how long the cast got to know each other before the shoot started. Grünberg explains how it was a short bit of time and all the cast members got to add to their characters.
“Maybe two days, three days, yeah, this is a pretty small movie and you know we couldn’t afford to bring everybody that much earlier, but uh, I think everybody sort of understood what the movie and the script wanted and everybody had the ability before arriving of adding their ideas to the script.
So all the actors, you know, we had discussions where you know all the actors had suggestions what if my character does this, what if my character does that and all those that we were in accordance with we incorporated those thoughts into the script so they already when they came in they felt like those characters like they were adding a lot to it.
Then, as you play along and the shoot continues and they start to react with one another, that grew, that grew more than has happened to me sometimes on other films. They all got each other, they were all really good. We were in a beautiful setting in the Dominican Republic, we were sort of in our own little Baya Hasoon (the town in the film) you know, sort of kept from the world. So we sort of mimicked eventually what was happening in the movie, and it does come across, I think that family does come across very well”.
The final question that I had a chance to ask Adrian Grünberg was a two-parter. How much did he know about the Aztec god Tlaloc and were the warning signs of images of Tlaloc on the walls in the city the rig warnings for outsiders or what were they?
“This is not a sign for outsiders really, which goes back to the idea of this is an inside place right? So this Tlaloc mythology, once this Black Demon came up appeared or surfaced maybe a year and a half or two years ago. In the story that’s when people started reacting to it and as a matter of respect to Tlaloc they paint these things, they made these murals, the shrine. So, it’s not to keep anybody outside from coming in, it’s to keep themselves safe and to allow as the king says in one situation “let Tlaloc finish its work”. To allow Tlaloc, which is a very powerful and well-known god in Mexico to do what it does and to do what it’s doing. It is not trying to kill anybody, it is trying to get rid of this giant thing that is spewing oil into the ocean, that’s all it is trying to do and that’s why it summons “The Black Demon”.
“In terms of how much I knew, I know, I know a lot about Tlaloc or enough about the Mexican mythology, I am Mexican, I lived in Mexico so this is part of the culture here and the culture here lives between the prehispanic and the Hispanic worlds combined. So and it’s very important here both the Myan and the Aztec cultures and the Taltecs it’s very present everywhere. So it was one of the main things that attracted me to the script and made sure I brought out even more. The prayer to Tlaloc is an actual prayer that used to be said to Tlaloc here in Mexico and that was one of the main things that I was very interested in the script”.
The Avenue will release the action film THE BLACK DEMON in theatres exclusively on April 28, 2023.