How Netflix turned the Fear Street trilogy into a summer movie moment


To keep its role straight, Fear Street star Kiana Madeira held a large five-star binder mostly on her set. As part of Netflix’s experimental slasher trilogy, Madeira played two different roles in three films, each set for a different period. The schedule was even more challenging, and the schedule was incredibly compact: all three films were filmed together in a few months. So his binder played a crucial role. Inside were all three manuscripts, and he wrote in them constantly.

“Every time we finished the scene, I wrote notes about how it went, how my character felt, how I felt, where I think the story ended in terms of tone and trajectory,” he says. “My binder really helped keep me organized and on this path.” The binder remained even in nature; With the 90s still life of the first film, he decorated it with pictures from old magazines.

Fear Street represents something new for Netflix, possibility to combine TV streaming and summer horror movie. Based on RL Stine’s Young Adult Book Series, the films tell a related story about an anxious city that spans generations from the 90s, before the transition to the 1970s and finally 1666. To make the trilogy an event, Netflix devised an interesting publishing strategy: new films were released weekly for three the last chapter was released today.

Kiana Madeira in Fear Street Part 3: 1666.
Image: Netflix

Leigh Janiak directed all three films and says he was first approached working a Fear Street series in 2017. At the time, the idea was vague; the producers originally wanted to shoot the trilogy at once and then release them theatrically during the year. Janiak was taken on board to help reinforce the details of this vision. “It was a really comprehensive search to find the right person with a clear vision and work ethic and ambition that can take years of process,” says Fear Street producer Kori Adelson.

Janiak says she’s excited about the concept, but quickly realized the challenge: “I was like,“ How the hell are we really doing this? The answer seems to be preparation. “I lived in these movies for a good year and a half, two years before we started filming,” he explains. It involved creating a TV-style writers ’room where the group covered the plot and came up with ways to combine the three films in a sensible way. The main focus, he says, was to ensure that each movement was able to stand on its own while also working in a larger narrative arc.

“The biggest thing I thought was how you feel the audience is happy that they are happy with every movie, but still want to learn more in a way they don’t feel the trick. There was a lot of time to think about the first and second end of the movie,” Janiak explains. wanted it to feel like you must watch this next movie because you got no answers. “

All that preparation and world construction were helpful at the start of production. Three films were shot for 106 days in Atlanta. Because some of the actors had recurring roles or had multiple characters, the films were shot in order for efficiency: 1994 was done first and then 1666, and then 1978. The roles of Madeira were particularly important; he played the hero Deena in the 90s as well as a major role in the 17th century. (Saying more would be a spoiler.)

Part of the focus on efficiency meant economy with, for example, reusing kits. One example is a mall that appears prominently in several movies. It helped build visual parallels and connections between different films, but also “created an effective production plan,” as Adelson describes. “It was really smooth considering how much we had to do,” Madeira adds.

It was an exhaustive process that often involved shooting days of 12 hours or more. But Madeira believes that immersing himself in the world and his characters helped improve his performance. “I think because the experience was so condensed and we shot them all back, we were just in it from start to finish,” he says. “We didn’t have time to review the experience. I was able to really keep going through that intensity all the time, even though I thought if we had time in between, I might have thought about it too much. We didn’t have time to do anything. “Janiak describes these few months” as living in a black hole; there is no past, there is no future, there is only Fear Street in this moment.”

The last part of the puzzle was to plan a publishing strategy. Although it was originally designed for theaters, Netflix eventually took over the trilogy, creating more opportunities for experimentation. “It felt very free to be in a place where they were not taken into account in the old rules,” Janiak says. The idea was to create a moment by utilizing seemingly different concepts of viewing and raging viewing concepts. In practice, it meant some space for each film while ensuring that viewers reached the next installment relatively quickly. “It felt like the week was exactly the right time between movies when we got to keep up the pace, but we can’t cannibalize the film before that,” Adelson says.

As more and more companies move to streaming and the future of theaters remains a question mark, it is likely that we will see similar experiments for new films and series. For Janiak, despite all the craftsmanship Fear Street, he wants to try it again in the future.

“I’m not a mother myself, but other women I know have talked to me about labor and childbirth. It’s awful, but then you have this baby and a week later you’re like, ‘Oh, I should do this again.’ I feel like I’ve now completed part of the workforce, and we’re after the first few weeks, ”he says,“ It was really challenging, but it was such a neat, fun opportunity that I would probably do it again. I can’t believe I’m saying it out loud. But yes, I guess. “

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