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Exclusive Pics, Q&A: Adam Egypt Mortimer’s “New Year’s Eve” Segment of “HOLIDAYS”!

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Oh, sound stages. They’re always fun to see, as there’s a magical sense of playful imagination walking into one. Today’s set is that of an apartment bathroom, where actress Lorenza Izzo (THE GREEN INFERNO) is screaming, offering us a view of blood and gore. While the filmmakers behind STARRY EYES, AT THE DEVIL’S DOOR, TUSK, THE MIDNIGHT SWIM and more have chosen to tackle holidays like Easter and Halloween, it’s HOLIDAYS producer/director Adam Egypt Mortimer’s choice of New Year’s that FANGO was given an exclusive taste of earlier this summer. With everything from shattered sinks, body parts, and an overall splatter-like atmosphere, it’s apparent that SOME KIND OF HATE helmer Mortimer is ready to blow horror fans away once again, speaking to FANGORIA about what horror fans can expect from his wicked segment…

FANGORIA: Originally, you were on board HOLIDAYS as a producer. What inspired your decision to direct one of HOLIDAYS’ segments yourself?

ADAM EGYPT MORTIMER: Well, as a producer, I was looking for something that we needed in the film once most of the other parts were finished whether it be a linking element or even just another one of the days. So it turned out, when a whole bunch of them came in, nobody had done New Year’s. We had a very open assignment on this, where [filmmakers] could do whatever they wanted. When it came down it, I really felt like [New Year’s]  was what we needed to make this movie a well-rounded year of horrible things happening.

I’m not sure at this point if we’re going to put at the beginning or the end, but it’ll be cool to ring in this year of horrible perversions in HOLIDAYS. So when we didn’t have New Year’s, I came up and said, “I have an idea of what we could do.” I approached Dennis [Widmyer] and Kevin [Kolsch], who had done STARRY EYES and said, “Here are a few different ideas I have for it, and I kind of want it to be more action-oriented; go off and write it.” They came back with a few different ideas and I chose one, so here we are!

FANGORIA: There was a lot of buzz coming off your previous film, SOME KIND OF HATE. Did that whole experience influence your decision to direct NEW YEAR’S yourself?

MORTIMER: I was really excited about doing it. I considered doing one of them early on, but with how many talented directors we had, I just wanted to serve the overall movie. As a filmmaker, there’s nothing better than being able to direct, but I had to fight myself and just step aside for a bit, until later on.

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FANGORIA: A lot of anthologies tend to play it safe and pick directors who we’d expect to see, but HOLIDAYS has such an eclectic group of directors to it. How did you guys decide to ask people like Kevin Smith, Nicholas McCarthy, Sarah Adina Smith and so on?

MORTIMER:  It came from all of the producers each having their own preferences and so on; we each have our own ideas of what we wanted. So we all had people that we wanted and were excited to work with. In some ways, I want to say that we kind of stumbled into amazing people, but at the same time, I think there was always a quality and tone involved. These segments aren’t the typical single-idea, wacky anthology segments; a lot of them have very emotion cores to them and it never comes off silly. Every director had their own favorite holidays and chose ones that they were interested in and had some sort of connection with, so they each felt connected to the holidays they chose. They all saw something funny in it, or something that could be beautiful if you twist it around, it created a cool sensibility.

FANGORIA: What was it about New Year’s that made you want to do that specific holiday?

MORTIMER: I’ve always been interested in New Year’s in general, because it’s so full of anxiety and the things that make me personally stressed out. I was thinking about that and how I could apply that to the story with a more intense,  more violent kind of stress; it’s all amplified. There’s this pressure of “I need to go out and a great time tonight because it’s the biggest party of the year.” What’s funny is that you never do; it’s always this disappointing thing.

When I was talking to Kevin and Dennis about the story, Dennis said he had went on a first date on New Year’s and it was this weird, awkward experience, so that became the seed of the idea: a first date on New Year’s going terribly wrong. Plus, there’s also that thing with New Year’s where we’re all like “This is the year I’m going to turn my life around!” We make those kinds of promises to ourselves, to be who we want to be, so there’s that horrible anxiety to it all. We never live up to those promises to ourselves and other people; it’s always a bit of tragedy and failure. All of those elements contributed into a short, very vicious segment. I always start with what makes me feel awful.

FANGORIA: Being one of the producers of the film, was it easy to give that role up while directing a segment yourself?

MORTIMER: I had to give that up while directing, but when I look at the footage, I can get into an argument with Adam the director. [laughs]

FANGORIA: You’d basically be Tyler Durden at that point.

MORTIMER: [laughs] Yeah. What’s also important and neat is seeing all of these segments brought in, so we can try to fit them into this overall piece and serve the film the best that we can. None of the other directors have to do that; they just go off and make their segment. Whereas with me being one of the producers, it helped me with deciding what would fit in and make the overall story stronger.

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Look for more exciting announcements and exclusive coverage of HOLIDAYS, including an interview with star Lorenza Izzo, in 2016.

About the author
Jerry Smith
A lifelong genre fanatic, Smith loves all things Carpenter and plays a mean game of hide and seek. Currently the Editor In Chief of Icons of Fright, Jerry hails from the dead center of California and changes diapers on his off time.
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