Jonathon Hensleigh Interview, Welcome to the Jungle

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We had a chance to interview Jonathon Hensleigh the director of Welcome To the Jungle. Incomprehensible fear and bloodshed awaits a group of fortune seekers when WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE debuts as an unrated DVD November 13. In classic Blair Witch style, WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE has been coined a “fresh and autonomous mix” (FantasyFilmfest.com) of cult film favorite Cannibal Holocaust and the legend of Michael Rockefeller’s mysterious 1961 disappearance in New Guinea supposedly at the hands of cannibals.Horrifying to its shocking ending, director Jonathan Hensleigh (The Punisher, Armageddon) and producer Gale Ann Hurd’s (The Terminator, Aliens)

WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE is a gruesome tale of a ruthless expedition. The nightmare begins when two young couples, fueled by the prospect of the Rockefeller fortune, decide to track the route of the ill-fated adventurer into the depths of the unforgiving New Guinea jungle. Their excitement quickly turns to sheer terror as they realize they are not alone and that horrors beyond their wildest imaginations will be their only reward. Featuring an audio commentary with writer/director Jonathan Hensleigh and a making-of documentary.

Q: Hey Jonathan thanks for taking time our of your busy schedule to ask some questions for the fans. First of all let me ask how you got involved in filmmaking?

A: George Lucas read a spec. script I wrote in 1989 and hired me to write “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.

Q: When looking at the film, Welcome to the Jungle, of course Cannibal Holocaust comes to mind but what was it that made you sit down and actually write this story?

A: I wanted to make “Lord of the Flies” for adults. I had a basic idea of the plot but figured most of it out on the set with the actors. There was no script.

Q: Did you watch a lot of those old Italian cannibal films to get some good ideas for what you wanted to do in this project?

A: Yes, and you will see a lot of familiar iconography throughout our film.

Q: Was it hard to sell something like this to potential buyers because of the reputation that films like Cannibal Ferox, Cannibal Holocaust and films of this nature tend to have?

A: Not at all.

Q: Where did you film the movie?

A: Fiji.


Q: Was it hard to cast because in a film like this you need fresh faces but you also need extremely talented people to pull off the realism? Also where did you round up all the cannibal actors from?

A: Yes, I looked at close to a thousand young actors from the US and Australia before finding the right group. Fijian dancers who perform live traditional dances on the island played the cannibals.

Q: What were some of the biggest obstacles during filming?

A: Shooting everything in 12 days.

Q: Have you always had an interest in doing a horror film? It seems like you have done every other type of film before stepping into this genre.

A: I’m interested in good stories irrespective of genre.

Q: Do you plan on making anymore horror films in the future?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you have a favorite horror film or director?

A: I’m a big fan of Dario Argento’s early pictures.

Q: What are some of your upcoming projects that you are currently working on?

A: Before the strike I was writing “Nine Lives” for Jerry Bruckheimer and a Fox TV pilot based on “The Verdict,” the Sidney Lumet film starring Paul Newman.

Q: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us about Welcome to the Jungle. Do you have anything else you would like to plug or say to the fans?

A: I hope they enjoy the film. Thank you.

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