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65 directors on making dinosaurs scary again

For too long dinosaur movies have been about awe and wonder well Scott Beck and Bryan Woods wanted to change that with their new action movie 65.

Scott Beck and Bryan Woods interview

When people think of dinosaur films, they inevitably think of the Jurassic Park movies, specifically the first one. Directed by Steven Spielberg, Jurassic Park is a film that goes out of its way to leave you in awe of its dinosaurs.

The same is not true for the new action movie 65. 65, starring Adam Driver and Ariana Greenblatt, wants to remind you just how terrifying dinosaurs would actually be. This is hardly surprising, though, when we consider the film was written and directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, who are probably best known for penning one of the best horror movies of the last decade, A Quiet Place.

Ahead of 65’s release, we were lucky enough to sit down and talk with Beck and Woods about their new monster movie and ask them how they felt about making the anti-Jurassic Park, being brave enough to make a movie about a man fighting dinosaurs, and what they learned from writing A Quiet Place.

TDF: I want to start off by congratulating you because you’ve lived every 12-year-old dream and made a movie about dinosaurs, and an excellent one at that!

Scott Beck and Bryan Woods: [Laugh] Thank you!

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TDF: While watching this film, I was struck by how it’s essentially the anti-Jurassic Park in that it doesn’t want you to feel awe when you see dinosaurs. It wants you to be scared of them. Can you talk a little about stripping dinosaurs of Spielberg’s wonder?

Scott Beck: Well, you kind of set up perfectly in that we wanted 65 to make dinosaurs scary again. That was kind of the mandate, and having a producer like Sam Raimi in your corner certainly helped.

We felt like there’s this whole period of hundreds of millions of years where dinosaurs roamed the earth, and the idea of humans all of a sudden being thrust into a situation where they have to fight them in this crazy landscape, that’s nothing like our own, kind of became the perfect pressure cooker to set a movie in.

It’s [a setting] that’s steeped in the reality of these dinosaurs actually existing at one point, and I think it got our imagination going in terms of how can we make this a really exciting roller coaster ride that also has a heartbeat underneath it with Adam [Driver’s] and Ariana’s character in a similar way to what we were trying to crack out with a quiet place.

Scott Beck and Bryan Woods interview

TDF: The elevator pitch for the film is basically ‘Adam Driver fights dinosaurs,’ which is an image I’m sure will bring a smile to a lot of people’s faces. However, you treat the materials super seriously. There are no sardonic moments or action movie one-liners. How important was it for you guys to capture the realism of how scary it would be to Fight Dinosaurs?

Bryan Woods: 65 is it’s like this popcorn movie about grief, where this character is going to have this like maximalist dinosaur background but this like kind of very intimate, painful story that we’re telling.

I think the challenge and the fun of working with someone like Adam Driver on a project like this, which is ostensibly a B movie with a pulpy concept, is watching him bring his artistic instruments to it.

So we’ve created this maximalist canvas and a very intimate character story. And being able to use Adam Driver’s particular instrument as a virtuoso actor in this context was really exciting and really challenging.

I think that’s exactly why we showed up every day with big smiles on our faces we were kind of combining a serious dramatic actor with what would traditionally be considered a B movie.

Scott Beck and Bryan Woods

TDF: You both wrote one of the biggest horror movies of the last decade, a Quiet place. Were there any lessons you learned while writing that film that you brought to 65?

Scott Beck: I think there’s there’s a superficial lesson that we learned in that we love kind of taking bold, wild swings and writing something that isn’t necessarily being asked for by anybody.

But you know, we’re going to try for it anyway and do it. I think, you know, the success of a Quiet Place was something we didn’t take lightly and right in the wake of that, instead of looking at like doing sequels or hopping on like a Lucasfilm franchise,

For us, it really was about going off and incubating in our writers’ room, something that the 12-year-olds in us wanted to see on the big screen and that essentially became 65.

If you think 65 sounds great, you should check out our list of the best science fiction movies. We also have a list of all the new movies coming in 2023, including Oppenheimer, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3, and Evil Dead Rise.