Stephen Gevedon: The ‘Session 9’ Retrospective Interview

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Making Movies the Fast Way

via USA Films

1428 Elm: Session 9 is a dialogue driven movie and not about jump scares. It is a slow burn masterpiece. Did you get notes from the studio at any time saying, “Pick up the pace?” I know that your speech about Satanic ritual abuse was one thing that they wanted Anderson to shorten but thankfully he chose to ignore that suggestion. 

SG: Again, thank you for the kind words. I do remember some chatter about cutting that speech a bit. But that’s all I had heard. The concern for USA was getting the picture in the can.

Early on we hit a speed bump and when you are working on such a tight budget and quick schedule you can’t really afford to muck about a lot while you are shooting. So, due to the low budget and quick tempo we didn’t have a lot of time for involved story meetings.

Also, they knew what they were getting when they bought the script. And that’s what we shot. As I recall my interaction with the studio was quite pleasant and encouraging. Barring the usual frisson between art and commerce.

1428 Elm: I read that you weren’t a fan of the title Session 9. What did you want to call the film?

SG: Really? That’s news to me. If I did have another title in mind it has drifted off in to the ether.

The Cult of Session 9

Stephen Gevedon – Session 9. 2 – Courtesy of USA Films

1428 Elm: Why do you think the film has become a cult favorite? Obviously, no one sets out to make that type of movie. It just evolves into that niche.

SG: I have no earthly idea. I love the fact that it’s a cult hit and moreover, I love that people like the movie and that we were able to succeed in whatever limited manner in achieving our goals for the picture.

Of course, I’d like it to have done better in the box office here and have it have an even bigger audience but what are you gonna do?

1428 Elm: Did you study psychology? There are many layers to this film. It is steeped in understanding personality disorders and you seemed to have a grasp on the subject matter. 

SG: Nope. Studio Art and German Lit in college. Brad and I read a few articles and did a little research and we were keen on being accurate in our depictions. The internet can be useful.

Success and Randomness

via USA Films

1428 Elm: This film has held up well over sixteen years. What do you think is the key to its success?

SG: Well, that’s another one of those questions that if I knew the answer to I would be – (big echo effect) “Ruler of The Universe!”  If I had to say, I think it isn’t a picture of its time in that it doesn’t rely on tropes that are anachronistic.

I think about other movies that hold up, and I don’t mean to imply that Session 9 sits on par with these pictures I use them simply as a comparison, like Dog Day Afternoon, The Godfather, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Alien etc. The one thing that I think all of those movies I just listed have in common is strong characterization built by confident and elegant performances.

Session 9 would have suffered greatly if we had not had the good fortune of the graceful power of the performances of our cast. They really all managed to, as Peter O’Toole would say when talking about the essence of acting, “…make the word flesh.”

1428 Elm: An offbeat, random question but since we have discussed music before, the score was very effective and haunting. It definitely set the mood. Did you have a hand in selecting the Climax Golden Twins?

SG: Back to my music career, Rob Millis, one third of Climax Golden Twins and I were in a band together in college and we are in fact collaborating on an album.

Something much more traditional than what he does and did with CGT. With that I was insistent that Rob or CGT do the score.

Back to this grinding relentless oppressive feeling I felt that Millis and CGT could be instrumental in helping to achieve that.