Nick Junkersfeld talks about Wrong Turn reboot cinematography, working with his good friend Mike P. Nelson, character name throwbacks, Matthew Modine escaping wasps, and being a badass drummer. Also, Denis Villeneuve, we’re putting out into the universe that you two should collaborate!
Right off the bat, we are introduced to a man driving a car. We can hear the radio. See the pretty foliage outside. A possible homage to Desmond Harrington’s Chris Flynn’ in 2003’s “Wrong Turn.” Directed by Rob Schmidt.
The man in the car is a father looking for his missing daughter, Jennifer Shaw (CHARLOTTE VEGA). He is sent on a wild goose chase to find both her and her friends. And is he ever-ambitious! Seeking answers from anyone to the chief of police, to a rather cranky, inebriated local at a bar.
It fades into SIX MONTHS EARLIER, introducing all of the college kids, as well as a refreshingly diverse and LBGTQ cast. The same trope, however, comes into play. A bunch of kids get stranded on the side of the road, in hostile territory. So, let’s stay at an inn! And let’s get off of the trail, despite multiple warnings, foreboding expressions, and dialogue.
In a unique spin, there’s no title credit until the end of the film. Without any spoilers, let’s just say that the story goes further back into history than just the ragtag Three Finger, etc mountain men. And I do mean history. People who know the land. People who own the land. All in all, you could tell it was Mike and Nick’s passion piece. Everyone put their hearts and souls into it, and if you’re not a fan of overly sexualized gore, etc. This is definitely a movie for you.
Lowkey, I was rooting for two characters in particular to survive the whole ordeal. Watch and find out!
KATIE HARDEN: WHERE ARE YOU ORIGINALLY FROM?
NICK JUNKERSFELD: Uh, Saint Paul, Minnesota. Which is, you may or may not know, the city right next door to this one. In Minneapolis. So, uh. Yeah, I’m from here and I’ve lived here my whole life.
K: WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CAMERA?
N: First camera, was a Canon XL1. Which was a sorta’ [sic] boring, industrial camera. Before cameras got cool, let’s say–before the digital cameras got cool. But I learned a lot on that. It was a sort of professional camera to be used. Even if the image wasn’t great. So, it was actually a good tool that I didn’t really realize at the time.
I went to film school when I was about thirty years old, right when sort of the DSL R, sort of revolution began. Say like when the Canon 5D came out and uh. I bought a Canon 7D1 when I went to film school. Um, so I–that was kind of the first camera I actually owned. And um, you know, you could uh–you could make what we thought of the time were more cinematic [air quotes with fingers] images with it.
N: You could change the lenses in it. And it offered shallow depth of field, depending on the apature you were shooting on and everything. So, um. Yeah. That was the first camera I personally owned. And I thought it was just an awesome tool to learn on. And uh, the image was like head and shoulders above what I could get my hands on before that. So, even though they look kind of awful now. [laughs]
Technology has changed a lot, it’s kind of subtle in the way that it has changed, but it’s just basically nudged the quality closer to film ironically. Sort of coming around full circle in trying to emulate film.
K: WERE YOU GUYS EATEN ALIVE IN THE WOODS?
N: We were attacked by ground wasps a couple of times. At one point–there’s a scene in the film. Right when they decide to take the WRONG TURN, they decide to go down this little rocky crevasse. And uh, we were shooting down in that area with MATTHEW MODINE and we wrapped that and everybody had to walk up. But they had to walk up through this narrow crevasse, it was a single file thing. And there happened to be these almost invisible, like, ground wasp hives. Like, right there. Right at the foot of that, and then somebody walked by and woke it up. And suddenly they’re just swarming!
Matthew Modine somehow just walked past all of it.
See my interview with Nick Junkersfeld above.
What do you think of Wrong Turn? And if you’re a cinematographer or director, were you ever in a band? We want to hear all about it in the comments!