Xavier Gens talks about directing “The Divide”

Xavier Gens is the director of the apocalyptic thriller “The Divide”.  He is known best for directing films “Hitman” and “Frontier(s)”.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Xavier about his new film and working with such an amazing cast.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you come on board to direct the “The Divide”?
Xavier Gens: I was shooting a commercial and received a call from the producer, Darryn Welch.  They sent me the script and said that they were fans of “Frontier(s)” and wanted to get my on board. I told them I really liked the concept but wanted to re-write the script a little to show my vision. I worked with Eron Sheean and Karl Mueller for eight months during casting and pre-production and we came up with the final script for the movie.

MG: The cast is such a broad collection of talent, tell us about how the cast was chosen?
XG: I worked with a fantastic casting director, Lindsey Kroeger.  She has done wonders for a lot of movies and brought us a lot of great ideas.  Since we did the casting only one month before shooting, there weren’t a lot of actors who were available.  I never could have imagined that Michael Biehn would have been available to make this film.  It was a pleasure to be working with such a legend from the 80-90’s, I grew up watching his movies.  I was a little bit impressing in the beginning to direct him on the set.  I put a weapon in his hands and directly I thought of Hicks from “Aliens” and it was really cool.  Everyone on the film was just great.

MG: Like “Frontiers(s)”, “The Divide” is pretty brutal and intense; how do you know when you go to far with your films?
XG: I was frustrated on “Hitman” because I couldn’t do the editing.  For me on “The Divide”, it was very important for me to do exactly what I wanted.  It was like making my first film again.  For me it was important to go much further where I could and bring something new out of this surrounding, almost poetic.  I was great being able to have 100% creative freedom on the project.  It was a great experience for me.

MG: What was your most difficult task in directing “The Divide”?
XG: I think it would have to be shooting in chronological order.  We had our actors on diets during shooting, so they were losing a lot of wait.  For example, Michael Biehn lost 17 pounds during filming.  I also gave a lot of creative freedom to the actors.  I used that a lot to catch the organic tension between the actors on camera.  Lauren German had trouble shooting a few scenes because she never knew what the other actors were going to be doing.  There was some scripted lines but most of it was free-range improv from the actors.

MG: How do you feel that “The Divide” differs production wise from your past films “Frontier(s)” and “Hitman”?
XG: It was a great really.  I got to do exactly what I wanted.  I was really happy with the final cut of the film.  It is hard to get that normally from a studio.  It was fantastic and I look forward to working with those people again.

MG: What do you have planned next?
XG: I am currently working out financing for a movie and waiting to sure what will be next.  I cannot be sure for the moment.  We will see what happens.