The Pyramid hit theaters in America and internationally near the end of 2014 and through a very limited release it still managed to earn almost fifteen million dollars in ticket sales. The horror-thriller follows an archaeological team attempting to unlock the secrets of a lost pyramid only to find themselves hunted by an ancient, insidious creature. The Pyramid has been on all VOD platforms since April 17th, but now movie collectors who still enjoy a good DVD or Blu-ray disk can purchase their copy of the film beginning May 5th.
In promotion of this title’s upcoming distribution, I was lucky enough to talk to the director, Gregory Levasseur, in regards to The Pyramid, which also turns out to be his directorial debut. Not bad as the first go in the director’s chair, huh? With an extremely credible horror resume behind him, a highly debated film with an out of the box plot and a smorgasbord of noteworthy figures involved with this project, Mr. Levasseur was more than willing to give me some honest answers.
Find our interview just below! And don’t forget to pre-order your copy of The Pyramid online or get it in stores everywhere on May 5th!
HS: Previously you worked on horror titles like The Hills Have Eyes, Mirrors and Piranha 3D, but The Pyramid was your first go as the man in charge. What was this experience like for you?
GL: Well, it’s very gratifying to be “the man in charge.” Being a director is the best job on Earth and when you love movies, it’s just a dream to be able to make your own. It’s an indescribable feeling to see so many great people dedicated to you.
HS: How gratifying is it for you that your directorial debut has been so well received?
GL: I wouldn’t qualify my directorial debut as “so well received.” As Above/So Below released a few months before The Pyramid and that hurt a lot of the release. Some journalists said it was plagiarism, but we shot The Pyramid one year before As Above/So Below started production. So it’s very difficult to read critics smashing the movie for this reason when you’re not responsible for it.
HS: Did you ever find it difficult to direct your talent in such a dark, cramped place or did shooting the movie as a found footage feature help with squeezing people into the pyramid?
GL: I don’t see The Pyramid as a real found footage film. It would have been very frustrating to have a shaky camera all along and not seeing anything. I wanted to explore every corner of the pyramid. That’s why I decided to not respect the rules of the found footage genre and use different camera angles. But you’re right, I kept a documentary aspect and somehow it helps. The corridors or the shafts were very narrows and it was very difficult for the actors or the DOP to progress in this environment, but at the end it also gives this claustrophobic feeling and puts the actors in great conditions because they truly are in bad postures and you can feel it on screen.
HS: Not many films in any genre right now are using the backdrop of the Egyptian Pyramids. What made you decide that this particular story from Daniel Meersand and Nick Simon was the right one for you to tackle?
GL: Exactly for the reason you mentioned. I tried to remember a movie taking place in a pyramid dealing with the Egyptian mythology and I couldn’t find one. I was very surprised that no one uses the backdrop of Ancient Egypt, it’s such a great field for stories. It’s what I tried to do by developing the backstory of this pyramid and using the hieroglyph as clues for the characters to discover what is haunting the place.
HS: With this movie you worked with horror stars Ashley Hinshaw (“True Blood”) and Denis O’Hare (“American Horror Story”) as well as legendary producer Alexandre Aja (P2, Maniac, Horns). How did you assemble these fantastic members of your team?
GL: Alex and I are assembled since a long time now! We’ve known each other since we were 10-years-old. I’ve always worked with him and it was great to have Alex as producer for my first job as a director. FOX International Productions had also been very helpful when we had to cast the actors and we got along very quickly on the talents we chose. It wasn’t easy because we had a tight schedule and we couldn’t delay the shooting. We finished to cast one week before principal photography.
HS: In your own words, how would you describe The Pyramid so that they go out and buy it on DVD or stream it on VOD?
GL: Indiana Jones meets The Descent. (this is the best answer, btw)
HS: Will you continue to work predominantly in the horror genre? What has The Pyramid taught you that will help to improve your next project?
GL: There is definitely plenty of different stories I would like to develop in the genre. The Pyramid was a great challenge and now that I had fun doing action and survival scenes, I would like to focus on something more intimate, more psychological.