The Forever Purge writer James DeMonaco reveals that the film was originally conceived to be a love story and talks about his epic finale that was never shot but hopes it can be in a future Purge film.
The Forever Purge is the fifth installment of the popular horror franchise and writer, producer, and director, James DeMonaco has been there from the start but wanted to do something different on this film. Fueled by the socio-political climate, DeMonaco set out to tell a love story that would have centered around the chaos that was unfolding down on the U.S. / Mexico border and how those ideas morphed into The Forever Purge.
DeMonaco also talks about wanting to take the horror franchise out of the urban setting and shooting in the daytime for The Forever Purge. He also dives into how classic Westerns helped inspire the film’s look and themes. The Illuminerdi recently had a chance to talk to The Forever Purge writer to gain some insight into the latest film the Purge franchise.
The Forever Purge Was Initially A Love Story
The Illuminerdi: Hey, James. First of all, amazing job on The Forever Purge. I love the Purge franchise. When did you start planting those seeds for The Forever Purge? When did you want to explore this idea?
James DeMonaco: It came during the border crisis a couple of years ago, in the previous administration, the chaos down on the border. I always say that I know some people think I’ve gotten too political with the franchise, but I oddly can’t help in the current American sociopolitical climate to let the chaos that’s unfolding seep through my pen and into The Purge scripts, because The Purge, I always say, is a very political conceit. It’s almost unavoidable, it gets in there, I can’t help it. Even if the studio’s telling me, stop it, stop the political stuff, DeMonaco, I can’t help that it keeps seeping in.
This is a weird thing, but I wanted to do a love story. That was the initial idea, and the studio was very scared. I’m like, no, I want to do a love story about a Mexican couple immigrating to America and trying to explore the American dream: was it still alive? Was it still alive for them? That’s what occurred. That’s what came out of them, I guess, the border crisis seeped in.
The studio was very scared that I wanted to explore a love story, so until I came up with The Forever Purge conceit, which is that American’s don’t stop purging because it’s like a virus that can’t be contained, it’s like a vampire who tasted blood and can’t stop, then they were happy. They were finally happy that I wasn’t just doing this grand love story, but that was the original seed, man. It was a love story.
Classic Westerns Inspired The Look And Tone Of The Forever Purge
That’s amazing. This film also feels almost like a throwback to the wild, wild west days, that lawless era, and those old-school westerns. Can you talk to me about how some of that may have influenced the film as well? Especially in that region.
James DeMonaco: Yes, absolutely. Sebastian Lemercier, my producer, with who I work very creatively, knew if we were doing five, we wanted to change the visual palette, we said, we have to get out of the urban landscape. We got to open this up. We also knew we wanted to maybe do something during the day, and we had the colors like rust and yellow in our head, so I knew I wanted to go down towards Texas and New Mexico, and it started to feel like we were doing a Neo-Western. It’s weird that you bring that up. That was the influence.
It’s like Sebastian, he’s a Frenchman, he loves westerns. He’s introduced me to great Western, so we became obsessed with the look of Westerns. I’m so happy you picked that up. Not many people pick up that we were actually trying something completely, visually new.
Then with the cowboy hats, we really were playing into the Neo, new Irish Western that was unfolding, but that was also born out of the need to, I didn’t want to keep delivering to the audience, my fear with the franchise is just repeating yourself at some point, it’s like, how do we keep breaking this? And we have to break it both narratively and visually, so I think that led to this kind of Western feel.
[Click on Page 2 below for more from Demonaco on The Forever Purge.]