Producer Jason Blum: 'FNAF' movie was made for fans of the video game

"Every frame of this film has things to unpack and savor," added director Emma Tammi.

Jason Blum's "Five Nights at Freddy's" opens in theaters and premieres on Peacock Friday. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
1 of 3 | Jason Blum's "Five Nights at Freddy's" opens in theaters and premieres on Peacock Friday. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- M3GAN, The Black Phone and The Invisible Man producer Jason Blum says his new horror movie, Five Nights at Freddy's, was made specifically for fans of the video game, but invites everyone else to join in the fun.

Set to open Friday in theaters, the same day it premieres on the Peacock streaming service, the live-action film follows a troubled night security guard who starts working at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza, an abandoned family restaurant and arcade filled with creepy animatronic animals suspected of killing several young customers.


Emma Tammi -- whose credits include The Wind and Blood Moon -- directed and co-wrote the movie, which stars Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Lail, Piper Rubio, Kat Conner Sterling, Mary Stuart Masterson and Matthew Lillard. It also features monsters from Jim Henson's Creature Shop.

"Hollywood sometimes -- not always -- makes the mistake when they are adapting a super-popular book or a super-popular game to start out the very beginning to not only make a movie that will satisfy fans of the book or the game, but also bring along a larger audience. There's always that pressure," Blum recently told the crowd at New York Comic Con.


"What became clear to us during the development process was that the only way to pull this off was to make the movie for fans of Five Nights at Freddy's and, if anyone else came along, fine."

Tammi didn't know much about the game when Blum first reached out to her to helm the project, but she said she did a "deep dive" into its mythology and started playing the game as she got off the phone with him.

She soon fell in love with the atmosphere of the world and was surprised by the sense of nostalgia she felt as it brought back childhood memories of animatronics she encountered that were intended to be cute, but instead were terrifying.

"This was a no-brainer for a horror movie. It was like a cinematic feast," Tammi said. "I was super- super-stoked to take it on."

Since it would be impossible to incorporate all of the game's lore into a 2-hour movie, Tammi and Blum worked with its creator, Scott Cawthon, to include those elements the fans would most want to see.

"Having his guidance on what he really felt was going to speak to the fans was huge," she said of Cawthon, who co-wrote the screenplay and served as a producer on the movie.


"Every department -- and, of course, Jim Henson's Creature Shop -- was looking for opportunities to make it totally authentic to FNAF and also pull in Easter eggs and pull in little details that we knew would make it rich and, hopefully, every frame of this film has things to unpack and savor."

Hutcherson -- best known for his roles in The Polar Express and The Hunger Games film series -- said he is an enormous fan of FNAF and enthusiastically campaigned for the lead role in the film adaptation of it.

The 31-year-old actor is in almost every scene of the film.

"This movie hangs on him, and we knew that the character of Mike was going to be 'make or break' for this film. We needed someone who felt deeply invested," Tammi said.

"We were really building up character arcs," she added. "He was just diving deep every day and had so much fun."

Piper, who plays Mike's younger sister, Abby, was only 9 when she started working on the film.

"That's about the time that Josh started acting and their bond was so immediate and really resonated on screen and off screen," Tammi said. "It was super-special."


Blum said it was important to use practical props, sets and effects -- as opposed to computer-animated ones -- to make the film look as much like the game as possible, while also grounding it in reality.

"It makes the movie so much better," Blum said. "I can't stand CGI. It throws me out of the movie."

Tammi agreed.

"We started with the original designs that Scott shared with us from the game, so that we knew we were starting with the DNA of these characters that was accurate," she said.

The filmmakers and crew then figured out how to scale up the animatronics so that they are larger than life, making hundreds of other decisions along away such as how the fabric on monsters should look and feel, how close together their eyes should be and what their facial expressions should convey when they emote.

"Every single detail was something that we did a process of trial and error [on] and checked it out and beta-tested it," Tammi said.

"When they were all up on their feet, there was a whole other process of rehearsal," she added. "The characters needed to be all these things, which, of course, they are in the game and, among the fan-base, are loved and feared alike. Jim Henson's company just nailed it."


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