COMPLEX: What were the kinds of movies that influenced you or influenced your take on the film?
COLIN TREVORROW: I was not a kid who watched every movie. I watched a very small number of movies over and over again. My parents were very smart in the way that they let me watch “R” rated movies. They let me watch Stand By Me, but first they made sure it wasn’t a bad movie. They cared more about quality and what was being put out in front of my eyes. I didn’t watch horror movies when I was a kid. I didn’t watch any bad movies. [Laughs.] There are a lot of movies everyone has seen that I haven’t seen and they’re like “Seriously? You’ve never seen Monster Squad?” No, I haven’t.
The movies I was watching were like, Back to the Future, Star Wars, and The Goonies. And some of the movies that I’d watched like 30 times, like Flight of the Navigator, aren’t perfect movies. There was a point when I was talking to the writer of Batteries Not Included and he was asking me why I liked that movie. [Laughs.] I said I was fascinated with it because that was a movie about poor people who are dealing with something alien and fantastic and that to me that was amazing. There was something so scrappy and real and awesome about those movies. Now, everyone in movies is always rich and they’re always beautiful and graceful-looking.
I think sometimes it takes going back to someone that knew you earlier in your life to point out things about you that may have steered you in an unwanted direction.
Recapturing that scrappy, junky, real feeling was part of what my intention was. We used these old lenses and, even though it’s shot digitally, it gives the film a different feel and it almost makes you visually time travel a little. You see these shots of Mark [Duplass] and it takes you back some time. I think my inspirations are pretty clear.