Roger Kumble reveals how they made the sequel "a little more risque" and how it felt to reunite with Selma Blair.
When the first "After" movie dropped in 2019, it did so with a PG-13 rating -- a move which seemed at odds with the sexually charged fan fiction stories on which the films would be based.
Enter director Roger Kumble, who took over the franchise for sequel "After We Collided" after writer Anna Todd hoped to recapture the spirit of one of Kumble's previous films, "Cruel Intentions." That meant more explicit sex scenes, a little nudity and, naturally, an R rating.
"I knew Jen Gibgot in the business for years, the producer, so I grabbed lunch with her and Anna Todd and they were kind of telling me what they learned on the first movie and where they really wanted the second movie to kind of return to the book," Kumble told TooFab. "And Anna's like, 'We want to make it like Cruel Intentions,' and I'm like, 'Well I can do that.' I've done that."
Kumble said he looks at his movie and the one before it kind of like the first two "Alien" films, which transitioned from tense horror to action spectacle. "It's a sequel, but it's a completely different experience, you know?" That's how I viewed this," he explained.
When he heard they wanted to amp up the sexuality in the film, Kumble first reached out to star Josephine Langford.
"I think I sent her an e-mail first, and I was like, 'Hey, I'm your new director. I'm 54. I have three kids, a wife ... we want to make this movie a little more risque and this is going to be a collaborative process,'" he explained. "The most important thing is that actors to feel safe and they were appreciative of that."
"My background was from theater so I kind of like, we're going to get together, all of us, with Anna and we're gonna go through these scenes and we're going to talk them through and see like what's gonna work and what's not gonna work and how are we going to tell this story," he continued.
He said the decision they all came to was that it was more "titillating if you don't show, as opposed to show," even bringing up the lack of nudity or explicit sex in "Cruel Intentions."
"It's just a lot of implication and it's the same with this," he added. "I don’t need to do that. It will take me out of the film, actually. So it was literally a collaboration with all of us."
Speaking of "Cruel Intentions," working on "After We Collided" also provided the opportunity for Kumble to reunite with one of its stars, Selma Blair. The director said production worked with him to find a way for her to film, amid her ongoing battle with multiple sclerosis.
"She's one of my oldest friends, and literally I think the day I got offered the movie, I was attending the MS event which she was honored," he explained. "So after being there that night, I called the producers and I was like, 'She has to be in the movie. She has to be.'"
"I said we're not going to film this part, we’re gonna slug it, we're gonna shoot it at her house months later when she's healthy, and just work our way around it so she could be in the film," he added. "We managed to pull it off. And it was a small role, but you know it's a pivotal and I just love her to pieces."
"After We Collided" is in theaters and on-demand now.