3/01/2012


If you've seen the movie Primer, then you know it's a stunning but confusing film about time travel, friendship, and the corruption of power. While it's an incredible movie, it does leave a lot of unanswered questions. In doing some research on it, I discovered that the background of the movie is almost as interesting as the movie itself. Here are 10 little bits of trivia you probably didn't know about this awesome movie.

1. No Time Machine - The phrase "time machine" is never stated in the movie. The time machine is always simply referred to as "the box."
2 Carruth Did Almost Everything - Shane Carruth played the lead character Aaron, and did the writing, directing, cinematography, editing, post production, and even the soundtrack for the movie himself.
3. Carruth Was An Accidental Actor - Carruth never intended to play the lead character Aaron, but grew frustrated with the actors who auditioned to play Aaron. He said they were too theatrical, and couldn't play the role as realistically as he wanted.
4. Only One Actor - Carruth actually hired only one professional actor, David Sullivan, who plays Abe. The rest of the roles were played by family members and friends.
4. Carruth Didn't Want to Make Movies - Carruth never intended to be a filmmaker. He actually wanted to write novels, but he discovered his writing had no internal dialogue, and was very visual. It made a better screenplay than a novel.
5. Granger is a Mystery -  One of the pivotal moments in the film is when a character named Granger suddenly appears, having traveled back in time. Why Granger went back in time and was following Abe and Aaron is never explained in the movie, and Carruth has admitted he's not entirely sure himself.
6. Florescent Lights - While learning to be a filmmaker, Carruth was told that he couldn't film in florescent light because it would flicker on screen. He decided to try it, anyway, since florescent light was something he wanted in the movie. The advice turned out to be wrong.
7. Rated R - Both the DVD cover and the opening rating graphic show the movie is rated R, which is odd to those who've seen the movie, since there's no nudity, violence, or profanity. In reality, Primer is rated PG-13, and it wouldn't even have gotten that if a character hadn't said a derogatory term for homosexuals.
8. The Movie Was Ultra Cheap, But Not That Cheap - Carruth was often quoted saying that the movie only cost $7,000 to make, which not entirely accurate. The cost of filming the movie was only $7,500, which was mainly for camera rental and film. To those who doubted he could shoot the movie for that price, Carruth gave a breakdown on his forum. Carruth used such tricks as taking washing machine parts out of trash, filming on location without permission, and buying hard hats from Home Depot for the final scene, then returning them for a refund.  However, that doesn't include other costs like the conversion from 16mm to 32mm, which cost him $28,000.
9. No Deleted Scenes - Carruth says there are no deleted scenes. Because he couldn't afford to waste film, virtually every minute that was shot was used. Carruth would rehearse scenes hundreds of times so they could get the scene in one take.
10. The Sound of the Box - The sound of the time machine is a mechanical grinder and a car engine.

Related:
10 Things You Didn't Know About "Doctor Who"
10 Things You Didn't Know About "Gattaca"
5 Great Scifi Movies That Cost Under $1 Million to Make

Did you learn anything new about PRIMER?
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6 comments:

AlexJCavanaugh said...

This keeps coming up in my NetFlix queue and I bump something else ahead of it every time. That is low budget - even lower than Monsters. Never wanted to act or direct? Sounds like my author career...

Nigel Mitchell said...

I would definitely watch it. One day soon, I'll be posting my non-spoiler guide to watching "Primer," but here's one of my big tips. When you first start watching, you will find the dialogue confusing and scenes extremely dull. But halfway through, there's a twist that makes you realize everything you thought you were seeing was wrong, everything you thought was unnecessary rambling was important, and you will want to watch it again to see it with new eyes. It's one of those rare films that challenges your perceptions of narrative like "Memento."

Short version, watch this movie.

M Pax said...

I haven't seen this yet. I'll have to look for it.

rainestorm said...

Give Primer a chance, Alex. I stumbled across it several years ago and it is nothing short of compelling.

Unlike Monsters, which I still haven't managed to get through. So tedious.

victorinox126 said...

 It is a complete and utter mindfuck, ergo, Awesomeness is ensured. Go Find it!

Sci-Fi Gene said...

This article should be retitled "Ten things you would have known about Primer if you could make out a single word the cast are saying..."

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