'Hostel' Director Not Hostile to DVD3 Apr, 2006 By: Brendan Howard
Eli Roth on the set of Hostel.
Before writing and directing Cabin Fever and Hostel, Eli Roth worked in Hollywood for 10 years doing budgets and scheduling. That meant he knew where to put Hostel's $4 million product budget to get $47.3 million at the box office.
He's aiming for the same success with the $28.95 DVD, coming April 18 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Once the movie's done, it's all in the extras, according to Roth, and Hostel has four commentaries, a lengthy making-of documentary and a multi-angle featurette.
“I'm so involved that when I'm writing a movie, I'm planning DVD extras,” Roth said. “[On the set,] I'll find myself saying, ‘Oh, let's do this again for the DVD.’
First are the commentaries. Cabin Fever had five, and Hostel has four. Why so many?
“I don't feel like anyone would sit down and listen to all four [at once],” he said. “But I want a DVD that you can own for five years and always have something to listen to.”
Roth participates in every commentary and explains at the top of each what it covers. “I like people to know what they're in for,” he said. “If they want to hear fun stories, the actors. If they want stories from Quentin Tarantino, then the executive producers.”
Roth likes his making-of documentaries to break from the normal talking-head material. With brother Gabriel directing and deftly editing, Roth said the three-part “Hostel Dissected” follows the film shoot from start to finish, with “some nudes” for the young guys and a candid look at how he dealt with sudden success after Cabin Fever.
“I wanted it to be different than the fluff pieces, where the crew will come in and sit down in the same chair and get the same interviews,” he said. “I know you have to do that for ‘Entertainment Tonight,' but people don't want that on DVD.”
The documentary also looked at the “bubble-gum gang,” local kids who play dangerous thugs in the film and in the multi-angle featurette, where they smash up a car and two bad guys with bats and bricks.
“That was one of the only things we filmed with three cameras,” he said. “I wish I could have used the whole take in the movie.”
Still, there's only so much room on a DVD, and Roth always has to make cuts. He especially regrets the axing of a quirky featurette on executive producer Scott Spiegel's obsessively complete cereal box collection in his home. “Tarantino goes to Scott's house to get cereal boxes for [backgrounds for] shoots,” he said. “But there are so many lawyers involved, and we have to get clearances.”