On Monday, July 27, I had the honor of interviewing Ben Young, the Australian director behind Netflix’s latest sci-fi/thriller Extinction, which I also reviewed for Mxdwn Movies (click here). In summary, the movie was a rather generic alien invasion flick that wasted some cool ideas. Even so, I was still excited to meet the man behind the camera.
The first few questions I asked Young were about the making of Extinction. His debut was a low budget horror-thriller released last year called Hounds of Love, with him making a jump from horror to sci-fi. Young revealed this transition was “a major one” since Hounds of Love, based on his description, mostly took place in a room with three people whereas with Extinction, there were more factors to keep track of. Furthermore, I asked Young if working on a small indie movie was comparable to working on a special effects heavy blockbuster; he said that “working on a blockbuster is quite similar to working on an indie except he has more time and more pressure.” When asked about the inspirations he looked at when developing Extinction, Young replied that “he did not want to recycle any particular sci-fi tropes” but still looked at the themes of District 9, Her, and Gattaca when making his movie.
Next, Young and I discussed the actors involved on this movie. As mentioned in my review, I was surprised to see a notably comedic actor such as Michael Peña take on a serious lead role so obviously. Therefore I was curious if working with Peña turned out the way he thought it would. Young responded saying that Peña was “a lovely guy on set who was full of ideas” and that he would “love to work with him again in the future.” In regard to working with Australian actress Emma Booth again, Young said that working with Booth was great and that he hopes to work with her more in the future since “the more that you work with people the more that you can understand them.”
Finally, Young and I discussed what he learned from this movie as a director and about his working relationship with Netflix. Young learned many lessons directing Extinction and one of them is to “trust your department.” Young was also happy that the streaming conglomerate Netflix picked up Extinction, because despite not releasing the movie in theaters, many people can still see it from the comfort of their homes. Subsequently, I asked Young if he would ever want to work with Netflix again to which he stated that he would because they are “very collaborative and filmmaker friendly.”
Overall, I enjoyed interviewing Ben Young. Regardless of my thoughts on his movie, Young is so kind and seems so passionate about his work. Hopefully, he will continue to make movies and improve his craft in the future.
Extinction is currently available to stream on Netflix.