Safety Not Guaranteed’s Colin Trevorrow on his cult movie

Safety Not Guaranteed director Colin Trevorrow on creating “cult classic” sci-fi on a small budget

Scott Pilgrim’s Aubrey Plaza in Safety Not Guaranteed

If you haven’t heard of Safety Not Guaranteed, you would have heard of Colin Trevorrow. His name was everywhere at the tail end of 2012 when we all thought he was the one to steer Star Wars into Episode 7 and beyond. It turned out he was talking about remaking Flight Of The Navigator, another beloved property, but his latest sci-fi venture has plenty of Star Wars love and references in it.

Safety Not Guaranteed centers on a classified ad seeking someone to travel back in time with. When an intern on a magazine spots the potential story in this crazy advert, he takes a couple of colleagues with him to track down the man responsible. However, things become less clear when it seems like the story could be true….

The movie has already done amazingly good box office sums for a project made for only $750k, raking in over $4-million in the States. To celebrate its release in UK cinemas, we chatted to director Colin Trevorrow…

Safety Not Guaranteed has the makings of a cult classic and it’s already being hailed as one by those who have seen it. Was that always your intention?

For me, having grown up watching a lot of cult classics, it feels like one of the ultimate goals to do something that’s successful not because it had so much marketing money or because it had huge stars in it but because it seems to capture something that people are thinking about right now in this moment so I’m honored to be given that title – cult classic – I love it.

There are moments in the movie that seem straight out of an Amblin film…

I think one of the reasons they don’t make movies like that anymore or at least have moments like that is because it can be really cheesy and you can take a risk like that and really get burned and essentially, because we had nothing to lose, there was a feeling of freedom to do something that made us feel happy. I think Aubrey (Plaza) and all those characters represent something about our generation that is very cynical and disillusioned and doesn’t really feel like there’s anything here for them, so we thought if we’re going to say anything about that we’ll say the universe has a couple of tricks up its sleeve, like don’t give up yet.

What’s the trick to shooting a sci-fi film on a low budget?

It was every bit a challenge to make a film on a low budget in general, even taking sci-fi out of the equation. $750,000 is essentially nothing so just focusing on anything beyond getting the people to say the words and having it record that – it comes down to really fundamental needs.

I’m surprised when people consider it a movie now, because so much of it was just ‘Say it, say it!’ so there was never thoughts of this lasting forever, we just wanted it to be something that people could watch and understand what the actors were saying! We were in almost 30 locations in 24 days.

The only way to do it is pull out the themes that are related to the issue of time travel and do a meditation on that and if we’re lucky, maybe we’ll get to see a time machine at the end and pay this whole thing off, but the thing that’s going to hold this up are the themes.

Safety Not Guaranteed is out in cinemas now.