An Interview With Human Centipede Director Tom Six

Tom Six has successfully created the most talked about film of the past year. The Human Centipede, love it or hate it, is built on one of the most disgusting concepts ever put to screen: three humans sewn together end-to-end to form a Siamese triplet, connected by one gastric system. Many people won't give this movie a chance simply because they say it's disgusting, or that the director is sick. But really he's just a pretty nice guy who turned a sick joke into something more.

The director was very open and honest in my interview with him until I started poking him about the sequel, which he wants to keep as secretive in the same way big the Hollywood blockbusters do. However, he gives us great insight on why he made the film, why he actively kept the story a little thin, and what he plans to do once he's done sewing peoples mouths to other people's butts.

Beware! There are a few spoilers in here that give away bits of the ending.

The concept came from a joke that you used to make, so can you tell me how that began and how you evolved it into the concept we saw on the screen?

It began all with a very sick joke that I made with friends. When watching television or something and there was a child molester or something I'd say, "Oh they should stitch his mouth to the ass of a very, very fat truck driver, as punishment." And everyone said this was a horrible idea, and of course it is a very horrible idea, and I thought that would make a great basic idea for a horror film. So that's how it all began and then of course I began to draw how must a situation like that look. So I thought they must sit on their hands and knees behind each other, as sort of one gastric system, so to speak.

I wanted the construction to be 100% medically accurate so I consulted a real surgeon in Holland. At first he thought I was crazy because it was going against his medical oath, but later because he is a movie fan he wanted to help me. He designed a very detailed accurate operation for me as you see in the film when Dr. Heiter is showing the drawings they are real operation drawings. So this surgeon could actually make a human centipede in a hospital. Of course you'd have to be very sick as a surgeon to do it for real. Of course then you start casting.

Yeah, if you could talk about developing the character of Dr. Heiter and casting Dieter Laser in the role.

For me there was only one actor who could play the role of Dr. Heiter. I saw a couple of DVDs where Dieter Laser was playing and I think he's absolutely a brilliant actor. So we flew to Berlin to meet him and we were very excited about what he would think about my story. And I told him in detail and he absolutely loved the idea because he's just as crazy as I am and in a couple of hours we had a deal and he was the one.

The girls were way more problematic. We did a casting in NY, and I showed actresses that came in for the audition the drawings I made of the human centipede and a lot of them thought I was absolutely crazy and left the casting room, but the smart ones they stayed because I really explained the story to them. At one point of course I had them sit on their hands and knees very close to a butt in front of them and not every actress could psychologically do that so they left also. And we ended up with the very brave Ashlynn and Ashley who were in the film. I really think they've got balls to play this role because a lot of pretty actresses only want to play pretty roles and I asked them to be attached to an ass and be very ugly during half of the movie. So that was a big challenge.

There's been a lot of different reactions now that it's shown at several film festivals, was it your goal to gross people out while really hitting the true horror fans?

Yeah, I knew when I had this original and strange idea that there would be a lot of people that would hate it and be disgusted by it. But I also knew that there must be people who would really love this idea and love this film. So you know if you're making a controversial film this will always happen to you. During a test screening in Holland there were girls walking out of the theater crying who were really afraid to talk or even look at me after the screening. But you also have people, like in Spain for instance, there were guys that were laughing so hard during the movie, the whole movie, that they were crying from laughter. So the reactions you get are so diverse as well and very far apart from each other. So that's very cool as a film maker to have that happen.

I know that you're working on the sequel right now, so how, aside form there being more people attached to the centipede, is the sequel going to be different from the original?

That's very challenging for a film maker to make a sequel, because a lot of sequels are very disappointing for fans and for audiences. So I really wanted to have a really original idea to make a sequel and I think I have something that people won't expect. I made the sequel in the first place because I had so many ideas that I couldn't put in part one because the idea itself was already so sick that the audience first had to get used to this idea. But now in part two I can use all of my imagination and put everything in part two. I can't tell you what it's about of course because I want to keep it original and a surprise to audiences but I hope I will succeed. I'm going to shoot it in June in London and hopefully it'll be ready by the end of the year.

I know you said you cant really talk about it, but Dr. Heiter doesn't make it through the end of the movie so are you crafting a new villain or will there be some sort of miraculous comeback of Dr. Heiter?

::Laughing:: I would spoil the surprise if I would say whether Heiter is coming back in one form or another so I can't tell you quite yet. I'm sorry.

How about Lindsay, the only survivor of the first movie, will we reconnect with her and learn a little bit about her fate?

::Laughing:: I can also not say if she is returning or not. It's going to be the big secret what happens to the middle girl.

So you're saying there is a secret about her and we will find out, huh?

::Laughing::You will find out, of course.

I was told to keep it short so I've only got one more question for you. Will Full Sequence be the end of the road or do you have ideas or plans for more sequels?

Lots of people are saying I should make lots of sequels like the Saw movies but I really want to see what happens with parts one and two first. And of course I've got some crazy ideas for maybe a third part. Maybe in a couple of years, maybe earlier, I don't know. But that's for now in the fridge. I want to see what happens with one and two first.

So after the sequel do you have other films planned separate from the Centipede series?

Yeah! I really want to explore the horror genre combined with drama some more. So I'm writing a script right now for a new film after the centipede that's going to be COMPLETELY different but a film that will definitely push a lot of boundaries. Hopefully again it's very original and something that hasn't been done before and I'd like to shoot that in LA next year.

No plot details for us yet on that one I assume?

::Laughing:: No no no. It's a very simple idea again, but yeah I can't tell you, I'm sorry.

For more on The Human Centipede, check out our interview with star Dieter Laser here!