Interview:2010/05 Anthony Silva talks to MansonWiki about Phantasmagoria and more

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Anthony Silva talks to MansonWiki about Phantasmagoria and more
Interview with Anthony Silva
Date May 13, 2010
Source MansonWiki

Tony Silva speaks to MansonWiki regarding his involvement with Marilyn Manson, future projects, and sets the record straight about the recent leak of Phantasmagoria's promotional trailer and current status of the film.

MANSONWIKI: I think many people would be surprised to realize that you are the man behind the lens of some of Manson's most notorious imagery from the EAT ME, DRINK ME era, namely the infamous photo of Manson & Twiggy's reunion. What other work in Manson's catalogue are you accredited with?

SILVA: There are several photos within the EAT ME, DRINK ME album itself, the photo of Evan for "Putting Holes in Happiness" and the blood covered Manson for "Mutilation...", as well as the back album cover with Evan about to be stabbed. I was just sorting through some of the other photos taken during that session actually, and there are some great shots that no one has seen yet. I plan on pulling some of them together for a small show in the future.

I also developed and assembled the stage projections for the Rape of the World tour. My favorite piece, which unfortunately was only seen several times due to technical difficulties, was "You and Me and the Devil Makes 3", where Manson's floating lips a la the Cheshire Cat meets Rocky Horror sang the lyrics to the song in sync to the performance.

I've also been documentarian on several European tours with Manson and have a staggering amount of photos and videos I've taken, both on-stage and off, which will hopefully make it onto Blu-ray at some point.

MW: While your name has been linked to Marilyn Manson for quite some time now, not much is known about Tony Silva. Could you give us a little insight into who you are and what you do?

SILVA: Without revealing the wizard behind the curtain? I'm a filmmaker and visual artist currently living in Los Angeles. I have several award-winning short films that have run the festival circuit, most notably animal mechanique and Anomalous Humanite. My visual aesthetic tends to be on the darker side, with influences including Roman Polanski, David Lynch, and Jan Svankmajer. Most of my early work involves elements of stop-motion animation utilizing people instead of puppets. Over the past several years I've expanded into photography and writing as well, and have worked with other artists including Manson, Andy Dick and Clive Barker.

MW: You first became involved with Marilyn Manson during the Against All Gods tour. How did that come about?

SILVA: Completely by chance actually. It was one of those instances where the stars must have been aligned or something. I had a friend who was working for Dita's management company (still is actually) so I thought I would give her a DVD of my short films to pass onto Dita. To this day, I don't know if Dita actually ever watched them. Fast-forward several months. I get a call on my cell at 4 AM. I'm sleeping. Voicemail: the message is vague. The caller doesn't leave his number and doesn't leave his name, says he'll call back tomorrow. I recognize the voice and think it's a joke.

The following night, I don't go to sleep. It's the hour of the wolf. 4 AM rolls around again, another phone call.

"Is this Tony?"


"This is Marilyn Manson. I saw your DVD."

We talked for two hours about art and film and he invited me to the house to discuss a few projects -- one of which would later become Phantasmagoria. On my first visit I met Rudy Coby, who I later found out was the one responsible for tracking me down. We've been friends ever since.

MW: We know you are a screenwriter for Phantasmagoria. Are there any other responsibilities you are planned to be taking on for the production of the film?

SILVA: It's really too early to tell what my exact role will be, but I will definitely be involved in the film's production somehow. At one point I was slated to co-direct and possibly edit segments of the film, but that's all up for discussion.

MW: As a screenwriter for the film, could you describe what sort of research went into The Visions of Lewis Carroll?

SILVA: An incredible amount of research went into the writing of this film. There's the obvious: Lewis Carroll. But who was Carroll really? He was Charles Dodgson: author, photographer, mathematician, inventor, Anglican Deacon. Beneath the surface however, Carroll lived a life shrouded by guilt and sin, unable to find true happiness in his own life.

We read through Carroll's diaries, four of which are missing, some of which occur around the time of his involvement with Alice Liddell's family. We studied biographies, newspaper articles/reviews written during Carroll's time, historical, religious and cultural surveys. We did a great deal of research on the photography of the era, from the cameras themselves to the wet plate process of photography. We had a very unique opportunity to study several of Carroll's photographs up close at the Getty Museum's private collection and were able to compare them to his contemporaries work in the field and how his method of portraiture differed from others. We studied the medical practices of the time, as Carroll experienced great bouts of sickness throughout his life.

We wrote primarily at night, which corresponds directly to Carroll's visions in the film. Like Carroll, I too began to take on a dual persona where I was living two different lives with very little sleep. I was a television editor by day and artist/writer by night, struggling to balance those two distinct worlds.

MW: Recently, there was a lot of controversy surrounding the unauthorized leak of the Phantasmagoria promotional trailer by Revel Studios. What if any, was their involvement with the film and how did they come in possession of the trailer?

SILVA: When I first heard the teaser was leaked, it killed me. I didn't realize how fast something like this spreads online and within hours it was everywhere and there was nothing I could do. What bothered me the most was the fact that since it wasn’t released through proper channels, due credit was not given to those associated with its production, an issue later addressed by Manson himself.

Revel Studios actually had no involvement in the production of the promotional teaser. I was told the leak was accidental by the party in question and have no reason to believe otherwise.

I would like to make it clear, however, that this was a promotional teaser for film investors and wasn't meant for the general public. It was originally presented with the actual script, so it's very easy to take some of the images you have seen out of context. I have cut an alternate version of the teaser with more focus on Alice herself which will be released at some point.

MW: Has this issue been resolved now?

SILVA: No comment.

MW: There is a lot of debate amongst the Manson fanbase as to whether or not this project will go ahead. Can you shed any light on the status of the project?

SILVA: The project is still active. What people fail to realize sometimes is that the film industry is very different than the music industry. It's not uncommon for films to get pushed and rescheduled multiple times. There are script rewrites, actor's schedules, union strikes. That, coupled with the economic climate we're dealing with today, makes it an even greater challenge. I know so many amazing writers and directors right now that have projects in waiting, projects that get pushed for no good reason whatsoever. It can be incredibly frustrating sometimes, but the good news is that the project is not dead and is still with Wild Bunch.

MW: Do you believe that the break of focus on the film will change the initial vision in any form, whether it be perspective or technical. If so, how?

SILVA: I think anytime you take a break from art your focus changes, you gain new perspective. Sometimes as an artist, you get too close to the material you've created and it becomes extremely difficult to "kill your babies." You fall in love with specific scenes or dialogue, even though they may do nothing for the progression of the film. In that respect, yes, the script may change a little. However, our vision of the film itself has always been very strong and will remain uncompromised.

MW: Are there any other projects that you are currently working on?

SILVA: I've been doing a lot of research for the next film I am writing which is based on the short story "Scape-Goats" by Clive Barker and is something I will direct myself. I'll also be directing a documentary this fall on the making of a new film entitled Sick Nick, a Christmas slasher which was written by/being directed by my good friend, Mark Pavia, who wrote and directed Stephen King's Night Flier. There are a few photo shoots and art pieces I'm in the planning stages of now that will be finished this summer. In the meantime, Rudy Coby and myself may have a few surprises up our sleeves.

MW: We've already seen some shots of Manson as taken by Perou for the new era. Will we be seeing any of your work in the upcoming release?

SILVA: A few weeks ago I took shots of Manson as The Evil Magician for the Rudy Coby Experiment at the Magic Castle, MAGIC VS SCIENCE, in Hollywood, which was an incredible show I might add, and we did discuss taking some new photos and shooting more video very soon.

For more information on Anthony Silva and his contributions to Marilyn Manson, read this article.