The Men Behind The Madness

The phenomenon known as The Blair Witch Project continues to grow. The low-budget independent film already has grossed more than $80 million in just two weeks of wide release. And this week, it appears on the covers of both Time and Newsweek.

The two main brains behind the project are Eduardo Sanchez and Dan Myrick, who collaborated to write and direct the film. CBS News Correspondent Russ Mitchell talked to them for This Morning.


In the day-to-day shoot, the actors were given only a broad outline of what the action would entail. For instance, when they were filming in town, they were told which store to go into, but not which patron was an actor with a story to tell.

In the woods, the only contact they had with the filmmakers were notes left in a basket outside their tent.

"Ed and I, when we thought of the film, we wanted to have absolute realism as the primary objective," explains Myrick, 35. "We wanted it to look like a home movie."

To accomplish that, says Myrick, "We had the actors adlib their dialogue and immersed in this eight-day 24/7 shoot from beginning to end. We really acted as the Blair witch. We were running around the tent and messing with their minds throughout the process. They were totally immersed in the characters."

While the actors' actual physical and emotional exhaustion lent realism to the movie, the filmmakers are quick to praise the three principal actors: Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, and Michael Williams.

Some other roles in the film were played by residents of the area in Maryland in which the movie was shot. "We got people that we knew in Maryland," explains Sanchez, 30. "They act natural in front of the camera. They are nervous. They're not acting."

After all the hoopla over The Blair Witch Project, Myrick and Sanchez appear to be ready for a change. Their next movie, titled Heart of Love, is a comedy and, as Myrick says, they hope it will be "the most politically incorrect film."

But there's at least one difference: The new movie's budget will be twice the $35,000 it took to make Blair Witch.

  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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