“Invasion of the Body Snatchers” has always been a Marin story. Jack Finney’s original 1955 novel “The Body Snatchers” was set in Mill Valley, where Finney lived.
This story of plants from outer space that replace humans with hive mind duplicates has been adapted over and over again into films in 1956, 1978, 1993 and 2007, and loosely inspired many. others, essentially becoming a subgenre in its own right.
Now, the “body thieves” are back in Marin County with “Snatched,” a short film written and directed by Marin native Michael Schwartz, which premiered Oct. 1 as part of the “Bite Size Halloween” on Hulu.
Filmed in Belvedere and El Cerrito, “Snatched” stars Tatiana Maslany, the Emmy-winning star of “Orphan Black” and current Disney+ sensation “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law,” whose season finale has aired Thursday. “Snatched” is Maslany’s first screen role with her husband, Brendan Hines of “Lie to Me,” “Scandal,” “Locke & Key” and “The Tick.”
“Brendan Hines, we had met a few times before, and I’ve been a big fan of his work for years,” says Schwartz. “A mutual friend put us in touch, and I didn’t know he was married to Tatiana. He shared the script with her, and they contacted me one day and said, “Tatiana thinks this script is brilliant and wonders if you would consider it.” And I cried and I screamed and I fell in a puddle, because that was the most absurd statement I’ve heard in my life.
In Schwartz’s comedy horror (which he calls “disco horror”), Maslany and Hines play the parents of a teenager who has a stoned reaction when he tells his parents he’s gay. The next morning is even more uncomfortable because mom and dad are suddenly far too supportive. It’s as if they were completely different people.
The son is played by non-binary actor Misha Osherovich, best known for the movie “Freaky,” a horror version of “Freaky Friday.”
“In May, the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill made national news, and I was puzzled by the hollow statements from business leaders and political leaders saying they were supporting their LGBTQ+ employees while giving actively giving money to politicians who were supporting the bill,” says Schwartz. “I had the opportunity to present 20th Digital Studio for this series, and I turned to my partner and said: “Wouldn’t it be funny if a kid came out as gay in a horror movie, but the horror is that the parents are too enthusiastic about it? We just couldn’t stop laughing. We started talking about all the ways we could subvert these different kinds of horror tropes, or culture tropes.
Schwartz envisioned it as a Bay Area story, which made it perfect for a “Body Snatchers” riff.
“I felt that I could, with a light touch, make fun of my hometown, but also hopefully raise some interesting questions about the still-conflicting ideologies happening in the Bay Area,” said Schwartz said.
“Some of the experiences in this film were based on experiences not only of myself, but also of queer friends of mine and people of color who grew up in Marin. The police often confused them with the fact that they were from Oakland and, of course, they didn’t. They lived in Marin. We shot it in a place that I love, but I hope it will be an opportunity for us to review our values and what we stand for.
Many roles are played by the locals. Marin residents Sid Ganis, former Lucasfilm and Paramount executive and president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and his wife and fellow producer, Nancy Hult Ganis, served as consulting producers for “Snatched” and star also disturbing neighbors in the film. , displaying a familiar triage sign extolling tolerance.
Schwartz grew up in Kentfield and attended Marin Public Schools through high school before studying theater and film at the University of Southern California.
“I had a chest of Halloween costumes when I was little, and I put on shows when I was 3, 4, 5,” he recalls. “I wrote the scripts, I created programs and I edited shows. I made my first movie when I was seven with my VHS VCR. It was never what I felt I was here to do. I have always been a storyteller.
After 15 years in New York, Schwartz recently returned to Los Angeles. He briefly returned to Marin in 2015 to direct “Peter Pan” for the Mountain Play.
“Every project I started, the novel I just wrote, they all take place in the bay,” says Schwartz.
“I think San Francisco is so ripe for these stories of ideologies clashing, and it’s so ripe for great photography, and there are so many stories of underrepresented voices that haven’t yet had the opportunity to come into the public eye, so I hope to continue to return to my hometown as much as I can tell these stories, and also film in the bay.