Interview by Stephen Applebaum; previously published on BBC Movies.
Last updated: 01 December 2008
How did you become involved with this project?
A treatment came to me from a writer who had heard about Big Brother happening in Holland, which is where it started before it hit Britain. He hadn't seen it yet but thought it sounded like a great premise for a psychological horror. Anyway, we discussed what the rules of our My Little Eye game could be and he wrote a couple of drafts on spec.
By the time he'd written the second draft, it was the summer of 2000; Big Brother had hit our screens and was a known entity. The script now made sense to people and Working Title greenlit it, basically, on the last day of the first Big Brother series.
Having seen some of Big Brother, did elements from it then feed into the film?
We made no conscious changes to the script having seen Big Brother. On the other hand, there's something about watching that show which is compulsive and which you don't take too seriously on one level, but which on another level leaves you feeling a bit dirty and immoral. That impulse was something we were definitely trying to exploit with a bit more effect in the film.
Did you use American and Canadian actors because you thought the violence would be more believable after Columbine and other such incidents?
Yes, definitely. Columbine affected us a lot when we thought about where those kids come from, what their worldview is, and how they got to that place.
Do you see the film as a warning, or is it prophetic?
I hope it's not prophetic, I wouldn't want to live with that. But I certainly do feel that the film's as much about the web as it is about reality shows, because there is this idea that, in the unregulated backwater of the web, there is nasty stuff going on.
We already know child porn exists. We're just trying to suggest the rather horrific idea that if it's not out there already, somebody could contemplate doing this.