In 2001, The Ring started production in and around the Seattle area. Most of us who were interested in filmmaking at the time slowly picked up on rumors of the important ‘guests’ we had coming to town. Not once, but twice did DreamWorks visit our wet and dismal cities to shoot their adaptations – it was truly a fascinating experience witnessing the production. In retrospect, it made sense to shoot The Ring in the Pacific Northwest; naturally, our weather’s reputation graciously preceded it as cold and dark. It wasn’t until years later, last August in fact, that myself and long-time friend and colleague, Todd Kaumans, decided to produce our own iteration in anticipation of the latest installment to the franchise, Rings.
Originally, we had hoped to release RINGwhispers alongside Rings (directed by F. Javier Gutiérrez) when it was slated for a November 2015 release; having started production in September, we rushed to complete our film before Paramount Pictures was set to release theirs. It wasn’t until late October when it was announced that Rings was pushed to April 2016, however, we were still set on a November release. After an insane couple months shooting and editing on the weekends, we finally finished it.
First and foremost, it was super important to us that we nail the visual tone of Gore Verbinski's version. This meant same locations, same color grading, similar sound design, and of course Hans Zimmer’s music score. We shot on three different weekends, going as far as the Oregon Coast to grab scenes at the lighthouse used in the original movie (Yaquina Head Lighthouse). Production at the lighthouse came as the most aggravating since it was a beautiful, clear, and windy day - and if you know your Filmmaking 101, those conditions can be a real nightmare. Thankfully, the Morgan Ranch shoot was overcast and rainy. In the end, with clever color correction and sound effects, I think we eventually made the look of Moesko Island work.
The story was simple, and we wanted to take advantage of the locations we had available to us. It made sense to continue the Rachel Keller story with the Morgan Ranch in mind – have it set a few years after The Ring 2, create a need and desire to return to the barn, and have our character encounter the ghost and/or essence of Samara Morgan. Yes - short, sweet, and spooky.
With Rings just around the corner, we’re aiming to produce the second and final part to RINGwhispers using other familiar locations from the original movies. Again, thank you for watching our fan tribute and stay tuned for the next installment!