The Forever Purge opens July 2.

In The Forever Purge (out Friday) a Mexican couple played by Ana de la Reguera and Tenoch Huerta attempt to flee Texas after America's night of lawlessness is indefinitely extended by Purgers determined to "racially purify" the US.

"No joke, I wanted to do a love story," laughs franchise overlord James DeMonaco, who has written all five Purge movies and directed the first three. "Or to do my horror-love story with this couple coming up from Mexico and searching to see if the American dream still existed. That was the initial thing. Then I was like, okay, that's clearly not enough for the movie. It was like, how do I shake this up? Then [I thought of] this idea of, well, the Purge people would stop listening to any rules. They're not even going to listen to when the sirens [announce] it's over. The idea that it's just out of control, you can't contain this violence, anymore. That's what got me psyched, and coupling that with this love story, and this idea of searching for the American dream all came together."

Below, DeMonaco talks more about The Forever Purge (which costars Josh Lucas and Will Patton) and why he's not quite ready to quit the franchise.

The Forever Purge
The Forever Purge
| Credit: Universal Pictures

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The Forever Purge is directed by Mexican filmmaker Everardo Gout. How did he come on board?

JAMES DEMONACO: I'm an Italian-American kid from New York, so I wanted to collaborate with someone who could bring that air of authenticity. Everardo and I spoke and we share a love of tequila and mezcal. He introduced me to mezcal, which was a great initial way to bond. I loved that he called me out immediately on some shit I wrote like, "DeMonaco, that's not how these people would speak." So this collaboration between a Mexican man and an American man led to what I hope feels somewhat authentic in the journey of the couple.

So if someone wants a job from you, they've got to bring a bottle of tequila and argue a lot?

It's very simple. Yeah, bring tequila, maybe introduce me to something like a mezcal. But tequila is the way to my soul. [Laughs]

The Forever Purge
| Credit: Jake Giles Netter/Universal Pictures

Tell us about putting together the cast.

On Tenoche and Ana, that was completely Everardo. He literally said in my first meeting with him, "I've got the two perfect actors." He never deviated from them, he fought for them when there were questions, he showed material to the studio. I knew Ana's work a little bit. Tenoche, I knew from Narcos. [But] Everardo really brought them up. As for the other cast, we had heard through the grapevine that Josh Lucas wanted to do a Purge movie, which was very exciting because Josh is a great actor. I've been a Will Patton fan since No Way Out. We tried to work together on Purge 3. I wanted him to play the minister but he wanted to play the deli owner, so we couldn't really work that out. So this works perfectly. It was a great cast, we got so lucky.

The Forever Purge
The Forever Purge
| Credit: Universal Pictures

The film seems horribly relevant for all sorts of reasons. But when it was delayed for a year because of COVID were you worried it might seem less fresh?

Oh completely. The COVID thing scared us to death. Even more than that we didn't know whether we were going to go straight to streaming, so to be released in theaters is actually a privilege at this point. I'm a theater guy, so this whole future of cinema is scaring the hell out of me. But, yeah, once we entered into the new administration we didn't know, would the Purge seems as relevant? Sadly I think the discord in the country is still here. So I think that keeps it somewhat relevant in the world.

I always say, and it seems so corny, I wish this was a land of unicorns and rainbows. People authentically ask me, do you think this could happen? And they're not joking. It's like, how did we get to a point where that's actually a question that could be said out loud? You know, this was conceived initially as this B movie conceit in the vein of  Logan's Run and Soylent Green, this crazy thing that was outlandish. To have citizens actually ask me at Comic-Con, "Do you think this is where we're going?" I'm like, wow, our ship needs to get righted very quickly.

James DeMonaco
James DeMonaco
| Credit: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

I feel like you're becoming the Frank Sinatra of The Purge movies. You're always announcing your retirement from them.

Oh, I thought this was a booze thing. Which I liked!

But is this going to be your last Purge film?

I thought it was. Even with Everardo, it was like this is it, my end of America, America is burning. So that was the initial intent. I'm going to be completely honest, I came up with something about two months ago. I woke up with a new way that we can keep it fresh and turn the thing upside down. So if the people want it, the idea's in the works, I've outlined it, so it could happen. [Laughs]

Jason Blum told me he wouldn't make a Purge movie without you.

Yeah, he says that to me. He really wants me to direct the next one. It's such a crazy idea I was actually like, oh, maybe I'll do that one. I'll definitely write it, I'll say that. So I'll definitely be involved in some way. I do worry, in different hands, you just don't want to see it go the wrong way, because it easily could, with a concept like this.

Watch the trailer for The Forever Purge above.

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