10 questions with Some Guy Who Kills People director, Jack Perez at the half-way mark.
Wednesday, April 20th, 2016
1Hi Jack! Thanks for being a part of our Spring festival. First can you tell me what was the first thing that made you want to make Some Guy Who Kills People? The script. Beautifully written by Ryan, with a unique tonal blend - alternately scary and funny and genuinely dramatic. I loved the mix. And I loved the characters. I felt I knew them, and the world they inhabited. I was compelled to do it, really.
2Kevin Corrigan does such a great job in this film. It was nice to see him as a lead in a film. How did you know he was right for the role and what was it like working together? I had known Kevin for years socially, and had always wanted to cast him in something. I dunno - when I read it, I immediately thought of him. He often plays shady characters, but Kevin has this enormous warmth and intelligence that shines though even when he's saying nothing. This was perfect for "Ken", who's extremely introverted and shut down for most of the picture. Anyway, he got the script right away and wanted to do it, and we had a ball on set. We're the same age and have many of the same movie references. He often had me only the floor imitating Stallone doing his aftershave commercial in ROCKY II, or bits from BROADWAY DANNY ROSE.
3Ariel Gade (who plays Amy) does such an incredible job. What are some tips you can share on how to get great performances out of child actors? Cast well. Child actors are often trained badly and can give very surface performances. We took our time finding Ariel, who was old beyond her years. She was, as Kevin Corrigan mentioned one day, "a little artist" who took her work very seriously, truly thought about her character, and prepared. One thing I try to do, regardless, is talk to child actors as adults. I don't talk down to them. They're doing professional work and I treat them as such. No baby talk. That tends to focus and relax them. They feel respected.
4You've been making films both pre and post the great shift in the way indie film is made and distributed. What are your thoughts on the current state of indie film and distribution? Distribution is always such a quagmire. Obviously there are so many more ways to get your piece seen these days, but finding that combination of avenues that penetrates is tough, unless you've got a lot of advertising behind you. I'm a control freak and always feel most out of control at that stage. But I'm psyched you guys have it:)
5Can you share a war story from the shoot? Sure - getting my VFX team to do the gore in 80's/ practical fashion. I hate digital blood and CGI splatter, and pushed our effects guys to employ old school dummies and air mortars filled with blood and occasionally forced perspective to hack and slash our way through the killing scenes. Also, the schedule, 16 days, which didn't leave much time for company moves. Basically we had one "house" location to serve for three different homes (and an apartment!), and dress/re-dress one closed Chinese restaurant in a grubby part of LA to play as a cop station, morgue, interrogation room and art gallery. It was hell on the art department but definitely gave us more time to shoot.
6What's the film that made you want to become a filmmaker? There were several. As a kid, the '33 KING KONG, cause it was magic. Then, Robert Aldrich's 1954 western, VERA CRUZ, because it blended tones so uniquely - savage violence, adventure, black comedy - all in one; I'd never seen that in a movie. Later, Peckinpah's THE WILD BUNCH and Scorsese's TAXI DRIVER inspired me no end.
7You've directed numerous movies including Wild Things 2 and Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, how did you get your start as a director? I was a Super 8 kid in 70's , like many, went to NYU film school, came out to LA to be unemployed for a year. Then I met an actor/producer who wanted to finance a 7 thousand dollar exploitation feature on credit cards and that resulted in AMERICA'S DEADLIEST HOME VIDEO (now considered the grandfather of the found footage movies). That got me recognized and lead to me working on the HERCULES tv series, ultimately directing the pilot for XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS. All along I was developing independent features and eventually getting them going. Ever since, I've basically alternated between paid studio and TV gigs and the indies which are closer to my heart.
8Ryan Levin was the producer and also wrote the script, how did he approach you to direct this film and what was it like working together? We got along like house on fire. Our sensibilities were perfectly matched. Still, I was initially wary of having a writer sitting over my shoulder (with the authority to dispute my choices:), but it all worked out - he dug what I was doing. And when there was a concern, we talked it out.
9The rest of your cast is also an impressive list of talent. Is there much of a difference working with actors like Lucy Davis, Leo Fitzpatrick, Barry Bostwick and actors who are completely unknown? Not really. A skilled, sensitive pro is a skilled sensitive pro. Doesn't matter whether they're known or not. I respond to how serious and thoughtful an actor is. That commands respect, and the results show. Also, everyone on this movie happened to have a great attitude - funny and gracious and just lovely to be around. Which is rare.
10What's next? I have a couple thrillers I've written that I'm psyched to do. Also, the next one with Ryan I'm REALLY excited about. It'll be our follow-up to SGWKP.
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time which was selected for the 2017 IFP Narrative Lab.
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