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Ana Lily Amirpour – Exclusive Interview on The Bad Batch

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Ana Lily Amirpour

It may be “trendy” to be a female filmmaker these days, but we are willing to bet that Ana Lily Amirpour is more than just a passing fancy. With her unique voice, singular style, and unflinching way of presenting her off-kilter fantasy-horror stories, Amirpour has the makings of an auteur.

Her first film, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, is set in the fictional Iranian ghost-town Bad City, a place that reeks of death and loneliness; the townspeople are unaware they are being stalked by a forlorn vampire. The Bad Batch (review), is also set in a realistic yet alternate place of desolation, where cannibals stalk a lone woman, Arlen (Suki Waterhouse). We sat down with Amirpour to ask her about her new film, inspiration, and career.

Dread Central: Suki is such a great choice for Arlen – but who would have thought of an Australian fashion model to play her? Well, you, obviously – but what quality of hers drew you to cast her?

Ana Lily Amirpour: I saw her audition tape. I knew I had to meet her in person, but I was just like, ‘Yes. That’s her. That’s Arlen.’ I remember when she came into my house to meet, I didn’t even want to say anything. Like, ‘I don’t want to say anything to fuck it up.’ She is like this primal, emotionally intelligent, wild mustang. You just want to have that energy and you can’t, because it’s on fire. When I say emotionally intelligent, it’s deeper than intellect. And I love looking at her. [laughs] And so let’s cover her in shit, and let’s cut off an arm, let’s cut off a leg.

Ana Lily Amirpour

DC: Keanu Reeves, who plays a character called The Dream, is not his usual ripped, action-hero kinda guy in this movie. Though he has been taking some quirky roles, like in Knock-Knock and The Neon Demon, you’ve got him looking so… pudgy. Did you request the ‘dad bod’? [laughter]

ALA: That is so funny. Is he usually ripped? Oh, I haven’t seen John Wick. Well, when I was 12 years old, I had a poster of Keanu above my bed. He literally was my dream. If you think about the character in the film, he’s got these crazy parties, he’s got these girlfriends and they are all pregnant, and it’s so easy for a character like that to just become sinister. But he’s soft and not imposing. So it was important for me to look at him and say, ‘I would want The Dream.’

DC: You took a huge jump in scope – bigger cast, more action, huge outdoor locations – from your first movie to this. Was that a conscious thing?

ALA: No. If we, we meaning me and the pixies that live in my head, if we had thought about what we were doing when we wrote this, it would have been overwhelming. I think you just take one problem at a time and solve it, but story was just this girl in that desert setting, a crazy badland of America… and once it was written I had to figure out how to make it. And how you do that is, you get your partners, your amazing team, like Tony Gardner the effects and prosthetics guy who is just a genius. I’m also a practical effects person, and I like it when you see something right there, and you use CG only to push the magic through. Tony said, ‘Let’s always have something on her so the camera has something to shoot and the light is hitting something.’ We took that approach with everything, production design, everything. We’d take three shipping containers and make a matte painting on them so there was something there. We had a limited budget, but it does look like a big movie. What we did was a magic trick. We shot a lot of the movie near the Salton Sea, and then at a dry lake in Lancaster.

DC: First you dealt with vampires. Now cannibals. I would call them parasitic foes – why these types of predators? Is it something you want to explore in your personal and creative life?

ALA: When you say something like that, it sounds like therapy, and it doesn’t sound wrong. It’s weird how you do something that gets consumed publicly and then it comes back and you see something new. It’s a weird thing, because when you make the film, you understand it one way and you’re kind of inside of it. It’s in your mind, and you’re having this intimate sex-like connection. It’s just ours. And then you go into editing, and suddenly it’s this thing. And now it’s outside of me and it’s odd. Even with Girl, I watched that film two years after it was out, again – I don’t like watching my films – and I saw it a little bit differently. So it’s all externalized now. I can’t watch Bad Batch yet. Well, the acid trip scene I can watch. Well, from when he [The Dream] gives the speech at the party and she goes out into the desert; that, I can literally watch like it’s a music video, over and over again, and it feels good. And in Girl, I can watch that scene where he walks up behind her and… um, other than that, I don’t like watching.

DC: The “wall” in The Bad Batch, where undesirables are thrown over and left to fend for themselves, seems very topical to America right now. Is this a political statement?

ALA: I wrote this three years ago, long before Trump and his wall. He wasn’t even on the docket. There was no possibility for that reality. I thinking more about a fairy tale and the forces of control coming up with ways to deal with people. In 10 years it would have been good [to make the connection] but three years? It’s really close. But I am happy that it exists and maybe people can watch this film and maybe ask questions about how are you interacting with the system that we are in.

This dystopian love story is set in a Texas wasteland among a community of cannibals and stars Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Giovanni Ribisi, Yolonda Ross, Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey, Jayda Fink, Cory Roberts, Louie Lopez, and Diego Luna.

The Bad Batch comes out TODAY.

Synopsis:
Arlen (Waterhouse) is unceremoniously dumped in a Texas wasteland fenced off from civilized society. While trying to orient her unforgiving environment, she is captured by a savage band of cannibals and quickly realizes she’ll have to fight her way through her new reality. As Arlen adjusts to life in “the bad batch,” she discovers that being good or bad mostly depends on whom you’re standing next to.

The Bad Batch

The Bad Batch

The Bad Batch

The Bad Batch

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Will Billie Lourd Return in AMERICAN HORROR STORY Season 8?

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For those of you who might not know, Billie Lourd is the daughter of Carrie Fisher. She was one of the stars of Ryan Murphy’s horror-comedy series Scream Queens and has since followed Murphy over to the world of American Horror Story.

Lourd starred in the recent AHS: Cult and it looks like Deadline is confirming that she will return for the upcoming 8th season, which is rumored to be called AHS: Radioactive. Lourd will star alongside Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters and Kathy Bates, and Joan Collins, who will play Evan Peters’ grandmother.

Are you excited about this casting? Make sure to hit us up and let us know what you think in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

American Horror Story is an anthology horror-drama series created and produced by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. The Emmy and Golden Globe-winning franchise is produced by Twentieth Century Fox Television.

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Live-Action F.E.A.R. Adaptation Coming To Machinima

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Screenwriter Greg Russo has signed a deal with Machinima to pen an adaptation of the F.E.A.R. video game franchise, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. The article did not specify whether the adaptation would be in the form of a film or a series.

Russo, who is a lifelong gamer, will work with Machinima on creating and developing the F.E.A.R. adaptation, although we don’t know much else at this point. Machinima are a subsidiary of Warner Bros., and it probably won’t surprise you to learn that the F.E.A.R. franchise has also been owned by WB since 2009. In other words, Warner Bros. were bound to give us a live action adaptation of F.E.A.R. at one point, so we’re not too surprised by this development.

Russo, who is also writing the scripts for the Mortal Kombat and Resident Evil reboots, was quoted as saying the following:

“As a lifelong gamer, it’s an absolute honor to partner with Machinima, the preeminent provider of digital content to gamers worldwide. F.E.A.R. holds a special place in my heart. I’m excited to bring my personal passion to this and future projects and can’t wait to see where our partnership goes from here.”

An acronym for First Encounter Assault Recon, the F.E.A.R. games focus on an elite task force who fight to stop Alma Wade, a young girl with incredible psychic powers, from tearing apart the fabric of reality. Legendary film director John Carpenter served as story consultant on the third game, which we awarded a highly positive review back in the day. We’ll bring you more on Machinima’s adaptation when it becomes availalbe.

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Short Film RETINA Will Strain Your Eyes

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We’ve been paying a lot of attention to the young filmmaker Alex J. Mann around these parts, because his projects are so unique and innovative that we can never wait to see what he’ll cook up next. Mann has just released his latest short, Retina, on his Space Oddity Films YouTube channel, and you can give it a watch below. It’s just under two minutes long and doesn’t contain any dialogue, but this is still a short which will keep you up at night.

Retina is described as being about “A young man’s fight to shut off his laptop camera turns deadly.” It was written and directed by Mann, and stars Dan J. Johnson in a singular performance. Retina also contains some gruesome images, and is most definitely not safe for work.

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