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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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New Alien First-Person Shooter Video Game in the Works

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“Game over, man. Game over!”

I’m not one for playing video games but even I will have to check out this new first-person shooter set in the Alien universe currently in the works at FoxNext Games.

This new and untitled game is the first original Alien-inspired game since “Alien: Isolation” and Cold Iron Studios is developing the game after recently being acquired by Fox (and now Disney).

“Cold Iron Studios has amazing design, craftsmanship, and development talent that we are excited to welcome at FoxNext Games as we pursue our goal to build a multi-platform, multi-genre portfolio of great games,” said FoxNext Games president Aaron Loeb. “I am a personal fan of Cold Iron’s previous work and all of us at FoxNext Games are thrilled to be working with them as they create an action-packed persistent world, steeped in the mysteries of this beloved Alien universe.”

“We believe in FoxNext’s vision and we are thrilled about the opportunity to explore an amazing and rich universe,” said Cold Iron CEO Craig Zinkievich. “Our background in building online worlds and taking established franchises to the next level in interactive entertainment is a precise fit with our product roadmap ahead.”

How excited are you for a new Alien game? Let us know below!

A release date hasn’t been announced yet but we’ll let you know when we hear more!

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Poster Debut: Nicolas Pesce’s Piercing Starring Mia Wasikowska and Christopher Abbott

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One of the films that I’m most interested in hearing the feedback about during this year’s Sundance film festival is director Nicolas Pesce’s psychological horror-comedy Piercing.

Not only did Pesce’s last flick The Eyes of My Mother impress the hell out of me but his new film boasts a killer premise and cast including Mia Wasikowska (Stoker) and Christopher Abbott (It Comes at Night).

The movie will be premiering at Sundance this weekend and today we have the film’s poster to share with you guys. You can click on the poster to the right for a higher-res version.

After checking it out let us know what you think!

Piercing is based on the critically acclaimed cult novel by Ryu Murakami and directed by Nicolas Pesce (The Eyes of My Mother) and stars Mia Wasikowska (Stoker) and Christopher Abbott (It Comes at Night).

The film hosts its World Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival Saturday, January 20th.

Synopsis:

Reed (Christopher Abbott) is going on a business trip. He kisses his wife and infant son goodbye, but in lieu of a suitcase filled with clothes, he’s packed a toothbrush and a murder kit. Everything is meticulously planned: check into a hotel and kill an unsuspecting victim. Only then will he rid himself of his devious impulses and continue to be a good husband and father. But Reed gets more than he bargained for with Jackie (Mia Wasikowska), an alluring call girl who arrives at his room. First, they relax and get in the mood, but when there’s an unexpected disruption, the balance of control begins to sway back and forth between the two. Is he seeing things? Who’s playing whom? Before the night is over, a feverish nightmare will unfold, and Reed and Jackie will seal their bond in blood.

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First Details on Eduardo Sanchez-Directed Supernatural Episode 13.13 – Devil’s Bargain

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The upcoming 13th episode of the 13th season of “Supernatural,” titled “Devil’s Bargain,” is notable for two reasons: (1) it’s directed by none other than Eduardo Sanchez (The Blair Witch Project, Lovely Molly), and (2) it features a guest appearance by series star Jensen Ackles’ wife, Danneel Ackles (“One Tree Hill,” The Roommate).

The CW has released the official synopsis for the ep, which you’ll find below.

Are you still a fan of the show after all these years? Looking forward to seeing how Sanchez leaves his mark on the Winchesters? Sound off in the comments section or on social media!

“Supernatural” Episode 13.13 – “Devil’s Bargain” (airs 2/8/18)
Sam (Jared Padalecki), Dean (Jensen Ackles), and Castiel (Misha Collins) search for Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino), who, meanwhile, strikes an unlikely deal with a local faith healer named Sister Jo (guest star Danneel Ackles). Asmodeus (guest star Jeffrey Vincent Parise) inches closer to finding Jack (Alexander Calvert). Eduardo Sanchez directed the episode written by Eugenie Ross-Leming & Brad Buckner.

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