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Ana Lily Amirpour – Exclusive Interview on The Bad Batch

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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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Exclusive: Rocky Gray Talks Halloween Horror Anthology 10/31

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The last time we gave you guys word on the upcoming Halloween horror anthology 10/31 was to bring you the knock-out exclusive official poster, which you can peep to your left (click for a higher-res version).

The new horror anthology in the vein of V/H/S and Creepshow joins an ensemble cast together to spin twisted tales of the macabre. The film is executive produced by P.J. Starks, creator of the critically acclaimed Volumes of Blood.

The film’s stories are directed by the likes of Justin M. Seaman (The Barn), Zane Hershberger (Devilution), John William Holt (The Dooms Chapel Horror), Brett DeJager (Bonejangles) and Rocky Gray making his directing debut.

This past weekend we were able to catch up with producer-director Rocky Gray and ask him a few choice questions about the anticipated upcoming anthology film.

You can check out our quick interview below and then make sure to hit us up and let us know how excited you are to check out 10/31 in the comments below!

Dread Central: How is the film coming along?

Rocky Gray: The film is now completed and we are getting the perks out to our Indiegogo backers. The backers and Death By Festival got to see the first cut of the film in October and they loved it so we’re very excited to get the film out to everyone else very soon.

DC: What can expect from this anthology?

RG: Expect to have a lot of Halloween themed fun. Each segment has its own flavor so the pacing and the look change throughout the film. With masked killers, vampires, scarecrows, tricksters and old hags there’s something for everyone.

DC: Will there be a sequel?

RG: If there was a demand for it we would make it happen!

Sounds good to us. Thanks for chatting with us, Rocky!

You can become a fan of the film on Facebook HERE.

SYNOPSIS:
A Halloween treat bag of all the things that go bump in the night. From masked killers to scarecrows, witches, and tricksters. There’s a scare for everyone in this anthology of horror and the macabre from the creators of The Barn and Volumes of Blood.

Red Letter Entertainment, Inc. brings you the directorial debut from Rocky Gray (composer of The Barn, Killing Floor 2), two-time Grammy-winning musician and former drummer for Evanescence. A new horror anthology in the vein of V/H/S/ and Creepshow brings an ensemble cast together to spin twisted tales of the macabre. The film is Executive Produced by P.J. Starks, creator of the critically acclaimed Volumes of Blood.

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The Duffer Brothers Have Begun Working on Stranger Things 3

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I wasn’t the world’s biggest fan of the first season of Netflix and The Duffer Brothers’ “Stranger Things” to tell you the truth. That said, I absolutely loved the second season (read our reviews HERE).

It is with this in mind that we are all looking forward to “Stranger Things 3”.

Recently Deadline reported that at Vulture Festival LA the Duffer Brothers, producer Shawn Levy, Finn Wolfhard, Paul Reiser, and Linnea Berthelsen talked about season two and teased season three.

“We are [in] very early days on season three, and we’re still figuring it out,” Ross Duffer said, before taking a beat, then adding: “I probably wasn’t supposed to say that. That’s not official; that wasn’t an official announcement — we’re just working on it, just for our own amusement… for fun!”

Whatever.

We all know at this point that there is going to be a “Stranger Things 3” and that The Duffer Brothers will one day begin working on it. Don’t worry so much, Ross Duffer.

After all, your brother already let us know that season three will begin after a time jump:

“Even if we wanted to hop into the action faster, we couldn’t,” says Matt Duffer. “Our kids are aging. We can only write and produce the show so fast. They’re going to be almost a year older by the time we start shooting season three. It provides certain challenges. You can’t start right after season two ended. It forces you to do a time jump. It’s a long way of saying that yeah, we’re going to do a time jump.”

What did you think of “Stranger Things 2”? Did you dig it more (or less) than season one? Make sure to hit us up and let us know in the comments below or on social media!

“Stranger Things 2” is currently streaming on Netflix.

Synopsis:
It’s 1984, and the citizens of Hawkins, Indiana, are still reeling from the horrors of the Demogorgon and the secrets of Hawkins Lab. Will Byers has been rescued from the Upside Down, but a bigger, sinister entity still threatens those who survived.

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James Cameron’s Terminator Reboot/Sequel Hires Screenwriter

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The last word we brought you guys on producer James Cameron and Deadpool-director Tim Miller’s new Terminator film was when we let you know that Paramount had set the film’s release date for July 26, 2019.

Today we have news via The Wrap that the studio is bringing in screenwriter Billy Ray (Captain Phillips) to pen the movie’s script based on a story crafted by Cameron.

You may remember that Cameron and Miller created a writers room a while back to plan out an all-new trilogy of films, but while that writer’s room included David Goyer, Charles Eglee, and Josh Friedman, it seems like Ray will be the first film’s sole writer. For now.

Story details are, of course, being kept under wraps, but Cameron and Miller are treating the new movie as a direct sequel to Cameron’s T2: Judgment Day.

“This is a continuation of the story from ‘Terminator 1’ and ‘Terminator 2.’ And we’re pretending the other films were a bad dream,” Cameron told THR. “Or an alternate timeline, which is permissible in our multi-verse.”

We also know that Cameron plans to center the new film/trilogy around a new group of younger characters, who will eventually carry on the baton as it were.

“A lot of this is handing off the baton to a new generation of characters,” Cameron said. “We’re starting a search for an 18-something young woman to essentially be the new centerpiece of these stories. And then a number of other characters around her and characters from the future. We still fold time in the story in intriguing ways. But we have Arnold’s character and Linda’s character to anchor it.”

How excited are you for James Cameron’s new Terminator flick? Make sure to hit us up and let us know in the comments below or on social mdeia!

The new Terminator film is produced by James Cameron and will be directed by Tim Miller (Deadpool). The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton.

Terminator 2.5 is expected to hit July 26, 2019.

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