With Anchor Bay Films’ psychological rape/revenge feature Girls Against Boys opening theatrically in New York and Los Angeles on February 1st, we recently conducted an interview with co-producer Daniel Sollinger. Read on for his take on the project and a new exclusive still.
Writer/director Austin Chick’s Girls Against Boys (review here), which lands on Blu-ray and DVD on February 26th, stars Danielle Panabaker (2009’s Friday the 13th), Nicole LaLiberte (“Dexter”), Liam Aiken (Road to Perdition), Michael Stahl-David (Cloverfield), and Andrew Howard (2010’s I Spit On Your Grave). The film revolves around the character of Shae (Panabaker), a naïve New York college student, who, after being tormented by several men in a matter of days, reaches her breaking point and is drawn into co-worker Lu’s (LaLiberte) twisted plan for revenge.
Co-producer Sollinger (his extensive credits include the Eliza Dushku vehicle The Alphabet Killer) chatted with us regarding the film’s subject matter, working with director Chick, Panabaker’s work ethic, and more! Dig in.
Dread Central: What attracted you to this project?
Daniel Sollinger: The script had gotten very good coverage at my agency, and my agent was excited that they were considering me. But when I read the script, I didn’t quite get it. I knew it was different, and that the dialogue was unique, but I wasn’t sure how the violence was going to play and how the relationship between the two girls would work. Then, once I started talking to Austin (read our previous interview with Austin Chick here), and got a sense of where he was going, I knew it was going to be a fun ride, and I jumped on board.
Dread Central: How was it working with Austin Chick in assisting him realize his vision?
Daniel Sollinger: Mediocre directors are easy to produce for because there are no surprises. For example, you know they are going to do a master shot, a medium shot, and then a close-up. A good director is much more challenging because they do things differently and are not satisfied by mediocrity. Austin is like that. He really pushes everyone, not just to do the best job they have ever done, but to think differently. He is the most focused director I have ever worked with and does not suffer fools lightly. We got along well because I realized early on I needed to bring my ‘A’ game. I tried to listen hard to what his vision was and only piped up if I felt I had something to contribute. To help understand his vision, I usually rode with him to set to preview the day and then would have dinner with him after shooting to do a post mortem. To me, the only way to be an effective producer is to crawl inside the director’s head. It was an awesome experience.
Dread Central: What was your experience in working with Panabaker, whom Chick described as “an absolute pleasure to work with.”
Daniel Sollinger: I agree. First of all, she is gorgeous and sweet. Secondly, there is something about her face in close-up. Her expressions are understated, which leaves a lot of room for the audience to project what they are feeling onto her. That is not an easy trick. She is also highly, highly intelligent. She would often point out technical problems before the experienced technicians were aware of them. She always seemed at least one step ahead of the rest of us. I also like actors who come to work early, know their lines – it’s surprising how many don’t – and who work as hard as the rest of the crew. I think she got, like, four hours of sleep the last three days of shooting. She never complained once. I wish she was in every movie of mine.
Dread Central: There’s been a lot of talk concerning violence depicted in cinema contributing to social violence following the recent mass shootings in Colorado and Sandy Hook. Do you feel there’s any correlation?
Daniel Sollinger: Personally, I do, but I have no idea what the correlation is or what to do about it. I think some people use fantasy violence to fuel their violent tendencies, while others use fantasy violence to curb their tendencies. Most people are unaffected by it. I just hope they never ban horror movies. I love making them. Any day I come home covered in fake blood has been a good day!
Dread Central: Girls Against Boys isn’t in my estimation a ‘straight’ horror film, which is for me personally refreshing. It’s purposefully not formulaic. Can you comment on that?
Daniel Sollinger: I love when I see something that transcends a genre. It keeps the genre alive in my opinion. Austin never saw Girls Against Boys as a horror film. He saw it primarily as a coming of age film. There just happens to be a killing spree involved. He is very influenced by European films, and I think he brought those influences to the process. He wanted to shoot all the killings in long single takes, which is virtually impossible. Stunts, makeup effects, and gunplay almost always need editing to make them look real. We gave it our best shot but ultimately lacked the resources to fully achieve his goal. However, I think the effort we put into trying to do it differently ultimately took the killings to another level and help make the film as a whole special.
Dread Central: What projects are you currently working on?
Daniel Sollinger: I have a feature film in post-production now called L.A. Slasher. It is a very stylized and fun take on celebrity culture. We like to call it a ‘neon horror’ film. It is very cool and very fun. I also have a pretzel-plotted thriller in post called Ten Cent Pistol, starring Jena Malone and Joe Mantenga.
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