Sundance 2011: The Woman Q&A: Lucky McKee and Producer Andrew van den Houten
Our man in Utah, Kabelson, has just turned in a Q&A transcription for another one of the most controversial films ever shown at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, Lucky McKee's The Woman (review here). Dig it!
In Attendance - Lucky McKee (Director), Andrew van den Houten (Producer).
McKee: Hello everyone. (Applause) Any questions?
Q: Where did you find Polly and did she do all of her own voice?
McKee: Yeah, that is all production sound. That’s all her.
Van den Houten: Polly and I had worked on the movie Offspring. When I finished directing it, I was blown away by her performance in the movie. So immediately I was like, “Wow, she needs to have a movie around her”, but I want someone amazing to direct this film. I called Lucky, and said, “Come to New York; I want you to see this film I just made”. Jack Ketchum, who wrote the script, and I worked with Polly on that. Lucky came to New York and watched the movie, which was pretty much an 18-minute screen test with this character that just jumped off the screen. Lucky responded to the material; I was immediately just blown away that he and Jack Ketchum would work together and write this book and develop that character further. It was a really exciting thing for me. I have been watching his (McKee) horror films since May. So…
McKee: That was good! (Laughter)
Q: What inspired this film?
McKee: The previous story and thinking about what direction to take it without being repetitious. The 6:00 news, a movie called The Wild Child (1970), First Blood (Stallone), lots of different inspirations.
Q: Can you talk a little about the music and how it tied into the film?
McKee: Sean Spillane, he’s a heck of a song writer. He just left, sorry he couldn’t be here. Horror films in general have a score, a lot of stingers and all these jump sounds and stuff like that. I just wanted to do something different, I wanted songs. Sean actually came out while we were shooting the film and recorded all the songs so you could feed off the energy of the film being made. He wrote most of the stuff while we were shooting the film. We wanted to give the movie a different emotional feeling. I am really happy with the way it turned out.
Q: What is the approximate budget for the film?
McKee: I can’t tell you that.
Comment: I just wanted to congratulate you, I love horror movies, I am always looking for the scariest thing, and this just freaked me out.
McKee: Well, thank you.
Comment: I am not a horror movie fan, but I wanted to watch your film...it’s really fucked up, dude. I think that’s the best compliment I can say. I will say I was riveted until the end.
McKee: Thank you very much.
Q: What message are you trying to get across?
McKee: Just that we live in a fucked up world, and the genre, horror, can get very repetitious. To me misogyny is horrifying. A man having this sort of control over all of the women in his life is just something that scares me. I wanted a sort of fable about that.
Van den Houten: We wanted to make an entertaining film, too. I think one the exciting things about being a producer and reading the script, we read the book even, it just reads rich right off the page. To see that translated from script to screen with really cool profits, as a producer you ask how are you going to do that within the confines of what we were working with and really honor the material and the subject matter. It’s really cool working with Lucky as he is very specific. I like all the little details so you are engaged from the very beginning.
Q: She (The Woman) started out in the woods and we never really get to see how she got there or why she is there. Is that a certain metaphor of how this man (Chris Cleek) sees women? That he has to control them, torture them and mold them. I am just curious?
McKee: I like that interpretation.
Q: So is that where you were going?
McKee: Like I said, that is a good interpretation. You could go back (to Offspring) and see how the character was established; they are very different films. But yeah, I really like you interpretation.
Q: I noticed that Robert Kurtzman did the make-up; did you have input in that, or did you just let him have at it?
McKee: Of course, I am the director (Laughter). I would tell him what I wanted; we’d have drawings and go back and forth. I think he did a wonderful job.
Q: I heard there was a really interesting happening at the first Q&A; can you tell us what happened?
McKee: I have done plenty of interviews you can find on the Internet where I talked about that.
Q: How long did it take you to make the movie?
McKee: We have been working on it for a few years. We started prep last July and finished it right before Christmas. It was the fastest production I ever had. We shot four, six-day weeks, so yeah, 24 days.
Q: You faded to darkness in maybe the majority of the scenes. I feel like it’s kinda cheating doing that, another part of me just loved it. It contributed so much. What kind of thinking was behind that?
McKee: Hitchcock used many chapter ends from his books. It’s done to close the audience’s eyes in a pretty literal way. It just felt right when we were making it; the movie is so dark as it is. These things that are happening you don’t even realize they are happening until they are through. It adds an emotional effect to the film. Like I said, they are like chapter breaks so when something new pops up, it’s a really neat effect.
McKee: Thanks a lot for coming out to see this. (Applause)
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