Exclusive: Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer Talk Drive Angry
Apparently The Terminator didn’t only hold influence over Cage’s performance in Drive Angry 3D - it also had some influence on Farmer’s approach to writing the role of Piper, the strong but sexy sidekick to Milton throughout the film played by Amber Heard.
“My biggest influence when writing Piper’s character was James Cameron and the strong female roles he’s written over the years in movies like The Terminator or Aliens,” explained Farmer. “I’ve always loved seeing empowered women roles in cinema so I wanted Piper to be that kind of role too. Amber was definitely the key to casting because she had to be able to hold her own against a cast of all very strong men, but her character had to keep the story moving forward too. If she wasn’t able to pull it off, the movie would have sunk. I personally think Amber did an amazing job because she definitely kicked a lot of ass in Drive Angry.”
When it came time to find the right actor for the role of The Accountant, which had to have the right blend of comedic timing with deadpan delivery, Lussier remembered character actor William Fichtner from an audition some ten years ago. “I’ve always been a fan of Fichtner’s. He actually came in and read for me for Dracula 2000 for the role that went to Omar Epps. What’s funny is that when he came in to audition, he actually really wanted to play Dracula, which I think would have been pretty awesome - I mean, Gerard was fantastic in that role, but I always imagine an alternate-reality version of Dracula 2000 with William as Dracula. But in Drive Angry, he just nailed his performance for The Accountant perfectly. It was just how we imagined it when we wrote it, and I can’t imagine anyone else playing that role with the kind of cadence William brought to the table.”
And even if it seemed like all the stars were aligned for Drive Angry 3D to be a successful action flick, anyone who follows box office numbers knows that the movie definitely under-performed. Farmer, who is conscientious that the audacious nature of the movie may have had some influence on moviegoers, discussed how the mishandling of 3D filmmaking by the studios over the last few years is partially responsible for the weak performance by Drive Angry 3D during its theatrical run.
”When Patrick and I first did My Bloody Valentine, there wasn’t a glut of 3D movies like there are these days,” said Farmer. ”In fact, we were the first modern live-action 3D movie, and I still think we did a great job on that movie. We had always written Drive Angry to be made in 3D because we wanted to create something fans had never seen in the 3D format - an insane car movie that offered a lot of the spectacle we love seeing in the 3D format. We were definitely ahead of the curve because after we released MBV, suddenly there was this onslaught of post-converted 3D movies, which I think has ruined the 3D experience for audiences, and I think that’s why a lot of 3D movies are under-performing now.”
”You have to think of movies like rides at an amusement park - you don’t always want to go on roller coasters when you are riding all the different rides so there is no reason for the studios to make everything in 3D. Not every story needs to be told in that format. Plus, I really don’t think that theaters should charge more for 3D presentations because that is also ruining the business. People just don’t want to pay more, and I don’t blame them really,” added Farmer.
Even though both Lussier and Farmer are busy working on various upcoming genre projects including Halloween III and Hellraiser, we asked Farmer if he had given any thought to another Drive Angry movie down the road.
Farmer said, “Milton’s story is definitely not finished, and we definitely do have a sequel for Drive Angry already mapped out. It’s just hard to know if a sequel will ever happen because of how the movie did theatrically. It’s all up to the DVD and Blu-ray release now and what kind of numbers we do, unfortunately. But I know we all had a blast making Drive Angry, and I don’t think any of us would change a thing about what we did with the movie.
Special thanks to both Todd Farmer and Patrick Lussier for taking the time to speak with Dread Central.
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