Exclusive: Co-Writer and Director Matt Mitchell Talks Gangsters, Guns and Zombies
With a title offering up pretty much anything you could want out of a horror/comedy/crime thriller hybrid, Gangsters, Guns and Zombies is the feature film debut from UK director Matt Mitchell which recently bowed on VOD.
Look for the flick to be arriving on DVD shelves everywhere on December 11th courtesy of XLrator Media.
Recently Dread Central chatted with Mitchell about his directorial bow and how another indie film inspired the concept of Gangsters, Guns and Zombies originally. We also heard about the up-and-coming filmmaker's experiences working on his no-budget horror comedy and more on his future projects as well.
Check out our exclusive interview with Mitchell below, and check out Gangsters, Guns and Zombies now that's out on select VOD platforms.
Dread Central: I really enjoyed this movie; the humor was fun, and it was definitely an ambitious movie to say the least. Can you start off by discussing where the idea for the story came from?
Matt Mitchell: Wow, thanks so much. So, this story was born out of a few things; just before this all happened, I was trying to get another feature up and running and my producer approached me about doing a no-budget indie feature film which I thought could be fun, but we didn't really know what we wanted to do a movie about at the time. Right around then, I was watching a featurette for another indie movie made over here [in the UK], and they said something like, "It was great to work on something that wasn't about gangsters, guns or zombies," and I just thought to myself, "Gangsters, guns and zombies? Now THAT sounds like a movie I'd want to watch." I just loved the idea of it; how could you go wrong? (laughs)
Dread Central: Because you knew going into this that you weren't going to have much of a budget, was that a huge consideration for you when you were writing the story? It still seems like you guys pulled off a lot for a little because of all the locales and everything.
Matt Mitchell: Well, I wrote it specifically for the budget, but of course there was a lot of crazy shit that got away from us, which makes things harder and can really screw up your budget, too. All I will say is that making this movie was a nightmare…or worse than that even, but regardless of what happens, you just have to keep going through all the bullshit. But I mean, for all the constant bullshit, we had so many people who just kept showing up every day because they were excited about getting this movie made.
We even had to do crowd-funding just to keep the movie going; it was so hard making this movie, man. But we used some of the footage we shot at the start to use as pitch videos for our campaign and we were really lucky because so many of our zombies on this were actually people who donated and wanted to come out and help us out even more. It was incredible, and the fact that every single person on this project was putting so much of themselves into it, I think that really elevated the end result. Everyone was so passionate about this movie, and that passion is what made this movie really work. I think I was just too dumb to realize when we started just how insane this shoot was going to be (laughs); I know now, though- especially for the next ones!
Dread Central: So were there things then that you had wanted in the movie but just never made it in because of budgetary constraints?
Matt Mitchell: Yeah, there were certain things we had to concede- for example, the scene with the knights in the woods was three days of shooting as it was written on the page, but because of what we could do logistically, we ended up shooting that scene in just a few hours, which meant we lost some stuff because of time. But overall I don't think it really hurt anything because the scene still works really well.
But what was most important to me, even back when I was working on the script, was that this had to have some heart to it- it couldn't just be another zombie movie; there had to be something more to it for this concept to work, and I think we deliver on that. My favorite movies are the ones that I can put on again and again and they have those golden moments of dialogue that makes it so fun for fans to watch again and again, and I think we have a few of those moments here.
Plus, having great actors always helps, and we had some truly great ones on this movie.
Dread Central: Let's talk about your cast then- how was it working with them on the movie?
Matt Mitchell: You know, we got really lucky with our cast; not only are they all fantastic actors, but they were all good people to be around during what ended up being a rather shitty ride, if you get what I mean. When you're making a movie like this, it's really important to have the right kind of people- not just actors, but the right people who know what they're getting into and they can hang, no matter what. Our actors really had to go the distance.
Dread Central: Looking back at your experiences making Gangsters, Guns and Zombies, what would you say is the biggest lesson you took away from it all?
Matt Mitchell: I would say- give yourself time and give everyone else time, too. Time is the essential element in making sure anything works the right way... the script, the performances, everything. If you plan for everything the right way and give everyone time to prepare the way they need to, it makes an insane shoot like ours go off with very few interruptions. Sure, we definitely faced our challenges, but preparation made all of us better equipped to handle those kinds of challenges.
My other advice would be always to write to your budget; we might have been a little too ambitious with the fights and action stuff we put into our script, and that's a lot of the moments we had to lose along the way because we just didn't have the budget to do those scenes the way we wanted to.
Dread Central: If this does well, would you like to do a follow-up to Gangsters, Guns and Zombies? Any projects coming up soon?
Matt Mitchell: I would love to do a sequel if we ever get the chance to; I would only hope that maybe we have a bit of a bigger budget the next time around, though, so that we can do a lot of the things we missed out on doing on this one. But right now I'm working on this horror comedy thriller project that's hopefully going to get started next year. It's going to be insane, and that's all I can say for now- insane!
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