Exclusive: Joe Lynch Talks Everly's Insane Realism, Salma Hayek's Heart, and More! - Dread Central
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Exclusive: Joe Lynch Talks Everly’s Insane Realism, Salma Hayek’s Heart, and More!

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After she betrays a powerful and dangerous mob boss, a woman named Everly (Salma Hayek) matches wits and weaponry with a squad of killers who are out to collect the bounty on the heads of her and her family. With Everly the movie available on iTunes and On Demand now and in theaters February 27th, we spent some time with director Joe Lynch to learn more about how the film came to be and his process for keeping it real.

Dread Central: We know you as a horror fan (having done Wrong Turn 2, Chillerama, and “Holliston”), and while there is as much blood and gore as most horror films in Everly, it’s a little different from what we’d expect of you. How’d it come about?

Joe Lynch: There’s a little bit of bloodshed, and there’s some scary moments, I guess you could say. Honestly, I know that I had started out in the horror world. Not by design, just because I love the genre, like so many that we know – we love the genre so much, that it fuels us to make that kind of art. But I also love other genres. And I’ve always had this idea of doing kind of a siege movie, or something akin to say, you know, Assault on Precinct 13 or Night of the Living Dead. I love pressure-cooker movies.

And not just from a financial or budgetary standpoint, like, “Oh good! One location. We don’t have to do any company moves.” Which, when you start making movies and you start going like, “Where’s our company move?” And you realizing how much time gets sucked out of that. Suddenly movies all set in one location start to sound really attractive.

But this was really more from an aesthetic position. I came up with this idea years ago where I wanted to make a short film that you think is a feature, but then 27 minutes into the movie, the lead character dies. And then that’s the end of the movie. But we say that it’s a feature so when people watch it, they go, “Holy shit! That man… they totally, you know, pulled the rug out from under me!”

And I told this to my manager at the time. And he’s just like, “That’s a terrible idea, but I do like this idea of this character who’s stuck in the situation.” And then we started talking about movies like Breaking the Waves and the Dogma 95 movement where it was all about having these rules that hindered you from certain parameters – like you can’t have this and you can’t have that – but that just makes you create more interesting art. So this was a challenge. So my manager at the time challenged me, “Come up with an idea that uses a lot of these same elements and come back to me.”

And I wrote the entire thing out and really was tapping into all those action thrillers from, like, the late 80’s into the early 90’s that I just grew up with and loved – I mean everything from Blood Simple to Leon the Professional. And then I’ve also been heavily influenced by Eastern cinema as well. So, you know, I kept thinking like, “I wonder if I could ever make a movie that is just as crazy as a Takashi Miike movie? Could that ever happen?” That was the challenge.

And really, then I came back, and then [producer] Luke [Rivett] liked it. And I got a college buddy of mine to get involved, Yale Hannon, who’s from Syracuse. And we banged out the script together. And then the rest is infamy… I guess you could say.

DC: How did Salma Hayek come on to Everly?

JL: Well, originally we had Kate Hudson. We did a really long search to find the right actress who was going to bring the right gravitas, who was going to be easy enough on the eyes, that you’d want to see a whole lot of her in one location for an extended amount of time – because that was always a factor. But someone who could also have the emotional resonance, that could carry a movie as totally insane as this movie is.

I’ll be the first person to say that this movie is, technically, totally inconsistent. You know what? So is real life. Life is totally inconsistent because the drama that we’re having right now with the light comedy that we’re experiencing on the phone? In about 20 minutes I could get into a car accident. How would a movie convey that, in the proper way that’s going to reflect real life? It can’t.

I went in to every actress that we talked to and said, “This movie is insane. This movie is a roller coaster. So if you’re along for the ride, awesome. I want you to know that. And also that the focus is to create an elevated world around your grounded performance.” Like that was the key – was that no matter what, in the eye of the storm, there was going to be a real person playing the lead in this, not just another “wacky character” in this world the psychos created, you know? We needed to have someone with real emotion, real gravitas.

So at the time Kate was very interested. She also was like, “I want to make a crazy action movie like my dad.” And I’m sitting there going like, “Your dad is Kurt Russell…” Ultimately it didn’t work out with her because she got “Glee,” but obviously it worked out to our favor because, when Kate was involved, then other actresses became less scared of it.

It needed that kick in the ass, that vote of confidence that Kate had, for the other actresses – who actually passed on the movie in the beginning – to come back to us and say, “Hey – is that movie still open? That sounds great.” It’s the fear that people have over certain projects, because this is an extreme movie, you know; this is not a walk in the park. This is not The Notebook… this movie’s all over the place. There’s a lot of physicality involved. It goes to some very dark places. So we wanted to make sure that whoever was going to do it was fully comfortable with knowing that we were going to go to these places.

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And weirdly enough, a couple of weeks after Kate dropped out and we were going, “Well fuck! What are we going to do?” We got a call. And it was Salma’s people. And they said, “She loved the script. She wants to meet you.” And we’re like, “What?” And my knee-jerk reaction was – she’s not right for the part. But that was because I had this very set idea of who Everly was… Everly could have been anybody when we first wrote it. But then the more and more that we worked into acting, and obviously we had Kate for a couple of months, so I had her in my head – it was hard to shake.

But the second that we sat down with Salma and she broke down the script and said, like, “Look. This is all cool, but you’re missing the humanity. You’re missing the heart. Like you need to have the emotional resonance of a mother trying to save her daughter, or this movie’s not going to work.” And she was completely and utterly right. And that’s what she brought every day on the set. She wanted to make sure that no matter what madness I would throw her way – everything from 1,000 bullets to crazy women of the night to the sadist and masochist – everything that I threw her way – she would always try to come to every scene from the place of a real person. And that was so important to her.

So just watching that happen was like, “Oh my God!” I just kept pinching myself going, this could have gone one way and it could’ve been very Resident Evil, so to speak. Where it’s just like, okay, here’s this kick-ass chick. She’s just busting chops and everything. Getting no real emotional connection to anybody. She’s just an avatar. Awesome. Whereas, we wanted someone who would reflect that old story that you remember, like that everybody heard, where it’s like, “Did you hear the one about the mother who picked up a bus to save her baby?”

I’m a parent now. When I first wrote it, I wasn’t. But when I went to shoot the movie, I had my first son. So I knew what it’s like to be [Everly]. You go all in when it comes to the survival of your kid. And that was so important. Whereas, in the script before, it was there, but when Salma was involved, it became everything, And then really, I think that’s the reason why her performance is… whether you love the movie or hate the movie – no one has ever said a bad thing about Salma and her performance, and that’s good.

The thing I’m the most proud of is that she’s a real person in a very, very unreal situation. And all of those fiends and all the things that she is fighting through – sure maybe, you know, your life doesn’t have creeps and Yakuza and crazy Yakuza bosses and insane torture moments. But we’ve all been stuck in a corner before. We’ve all had hard times. And we’ve all had to endure that. And this really is just a movie about someone who has to endure the most extreme situations, just to have one moment with their child again.

DC: I understand Everly has brought out a few critics who say it’s a sexist movie; I didn’t get that impression at all when I saw it.

JL: I was a little nervous when I started to read your review. Because, you know, when we premiered the movie in Austin, more than a few people were very offended by the movie because they said that the movie was misogynist and that I hated women. And it made me go, “What?” because I’d never thought about that, you know? “Am I an irresponsible filmmaker for thinking that, like, I was wrong in this, that I was being overly exploitative? And am I a misogynist?” It made me go, “What did I do wrong?” But I think it was just that somebody had a very, very bad day. And wanted to take it out on someone.

So I’ve been very curiously excited to see what certain reviewers would say. I’ve been reading your reviews for years, and so it was like, “Oh God. Please, I hope Staci likes this.” And it was very heartening for to me to read your review because it wasn’t like, “Yay, you liked it”; it’s more like, “Yay, you got it.” You got what I was doing. Because this movie is not for everybody, but for those who are into this sort of thing, they’re really going to like it.

DC: They definitely will. It kicks ass! Thank you, Joe.

JL: Thanks!

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Radius-TWC presents Everly (review), starring Salma Hayek, available on iTunes and On Demand NOW and in theaters February 27, 2015. The Everly – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is also available now on iTunes.

Togo Igawa, Masashi Fujimoto, Jennifer Blanc-Biehn, Gabriella Wright, and Hiroyuki Watanabe co-star in what can only be described as an uber-violent manga come to life!

Synopsis:
It’s Christmastime, but all is not well in the world of Everly (Salma Hayek). A call girl by trade, Everly has turned against her gangster boss Taiko (Hiroyuki Watanabe) and become a police informant. In response, Taiko has put out a hit on Everly and her family. Soon, every criminal in town wants to cash in. Everly’s survival instincts quickly kick in as she matches wits and firepower with Taiko and a seemingly endless stream of killers.

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Vampire Hunter D: The Series Gets Writer For Pilot Episode

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It’s been a little while since we’ve heard news about “Vampire Hunter D: The Series”, the CG-animated series based on Hideyuki Kikuchi’s titular character. However, some new news broke today over at ANN as they’ve reported that Brandon Easton, who is writing the scripts for new Vampire Hunter D comics, has been tapped by Unified Pictures to write the pilot for the series. The pilot will be based on Kikuchi’s “Mysterious Journey to the North Sea” storylines, which make up the 7th and 8th titles in the book series. Unified is making this series in conjunction with Digital Frontier, the Japanese animation studio behind the CG Resident Evil titles.

Easton told the site, “I’ve had to manage the expectations of three entities: the creator Hideyuki Kikuchi, the producers at Digital Frontier and Unified Pictures, and ultimately myself. This means that you have to find new and exciting ways of telling a story that has a set of concrete rules that have been fully established by the novels.

Meanwhile, the studio has also announced that Ryan Benjamin is taking over as the artist and colorist on the Vampire Hunter D: Message From Mars series with Richard Friend inking the issues.

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Watching A Quiet Place’s John Krasinski Get Scared by Freddy on Ellen Will Brighten Your Day

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I was just researching the new Platinum Dunes horror-thriller A Quiet Place and stumbled across this video. It features the film’s writer-director and star John Krasinski getting scared by a man dressed as Freddy Krueger on “Ellen.”

It’s as much fun as it sounds, and I’m sure it will make your day. It sure as hell just brightened mine.

Give it a watch below, and then let us know what you think!

John Krasinski directs the film, which will be the opening night entry at this year’s SXSW festival in Austin, TX. Emily Blunt stars alongside Krasinski, Noah Jupe, and Millicent Simmonds.

A Quiet Place will then open wide on April 6.

Synopsis:
In the modern horror thriller A Quiet Place, a family of four must navigate their lives in silence after mysterious creatures that hunt by sound threatens their survival. If they hear you, they hunt you.

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Interview: Director Jeff Burr Revisits Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III

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Director Jeff Burr was gracious enough to give us here at Dread Central a few minutes of his time to discuss the Blu-ray release of his 1990 film Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. Recently dropped on 2/13, the movie has undergone the white-glove treatment, and he was all-too-happy to bring us back to when the film was being shot…and eventually diced thanks to the MPAA – so settle in, grab a cold slice of bloody meat, read on and enjoy!

DC: First off – congrats on seeing the film get the treatment it deserves on Blu-ray – you excited about it?

JB: Yeah, I’m really happy that it’s coming out on Blu-ray, especially since so many people bitch and moan about the death of physical media, and this thing made the cut, and it’s great for people to be able to see probably the best-looking version of it since we saw it in the lab back in 1989.

DC: Take us back to when you’d first gotten the news that you were tabbed to be the man to direct the third installment in this franchise – what was your first order of business?

JB: It was fairly condensed pre-production for me, and there really wasn’t a whole lot of time to think about the import or the greatness of it – it was basically just roll up your sleeves and go. It was a bit disappointing because a lot of times in pre-production you have the opportunity to dream what could be – casting had already been done, but certain decisions hadn’t been made yet. A very condensed pre-production, but exciting as hell, for sure! (laughs)

DC: R.A. Mihailoff in the role of Leatherface – was it the decision from the get-go to have him play the lead role?

JB: No – I totally had someone else in mind, even though R.A. had done a role in my student film about 7 years earlier, and we’d kept in touch, and I’d felt strongly because I’d gotten to know him a bit that Gunnar Hansen should have come back and played Leatherface, which would have given a bit more legitimacy to this third movie. He and I talked, and he had some issues with the direction that it was going – he really wanted to be involved, and it ended up boiling down to a financial thing, and it wasn’t outrageous at all – it wasn’t like he asked for the moon, but the problem was that New Line refused to pay it, categorically. I think the line producer at the time was more adamant about it than anyone, and Mike DeLuca was one of the executives on the movie, and he was really the guy that was running this, in a creative sense. I made my case for Gunner to both he and the line producer, and they flat out refused to pay him what he was asking, so after that was a done “no deal” I decided that R.A would be the right guy to step into the role. Since New Line was the arbiter of the film, he had to come in and audition for the part, and he impressed everyone and got the part. He did an absolutely fantastic job – such a joy to work with, and he was completely enthusiastic about everything.

DC: Let’s talk about Viggo Mortenson, and with this being one of his earliest roles – did you know you had something special with this guy on your set?

JB: Here’s the thing – you knew he was talented, and I’d seen him in the movie Prison way back in the early stages of development and was very impressed with him, and he was one of those guys that I think we were really lucky to get him on board with us. I really believe that The Indian Runner with he and directed by Sean Penn was the movie that truly made people stand up and notice his work. Every person in this cast was one hundred percent into this film and jumped in no questions asked when it was time to roll around in the body pits.

DC: It’s no secret about the amount of shit that the MPAA put you through in order to get this film released – can you expound on that for a minute?

JB: At the time, I believe it was a record amount of times we had to go back to the MPAA after re-cutting the film – I think it was 11 times that we went back. What a lot of people don’t realize is after Bob Shaye (President of New Line) had come into the editing room and he thought that it was very disturbing, and cut out some stuff himself. He thought that it would have been banned in every country, and it was banned in a lot of countries but so were the previous two. It was definitely on the verge of being emasculated before even being submitted to the MPAA, and I would have thought just a few adjustments here and there – maybe a couple of times to go back…but eleven? It was front-page news in the trade papers then, and I think that the overall tone of the film was looked at as being nasty. The previous film (Chainsaw 2) had actually gone out unrated, and with the first film being so notorious, I think it was a combination of all of that, and now even the most unrated version of this would be rated R – that’s how far the pendulum has swung in the other direction.

DC: Looking back at the film after all this time – what would be one thing that you’d change about the movie?

JB: Oh god – any film director worth his salt would look back at any of their films and want to change stuff up, and with this being 28 years old, I can look back and say “oh yeah, I’d change this, this and this!” You grow and learn over the course of your time directing, and this was my third movie and my first without producers that I had known, so the main thing that I’d do today would be to make it a bit more politically savvy. I had always thought that they wanted me to put my vision on this film, and that wasn’t necessarily the case, so maybe I’d navigate those political waters a little better.

DC: Last thing, Jeff – what’s keeping you busy these days? Any projects to speak of?

JB: Oh yeah, I’ve got a couple of movies that I’m working on – I’m prepping a horror movie right now, and then I’ve got a comedy film that I’m doing after that. You haven’t heard the last of me! I’ve had a real up and down (mostly down) career, but I still love it – it’s what I love to do, and it’s still great that after 28 years people still want to talk about this movie, and are still watching it – that’s the greatest gift you can get, and I thank everyone that’s seen it and talked about it over all these years.

BUY IT NOW!

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