I first remember interviewing directors Jon Milott and Cary Murnion at the incredible inaugural year of the Stanley Film Festival (now known as the Overlook Film Fest). The all-horror film event and interactive weekend was set against the backdrop of the Stanley Hotel where Stephen King famously wrote The Shining, and we were together to talk about the kid zombie horror-comedy Cooties. This go around, we spoke on the phone about their new film, Becky, where a teenage girl with a chip on her shoulder (Lulu Wilson) squares off against a group of escaped prisoners looking for buried Nazi treasure. Not only will Becky be available On Demand, it’s also playing in tons of drive-in theaters all over the country this weekend.
Spunky and rebellious, Becky (Lulu Wilson) is brought to a weekend getaway at a lake house by her father Jeff (Joel McHale) in an effort to try to reconnect after her mother’s death. The trip immediately takes a turn for the worse when a group of convicts on the run, led by the merciless Dominick (Kevin James), suddenly invade the lake house.
Jon Millot: We’re excited that it’s going to be playing in some drive-in theaters…it just seems like a great drive-in experience movie. The funny thing is, Cary’s hometown is Warwick, NY and there’s a drive-in there but we don’t know if it’s playing there yet.
Dread Central: It’s exciting that the drive-ins are coming back. You’re right, it would be an awesome film to see at a drive-in. There are a lot of action set pieces in Cooties and a fair amount of violence in Bushwick but Becky takes that to another level. Are the action beats and acts of violence in this film the best work you guys have done in your opinion?
JM: I think it’s very different. Obviously, Cooties was a horror comedy so there was an element to that that we took very seriously and played very straight. Whereas Bushwick was played much more straight and with the one take, the way that we depicted the violence was very different. To come back around with Becky, we very purposefully wanted it to be extremely visceral and extremely violent.
Cary Murnion: To us, we’re so jaded. I go to see a Marvel movie with my kids and I think this is a friggin’ violent movie! Captain America is bashing the hell out of a lot of people’s heads right now. Then, I go see a Tarantino movie and he does some stuff at the end of Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood that’s over-the-top too but that’s an award-winning Oscar worthy movie. For us, it’s just hard to gauge nowadays, I think.
DC: Somebody took the opening scene of Captain America and added blood and a couple of decapitations and it really takes on a new level. When you guys heard the name Kevin James before Becky, you probably thought of something a little different. What do you think of now after filming Becky with him and seeing his big turn as an actor?
CM: Yeah, we were trying to find someone that could be charming who you would let into your house if they said, ‘Hey, we’re looking for my dog that ran away.’ Right away, he’s this charming guy and we like that idea that maybe you wouldn’t be so worried about him. As the film progresses, he reveals his physical traits that are unlike anything you’ve ever seen with Kevin James. Through his charm, he can do things that are more crazy and more outrageous and more shocking. This charming guy is saying all these racist things or he’s torturing people that you just don’t expect out of someone like Kevin James.
DC: You’ve got Neo-Nazis escaping from prison and that’s just always gold. Will Nazis always be the best villains? And, have either of you ever spent the night in jail and was it together?
CM: Jon, we did do a short commercial. It was a commercial for a John Grisham book where we shot two full days in a prison. We didn’t spend the night there but it was a part of a prison that was closed down and it was the part that was the less modern version. And the rooms were just so fucking tiny and it was hot there when we filmed it. So we got the real feeling of what a real prison could feel like. And yeah, I think Nazis in prison, that’s a great combo. We see some of the tattoos that some of them have on themselves and it says a lot without having to explain things. We know that one of them is definitely a Neo-Nazi but we don’t quite know where the other one stands throughout the film. Maybe these guys are using each other…
JM: We did discuss that these characters have this Nazi belief and whether we wanted to go down that road. It’s horrible that it’s still 2020 and the headlines are covered with racism. During a pandemic, we’re still seeing racism at the forefront of the national media. As we were writing and developing this, it’s so insane to us that there [are] still people in America that have these outdated beliefs and are willing to hurt other people and do whatever they can to fulfill their belief system. It’s just shocking.
Cary: And being endorsed by the leaders of our country which is the most insane thing.
DC: Well, luckily, the leader of our country doesn’t have a Nazi key that he’s looking for.
Jon: You never know! Maybe he has it.
Becky is in Theaters, Drive-Ins, On Digital and On Demand June 5
PLAYING IN THE BELOW THEATERS AND DRIVE-INS BEGINNING JUNE 5TH:
IOWA: Superior 71 Drive-In, Blue Grass Drive-In
INDIANA: Garrett Drive-In, Tri Way 4 Drive-In
KENTUCKY: Regency 8
MASSACHUSETTS: Mendon Twin Drive-In
MINNESOTA: Long Drive-In
NORTH CAROLINA: Hounds Drive-In, Raleigh Road Drive-In, Badin Road Drive-In, Eden Drive-In
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Milford Drive-In 2
NEW JERSEY: Delsea Drive-In
NEW YORK: Transit Drive-In, Silver Lakes Drive-In, Sunset 3 Drive-In, Vintage Drive-In, Delevan Twin Drive-In
OHIO: Mayfield Road Drive-In, Skyway Drive-In, South Drive-In Twin, Tiffin Drive-In, Starview Drive-In, Springmill Drive-In, Magic City Twin Drive-In, Van-Del Drive-In, Dixie Drive-In, Aut-O-Rama Twin Drive-In, Elm Road Triple Drive-In, Field of Dreams Drive-In
OKLAHOMA: Tower Drive-In
PENNSYLVANIA: Garden Drive-In, Circle Drive-In, Comet Twin Drive-In, Kane Family Drive-In, Riverside Drive-In, Silver Drive-In, Skyview Twin Drive-In
SOUTH CAROLINA: Hi-Way 21 Drive-In
TENNESSEE: Stardust Drive-In
WISCONSIN: Stardust Drive-In