Thursday, 21 August 2014

Frightfest London 2014 - Lucky McKee/Chris Sivertson Interview

Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson, co-creators of All Cheerleaders Die (review coming next week) were kind enough to agree to answer some questions as part of our series of pieces on this year's Frightfest event which kicks off today in London. Here's how that went.

AOTD: Can you guys tell us a little bit about the original version of All Cheerleaders Die and what led to that becoming something of a lost movie?

Lucky/Chris: The original ACD was us having our first go at a feature length film fresh out of college. We came up with a simple, aggressive idea and just went for it, teaching ourselves how to make a movie from soup to nuts. It was an incredible learning experience and made all the better by the fact that we were working as a team, learning how to collaborate, learning from each other's discoveries along the way. Once we finished the film we didn't really push trying to get it distributed and before we knew it we were on to our solo professional careers, so the movie just sat and aged like wine over time. It's a nice little time capsule for us and we are very interested in releasing a special edition of it sometime down the road for those curious about it.

AOTD: Any chance of it turning up as an extra on the DVD/Blu-ray release of the 2014 version when it hits or is it something you're both happy to leave buried?

Lucky/Chris: No. We definitely want it out there, but we want it to be something special, so we're going to take the time to put together something that's really worth the audiences while.

AOTD: Following on from the previous questions can you tell us a little bit about the gestation of this new version? How much DNA does it share with the 2001 version?

Lucky/Christ: There are similarities in the base idea and a few strange connections here and there, but for the most part, this new version is it's own animal. We're different people now, and the new film reflects that.

AOTD: How does the collaborative process work for you guys? Does having a partner during the writing and directing process make things easier or does it present its own set of challenges?

Lucky/Chris: It's pretty fluid. We've been helping each other on our individual works over the years, writing scripts together, you name it. We've been collaborating since we were in our late teens, so it's a special thing. We have a unique dialect and sense of humor between us and that comes out when we work together. This film isn't much like our own personal films. It's a different deal entirely. 

AOTD: The tone of All Cheerleaders Die is quite erratic; at times shifting suddenly to jolting effect. Are there any movies that influenced the tone of the movie?

Lucky/Chris:We were very excited about exploring tone shifts…or "mood swings"…within this story. Our influences are films that play outside the box structurally. Films that unfold in a different way than the standard hero's journey. We were also determined to not have this movie explain itself too much. We just let it be what it is.

AOTD: It looks like it was a fun movie to make. How did the casting process go? Was it a smooth shoot? What was the on-set dynamic among the actors like?

Lucky/Chris: The casting was extensive and is one of the great and exciting parts of putting together a film. A good actor makes us look like better writers and directors. We were on the lookout for people that would give the story more dimension and…most especially…give us more ideas to play with.

AOTD: Both of you guys have separately adapted Jack Ketchum novels. What is it that attracted you both to his work and are there any novelists other than Ketchum either of you would like to adapt?

Lucky/Chris: Sure. There's a bunch of great books out there. Many I would love to adapt, but as time goes on, it seems those opportunities are rare. It costs money to get the rights to a book and unless you pay for it yourself, you can end up losing control over things a bit which isn't very attractive. Personally, I've been trying to concentrate on material that I create and/or create with people I know and trust deeply.

AOTD: What do you guys think of the current state of the horror genre?

Lucky/Chris: It's as fine as it's ever been. There's good new horror films every year. It's one of the more consistent genres, I think.

AOTD: What's next for both of you guys both? Is a sequel to All Cheerleaders Die a possibility?

Lucky/Chris: It's definitely a possibility. We'd very much like to get into it, but we'd like to see how this one does first. Enough people need to want it, y'know? Otherwise, I'm just working on new stories, trying to build up a bunch of options for myself over the next couple years. Lot's of new exciting stuff to share before the year is out.

AOTD:  All Cheerleaders Die is screening at Frightfest in London this week. Do you guys have a message for the audience?

Lucky/Chris: The last time I was at Frightfest it was one of the best audience experiences I've ever had with one of my films. It was pretty hard to beat. And the presentation was phenomenal. I'm hoping lightning strikes twice with this new film, which is made with one of my oldest and dearest friends. This is not a Lucky McKee film…it's not a Chris Sivertson film…it's a McKee/Sivertson film and it's a whole new thing. One we're very proud of.

AOTD: I just want to finish off by saying thank you for allowing us to ask you guys some questions and wish you both all the best for Frightfest.

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