Have a read - and make sure you see the film! It's out this week, in selected UK cinemas.
After receiving its UK premiere at FrightFest last weekend, the terrific, terrifying Kill List is released on Friday. In anticipation, we spoke with director Ben Wheatley, and stars Neil Maskell and MyAnna Buring, about low-budget filmmaking, improvising on set, and how best to describe this twisty, twisted film.
Kill List is a really interesting cross-genre film. It starts off in a similar mould to [Wheatley’s previous film] Down Terrace, with the domestic setting, but then you pull the rug a couple of times on the audience. What was the starting point for the film? Did you set out to make a horror movie?
Ben Wheatley: There’s a lot of different starting points, I think. There’s one which is that we definitely were going to make a horror film after making a crime film. We didn’t want to make another crime film. Lots of people have been saying, “Oh, it starts like a crime film”, and the first few times I heard it, I was like, “Aw, shit, I guess!” But I never think of them as criminals, they’re more like blue-collar soldiers. There’s no geezer with gold chains who gives them the cash to go and do their stuff.
Then there was this thing. We’d written a thing called Get Jakarta, which was for Neil to do. There was a possibility of doing this thing in the Philippines, so we were going to go out there and shoot it. This was quite early on, I think. I think this was still while we were doing [UK comedy series] Wrong Door, even. It was bubbling along.
It was basically like Get Carter, which becomes like a HP Lovecraft thing. So he goes out to find his mate, but then his hand gets cut, and he gets infected and he starts hallucinating. But nothing ever came of that, but that basic thing was kicking about. And then there was a casting idea.
Obviously, I worked with these guys on Wrong Door, and Michael Smiley was in Wrong Door as well. And after working with him in Down Terrace, I really wanted to work with him again. So it started to become this idea of getting Michael and Neil together, and then what would they get up to.
And then we were trying to do a short, which was with MyAnna and Neil, and that didn’t come off, but we had a meeting, and got them together. So we had different bits of casting kicking about, and then it all started to coalesce into this movie.
And all the script was written specifically for these people, so there was no casting in the traditional sense, we just shot a five minute, six minute chunk of Kill List, and we showed the financiers that. And we went, “This is who it’s going to be”, and they went, “...okay!”
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