With the upcoming DVD release of the new film Everly, director Joe Lynch took time out of his busy schedule to have a quick chat.
1) How did you get into directing? Was it something you have always wanted to do?
I’ve wanted to formally direct movies while I was IN the movies. It was seeing Chuck Russell’s THE BLOB remake (that Frank Darabont co-wrote) that made me decide this. Before then I wanted to do special effects or act or work with makeup…basically I wanted to be Tom Savini. But when I discovered that the director got to play in all of those fields and more, working with every department that works to making a movie moment work to tell the larger story unfolding, I was like “Yes I wanna be THAT person on set”. I got into directing the best way…I pushed and shoved my way in doing my own things, from using my parents VHS camera and editing on 2 VCR’s to making shorts & music videos with friends and a crappy DV recorder. I learned by just doing it, getting into it and moving forward, leaving a trail of content in my wake!
2) What other directors inspired/inspire you to start a career in directing?
There’s too many directors to list here, but if I had a gun to my head and had to pick 3 for back then when I was just thinking about making movies, it would be Spielberg (of course), John Carpenter & Sam Raimi. Spielberg showed me how to tell a story purely through the actors eyes and their heart, Carpenter showed how genre can elevated to an art form and Raimi showed me how to install a camera on a wood board or a motorcycle and truly “Unleash The Camera”. But again, those are only 3!
3) Your new film, Everly, is due to be released in cinemas, how would you best describe the film to audiences?
Well it enjoyed a brief run in Cinemas (critics be damned!) but I’m excited that it will find a larger audience at home. EVERLY is best described as a crazy, gonzo action/thrilller/horror/holiday movie about a woman who is trapped in one room and must not only survive the night from a wild variety of ruthless foes, but also save her mother and daughter who have been put in harm’s way by her former lover, a powerful Yakuza crime boss. Did I mention this takes place during Christmas time? You know…perfect Holiday fare! Get ready to replace your LOVE ACTUALLY copies come December!
4) You seem to have a love for the horror/thriller genre. Where do you think this came from? What makes you want to direct this genre?
My mother was always a fan so that rubbed off on me I guess. She was always going to horror movies and that introduced me to so many wonderful nightmares. She was also slick enough to buy me copies of FANGORIA and STARLOG to show me HOW they did the effects so I was fascinated by movie magic. Plus, my favourite director as a kid, Spielberg, was making his own brand of horror movies or slyly putting horror elements into his films, like JAWS, POLTERGEIST, RAIDERS OF THE LOTT ARK, GREMLINS, etc, so that kinda validated it to me as well. And I’ve been loving the genre ever since. Horror taps into a “safe danger”, where you can push a viewer’s buttons emotionally and if you do it right, you’re affecting them but in a way they would appreciate, hopefully. Horror likes to push a lot of buttons so consider me that kid in the arcade button-mashing with reckless abandon. There’s nothing more satisfying than being in a theatre, be it your own film or just a film to enjoy, when an audience is into a movie, especially a Horror or Comedy. Its infectious when the audience laughs or screams (or both) and that’s a fix every filmmaker is chasing.
5) Are you currently working on any new projects?
Who isn’t these days? But yes, I have a few things coming up but nothing I can talk about or the internet will explode. Seriously. I’m doing this for you!
6) What advice would you give to aspiring filmmakers?
Yes. Stop saying you want to be a filmmaker. That starts with ownership. Say “I am a filmmaker”. That’s the first start. Then, after puffing your chest up an owning up to the title, go watch your favourite movie, get inspired and either write something on paper down or pull out your phone and shoot it. What’s that? That sounds too complicated and why waste the time using a phone? Well, see Sean Baker’s TANGERINE, which was all shot on an iPhone and in theatres in the US now, so no excuses!
7) You have been described as a cult film enthusiast. Would you agree with this description?
I never liked the word “Cult” to describe a love for a movie, way too many sinister connotations, but I to get the intention. “Cult” in cinema usually means “smaller, dedicated following and appreciation” and I agree, those are usually movies I tend to love and laud. I guess when you see as many movies as I have, always chasing a reaction or an experience, you tend to start searching in the fringes, looking to international cinema or indie film, all the places NOT playing on 10000 screens this weekend which are made for the largest common denominator, which can ultimately dilute any edge or danger, things I love seeing in movies. Since high school, I’ve been importing and seeking out harder to find films and most times discovering real gems, everything from Lars Von Trier & John Waters to Takaski Miike and Gaspar Noe, to name a few. If those films are considered “cult” or not, fine. But the term bothers me a little because it compartmentalizes the general consensus of a film, and many times that film isn’t seeing general acceptance. Those are the films I usually love, and that’s how we made EVERLY. I knew not everyone was gonna love it, but we held firm to our aspirations, making an “elevated B movie” (or a “B+ movie”) where we take the tropes of exploitation flicks and add some style, some heart, some quirk that you don’t see every day. Some people who have seen it love that, some people hate it, and you are both right because Cinema is subjective. But I’d rather that response than “Meh” or that it was just mediocre. I love the response EVERLY gets, good or bad, and if that is what constitutes a “cult” film, I hope EVERLY gets the title someday to the fan base at least…and a few more midnight movie screenings. See you at the Prince Charles someday I hope!
8) What is your favourite film and why?
WAY too hard a question to ask since there’s so many, but surprisingly my favourite film is SCHINDLER’S LIST. Buy me a pint someday and I’ll bend your ear for 2 hours why I love that film so much, but it’s always the first film I think of when asked.
9) Your other films include Knights of Badassdom and Wrong Turn 2, what made you want to work on these films?
WRONG TURN 2 was not only my gateway into my ultimate goal since childhood, making features, but was a love letter to the splatter films I grew up with reading about in FANGORIA and renting at the video store…and hey it got me my first formal trip to the UK when WT2 premiered at FrightFest in London! I’m really proud of WT2 as my first movie and my foot in the feature door. KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM was a really cool script and played in the adventure & horror comedy world, which I love with films like ARMY OF DARKNESSS and even GOONIES to an extent. It’s unfortunate that the end product didn’t come out the way we wanted, but live and learn!
10) Would you ever direct TV?
I’ve loved the TV form telling cinematic stories since TALES FROM THE CRYPT, OZ and SOPRANOS, so since then I’ve been following TV as a viable medium to work in for a long time. Funny you should ask that….I’m working on something now that could answer that question very soon. Stay tuned!
Everly will be released on Blu-Ray and DVD on August 10.