It’s difficult to talk about Canadian horror film Alive without giving away the film’s big twist. The character-driven film almost requires you to go in completely blind to appreciate its subtle complexity. After seeing Alive at this year’s Nightmares Film Festival in Columbus, Ohio, I knew that I had to write about the film and so […]
If you’ve been playing video games since the ’90s (or earlier), chances are that you’ve played a game from Warren Spector. The legendary game designer and producer is behind some all-time great games including System Shock, Deus Ex, and a number of games in the Ultima series, including Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss in 1992. The Underworld series is back in Underworld Ascendant (due out on November 15th) thanks to OtherSide Entertainment, and I recently had a chance to visit the studio, check out the game, and interview the creative team.
During my time with Warren Spector, he talked about leaving teaching to return to gaming, his role in the development of Underworld Ascendant, trying to recreate that experience he felt the first time playing Dungeons & Dragons, and more:
How did you get involved with OtherSide Entertainment’s Underworld Ascendant as Studio Director?
Warren Spector: I was teaching at the University of Texas. I created a game development program that ran for three years, and about midway through that I realized that, as much as I enjoyed teaching, I was not a teacher and I still wanted to make games. And right around the time my three-year commitment was ending, Paul [Neurath] came along and said, “I’m starting a new studio. Do you want to go in with me?” And I just said, “Yeah!” We’ve been working together since Paul did a game called Space Rogue in 1989.
I was the producer on the original Underworld and Underworld 2 and System Shock, so we’ve worked together a long time and I jumped at that opportunity. He knows me well enough to know I wasn’t going to leave Austin, Texas, so I set up my own studio down there. It’s working on System Shock 3 now, and I’ve been assisting up here. All credit to Joe Fielder and Paul. This is their game, not mine. I was a creative consultant on it and continue to consult, but that means helping Joe. It’s the first time he’s leading a project, so I’m going over design documents with him and making sure that he was building an immersive simulation like we want to build and giving him pages notes on every build. I’ve been playing builds for a long time.
And then, I’ve been deeply involved in the narrative, because it’s all well and good to let players do amazing stuff and interesting, unique stuff, but if there’s no reason or context for it, it’s really kind of falling flat.
How connected is Underworld Ascendant to the original two games?
Warren Spector: Well, there certainly won’t be any requirement that you played the earlier games or know the earlier games. For players who have played the earlier games, characters like Cabirus are back and the lizard men are back. The Silver Seed and the Silver Sapling are back, but more than any specific object or character, one of the things that set Underworld apart, was that the world felt like a character. It felt like a believable place, and this game has the feeling of that same place, but after a disaster has befallen it. So you can see the transition, and this space that you’re playing in now was once this thriving community of lizard men, knights, and dwarves. You can see how this world came to be if you know what the old world was like.
This world has such a rich mythology. Where do you draw your inspiration from when helping build the narrative and this world?
Warren Spector: Joe was really inspired by classic Greek and Roman mythology, so I think that would be where the biggest shift comes from most traditional fantasies. He didn’t want to just make something up from scratch. He wanted to pull from things that already have resonance with people, so I think that would be the biggest inspiration, and all credit to Joe, because that really came from him.
Looking at your past game work, whether it be on Underworld or System Shock or Deus Ex, how are those experiences shaping your feedback and direction on this game?
Warren Spector: Other people may not see this, but every game I’ve worked on is like the same game. They’re all like steps on an evolutionary path, and you just try and do it better and better. What you’re trying to do better is empowering players to tell their own story.
That’s what I think games are all about. It’s not how clever and creative I am. It’s how clever and creative you are, you know? It’s about me getting off the stage and letting the player [become] the actor. And you’d think that would be a really common thing for game design, but it’s not.
Game designers want to create puzzles that stump players, and the joy for players is to figure out how to solve the puzzle. But in our games, it’s not about that. It’s about creating problem spaces and then letting players solve the problem the way they want. And that kind of thinking comes through in every comment I’ve ever made to Joe or anybody else. The only thing I think is important about games is that it allows everyone to become a storyteller.
The magic of our media is that we’re the first medium in human history that lets noncreative people or creative people be the authors of their own tales. That’s behind everything I did in Deus Ex, Epic Mickey, System Shock, Thief, and now Underworld Ascendant. It better be everything about System Shock 3.
That’s very apparent in the way the skill tree is set up, how you interact with the characters, and I was amazed that people I had been playing with were solving puzzles in completely different ways than I was. I can’t wait to show this to my friends that play D&D because I think they will really love this.
Warren Spector: I’ve said many times that my entire career as a game developer has been about trying to recreate the feeling I got the first time I played Dungeons & Dragons.
D&D is magical and it’s about players telling their own stories. It’s about telling stories with other players and with a Dungeon Master. It’s not about the Dungeon Master telling you a story. It’s about you telling one with that person. And that’s what we want Underworld Ascendant to be.
What’s on the horizon for you? I know you’re working on System Shock 3. How is everything going with that?
Warren Spector: It’s going well. I don’t want to steal Underworld Ascendant‘s thunder, but it’s definitely a game in the same vein. Again, every game is a stepping stone towards ultimate player expression. We’re bringing back SHODAN, obviously one of the great villains in digital game history, and we’re going to be looking into how SHODAN came to be, we’re going to be talking about what happened to some of the characters in some of the earlier games, and Citadel Station from the original game will be coming back in some form. I’ll be a little mysterious about that…
And some of the iconic enemies will be coming back, but in a very modern form. Amazingly enough, it’s not 1994 anymore, so we’re bringing it into the 21st century, well the 22nd century.
Read on for the Underworld Ascendant synopsis and trailer, and visit the game’s official website for more information!
“From the creative minds behind the acclaimed Ultima Underworld®, System Shock and Thiefseries, in Underworld Ascendant®, Paul Neurath and Warren Spector’s OtherSide Entertainment challenges you to think creatively in an interactive sandbox environment.
You are summoned by a mysterious figure to The Stygian Abyss, a dangerous and constantly evolving dungeon world imperiled by the looming threat of the beast Typhon. To save this world, and yours – you must overcome complex challenges, uncover lost secrets and gain favor with factions to maximize your knowledge and strength. Utilize your environment to stack the odds in your favor. Devise the ideal plan to overcome the challenges you face or dive in and think on your feet.
Each decision holds great opportunity and grave consequence. What you leave behind will be engraved on the lives of others. Assuming you survive…”
Launching tomorrow, November 13th, is Back to Earth, the interactive multi-platform narrative where participants find themselves in control of the fate of our world, as they immerse themselves in the expansive storytelling that stretches across a variety of media and work towards saving the human race before it’s too late.
Daily Dead recently caught up with Back to Earth creator Clay Space as well as Benham Karbassi, Founder and CEO of No Mimes Media, the company behind it all, and they discussed their ambitious plans with Back to Earth, the challenges they faced as they utilized various storytelling elements, and more.
Can you start off by discussing how the idea for Back to Earth came along and how you both approached it from your respective positions?
Clay Space: For me, the idea was all about how I could create an experience that felt like an extension of real life. Being a huge proponent of cryptocurrency since 2014, the motivating factor for me was creating a currency that we could give our audience—and that they could then use to interact with our experience in cool ways. There is something truly magical to owning a StarCredit and knowing that you can use it within the world we’ve created, or you can take it out into the broader online world. The borders of fiction and reality really blur at that point.
Behnam Karbassi: Clay Space approached my company, No Mimes Media, about a year ago interested in working with us once he had funding. Within three days, he had successfully funded his crowdfunded ICO and was ready to begin the development process. Our Emmy-winning team, which included experience designer, Steve Peters, and writer, Jay Bushman, dove into the Back to Earth story as well as blockchain and cryptocurrency.
What was the creative process behind all the world building involved with Back to Earth? Considering you guys are working across multiple platforms, it seems there is a lot that would go into getting all of these concepts and things integrated through various forms of media.
Clay Space: The story has been constantly evolving from day one. I started the world with an 80-page script. When No Mimes got on board, I told them to familiarize themselves with the world, find something they liked about it, and then tell a new story based on that. I did the same thing when bringing on the graphic novel team. Each time someone came in with ideas, those ideas ultimately ended up making those first 80 pages stronger and stronger. The process from start to finish has been extremely collaborative, and the result has been a much more compelling and exciting story.
Behnam Karbassi: Clay had a vision for the story world and we worked together to determine how to best pair specific storylines with the appropriate medium. Once the short film was in production with the amazing filmmakers at 3Dar and 3Six Media, we brought on other partners to help bring the other branches to life. For the graphic novel, we tapped the comic wizards at M2, and for the interactive experience, we worked with the innovative teams at Blockdrop and Impossible Bureau. We oversaw all of the different productions, creating a bible and story world guide, and managed the various parts so they created a cohesive story world.
Ultimately, where or how do you see Back to Earth culminating for participants? I noticed in the press release there was mention of a TV series, so is that where you hope this ultimately lands?
Clay Space: I think this story would make an amazing TV series. We have done so much world-building over the last two years that a TV series has written itself. On the same note, our graphic novel would be an extremely compelling action movie. The beauty of making so much content across so many different mediums is that expanding into new mediums like television or the big screen feels natural. This story is made to grow.
Behnam Karbassi: Although each story is standalone, we’d like audiences to consume all the platforms—online, on mobile, in print, on TV or film—if that ends up happening.
What’s been the biggest challenge to creating and crafting something as massively ambitious as Back to Earth?
Clay Space: We’re dealing with cutting-edge technology, both in real life (blockchain) and within our story (biotech implants). People naturally reject things that they’re unfamiliar with, and so convincing them to embrace the story ideas and technology is our biggest challenge.
Behnam Karbassi: The integration of Back to Earth’s in-fiction and real-world cryptocurrency, StarCredits, was the most unique part of this experience. Communicating that to audiences (and buyers) and removing the barriers to entry quickly became a priority. The way we’ve built it, a player doesn’t need to know anything about crypto, exchanges, or blockchain tech in order to understand and use StarCredits for exclusive content, clues, and merchandise discounts.
If you had to explain Back to Earth to someone who has never experienced multi-platform storytelling before, how would you describe it for them?
Clay Space: Imagine being able to email a character in your favorite movie and actually getting a response.
Behnam Karbassi: Simply that Back to Earth is a story that immerses you across video, audio, phone, and email. Stuff you use every day, connected by fiction.
My introduction to Joe Bob Briggs was more than 20 years ago. I was changing channels one Saturday evening and stumbled across Troll, the 1986 cult classic about child-abducting dwarf monsters that turn Sonny Bono into a kumquat gift basket, on TNT. Unbeknownst to me, however, this wasn’t just any old screening of Troll, it was the Monstervision airing, which — of course — meant it was coupled with commentary from Mr. Briggs all night long.
As soon as Joe Bob rolled those drive-in totals (in which he boiled down the film to its core essence — number of onscreen deaths, exposed breasts, monster transformation sequences, etc.) I was hooked. Here was a guy who was the anti Leonard Maltin, an of-the-soil humorist who truly appreciated cinematic trash as the unrefined, unsung art it truly was. So amused by his wit and the scope of his useless movie trivia knowledge (remember, this was well before IMDb ruled the world) that I decided to stick around for the second movie on the double bill — the no-budget ‘80s sci-fi cheapie Trancers — even though I had no real interest in that particular movie itself. The way Joe Bob deconstructed and dissected and disassembled movies was so appealing that Monstervision was worth checking out solely to hear him go off on rants and tangents and asides about everything from French philosophy to Civil War literature to expressionistic art.
For the next three years, my entire week basically revolved around Saturday night. It didn’t matter if Monstervision was showing a legitimately great genre movie like Return of the Living Dead or an unsung gem like Parents or even utter dreck like Superbeast, getting to hear Joe Bob yammer and rave until early Sunday morning made each and every episode a must-see. To this day, the infamous 1998 dusk-to-dawn Friday the 13th mega-movie-marathon remains one of the highlights of my middle school years.
But Joe Bob Briggs and Monstervision just didn’t cement my genre fandom, it made me a connoisseur of cinema as a whole. Hearing Joe Bob simply talk about all the movies he couldn’t show on a Turner network inspired me to seek out stuff I otherwise never would’ve heard of — not just exploitation classics like The Last House on the Left and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but the works of Bergman and Antonioni to boot.
Yes … a guy named “Joe Bob” was what got me into classic Italian cinema. Go figure.
Legendary drive-in film critic Joe Bob Briggs returns to Shudder Nov. 22 for his “Dinners of Death” marathon.
Ever since Monstervision was cancelled in 2000 I dreamed of the day that some network came along and resurrected the program. Well, earlier this year — and after an 18-year-hiatus — Joe Bob Briggs made his triumphant return to the airwaves … well, sorta … when the online streaming service Shudder aired a “live” 24-hour movie marathon hosted by the Old Milwaukee-chuggin’ one himself. The feedback from the aptly titled The Last Drive-In was overwhelming — literally, since so many long-deprived Joe Bob fans logged onto the network that the Shudder servers crashed.
This summer’s movie marathon proved so popular that Shudder’s bringing Joe Bob Briggs back for not just one but TWO holiday specials — the Thanksgiving-themed “Dinners of Death” on Nov. 22 and “A Very Joe Bob Christmas,” slated for Dec. 21. But that’s not all — in our exclusive interview with Joe Bob, the drive-in legend divulges some details on plans for a regular weekly Shudder program set to air next year!
All I can say is that it was both a hoot and an honor to get to spend an hour shooting the breeze with one of my long-time pop culture idols, and it was certainly entertaining and enlightening to hear his thoughts on modern horror, fandom demographics, media distribution platforms, censorship and his own long-term business plans (aspiring filmmakers, you’ll definitely want to take note here.)
Of course, considering a man of Joe Bob’s distinction, I think it’s for the best if we let him speak for himself, don’t you? So kick back, plug in your headphones and pop open that tall boy — it’s time to hear the living legend tell it like it is …
In just a few hours, Julius Avery’s Overlord will be storming its way into theaters everywhere, and if you’re into historical horror, it’s most certainly something you’re going to want to experience on the big screen. The first-ever R-rated production out of J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot production house, Overlord follows a group of American soldiers as they cross enemy lines on a mission to take down a Nazi base in occupied France, only to discover that they are using local civilians in their twisted medical experiments.
While at a recent press day for the film, Daily Dead had the opportunity to speak with three of Overlord’s co-stars—Wyatt Russell, John Magaro, and Iain De Caestecker—about coming together to form a brotherhood on the big screen for the horror/action hybrid, and how a few days in boot camp prior to shooting really helped them all come together. The trio also discussed how helpful all the practical elements to Overlord were during production, and how Avery made it all come together in the end.
Look for Overlord in theaters everywhere this weekend!
In case you missed it, check here to catch up on our previous coverage of Overlord.
Monster Party might be Chris von Hoffmann’s second feature, but he’s a seasoned director, having released his first short film in 2004. Von Hoffmann’s first feature, Drifter, established him as a horror / exploitation director that genre fans should keep a keen eye on. Monster Party delivers on his earlier promise, and then some.
The story of three teenagers whose attempted heist at a fancy Malibu dinner party goes horribly wrong, Monster Party is clever and dreamlike, with plenty of gore. The film explores the literal and symbolic violence between economic classes.
We are very excited to present this interview with von Hoffmann in which we discuss the art of casting, unconventional pacing, and subverting audience expectations.
Dread Central: Your article in Movie Maker about the shooting of your previous film, Drifter, made it sound kind of like a nightmare. Did shooting go a bit more smoothly for Monster Party?
Chris von Hoffmann: No, I mean — Monster Party was definitely a really tough shoot as well, for a lot of different reasons. I think your first movie — I mean, with my first movie Drifter, 75% of what I was having to do on that movie was not even creative, so it kind of makes your head explode at a certain point. With Monster Party, all I was doing was writing and directing it. But there are also a lot of other additional things, because it was like a 17-day schedule, and then you have, you know, my first time with a 45, 50 person crew and a lot of producers on set, an ensemble cast, kind of a complex structure. All these different things. I think every movie is always a mini little nightmare in a way, you know? I think it’s always good to just sort of go through that process because it just trains you so much for the future. But I think everyone kind of pushed themselves hardcore on Monster Party, so I think in a way it was sort of beneficial, but yeah, it was definitely a big thing to adapt to as my first professional movie.
DC: The cast was pretty close to perfect. Everybody was just really at home in their roles. Can you tell me a little bit about the casting process?
CH: Yeah. I always think like, I used to be an actor. I was an actor for six years in high school and after high school in New York City and did a lot of theater. So I definitely had a lot of respect for what actors do, and performance is always number one for me. I feel like a lot of filmmakers kind of neglect performance, kind of focus on everything around the performance. The technicalities of things. So I always think casting is like 85% of what makes a movie. I think that’s the biggest thing I get most psychotically stubborn about in pre-production, just really wanting to make sure, because this was an ensemble cast, and it’s so driven by the performances, so I want to make sure it was kind of like a puzzle and if one piece doesn’t quite organically fit, the whole film is going to feel lopsided. So I really needed to make sure that everyone was going to — even down to a small, small role, everybody had to fit on screen organically, and I knew what kind of tone I was going for, the kind of faces I felt were going to work on screen to match the tone I was going for. So I kind of knew within 10, 20 seconds of seeing someone’s audition or meeting someone if they were going to be right for the role, sort of like a gut thing. But it was definitely just an exciting experience meeting with all these different actors. Even actors that didn’t end up in the movie. There were no egos, just really wonderful people who went all the way with it.
DC: What was it like working with some of the veteran character actors like Lance Reddick and Robin Tunney?
CH: It’s wonderful. I mean, Lance Reddick was like — I’m friends with his manager and he’s at the same management that I’m at. I met him for the first time in February of last year. He was one of the first people who came on to the movie, and he was just such a delightful person. No ego. We talked for four hours about everything, about tons of stuff, and talked about what the story represented and all that. Then Robin was such an unbelievable blessing. I remember vividly when I first saw The Craft, and I always loved how, you know, End of Days and Vertical Limit, she’s always had such a unique presence on screen, and she really was an absolute blessing. She came on five or six days before the movie started to shoot, so she was really prepared to help the film and support me and support the story as best she could, and kind of just went all the way with it and knew exactly what I was going for. Julian McMahon was terrific and he was just such a humble, delightful person. He cared so much about the material and had such great ideas, and everyone was there to — I was really impressed and happy with all the veteran actors that were just there because they believed in the material because they knew this was my first “big movie.” It was not a huge movie, but it was a big movie for me. And they — I was really just happy that they were very, very supportive and encouraging and listened and really believed in what we were doing.
DC: The film’s trailer seems to give a lot away. But when you watch the movie, there are really a lot of surprises. Did you set out to subvert expectations or did that happen more or less organically when you were writing the script?
CH: Yeah, I really like movies that have sort of a rollercoaster hybrid feel where it’s just sort of a mash-up of everything you could possibly want inside of a movie experience. I kind of thought that was interesting with that trailer that they put together because it was a very sort of simple nuts and bolts portrayal of what the story is. I always like movies that when you see a trailer versus when you see the movie, there’s so much more to the movie that you weren’t expecting, and I always find that kind of exciting. They really left out a lot that’s in the movie from the trailer. And I just — yeah, I think just writing, I don’t know, we’re in such a televisual age with everybody being so obsessed with binging and short attention spans, when you’re making a feature film — my goal is to really try to get feature films to work like a televisual structure where it’s constantly escalating on top of itself, and it’s like you’re almost like binging three hours of TV, kind of just wanting to keep on escalating more and more and more. I hate films that aggressively move sideways. They have this power, but they’re not quite going all the way. They’re kind of still staying one note. I just like movies that keep on piling on top of each other, like a video game or something, because I think that’s sort of the — I just think in the age we’re living in, that’s sort of the way that I like to tell stories. I just kind of get bored easily. I want to keep on, you know, making a left turn, making a right turn, just keep on escalating.
DC: Even though there is a little bit of gore at the beginning, we’re pretty well into the film before stuff really hits the fan. But then it’s pretty relentless. What attracted you to structuring your film with a bit of a slow build?
CH: Yeah, I mean, that was probably the trickiest thing, because I remember, over Christmas in 2016, I was like, ripping my hair out trying to figure out what the opening was going to be because I knew, I was like — well should it be an opening kill? But I kept on thinking to myself, I mean, it’s not like a tradition, this is one of the few horror stories that can’t quite be faithful to that kind of opening kill setpiece because if you do that it completely contradicts everything that happens later on with the twist. The first kill has to be a plot point. So that was kind of a tricky structure to decipher, but I think a lot of films, I don’t know, so many horror films just give everything away immediately, and I don’t think they have much faith in the characters or the story or the performances or the writing of it. I feel like they just need to have all this violence happening immediately. I love horror movies, and I love violence in horror movies, but also I like exploring everything in one movie, and I don’t immediately get to death instantly. I just really like to explore other elements that build up to it.
DC: Were you afraid you might lose some people along the way?
CH: Yeah, certainly in the beginning. In the beginning of rough cutting, definitely. It was definitely a trick. But I don’t know, people seemed to go with it, especially now. I think they expect that it’s a slow burn build up, but they still, I don’t know, I think it’s because they have sort of a mysterious kind of feel where it keeps on, like, there’s so many things being set up that you don’t — you sort just want to see how it pays off. And I think that’s why people seem to be interested in where it’s going.
DC: What made you want to make a movie that’s so overtly about class and economic conflict? I thought that was a really interesting premise.
CH: I love making stories that have some sort of societal statement underneath it, really representing my viewpoint on the world and hopefully other people’s viewpoints on the world, and making bold statements about something without ham-fisting it. But I really, really want something underneath there to hit you in the face a little bit. And I think — I’ve always been fascinated by just juggling all these different statements about the world, and point of views on the world, and putting them in a blender and just machine-gunning it onto the screen and just seeing how it lays out for people. And also I kind of grew up between these two different worlds, and my father was slightly upper-class, and my mother’s side was much more blue collar. So I guess being in-between those two I have a way of seeing both sides, and I’ve always been curious about smashing them together under very bizarre circumstances and just seeing how that plays out. But yeah, I definitely feel like it was a perfect opportunity to be like a pig in shit about all the societal statements, and just reflecting our generation as much as possible on the screen.
DC: Which directors do you think have influenced your work the most?
CH: I mean, I sort of divide it into two different groups of people. I think the older directors, like Martin Scorsese, Paul Verhoeven, Abel Ferrara, Tony Scott, Brian De Palma, William Friedkin, I’d say probably. Some of the new directors, definitely people like Adam Wingard, Steve McQueen, Nicolas Winding Refn to an extent. Some of them might be making different films, but I think the intention that all those different directors have is what I love. All those directors really try to make the most cinematic experience they could possibly make with their material and just turn everything up to 11. Those are the kind of directors that I really respond to. I mean, I love people like Nicole Holofcener and Joe Swanberg and much more subtle mumblecore films as well, but I think as far as the people who truly influence me stylistically is those directors.
DC: What’s next for you?
CH: We’re in post-production on this anthology feature film that I wrote and directed a segment of. Radio Silence executive produced it. They produced V/H/S and Southbound. It’s all about phobias. And I’m just in hardcore development of four different features. One of them has a producer attached and is moving forward pretty well. I’m sort of in the middle of a bunch of stuff.
Monster Party is now available nationally in theaters, VOD and Digital HD from RLJE Films.
Hitting theaters this weekend is Julius Avery’s Overlord, the first R-rated project out of J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot. The film is centered around a group of soldiers who enter occupied France in hopes of taking out a Nazi communications tower, but find themselves in the middle of something far more horrifying than they ever could have imagined—Axis forces conducting grotesque medical experiments on innocent civilians—and they must rise up against evil to put a stop to the Nazis’ reign of terror.
At the press day for Overlord, Daily Dead sat down with two of the film’s co-stars, Jovan Adepo who plays a U.S. soldier named Boyce, and Mathilde Ollivier, who plays a French villager named Chloe, who isn’t taking crap from her oppressors anymore.
During our interview, the duo discussed being able to dig into their characters in Overlord, getting to play badasses for the action/horror mash-up, and how the film’s amazing production design helped immerse them in this world.
Look for more on Overlord tomorrow, right here on Daily Dead!
In case you missed it, check here to catch up on our previous coverage of Overlord.
The Parcels music video Withorwithout initially gained attention when it premiered because it starred movie star Milla Jovovich, and for its The Strangers-inspired home invasion narrative. By the end, it became even more of a water cooler item.
Spoilers for Withorwithout below.
After the viewer witnesses a group of masked home invaders, played by the Parcels band members, murder a husband (Carsten Norgaard) and brutalize his wife (Jovovich), the video rewinds and plays again. The second time, we see there were no masked men and Jovovich just murders her husband and fakes her own injuries.
Jovovich thought of the twist because she just couldn’t accept the Parcel boys as killers.
“The boys from Parcels are all of 21 years old,” Jovovich said. “They’re really young so when I saw this concept that they’re the killers, my instinct as a parent immediately sent red flags up. I was like, ‘You can’t be killers. You’re sweet boys.’ Funnily enough, their record company couldn’t agree more. I was like, ‘I should be the killer.’ I’m sort of known for that anyway and by the way, it would take a lot more than five boys to break into my house. I felt like this could be a really interesting springboard.”
As executive producer of Withorwithout, Jovovich found director Benjamin Howdeshell, who was a family friend and had worked with Paul W.S. Anderson as an assistant editor on several Resident Evil films and Death Race. Anderson began the script, later finished by Mike Doyle, and Jovovich found the hair and makeup crew.
“When I called Ben and he saw the materials that they had sent over that was a lot of Strangers and stuff, we talked about the particular concept that it all happened in her imagination,” Jovovich continued. “This was in some sense her alibi, which seemed like a really great place to start. Then Ben had a good friend named Mike. Paul started working on this script originally and sent Ben his opening. Then they worked together as well so it was a nice collaboration of really great artists and people that love the band, and people that are really into horror and scary movies just trying to do something really fun and creative.”
Withorwithout filmed for two nights at a house in the Hollywood Hills. All the blood is CGI because they could not stain the owners’ walls. And in the end, Jovovich would rather play the killer than let the innocent boys be murderers.
“It was my idea just like instinctual idea as a parent that I just couldn’t think about the fact that Parcels were really killers,” she said. “I love those boys. I couldn’t stomach them actually being murderers in a movie, even if it’s pretend. I was like no, no, no, no, no, you guys can’t be real killers.”
Milla Jovovich was on the set of Monster Hunter in Namibia when she called Bloody-Disgusting to discuss her Parcels music video Withorwithout. Monster Hunter is the latest Paul W.S. Anderson film based on a video game. It’s sure to give Jovovich another chance to kick ass like the Resident Evil films did. It also teams her up with Thai martial arts superstar Tony Jaa. Jovovich told us that even Jaa is expanding his repertoire for Monster Hunter.
“Hell yeah, are you kidding?” Jovovich said. “Tony’s insane. He was bringing all of his incredible fighting style. Tony’s just excited to do wirework because I guess in his movies he doesn’t really use it that much, so he’s having a lot of fun too trying some new stuff.”
She’s referring to Jaa’s Ong Bak and Tom Yum Goong films in Thailand where he generally performs without wires. He has also worked on American films like Furious 7 and xXx: Return of Xander Cage where Hollywood studios probably use wires for everything just as a safety precaution. He plays The Hunter in Monster Hunter, which would presumably be the playable character in the game.
Jovovich plays Natalie Artemis, a new character but one who has been seen with the game’s slinger weapon in set photos Jovovich posted.
“Monster Hunter is going to be insane and amazing,” she told us. “It’s an incredible film. It’s been the experience of a lifetime working on this movie with the locations, the actors and the action. It’s absolutely incredible.”
Monster Hunter is expected to arrive next year, in 2019.