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Monday, June 20, 2011

Hail to the King, Baby! Gary King Interview

Hey Gary! I saw a preview for your movie on the net and was instantly hooked. You were kind enough to send me a copy, and I can see it being a cult classic.Here's a few questions about you and the Death of the Dead.

Cheerleaders showering right away, was that in the script or did you think, this movie needs something?

That was in the script.  The producers are going after a certain crowd which it'll be right up their alley.  Otherwise without that scene, I think it's pretty much a PG-13 type film.

The movie Death of the Dead is a insane farce, why mix martial arts with zombies? Ninja zombies sounds like a future Japanese film.

The idea all came from Bo Buckley and his son.   Not sure who's mind is more twisted so we'll be kind and blame it on Bo.

Cheese, cheese and more cheese the movies filled with it, was there anything you wished wasn't so dirty, or were you holding back?

We didn't hold back on anything while shooting this film.  The best part of the entire shoot was giving a lot of freedom to the actors as I wanted them to take the jokes as far as they could go.  I would then see what worked best and we'd start to play around within those areas.  It was great to have some really talented performers and the freedom from the producers to riff from the script when time allowed.
In fact, I have to say that as far as dirty jokes, I probably had some of the filthier ideas (if they weren't in the script already -- Bo's got a pretty sick mind!) sometimes as the camera was rolling a random idea would pop in my head and I'd ask the actors to do it.  Christina Rose (Wanda) and Jack Abele (Master Sensei) were great troopers and would do anything I asked.

Your favorite scene?

Wow...there are a few.  I definitely love the end chase between Wanda and Evil Sensei as they race for the vial and how it all transpires in slow-motion.  I feel very proud of how all the elements (acting, music, visuals) came together for it.

So Gary I read on your site you  haven't had any formal training as a director, how'd you get started or what motivated you to get started?

As a kid, I'd always loved films and was fascinated by the art of making them.  I just never thought film school was a realistic option as I had no clue what they really did.  So in college, I studied Industrial Psychology -- which examines human behavior in the workplace setting.  Needless to say I have definitely used some of what I've learned from that and applied it to the film set. 
When I graduated I started a 9-5 office job, but started making short films on the side.  In 2006, I finally walked away after 5 years in the corporate world to pursue filmmaking full time.  The corporate environment and type of work I was doing didn't allow me to flex the creative muscles that I was really passionate about.  I knew what I really loved to do was with the love and support from my wife we took the leap and moved from Northern California to New York.

 What movies inspired it's style, are you a fan of the zombie genre, any favorites. I happen to like Doghouse, where only women become the murderous undead.

 Ooh I'll have to check that film out - sounds right up my alley.  I do love a good zombie film and honestly can say I never saw myself doing one of my own.  If it hadn't been for Strangestuff to bring me on I'm not sure if I would've gotten around to doing one. 

I can say that this film definitely is influenced by films outside of the zombie genre more than zombie flicks like AIRPLANE, SCARY MOVIE for sure...but then I even explored certain elements from SERGIO LEONE and JOHN WOO films that I love.

Tell me what made you go after making this movie, the violence, sex, or constant showing of dildos.


Excellent casting, how were Christina Rose and Jack Abele on the set. I haven't seen them in much, but they did a stellar job. I think Jack stole the show.

Working with them was a blast.  Shooting the film honestly didn't feel like work at all -- and is probably one of the best times I've had making a film.  A large part of that goes to casting Christina Rose as "Wanda".  I will always remember shooting the very first take on our first day and thinking to myself "wow...she's really something".  This film rides on her screen presence and impeccable comedic timing.  Christina's performance had to ground everything for all the comedy bits (including Jack's work as "Master Sensei") to succeed.
Jack is hilarious.  His character gets to do so much off-the-wall humor that initially he wasn't sure about if it would be funny or not....the producers and I just told him "trust us Jack....when you do's funny."  He was a real trooper to do so many things we asked him to do -- and never once did he question it.  I can remember when we were shooting the scene where he's in his bedroom I really had him to do some crazy things with his Japanese doll.  Never once did he break character....he kept on doing things I'd ask him to do with it and I really appreciated him for that.   

I see you have plenty of of other movies coming out, anything on par or a violent as Death of the Dead?

Right now I've got a musical/drama in the can ("How Do You Write a Joe Schermann Song" -- starring Christina Rose since we hit it off so well after making "Death". Although not as violent (sorry no beheadings) it's definitely a crowd-pleaser. We've been testing it with audiences and couldn't be more excited to tour the festival circuit with it soon. I'm also developing a horror/thriller film with a producing team that we hope to shoot later this year -- our goal with it is to scare the shit out of people.

Will be seeing a release date or premiere soon, maybe it showing up on Netflix streaming?

We had a few really fun screenings across North America and audiences loved it so I can't wait to see how it does once we secure a deal.  Strangestuff has hired DeLarge Films to handle the distribution side of it and I've heard some very promising things.  I can't share anything just yet as nothing is set in stone...but ideally we will be making the film available on both DVD and VOD among other avenues.  Keep your eyes peeled.