INTERVIEW: Ryan Levin of Some Guy Who Kills People

We spoke with Ryan Levin, writer and producer of “Some Guy Who Kills People” (SGWKP) — you can read our review of the film here and after the cut, you can read an excerpt of the interview.

An expanded version will be in the next issue of the Geek Syndicate digital magazine, a 15min audio segment will appear in the next episode of Geek To Geek and the full audio will be available on the Filmsploitation podcast, soon.

GS: SGWKP is a hard film to describe.  It’s a slasher film, but it’s a comedy.  It’s a love story, but it’s about loneliness.  It’s full of tenderness and raw emotion, but it’s also drenched in blood.  Now I know that pretty much anyone who watches this film is going to love it – but in today’s market, how much of a problem is it’s – let’s call it it’s Multiple Personality – when it comes to getting people to watch it in the first place?

RL: I knew selling it was going to be tough, because it doesn’t fit into a very well defined category that gave buyers a warm and cosy feeling.  My sales agent loved the film enough to take it on and do all the work behind selling it but in discussion with them they were like, it’s a tough sell, you know?  Literally, one place loved it and came back the next day and said “I showed it to the Marketing Department and they have no idea how to market it, so we have to pass.”  I understand that.  Even at Anchor Bay, once they bought it they said “one of the biggest obstacles we have to overcome is how to market it.”

It’s getting a theatrical release (in) the UK and it’ll be available on dvd/blu-ray and all the other stuff.  It’s the new distribution plan.  It’ll go for 4 days in the theatre (but) if it manages to build some word of mouth they could expand it.  The awareness is building, and certainly a successful run in the UK will help.

GS: You brought John Landis on as Executive Producer.  For those readers not familiar with behind the scenes roles, what did his job entail and what did he bring to the party?

RL: He’d read the script and was very interested in sitting down and talking.  About one percent of the conversation was actually about the film, but a lot of it is like, can we… get along?  So anyway, by the end of the day he had called and said “I wanna direct the film” and from there we worked a handful of times on the script.  He gave me great notes that helped strengthen it.  There was a company that had already read the script and really liked it, but without any attachment wasn’t gonna give us any money – but once we got Landis they basically said “Okay, we’ll finance this film.”  Literally the day they said that was the same day that this other project, that long preceded us on (John Landis’) radar – called Burke And Hare – finally got the green light.

He’s an extremely kind man and was very apologetic, but he said “I have to back out and go and do this film.”  I raised the money myself (and) we shot the film.  We sent him a rough cut to get his thoughts, and he called and left one of the nicest voicemail messages I’ve ever gotten about the film.  He was saying “I can’t believe that on the budget you had, that you made this film… Your cast is amazing, the director is great, you got every penny’s worth of your tiny budget up there on the screen.” And then he sent me all of his editing notes.  By the time we actually got his editing notes we had probably made most of those changes, but they were great notes and very helpful, and from that point he (became) Executive Producer.  I think it’s a legitimate title because he (had been) on board as the director, he did help with the script, he did help with the editing and he’s been someone that I was able to go to throughout the process and get advice and help from.

GS: I have to congratulate you guys on some phenomenal casting.  Kevin Corrigan and Ariel Gade really centre the emotions of the piece, and Barry Bostwick and Karen Black are just pant-wettingly funny every single time they’re on screen.  How much did you have to rely on the actors for emotional nuance and physical improvisation?

RL: It’s a cast full of extremely experienced, extremely talented actors and actresses.  They’re not A-List celebrities but they’re just great actors.  That was so crucial in getting this film done in the time it was done, with the budget that we had. That comes from experience and skill, their ability to offer their own interpretation of a line, or a scene.  If it’s better than what, in this case, myself and Jack had in mind, then that’s what we would go with.  It’s very, very simple to speak with someone like Kevin, or Barry or Karen, who worked on so many different kinds of projects with so many different directors that they can take those little notes and make those adjustments, and do it very quickly.

GS: Until he becomes better known for this film your Director, Jack Perez, will probably be best known over here for the pulptastic Megashark Vs Giant Octopus.  How did your production company come to select him for SGWKP, and what did Jack most bring to the movie?

RL: We started meeting directors.  I didn’t know Jack at all.  He got the script like two days before the meeting.  He’d already gone through the script and selected little areas.  He’d made notes in the margins, just visually about different ideas and possibilities.  He’d drawn little storyboards for different moments, different ways to shoot it.  Whether that was the way it was going to get done didn’t matter, it showed his passion for it.  Ultimately it came down to (the fact that) in discussions with him I realised that he and I shared a nearly identical vision for the film.  What the tone of the film is, the way it would look, the way the comedy and horror should be played and how those two should work together, how the Kevin and Ariel relationship was the backbone to the film.  Aside from the fact that I just liked him as a person and felt very comfortable with him and (felt) like this was somebody I could work with, this shared vision, over the course of the interview, became very, very clear.  I can say in hindsight it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Some Guy Who Kills People is on limited release at cinemas around the UK from October 5th and is available on Blu-Ray and DVD on October 15th.

Word of mouth & support at the cinema is of real importance to an Indie film like this.  Pass it on, share the love and if you live outside the UK there is a good chance that it is already available to purchase or stream.  Go to http://someguywhokillspeople.com for more details, production photos and merchandise.

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