Your upcoming movie The Minions - in a few words, what is it
JEREMIAH KIPP: It’s a dark urban tale about a man’s walk home one
autumn night, and he decides to walk down The Witch’s Path. He
almost makes it past safely, but then two drunken girls appear…and
they’re the minions. What happens next is not very nice…
How did the project fall together in the first
I had previously worked with screenwriter Joe Fiorillo and producer
Lauren Rayner on The Days
God Slept, which was a greatly
satisfying experience for me both personally and professionally [The
Days God Slept interview - click here].
It was very daring of Joe to put such an experimental phantasmagoric
film out there. We were looking for something to do next and
he’d told me the story of The Minions. We soon realized
this would be perfect for us to make next, since it was so different
from our previous film but fitting with the mysterious world of Joe’s
writing and my macabre body of work.
FIORILLO: Jeremiah knew the story and suggested trying to adapt it for a
short film. The first draft was done fairly quickly and we kind of
knew we had something that we could have a lot of fun with. Unlike
many other scripts, The Minions
didn’t change all that
much from the first pass. There was still a lot of work to be done
of course, but the main story elements were already there.
I've read somewhere that The Minions
based on a true incident - would you care to elaborate, and any other
sources of inspiration for the movie?
Nathaniel Hawthorne is a favorite writer of mine; sometimes his
characters seem to be falling under the spell of a powerful force that
is beyond them, which hits against their own repressed nature. I also
re-read Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,
which pits an ordinary man against an unstoppable supernatural force.
Much of the script was taken directly from a real incident. The main
action of the film is the very simple attempt of one person to help
someone that they don’t know. There’s a lot of balancing between
trust and fear. It was easy to imagine how the real incident could
turn badly if the wrong person was involved. I think I had something
like Gogol’s Diary of a Madman or Dostoyevsky’s Notes from
the Underground in mind when creating the lead character.
What can you tell
us about the intended look and feel of your movie?
After the hyper-stylized look of The
Days God Slept, we
wanted to go in a more gritty nocturnal direction. Hopefully, we
can catch the feeling of isolation and dread one gets at night in
certain parts of New York.
When writing it, I think I was envisioning a kind of "lost in the
woods" feel. But instead of the woods, it’s the streets of
the city. Something very strange happens at night in the city when
the streets are empty. Jeremiah has a great sense of taking the feel
of what’s on the page and then multiplying it. It was really fun
shooting the trailer and then seeing the results.
talk about your main cast for a bit, and why exactly these people?
I’ve worked with Lukas Hassel [Lukas
Hassel interview - click here] a few times now; he’s an actor whose
work I greatly admire. He’s usually cast as romantic leads, but
Joe and I also know him as a successful writer of edgy and artistic
material that has gained some acclaim (he’s the 2012 CineStory Grand
Prize Winner, for example). He has a great capacity for finding
the unpredictable, whether it’s the scary side of a benevolent
character or the unremitting honesty of what we might consider a
villain. It was important that the character of William be drawn into
the nightmare of our story because it has some level of fascination with
him. He’s testing himself. Developing this character with him
has been one of the great joys of putting together The Minions.
I also have wanted to work with Cristina Doikas for years. She’s one
of those daring performers who are not afraid to push to the limit.
In the role of Sarah, she’s a fantastic counter-balance to William. I
look forward to seeing the intensity of their struggle.
Lukas and Cristina are both assets to a production beyond their
performance. As Jeremiah noted, Lukas is a very smart and talented
writer. He’s been involved with this script since the beginning of
the development process. He brings all that knowledge to his
performance in the nuances of character. Lukas is always very
captivating on screen and watching him work on the character, William, is
just a lot of fun. I’ve had a chance to see Cristina work a lot
and she’s read for me before in developmental workshops. Even when
reading cold, she has the intuition to find the character’s intentions
and hit the right beats. She’s very smart and had a really strong
grasp of the character Sarah and the script. I’m really excited to have
both her and Lukas on this project.
far as I know, the film's still in its fundraising stages - so what can
you tell us about your fundraising campaign?
Once again, we’re working with our producer Lauren Rayner, who was
instrumental in designing the campaign. Since this is an eerie
tale of witchcraft and night terrors, it felt appropriate to make a
Halloween-themed fundraiser. It’s entirely appropriate to our autumnal
story. To my surprise, some of my old friends from Rhode Island have
been supportive of this campaign. I used to make zombie and vampire
movies with them in the backyard when we were in high school. This
campaign has, in some ways, been a small reunion for me.
It’s been really great to see the reaction to the trailer.
That’s been the fun part so far as people respond really well to it.
You’re able to start to get additional insight about how people will
respond to the film, so it’s been exciting. I’ve been energized
by the response.
funds are raised, what's the tentative schedule, and any idea when and
where The Minions
might be released yet?
We’re hoping to film in November, shortly before Thanksgiving, while the
autumn leaves are still in the street, the trees are bare and there’s
that slight chill in the atmosphere. The perfect time of year for
making an eerie little fable.
future projects beyond TThe Minions?
Joe and I have been developing new material. Right now he has
something that’s just as eerie as The Minions, but going
in an entirely different direction. It’s been a rewarding
collaboration and we’d like to continue building a track record of
unique genre offerings, movies that are off the beaten path, that
challenge and fascinate the viewer.
I think the goal is to give the audience something a little different than
what they’re used to seeing. I’m happy that we already have
another project in the works for after The Minions is
movie's website, Facebook, IndieGoGo, whatever else?
IndieGoGo campaign is here:
are asking genre fans, friends and familiars to please contribute whatever
they can. Literally, any amount at all will help us on this journey. And
the donations are fully tax-deductible via our producer's not-for-profit
fiscal sponsor Fractured Atlas.
Our Facebook page is here: www.facebook.com/theminionsfilm
Lauren Rayner’s Web site: www.laurenrayner.com/
Jeremiah Kipp’s Web site: www.kippfilms.com/
for the interview!