Your new movie Revenge
of the Gweilo - in a few words, what is it about?
Revenge of the Gweilo
is an action revenge thriller about an ex cop whoís fiancťe is killed by the
Asian mafia, forcing him to use all of his fighting skills and contacts within
the force to avenge her.
For those of us not in the know, what's a "gweilo", and how does
it relate to the story?
"Gweilo" is the term that is used in Asia for a white man, or caucasian man.
Sometimes also referred to as a white devil, a foreigner. The fact that this
one white man travels into the underbelly of Chinatown to avenge his beloved
is an exact reference to the subject matter, as he is surrounded by yellow
What were your sources of inspiration when writing Revenge
of the Gweilo?
The films I drew inspiration from
were Bruce Leeís Enter the
Dragon, Nicholas Winding Refnís Only God Forgives and Drive.
Bill was also in the mix, along with a selection of cult revenge action
flicks from the late 70ís and 80ís.
What can you tell us about your
directorial approach to your story at hand?
approach was quite simply a simple one. Having the confidence to just go
in there and shoot a revenge story without all the procrastination that
can quite often happen during the development stage. This was, in my
opinion, simple, direct and well paced. And the cast also agreed upon the
initial table read.
some quite gruesome bits in Revenge
of the Gweilo - so how were they achieved, and did you ever set
yourself a line you refused to cross when it came to the gory parts?
far as the gore was concerned I had made many horror films prior to this
one so it came fairly naturally. What I really tried to do with Revenge of the Gweilo was
combine all of the elements I had shot in previous films, including the
gore and horror, to make what I call a ĎHill cocktailí. A good friend
called Revenge of the Gweilo the Hill explanation mark.
talk about the action/stunt scenes in your movie for a bit!
the martial arts sequences I really had an idea of exactly how I wanted to
do them when I was in the writing stage. Because I myself have studied
many different styles of martial arts it became quite easy to achieve
this. However because in the end fight sequence I was fighting a Sumo
wrestler, which I hadnít done before, we brought in an actual fight
choreographer who was experienced with this style well enough to construct
an effective fight scene.
also play the lead in Revenge
of the Gweilo - so what did you draw upon to bring Lucky to live,
and have you written him with yourself in mind?
that I wrote it specifically for me, but when you are also involved in the
screenwriting process and you get to learn about the character and grow to
love him, it makes it harder to cast someone else. Particularly when Lucky
isnít walking through the casting door, but instead is staring back at
you in the mirror. It just felt right. Also because of the low budget it
made it a lot easier for me to just step in and do it. Quite often the
lead character is the one driving the car, so to speak, the audience is
with him for the journey but is most often looking at all the other
characters in the film. With this in mind, for me at least, it sometimes
makes it easier to play a lead role in one of my own films. I guess Woody
Allen does a similar thing.
you tell us about the rest of your cast?
process was meticulous and took the better part of a year. I had to source
all of what I deemed the best Asian talent in the city. From Vietnam to
China to Indonesia to the Philippines, I really saw everybody that was
Do talk about
the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere!
The shoot was
electric. It started off with Chinese New Year Festival in the heart of
the city. Energy was flowing and positivity was at its peak. During the
filming of Revenge of the Gweilo
I had never been so happy before when shooting one of my
films. I honestly believed it was destined to be a cult classic, depending
on good distribution of course. The cast came in, delivered, did what I
call Ďnail ití and went away with a smile. Some actors had so much fun
I even found it hard to send them home afterwards. But without sounding
full of myself, in honesty all the actors Iíve cast and worked with have
absolutely loved my filmmaking process and adored being a part of the
journey that I create.
$64-question of course, when and where will Revenge
of the Gweilo be released onto the general public?
now I am giving the film a decent 12 month festival circuit, which I
believe it deserves. Sometimes you make a film and youíre not as
inspired and might try to flog it off quickly. But in this case I believe
my distribution plans and opportunities will be greater once the movie has
circulated the globe with choice film festivals. At least thatís the
plan for now. Rest assured I do have existing distributors and can
confidently say it will be released on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download
future projecty you'd like to share?
I have actually just
stared post production on my latest film, feature length, a spy thriller
When it comes to
movies, you're pretty much doing it all, writing, producing, directing,
acting and whatnot - so what do you see as your strength(s), what could
you do without?
To tell you truthfully my key skills are in
directing. Iíve played parts in the movies I could believe someone like
me to be in, but there are many other stories I want to share that involve
me strictly behind the camera. Most of my peers will agree and tell you
that I am probably spreading myself too thin by taking on all these
departments. The older you get the harder it gets to wear so many hats.
And things take longer.
What got you into the filmworld to begin
with, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?
was born into it. I watched my first film projected on 8mm by my
grandfather when I was 5 years old. I was immediately hooked. I longed to
know how films were made and I grew up experimenting with all the aspects
of the filming process that I could get my hands on. Whether it was trying
out makeup sfx or designing costumes, building sets, writing scripts,
putting on plays, I really did it all as a youngster. I was constantly
performing in front of family and friends and excelled in drama school.
later years I graduated with an Advanced Diploma of the Screen and
participated in 5 years of film schooling.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Revenge
of the Gweilo?
Itís quite extensive. Iíve been
a camera assistant for Network television, worked as a production manager
in various production houses, wrote, produced, directed and am currently
working in casting. I would suggest going to my IMDb page or my Wikipedia
page for more information. The list of credits is becoming quite long,
with my IMDb alone now exceeding 100 credits!
Genre-wise you seem to be all
over the place, ranging from action thrillers to horror to comedy - so
what are your personal favourites, both to watch and to make?
a long time I acted in comedy and made horror. Lately Iíve been trying
to combine them all. I have experimented, and through this process I
believe I am still finding my style. As I watch my films back, now I can
start to see certain signatures that make them a ĎHillí film. The
journey is fascinating, Iím always learning something about myself and
thatís why I love to do what I do. Without my filmmaking I would be the
most boring person on earth, lol.
writers, filmmakers, whoever else who inspire you?
come and go, I have fads. I can become intrigued by an actor and Iíll
try and find all their films and watch their entire catalogue from start
date to present. Itís fascinating to do this as you really see someone
grow. The last time I did this was when I was obsessing over Ryan Gosling.
Bit of a man crush you could say.
I simply adore, respect and admire the works of Coppola, Scorsese,
Kubrick, Polanski, Tarantino and of late Winding Refn.
My all time faveís are The Lost Boys, Apocalypse Now,
Gangs of New York, The
Shining, Rosemaryís Baby, The Ninth Gate, Enter the
Dragon, Scarface, The
Driver, Drive, Only God Forgives, From Dusk
Till Dawn and Lord of the Rings, to name a few.
... and of course, films you really
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
I canít stand the rom-coms of late, they really
make me want to puke and have absolutely no heart, in my opinion. I cannot
stand movies with Sandra Bullock for example. Really senseless
unintelligible films that treat their audiences like guinea pigs, those I
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
Anything else you're dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
I want to thank you for taking the
time to review me and my work. My advice to filmmakers is believe in yourself and make your mark on the planet, if you can, with the limited amount
of time we all have here, and that we know of. Life is unpredictable and
you never know whatís going to happen next. If you have a burning desire
to create something then do it. To me creativity has and always will be
king. In my world there is nothing else that compares. I adore filmmaking
and have been participating in all aspects of the process for my entire
life, and Iíll never stop until the day I die.
Thanks for the interview!