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An Interview with Nathan Hill, Star and Director of Revenge of the Gweilo

by Mike Haberfelner

February 2016

Nathan Hill on (re)Search my Trash


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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 skins.


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. Tarantinoís Kill 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?


The directorial 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.


There are 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?


As 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.


Do talk about the action/stunt scenes in your movie for a bit!


With 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.


You 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?


Itís not 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.


What can you tell us about the rest of your cast?


The casting 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 anybody.


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.


The $64-question of course, when and where will Revenge of the Gweilo be released onto the general public?


For 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 regardless.


Any future projecty you'd like to share?


I have actually just stared post production on my latest film, feature length, a spy thriller called Colourblind.


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?


I 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.

In later years I graduated with an Advanced Diploma of the Screen and participated in 5 years of film schooling.


What 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?


For 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.


Actors, writers, filmmakers, whoever else who inspire you?


Actors 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.

Filmmakers, I simply adore, respect and admire the works of Coppola, Scorsese, Kubrick, Polanski, Tarantino and of late Winding Refn.


Your favourite movies?


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 Exorcist, Taxi Driver, Drive, Only God Forgives, From Dusk Till Dawn and Lord of the Rings, to name a few.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


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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 hate.


Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?


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!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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and shall not be held responsible for
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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD