Some Guy Who Kills People will be released on DVD this week and I recently talked with director Jack Perez about the making of the movie. Continue reading to learn about how he ended up taking over as director for John Landis, his contributions to the script, and putting together a strong ensemble cast.
How did you first get involved on this project and end up taking over as director for John Landis?
Jack Perez: I didn’t know that Landis had been attached to direct the movie when I first saw the script. Ryan Levin had sent him the script and he said he had wanted to direct it. Then he got the opportunity to direct Burke and Hare, which was a pet project that he had wanted to make for a long time. He very kindly stepped away and stayed on as an executive producer, but wanted to find a new director.
They were searching for a director and my manager happened to know one of the co-producers on the project. I got a hold of the material and fell in love with it. I felt like it was a calling and I had to do it. I had been looking for a movie that spoke to me like this movie did and it seemed to be a combination of genres and everything I loved.
I got a meeting and told them what I could do with the project. When I get involved with something, I already start sketching storyboards, so I showed them to Ryan and the other producers. Mostly it was a matter of showing them that I could serve this script.
Speaking of the script, was what you shot pretty close to the original script? Did anything change during filming?
Jack Perez: You always end up tweaking things to fit locations, because there are some locations you may not be able to get. My contribution was elaborating on the murder scenes. I felt like there was room for the killing scenes to be more expressive. In the script, they were probably the only thing that was not very specific. I thought that going for a more theatrical approach to the murders would help the movie and Ryan agreed. All of the dialogue, comedy, and relationships were there from the beginning, which is what made the script so great.
While I feel like this movie is something that can entertain a wide range of movie fans, those kill scenes do help to give it more of a horror balance.
Jack Perez: I wondered about whether horror fans would really care about the developing father/daughter relationship or the romantic relationships. Do they want to see that or do they want to see more gore? All I tried to do was give each moment in the script its due and I think it’s one of these movies that can appeal to anyone. My teenage nephew and my mother loves it, so that’s a pretty broad demographic.
Is this the cast you had in mind when you started working on the movie? Was there anyone you wanted to cast, but couldn’t get?
Jack Perez: This is one of the rare exceptions where you actually get the people you want and people that exceed your expectations. I have known Kevin Corrigan over the years, but we had never done anything together and wanted to do something. When this project came along, I saw him as Ken and he responded to it very enthusiastically. Kevin loved the part and tone, and since he’s a new father, he really responded to the father/daughter relationship in the movie. I felt very lucky to get him period, but during the casting process, more and more people started coming in to audition.
If you can believe it, Barry Bostwick and Karen Black came in to audition. Ryan and I didn’t even know they would be interested, let alone wanting to read. The only difficulty we had was finding Ariel, but even that didn’t take very long, because it was clear that she was perfect to play Amy.
Ariel gives such a strong performance in this film and really steals the show. She comes off as being much older and smarter than the average person of her age. What was your experience like working with Ariel and how did you work with her to get this performance?
Jack Perez: Like you said, she seemed like she was older than her years. She was like this little adult and was as prepared, if not more prepared, than the other actors. She came in knowing her role, with pre-conceived notions of how to play Amy. There were even circumstances where I had different ideas for how a line should be read and it was interesting to have discussions over it. Another actor, especially a child actor, would have just made the change, but she was interested in debating the character’s motivation. She was terribly impressive to everyone, and Kevin was especially taken with her. They had great chemistry.
We’re almost out of time here and I want to let our readers know about your upcoming projects. What’s next for you and will you continue to work on horror-related projects?
Jack Perez: Yeah, I just wrapped a Syfy original called Blowing Vegas Off the Map, which also stars Barry Bostwick. It’s a supernatural disaster movie that also stars Frankie Muniz. We loved Barry so much, that we just wanted to put him in everything.
Ryan and I are developing our next thriller and that’s what we’re really excited about. We want to continue making movies like Some Guy Who Kills People and making them together. We’re even trying to form our own company to do that, so that’s the big thing we’re working on.