For his latest film, Joe Lynch kicks things into overdrive with Everly, starring Salma Hayek as the titular character forced to fight off waves of assassins and psychotic hitmen sent by her former lover, a cruel mob boss, who wants her dead after learning she is no longer loyal to him.
Everly arrives on VOD and iTunes on January 23rd, before heading to theaters on February 27th, and we had a chance to talk with Joe Lynch about working with Salma Hayek to create the stellar action-thriller:
Congratulations on Everly, Joe. I still cannot believe the insanity you guys were able to pull off with this movie. It blew me away.
Joe Lynch: It’s been pretty fucking nuts. Watching it with crowds, I’m shocked how it takes people on this emotional roller coaster while they’re watching it. Me and my writing/producer partner [Luke Rivett] gave ourselves one rule when making Everly: we couldn’t leave the room. That was our dogma and the one rule we strictly adhered to. That forced us, even back at the script level, to think about what we can consistently do to keep the story moving without losing the audience. The Sadist Masochist is probably the craziest thing we had in there and that pushed things really hard. I’d rather have moments like that where I can challenge viewers, then they’ll never see it coming.
So from a script level, from a visual level and even with the casting of Salma, it was all about keeping audiences on their toes and pushing boundaries. And I know that’s going to turn some people off but as a storyteller, that’s what turns me on.
I’ve been a huge fan of Salma’s ever since Desperado, but it’s been a while since we’ve seen her get an opportunity to be a true badass. Was that in the back of your mind when you brought her on for this role?
Joe Lynch: She came to us originally. A long time ago, we actually had Kate Hudson cast in the film. We had shot a promo with her and even sold the film initially with her involved. And then she got Glee and we didn’t really hear from her again (laughs). So we were out an actress, but Salma found the script and she approached us. She was totally on-board, but when we had our first meeting with her she said – and thank god she did this – ‘I love this story, I love this character, I love the action, but it’s missing some heart.’
And she was right. It was missing that emotional component of how it feels to live estranged from your mother and if you look at it, there are three generations of strong women in this film who have to deal with this predicament, and that deserves some sort of emotional grounding.
When Kate had been involved, she was mostly motivated by the story because she wanted to be a badass like her dad [Kurt Russell] (and who doesn’t?). But Salma was looking for something that would effectively capture those feelings of being a mother and the lengths a mother will go to protect her child. I don’t know what would have happened with the movie had Salma not pushed for this.
Because Everly is such an intimate film, how closely did you and Salma work together while shooting?
Joe Lynch: We would rehearse every day and we’d spend a lot of time working together to get all those different beats right. Salma was amazing at finding those authentic moments amidst all the surreal parts of the story. I would end up throwing out my shot list for the most part because Salma had these great instincts, so I’d adjust what we were doing to complement her ideas because they were always on the money.
I could walk around that room and work things out in my head as to how they should go, but then Salma would be like, ‘No baby, this is what we should be doing.’ That wasn’t because it’s what Salma would or wouldn’t do, it was because it wasn’t what the character of Everly would do. I had to respect that and be aware of that as well.”
Was the shoes thing Salma does an homage to her character in Desperado?
Joe Lynch: The shoes thing was all Salma and I didn’t even really think about it until now. That was something she incorporated and it immediately stuck out at me. It has a humorous aspect to it, but it also shows how sensible Everly is too, so I knew I had to get those moments into the film.
How important was it to make sure you made Everly the right way?
Joe Lynch: This was my movie. With Wrong Turn 2, I just had to work from the story that was created in the first film and Knights of Badassdom was a work-for-hire situation. As much as I tried to put ‘me’ into that film wherever possible, there was still a disconnect. So to me, Everly is my first film. It sounds so pompous to say that, but this is the moment where I need to show the world these are the stories I like to tell. Thankfully, my producers were amazing and supportive in helping me do just that.
If you unscrewed my head and looked inside, you’d see this room and all the crazy shit that’s happening. But had Salma not stepped in and brought those emotional beats, Everly would have ended up feeling like a bad Takashi Miike rip-off.