Saturday, October 29, 2011

Exclusive Interview: Director Rolfe Kanefsky Talks About His New Film "1 In The Gun" And More

Director Rolfe Kanefsky has written and directed many feature films over the last 17 years and is still cranking them out. He is the winner of two Best Director awards for his awesome horror flick, Nightmare Man

The director took a time out to talk about his latest film "1 In the Gun" which follows one man's insane and twisting journey. We talk about the movie and his influences. We also talk about the great cast in the movie and his transition from different types of movie styles, from horror to comedy and even erotica.  

Check out my latest Versus with Rolfe Kanefsky and be sure to check out "1 In The Gun" if you're looking for a wild movie with crazy twists and turns.

Alien Bee- First off, you wrote and directed 1 In The Gun. How did you come up with such a unique and twisting story like this?
Rolfe Kanefsky- Well, 1 In The Gun began when I met with Steven Man. He wanted to make a film noir flick and wanted me to watch the old Mickey Rooney movie “Quicksand” about a guy who gets into a bad situation that just keep getting worse and worse. Steven had a few ideas but didn't really know what direction to take the story. He wanted to do “a road picture meets Russian Roulette” which is one of the strangest pitches I had ever heard. It had something about going to Vegas to look for his father who was an Elvis impersonator. Obviously, we didn't make that movie. But I started thinking and knocked off a two page treatment that Steven really liked. A couple of week later, after watching a lot of classic film noir flicks, I started writing the script.
Alien Bee- Tell our readers a little about the movie.
Rolfe Kanefsky- Mickey Lewis (Steven Man) is a struggling homeless artist who meets a beautiful woman (Katherine Randolph) who needs someone to paint her house when her rich husband (Steven Bauer) is away on a business trip. Naturally, this leads to an affair that leads to a crime that leads to murder where nothing is quite what it seems. For that point, the film and Mickey's life spirals out of control and keeps getting weirder at a motel in the desert and a lot of unusual characters that represent Mickey's past, present, and future. It's a crime psychological thriller that can be described as “Body Heat” meets “Lost Highway” with a dash of “After Hours” and “Shock Corridor” thrown in for good measure. I could give a few more references but they would spoil some of the surprises.
Alien Bee- When we get to the middle of the movie all of a sudden we head in an entirely different, insane and trippy direction. Were you having a blast writing and even directing this saying I'm gonna mess with the audience's head with this one?  
Rolfe Kanefsky- Well, if you seen some of my other films, including “Nightmare Man” I like to switch gears in the middle to surprise the audience so they can't predict what's going to happen next. This tends to be a trend with me. I mean, why watch something where you know the ending five minutes into the film, right?  So, I'm a big fan of a famous Ambrose Bierce story published in 1890. There have been a few very cool movies made based on the basic idea. I don't want to say what story or what movies because again, it will give away too much. However, I really did enjoy spinning the film around on itself. It also gave me a great chance to add all these wonderful characters in the second half of the film. I was hoping to create a movie that felt very familiar in the beginning with the typical love triangle crime story and then let the audience feel what Mickey is going through as things get strange. I wanted people to be involved so they would go along for the ride in the second half where things get really fun and wild.
Alien Bee- You had a great cast for the movie including Steven Man, Katherine Randolph, Robert Davi and Steven Bauer. How was it filming with these great talents?
Rolfe Kanefsky- Well, it's always a pleasure to work with good actors. When you write a script and the actors bring it to life on the screen, it's always cool and amazing. I wrote the film at first for a vehicle for Steven Man but I then thought it would be good to surround with some very unusual characters. My first thought was all women and there is a definite “After Hours” vibe in the second half of the film. I had also watched Sam Fuller's terrific “Shock Corridor” which gave me some ideas. We auditioned many actresses for the role of Katrina, the femme fatale. Katherine Randolph blew us away. She had that perfect Kathleen Turner feel and a body to die for. Robert Davi and Steven Bauer came to the project through a pretty famous casting director, Victoria Burrows.  She loved the script and based it on to them. They both agreed and then James Russo came aboard as well. Robert Davi was amazing. His first scene was so powerful, I was in awe. Russo and I worked on his routine with all the flies which is funny, quirky, and weird. And Bauer had a great time. He even came on days he wasn't working to see how things were going. Everyone really enjoyed this project. And I have to mention, Esther Goodstein, who was a producer as plays Davi's wife, Belle, in the film. Also, the actor who has been in all of my films, Robert Donavan who came in for a day for his wonderful turn as the guy who runs the gas station who may or may not have been having an affair with Belle. And then there's the three women in the motel; Dana Fares, Kika Perez, and Jennifer Pennington. By the end, everything is explained but you may want to go back and see how all the pieces fit together. In short, it was a great cast with Steven Man tying the whole thing together.
Alien Bee- This film definitely has a David Lynch feel to it. Tell me about your influences for the film and is Lynch one of them?
Rolfe Kanefsky- Well, I mentioned some already. Going back further to the classics, I should also include “Double Indemnity”, “Dead Reckoning”, “The Hitchhiker”, “Detour”, “Out Of The Past”, and “On Dangerous Ground”, the Nicholas Ray film from 1952 not the Steven Seagal “epic”. There is also an obvious  influence of “The Twilight Zone” and “Night Gallery” television shows and some David Lynch, especially “Blue Velvet”. In terms of style I tried to tip my hat to some of the greats without fully copying them. The opening shot(s) have a bit of “Touch Of Evil”, there's a “Psycho” reference when a character takes a nasty fall, and many others. It was fun touching upon other genres. Even though I would never call “1 In The Gun” a horror film, it gets pretty dark and kind of bloody as it goes while never losing a sense of humor. Film noir in general always had a lot of black comedy. I tried to keep that without overdoing it and without making this movie a parody. That's why I didn't do the tradition voice over introduction because I was afraid it might turn the film into camp.
Alien Bee- You write and direct thrillers, horror, comedies, dramas and even erotic films. Do you have a favorite? Is any one easier to write and direct than the others?
Rolfe Kanefsky- Well, I grew up on Abbott and Costello movies and I love comedy. There is humor in everything I do no matter what the genre. Comedy is probably what I'm best at. But I became a horror fan as a teen-ager and love combining horror with humor. I think my flicks, “There's Nothing Out There” and “The Hazing” show that pretty well. When done probably, the roller coaster effect you can get is wonderful. However, I would like to make more thrillers because a thriller can have a little bit of everything. There can be action, comedy, suspense, romance, thrills, and chills. Just look at Alfred Hitchcock movies.
Basically, I love all movies and like trying my hand at different genres. There really isn't one that easier to write than another. They all have their own set of rules and patterns. If anything, I am constantly trying to figure out how to reinvent the rules a bit and mix things up. That what I've always done with my horror flicks and my thriller tend to shift gears as well. One review said “1 In The Gun” is four films in one. I wouldn't go that far but I always want to give the audience more than less. Boring the viewers is the worst thing you can do.  I want to make something that is entertaining and they can enjoy and think about a bit at the same time. Hopefully, if you watch “1 In The Gun” or my other films again, you'll notice something new that you didn't catch before.
Alien Bee- I'm a proud owner of Nighmare Man, just had to throw that out there.
Rolfe Kanefsky- Thank you. “Nightmare Man” was challenging but fun. In that film, I tried to take the audience through the horror films of the 1970's, 80's and 90's. There was also a good sense of humor to the whole thing ending in a very “Tales From The Crypt” attitude. Like many of my films, because it was sold as a straight horror film, I don't think everyone picked up on the comedy. I get that a lot. People expect one kind of movie from me and they get another. That pisses off some but if you go along for the ride, you have a good time. Just go into a Rolfe Kanefsky flick with an open mind and you'll probably have a good time.
Alien Bee- What's up next for you?
Rolfe Kanefsky- Well, I've been incredibly busy. I shot seven features last year AT THE SAME TIME. It's never been done before in the history of Hollywood and I don't think it will ever be done again. Some of them have started airing on Cinemax. But, the one I'm very excited about is called “Emmanuelle In Wonderland”. It is a full out musical comedy rated “R” for adults. A throwback to the 1970's in a “Rocky Horror Picture Show” way but dealing with fairy tales. I'm calling it “Naked GLEE meets Disney on Acid”. It is a cult movie to be sure. We'll just have to see how long it takes to find its' audience. Right now, it will be premiering at the Queens World Film Festival in New York next March. So, if you're in New York, come check it out. The weirdest movie I've ever done.
I also did a sequel to my 1996 James Bond parody called “Today Is Yesterday Tomorrow”. I'm finishing that up now and hope it comes out later next year. In the meantime, I'm still plugging away. I have two new scripts; a thriller entitled “Road To Ruin” and a horror one called “Scream Park”. Both are doing the Hollywood rounds. I do have a lot of projects ready to go if I could just find the money. Hope to definitely do another horror flick again. It's been a while since “Nightmare Man”. But I am happy that Troma re-relased a special 2-disc edition of my first flick “There's Nothing Out There” earlier this year. It's nice that people are finally discovering it and there's a fun bonus short I directed starring Tiffany Shepis on the disc called “Mood Boobs”.
Alien Bee- Would you like to say anything to everybody checking this out?
Rolfe Kanefsky- Thanks for reading and for those who have watched my films and enjoyed them. Even if you hated them, thanks anyway for spending the time. A filmmaker likes his films to be seen. I hope you check out “1 In The Gun” and if you're curious you can go to my website, to find out more about what other crazy movies I've made. If “1 In The Gun” does well, it increases my odds of getting another flick off the ground so here's hoping!

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