Seven Psychopaths Director Martin McDonagh Talks Rabbits And Walken, Reflects On In Bruges

By Eric Eisenberg 2012-10-10 17:16:27discussion comments


Working with animals always presents a challenge in and of itself, but on top of the multitude that you have, youíre also shooting out in the desert in some protected areas out in Joshua Tree. What kind of challenges did all of those combinations present for you as a director and for Ben Davis, your cinematographer, planning out what you were going to do?

The animals, honestly, they were a dream. Bonnie, the dog, was lovely. She was quiet as a mouse; it was like she was on marijuana or something, which made two cast members. Kidding! And the rabbits were great. But out in the desert, yeah, it was freezing cold for all the night shots, like minus 16. And there were a lot of nights out in the desert. But we shot one day in the Joshua Tree national park itself, but as you said there are so many restrictions on what you can do there that we had to find places that look very similar, where you could explode a car or have a car chase or have a gun fight. But Dan Davis was fantastic. I think the film looks beautiful and thatís all down to him really.

We storyboarded an awful lot before we started. Well, I did for like 6 months before we started prep even. That kind of got my head around the whole desert shoot.

And the 2 of you selected to shoot on film and not go digital with this. Was there a particular reason for that?

Iím kind of old school; I just think it looks better. I donít think digital really speeds things us, and I definitely donít think it looks better. I donít think itís cheaper yet, when you add in all the extras that you need. So yeah, I just think film looks better.

You mentioned the test screening in San Francisco and there was a great scene when theyíre in the desert and Sam going on his explanation of the story, it felt like, Chris Walken and Colin were the test audience for him. It got me thinking, obviously being the writer, being the director, were those things of your own experiences that you kind of got to pepper in the script?

Not so much, not so much. But that was probably one of the most fun scenes to do. Itís about a 10 minute monologue and Sam had it off by heart. We had about two weeks of rehearsal before we started, and he acted out the whole thing from start to finish and he was getting down on the floor to get shot and coming back up, and just watching it I was just in hysterics. It had kind of been written that most of that was going to be voice over. So we were going to film all of the actual cemetery shoot out and youíd head bits of it and see a couple images of Sam doing that, but it was so good that you didnít want toÖyou could almost have just had the camera on him and Colin and Chrisí reactions, and that would have been equally valid.

So yeah, because he was so good it was kind of half and half now, were back with Sam just as much as in the cemetery. Another good thing about the cemetery was that continuity didnít matter, if it looked stupid or fake or phony, because itís Billyís idea of an ending. It didnít matter if it was completely over the top or gory or gratuitous, but itís not me, itís Billy.
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