Seven Psychopaths Director Martin McDonagh Talks Rabbits And Walken, Reflects On In Bruges
After winning an Academy Award for his short film Six Shooter, playwright Martin McDonagh made his move to the world of features with the movie In Bruges. While the title failed to get any real traction domestically at the time of its theatrical release, it garnered a great deal of critical praise, earned a Best Original Screenplay Academy Award nomination, won Colin Farrell a Golden Globe and has since taken on a cult following. Itís been a long for years for fans who have awaited McDonaghís return to the silver screen, but finally that time comes to an end this weekend.
Last week I had the opportunity to take part in a press day for Seven Psychopaths where a group of journalists and myself had the chance to talk to McDonagh about his latest film. Check out the extended interview with the writer/director below in which he talks about the development of the story, the impact In Bruges had on the making of this one, the experience directing Christopher Walkenís voice, and working with the animals.
And beware of the last page, which is full of spoiler goodies
What is the attraction to psychopaths and killers and rabbits?
Rabbits? Thatís a definite one, I love them. Psychopaths and killers not so much. I guess I share Colin Farrellís characterís feelings towards psychopaths and killers in the film. That I know how cinematic they are and how interesting films can be with them, but kind of question the morality of only having films about guys with guns. Itís that, playing those two ideas off each other is my interest in them. Also, I was thinking about this the other day, if youíd written a film called Seven Accountants you wouldnít really get much interest. Christopher Walken wouldnít be the same in that part [laughs].
This movie operates on so many different meta levels. Iím curious, was this the story you set out to write from the beginning?
Yeah, this is exactly how it developed. There wasnít a time when it was just the central story and I was looking out for it. I think I had the Quakerís Psychopath short story, and then I had the title of this, and then I was stuck with Colinís character and didnít know how to come up with the others. I wanted it to be about love and peace, then his two friends show up and the dog thing it just kind of snowballed. It kind of developed naturally like that and then the meta things came. If youíre writing a film thatís about a writer in Hollywood that doesnít want to write a film called Seven Psychopaths itís going to be meta no matter what you do.
Were you actively trying to move away from doing it like a play?
I think, just in writing the scripts, Iím always trying to be as cinematic as I can. To do on film what you couldnít so on stage. I think more and more Iím trying to go in that direction. I mean, Iím going to go back to writing plays too. I think that the difference between the two are becoming more and more polarized. If itís a story and itís going to be set in a room, itís going to be a play. If thereís going to be rabbits and dogs, itís going to be a film.
Youíve worked with Colin before. How much of the cast did you have in your head as you were writing this?
As I was writing, none of them really. It was actually written seven years ago. Just after I wrote the script for In Bruges, before I made the film. Iíve loved all the actors in this from a long time ago. Maybe Sam Rockwell. Sometimes I write with Samís voice in my head because I love him as an actor, and I love the way he can go from comedy to darkness on a dime. But I never dreamed Iíd be in a place where Iím doing a film with Christopher Walken or Tom Waits...
I did a play with Sam and Christopher about three years ago in New York, so I knew them. Woody I met like 10 years ago because heís a theater guy too. We almost did a play together. Tom Waits we almost wrote a fucked up musical kind of thing, which we might go back to. So first day of shooting was like family. So it wasnít as terrifying as working with a cast this big might appear to be. It was fun every day on set. I think itís kind of palpable in the film how much fun we were all having. No one was heavy or starry; there were no issues from anyone.
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