Quantcast Lucky McKee 'Are You Going?' interview

Writer/Director
Lucky McKee!!!
Icons Of Fright fans are in for a treat! We are proud to present a reprint of a never before published interview with Lucky McKee conducted by Christopher P. Garetano for 'Are You Going?' magazine Issue #6. Chris put the completion of that issue on hold to complete his first full length documentary 'Horror Business'. This is a rare interview with Lucky McKee PRIOR to the release of MAY. Kick back and read this Are You Going?/FRIGHT exclusive interview with writer/director Lucky McKee!!! - by Christopher P. Garetano - reprinted 12/05
Last night I was watching a documentary, Stanley Kubrick: a life in pictures and it had me thinking about the moment of inspiration for all great filmmakers. For Kubrick it was photography, What was that initial inspirational source for you?

Comic books. Spiderman, Fantastic Four, X-Men. I really didn't get to go see many movies. I lived way out in the sticks. So, comic books were my replacement for that lack of visual storytelling. I wanted to draw and write comic books pretty much all the way through middle school and that's where I made the transition to seriously wanting to make movies.

When was the first time you had an encounter with the filmmaking medium or any film related medium?

When I was ten, my dad's boss had a video camera and made a documentary about my sister's birthday and I was totally fascinated with the thing.

And when did you finally try to make a film yourself?

I think I was about twelve years old a friend and I made a horror movie, It was miniature nightmare on Elm Street movie.  We wore Freddy masks and fake blood (laughs)

After that did you consider filmmaking as a lifelong career?

Yeah it took me over pretty quick.
What did your film education consist of? Where you self-taught or did you study film in college?

I went to film school... I was in a four-year undergraduate screenwriting program at USC. It was a very intimate program with like only 24 students and only about 18 or 19 made it all the way through. About a third of us were still hardcore by the end of the program. I always saw writing and storytelling as a great base for a film education. Thankfully my parents created an opportunity where they encouraged me to do what I loved and that support paid of tremendously.

I have a reoccurring conversation with many other filmmakers and film lovers about the state of filmmaking today, and why many of today's horror filmmaker do not push themselves further to create material that's strong and original. A film that comes to mind that has actually achieved this is your film 'MAY'. I felt that I honestly couldn't compare it to anything else.

That's cool man. 'MAY' was personal stuff, it was personal expression done through a tremendous group of people. If peoples hearts and minds are headed in the right direction you'll get some cool results. Everyone that worked on 'MAY' were obviously not doing it for the money. They liked the story and got it, they enjoyed themselves while they were working on it and that all came on to the screen.

I was watching CNN recently and to see Roger Ebert arguing in your favor was amusing and a  good feeling.

It's awesome, I mean it's very flattering, I don't want to read too deeply into it because I'm sure I'll get hammered on the next thing that I do. (laughs)
Do you plan to tell stories within the horror genre exclusively?

Well, the new film that I'm working on is a horror film. I don't think I'm gonna stay exclusive to the horror genre but those elements will invariably find their way into the work.
You won't limit yourself.

No, absolutely not... After THE WOODS, which is my first studio picture - I'm going to make another personal film like 'MAY'. But I kind of would like to make popcorn pictures every now and then too.

What was the film you directed before MAY?
It's called 'ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE'. One of my great friends and main collaborators was a production student. (Chris Seaverson) About a year after we got out of USC, we decided that no one would give us money to make a feature we kind of looked at what we had before us, which was the digital format. We got a hold of a video camera and gathered some of our friends together and made this wild little zombie movie. It took two four-day weekends out in the town where I grew up.
Is this what helped you get the budget together for 'MAY'?

No. I had written 'MAY' my junior year of college. A guy who I had went to school with read the script shortly after and was interested in helping me find actors that could help get it going, but nothing came of it. Four years later, out of the blue he called me. He remembered the script and was starting his own production company. So, he came down, we worked on the script and a year later we had a film in Sundance.
Well, he made a good choice! Better you than some film illiterate prick who just wants to make a lot of dough.

(laughs) Well, I definitely haven't done that yet.

I'm sure you will if you continue to make great films.

Money is definitely not the main goal. It's having a rich life. The most rewarding thing is looking at the results at the end of the day.

So, would you say the most important thing to you is the film?

Yeah I love getting a reaction out of people.

Would you say that MAY as a character is a sympathetic character and do you draw most of this from your personal experience?

We have all felt backward and socially inept and I hoped that most people could relate. The next step was to go all the way with that feeling and not hold back.

That is actually my next question. Do you ever say to yourself maybe I shouldn't do this because?


As long as it doesn't distract from the original point of the story. Do you mean in terms of the level of intensity?

Yes, if there was something that might come of as too intense, offensive, or politically incorrect, but something that you really wanted displayed within the context of the story. Did you ever censor yourself and say well maybe this isn't for a large audience?


Well, I do keep the audience in mind. When you do the first draft of a script, it's usually for yourself. Once you start showing it to people you trust and respect, then you start to gage weather, the material is communicating the emotions and ideas that you're trying to communicate. I mean, you keep working on it. I wouldn't call it censoring myself. I definitely like to push peoples buttons though. I would rather challenge peoples emotions than challenge them intellectually. I like getting inside their guts and turning them around.

To purchase back issues of Are You Going? magazine, click HERE!!!

Also visit Christopher P. Garetano at www.HorrorBusinessMovie.com

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