david j. moore chats with Joe Lynch, director of Everly…
Writer/director Joe Lynch has distinguished his filmmaking career by taking projects that are fairly different than one another. From the underrated Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2007) to Knights of Badassdom (2013), and finally to this year’s Everly, Lynch seems determined to keep himself fresh by not sticking to a single genre. Everly, which stars Salma Hayek as a woman trapped in her apartment while her Yakuza boyfriend sends a legion of killers to murder her before she can talk to the FBI, is Lynch’s latest exercise in stylish genre filmmaking.
david j. moore: You’ve dabbled in different genres. I remember when I saw Wrong Turn 2, I was pretty surprised that it was as good as it was.
Joe Lynch: It kind of snuck up on people. They were expecting it to be a straight-to-video knock off of the original film, which was a 70’s-style horror movie. I thought, Why not twist it a little bit and make it a splatter movie from the 80’s? There’s nothing wrong with that. We used the same basic script, a crowd goes out and there’s a reality show and we actually got Henry Rollins, which was great. I just didn’t want to do the same movie they did before, and thankfully, Fox was like, “If you do it on time and on budget, go do whatever you want.” I was like, “Yeah?” They said, “As long as you do it on time and on budget, you’re good.” When they saw it, it was a little scary when it was over and I got the call from Fox because they were like, “What is this movie? I didn’t expect to laugh, I didn’t expect it to be like an action movie!” I said, “Wrong Turn 2 is Aliens to the first movie being Alien.” Immediately, they got it. “Ooh! Okay, awesome.” Not to sound pompous, but I like horror movies that can make you laugh, I like comedies that can scare the shit out of you. I like action movies that have a romantic angle that you wouldn’t expect. I like finding new ways of telling genre stories that you wouldn’t expect. With Knights of Badassdom, I never said it was a horror comedy. To me, it was an adventure film like The Goonies. You watch The Goonies or Romancing the Stone… when that crocodile bites that guy’s hand off … when I was a little kid, that scared the shit out of me! Those surprises … life is a total rollercoaster. You wake up in the morning, and it can be a horror movie. That’s where I’ve always gravitated towards. I can do comedy, I can do horror, I can do an action or adventure. I can do a fantasy too? Sign me up!
djm: Your new film Everly looks like an action-type film.
JL: It’s Die Hard in a room. That’s the best encapsulated pitch that I can give. Or it’s a Coen Brother’s Blood Simple meets Takashi Miike’s Ichi the Killer. Not the kind of movie where you can go to a studio and be like, “I’ve got the perfect pitch for ya!” The movie’s about a woman – played by Salma Hayek – who is trapped in her apartment over one long Holiday Christmas evening. She’s trapped when her Yakuza boyfriend finds out that she’s been talking to the Feds. He sends everyone after her, and essentially, the movie takes place over one night, and the camera never leaves the room. We were very strict. If we were in this room and someone was not in that room, we’d have to hear it or would have to see it through a hole in the wall. If there was a phone call, you were only on one side of the phone call. The idea was to fully invest the audience of that space she was in. The feeling of claustrophobia. Anything can come through there.
djm: How were you able to keep the movie fresh? I would imagine that it was difficult to keep the camera angles interesting.
JL: How many scenes have you seen of six or seven people talking around a kitchen table? You look at Reservoir Dogs in that opening scene and Tarantino keeps the camera floating around, letting the foreground get hit by other actors. It was fresh. There was absolutely no need to go outside that circle. Until the end, when Laurence Tierney gets up and pays the check and goes, “Who didn’t leave a tip?” It’s the first time it breaks out. That confinement forces you to invest in these characters. By the end of that scene, you kind of know who those guys are. With Everly, I wanted to make sure from the beginning that the audience knows who this person is and what predicament she’s in and how the hell is she going to get out.
djm: How exhausted was Salma Hayek by the end of the shoot?
JL: God, every day. We pushed her to the limit, and thank God she was so game for it. She could’ve left many times. There was one time in particular … I’m not going to give away what happens, but there’re two characters named The Sadist and The Masochist, and they roll on in, and things get really dark. The thing I’m really most proud of that I also know will be the most polarizing is the opening scene, which is as dark as it gets. Gaspar Noe would be like, Oh, shit! But ten minutes later, the audience starts laughing. She literally did exhaust herself. But she came back every day, so I guess we did something right. She was … to use the old cliché: She was a trooper and a half.
djm: What’s next for you?
JL: There are two or three movies I’m up for, one of which would be spectacular if it happens. I’m writing a script right now called Triple, which is a little along the lines of Everly, kind of a crime thriller. I just embarked on my greatest production yet, which is a new kid. So I’ve got a lot going on right now. I want the world to see Everly. You never know who’s going to like it. I’d rather people go, “I loved it!” or “I fucking hated it!” Those are the movies that I like to do.
Thanks to Joe Lynch for taking the time for this interview.
SEE ALSO: Watch the trailer for Everly here
david j. moore is a contributing writer to Fangoria, FilmFax, Lunchmeat and VideoScope Magazines. His book WORLD GONE WILD: A SURVIVOR’S GUIDE TO POST-APOCALYPTIC MOVIES was published this year.