The Aussie who charmed the world with a certain red canine has returned to his decidedly darker disposition, teaming up with British funnyman Simon Pegg for some black-comedy thrills. We take five with acclaimed writer and director, Kriv Stenders.
The darkly comedic crime thriller Kill Me Three Times was the long-awaited follow-up to your much awarded and loved, Red Dog. Where you at all hesitant in returning to your darker, not so family-friendly inclinations for this one?
Not at all. As a filmmaker I think it’s vital that you keep testing yourself and trying all kinds of genres. KM3X is still very unlike anything I’ve done before in terms of tone, style and comedy. I love movies, and hope to continue to explore different genres and to keep learning and evolving. I also thought it was the prefect film to follow up Red Dog with, as after it’s success I got offered a lot of family and dog themed movies and I just wanted to be careful about not being typecast as a director.
The film’s star, Simon Pegg, credits your name as the reason he signed on. How does this feel to hear?
Well, that’s very flattering. He is a great guy and was a pleasure to work with. I know he loved the script, but he only had a two-week window in which he was available, so we really had to work very hard to make it all happen around those two weeks. He was very grateful for that, and I think a little surprised that we made the effort to work around him.
Kill Me Three Times looks like an absolute cracker. What was the mood like on set?
We had a very short and tight schedule because of all the travel we had to do in order to shoot in all those beautiful locations you see in the movie. There was a lot of pressure on us to get the film made on budget, and on time. But I had a great crew and a great cast who made each moment count. So in turn that pressure also created a great, focused working environment. As for the mood, Simon Pegg was great to be around, as were Alice Braga, Sullivan Stapleton, Teresa Palmer, Bryan Brown, Callen Mulvey, and Luke Hemsworth. Lovely people, each one of them. I think back and can’t believe how lucky I was to get a chance to make a movie with all those terrific actors – it’s one of the best casts I’ve ever had the chance to work with.
You’ve tackled the full spectrum of genres (and seem to fancy mashing them together!). What’s your favourite style of movie to munch popcorn to?
That’s an impossible question to answer, as it’s like trying to pick your favourite food or style of music. Part of the joy of watching movies is seeing something that matches your mood or interests at the time. I love a dumb, American action movie as much as the latest art house film from Eastern Europe. But I do find myself watching classics more so than ever before. Maybe that says something about my age or the state of modern cinema in general, I don’t know.
We’re eagerly awaiting next year’s Blue Dog, but with Red Dog star, Koko, sadly departed can we expect to meet an equally charming canine?
I can’t say, or reveal too much right now. But I can assure you that we’ve found a dog that has that special X-factor that Koko had, as well as being a shining talent in their own right. Stay tuned.