CN- Whatís your background in film before "LAST EXIT" was made? Any short film projects, music videos etc?
DAVID-My background is mainly in screenwriting, which I have been doing for the last ten years in between going to art college and taking several drama /film workshops along the way. I got my first taste on set when I did the sound editing for a friends short film that was made on 16mm called A Clean Shave which was fun and I was hooked right away, afterwards wrote and directed a short on video called The Sculptor that nobody saw, and recently dabbled in some acting with a few theatre plays so a bit of everything really, but mainly writing Ė itís all valuable experience!
CN- How did "LAST EXIT" come into existence? What was you inspiration to make this film? Were certain elements taken from personal events?
DAVID-LAST EXIT was born out of frustration. I have been a screenwriter for years and most of the scripts I write are dark and edgy so at the best of times can be hard sells to producers. So I said to myself, to hell with this, I will just go ahead and produce my own movie.
As regards personal elements for this project, not at all except for the Jimmy character who was based on an old friend. Originally speculated on making a zombie movie or just something with "monsters", I love horror movies, but also have an inherent urge to make edgy thrillers Ė so after doing a serious think about it, decided that if I could make the humans the "monsters" and add a bit black humor, thought that maybe it could an interesting idea to combine both to see what happens! So the President character, Nigel, Maria, Pedro, Tanya etc all became my "monsters" and in a way they can be just as disturbing/spooky than the mythical creatures because they are very real.
CN- "LAST EXIT" is much like another Danish film, Nicholas Refn Windingís 1996 film PUSHER, had you seen this film before and did it inspire you with "LAST EXIT in anyway?
DAVID-Yes, seen Pusher and itís a cool movie, I can see why one see similarities but was not so much influenced by that one, the mood of that film is a little different than LAST EXIT , it has the same environment for sure but I think LAST EXIT differs in that it has a lot more surreal aspects to the characters & scenes, for example the psychedelic sex scenes with Tanya & Nigel and all the offbeat Jimmy dialogue scenes. If I can say a film that directly influenced the movie it would be something like "After Hours", more of a straight comedy but the protagonist gets entangled in drugs, murder, gays, girlfriends etc, not of his own fault, in a way you could liken it to Nigelís predicament of course with added chainsaws, sex and booze!
CN- Was the overall final casting, the only casting, or did you have other actors in mind?
DAVID-We had a few castings sessions but we were not spoilt for choice or anything. I knew the actor who was to play the role of Nigel had to have a sense of humor and an open mind. So initially we were looking at these comedic type of actors, but then Morten came in and he was a big fan of all the black humor in the script and "got" what we were trying to do with the character and he had a lot fun playing with it, so we went with him.
CN- How did the casting of singer Gry Bay come into play? Did you approach her or did she come to you? What was it like working with her?
DAVID-Gry answered a casting call in a local newspaper and came in for a reading. She actually came in late when we were doing callbacks, but my initial first reaction was very positive.
Gry had an edge, and of course worked well with Morten, her boyfriend at the time. She was cool to work with overall, she is actually very quiet and a shy person believe it or not but also down to earth Ė she was willing to go with the flow and also ready at times to try something new and not holding back.
CN- The filmís score is quite unique, who composes it? Where would one purchase it if interested?
DAVID- We had a great composer called Jakob Moth, he runs his own small studio north of Copenhagen. He has done a lot of work for different movies and had great variation of different styles. We kept a close relationship and he delivered many music samples when were shooting and more during the post production.
On the songs side, we had some really cool songs contributed from Gry Bay and Fabio Testa who performed all the harmonica for the Jimmy scenes which turned out great.
The official original soundtrack is available to buy on CD from our secure online shop, it includes sample Jimmy dialogues, score and songs from the original movie.
http://www.cafepress.com/lepshop.21644343 or just go to our website at www.LastExitProductions.dk
CN-How and when did Heretic Films come about asking you about distribution for "LAST EXIT" in North America? What was youíre first reaction to this?
DAVID- We had a few different offers as well as the mandatory rejections with the distribution rights for North America. I remember getting a call from someone at Heretic around 2 years ago enquiring about the movie, so posted them a screener sample and then heard nothing for half a year. Then I got an email from Alex Afterman at Heretic saying the guy that screened LAST EXIT had left the company and he was cleaning out his desk and happened upon our movie and watched it and enjoyed it. So after that we had a few conversations and things happened from there on. Overall I can say the Heretic team were open, honest and helpful all the way, so was very pleased we could eventually make an mutual agreement together, and feel LAST EXIT is in great hands at Heretic!
CN- You re-edited "LAST EXIT" for the Heretic release, why is this?
DAVID- A few reasons. There was some scenes that could pose some legal issues for the North America territory, so just to be 100% safe we removed them. To give an example one issue was with a scarface poster, its illegal to have movie poster in your movie unless you have rights for it, so we just removed it, there was also some scenes from TV in the background that had to go Ė but these scenes did not affect the story so it was not a big problem. There was also a few technical aspects that we went back to improve on, some of the darker scenes were tweaked when we went back to the master tapes and also some new music tracks and tweaks were added to improve the overall presentation.
CN- Where did you do the commentary for the disc? How did you correspond with Heretic while doing the commentary?
DAVID- We were asked by Heretic about the possibility of doing a commentary track, I was a bit nervous and apprehensive initially but talking to a few fellow filmmakers they said you can always just comment on the movie from a no budget filmmakerís point of view and that could be interesting to others. So basically this is how I approached it, more on a technical level on how we made the film for so cheap.
The commentary of the disc was done in the comfort of my own home. It was good fun, we just set up a external microphone, played the movie on my own TV and myself, Peter and Morten (the actors) sat back and watched it with a few beers. Hopefully it gives a few interesting tips and tricks into how we made our movie that can inspire others to go out and do the same.
CN- Have you seen the finished DVD product? If so, what are youíre overall thoughts on it?
DAVID- Received the official Heretic DVD recently. Overall I think they done a fabulous job and have included a lot of interesting material including alternate scenes, extended scenes and a making of doc and a commentary and much more, itís one of the reasons why I chose Heretic as the home of LAST EXIT because I knew they would put an enormous effort into making a quality DVD.
CN- What has been the overall reaction to "LAST EXIT" on a world level?
DAVID- Quite positive all in all considering itís a cultish genre movie and is pretty much dark and disturbing especially the finale. And the folks that typically donít like this dark material, seem to appreciate the effort we put into the creative side of things, such as the lighting, editing, sound and music, also the acting aspect is generally given the thumbs up. I know for sure technically we are no where near on par with polished Hollywood films but from the meager resources we had at the time, it was the best we could we do.
CN- Do you think that with the upcoming DVD release here in North America, that it will collect an even larger following? One that will be positive or negative? How do you think theyíll react to "LAST EXIT"
DAVID- You can never predict these things. Hope of course it does well and eventually gathers its own audience. I know the subject matter will be too strong for some, but every movie has a market and niche and if someone wants to watch a movie that is dark and off mainstream but still very entertaining and whacky, they will enjoy this one !
CN- Whatís next on your plate? Has there been any offers that have been a direct connection to "LAST EXIT"?
DAVID- Our new project, NO RIGHT TURN is in pre-production. Currently casting. We have a great script that is getting a superb response from all involved. Actually compared to our previous project this time we will have an actual "crew" and some budget to play with but not much!
Donít want to give away too much but just to say, itís a real cool thriller with some absurd, surreal and fantastical elements involved. Our planned shooting date is end of Jan 2006, with hopefully first screening at the end of the year if all goes well.
As regards offers, not much offers yet but having LAST EXIT out there is helping get some interest from producers on what we plan to do next, so yes always hard to get financial assistance but the show must go on.
CN- Any last words to add, maybe some advice for first time film makers?
DAVID- Well I hope folks out there, who pick up LAST EXIT enjoy the movie and maybe get inspiration from it, and that fellow filmmakers will realize that you can make a good little movie without any budget that can get out there eventually. It took a lot of commitment and good spirit by many creative and open minded individuals to get it made and I say thank you to all those who were involved and special warm thanks to those who supported and stayed through all the hard work especially towards the end when we focusing hard on getting all the material together so the film could be released onto DVD officially with all the extras.
For first time filmmakers, all I really want to say is go out and shoot your movie, you have nothing to lose, donít wait around for the perfect conditions, perfect script, perfect cast, do what you can with what you have now, the rest will fall into place, and remember if you donít do it now - you have lost already!
David, one behalf of myself and everyone here at Cinema Nocturna, I would like to thank you first of all for allowing us to review your great film. One that I have highly enjoyed with each viewing. Secondly, thanks for taking the time to share a few moments with us, talking about LAST EXIT. Good luck with your future endeavors.
For more info about LAST EXIT read our review or either visit LAST EXIT'S official website or to purchase the disc visit Heretic Films.
© 2005 cinema-nocturna.com