Talk about must-reads? This is it! Lucky McKee, genius behind such films as May, The Woods, The Woman and now All Cheerleaders Die, took some time out of his busy schedule to answer a series of questions for HNR and Addicted to Horror Movies. But McKee didn’t show up prepped to tackle all questions alone. Rather, we were gifted the presence of All Cheerleaders Die co-director and co-writer, Chris Sivertson.
I can’t express my gratitude (seriously, I can’t praise McKee’s work even remotely near enough!). Lucky didn’t have to invest time in answering our questions, but he did, and he brought along an incredibly talented fellow filmmaker and crafty writer, just to spice things up.
If you love great stories (McKee has proven a powerful force, and a fine business partner to Jack Ketchum), and you find positive, welcoming attitudes somewhat atypical, you’re going to have to check this out. These guys are not only willing to work hard to create the greatest genre work possible, they’re extremely approachable, and generally cool cats.
Matt Molgaard: I adored the satirical edge of All Cheerleaders Die. You somehow managed to poke fun at youthful clichés while incorporating a sense of realism in a lot of character behavior. What does it take to stay so fine tuned to current youthful trends, and furthermore, how do you anticipate teen crowds (who will no doubt flock to this one) responding to this film in specific? Are kids today aware enough to laugh at themselves?
Chris Sivertson: Rather than thinking too much about whatever the current youth trends are, we just assumed things today aren’t that much different from when we were in high school. Technology has obviously changed drastically, but the core emotional dramas and dilemmas that teens face today are probably more or less the same as what we dealt with. You’re trying to determine your own identity amongst your peers as a separate thing from your identity within your family or home life. You’re testing the waters of relationships and maybe sex. All while your body is rapidly changing. So the teenage years are ripe for drama – and for humor of course! Hopefully most people can laugh at themselves. People who can’t do that are the most frustrating people to be around – or sometimes the most unintentionally funny people to be around I guess. But in the movie we tried to balance the humor with moments where we take the drama completely seriously. The characters aren’t jokes to us. But that doesn’t mean that sometimes they don’t crack us up!
Matt Molgaard: From what I understand you come from something of an impoverished background. Yet you’ve turned life around, written and directed some amazing films and established yourself a powerhouse of the genre. I’d love to hear some words of advice for the aspiring filmmakers who weren’t born into big bucks or famed families. What does it take to see dreams come to fruition when limitations can feel so daunting?
Lucky McKee: I wasn’t eating out of dumpsters or anything, but we didn’t have much. That’s true. If I wanted to pursue interests in comics or movies or books, I had to go out and earn the dough to pay for it. My first video camera was bought from the proceeds of my work at a horse ranch shoveling shit and feeding animals. I was eleven years old and the work was hard, but an opportunity was there, and it was well worth it to me. So, I guess my advice is this: Sometimes you have to shovel shit in order to do the things you love. The big trick is to never eat shit because you might acquire a taste for it.
Do not miss this amazing Q&A! Just head directly over to A2HM for the extensive read!!