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Lucky McKee Interview

By Jarrod Sarafin     March 10, 2007

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Hey out there, Maniacs. Recently we had the opportunity to discuss the past, present & future with director/writer/producer Lucky McKee. If you’re familiar with the Showtime series “Masters of Horror”, you may have caught an episode last year which he had the opportunity to direct. “Sick Girl” was the episode but Lucky’s done more then that. He also wrote and directed the horror/thriller movie May (2002), a film which garnered 11 nominations and 8 wins in all the Independent film festivals at that time. He recently followed May up with Roman (2006) as well as directed another horror film The Woods (2006) which featured Bruce Campbell. It looks like more is on the horizon so now; let’s hear from Lucky McKee himself...

Mania: Lucky, we appreciate you taking time out of your day to answer some of our questions. We have quite a few horror genre fanatics visiting us and any insight into the industry is always appreciated.

Lucky McKee: Glad I can be of service.
Mania: It's been said that you were a fan of this genre since you were young. Your friend and you even created your own version of "Nightmare on Elm Street.”.

Lucky: Yes. That's true.
Mania: That leads into my first question for you.

Lucky: Okay. Shoot.
Mania: Which movies other then Nightmare propelled you towards this genre in your youth?
Lucky:  In my formative years, it was movies like...The Hitcher. Carrie. American Werewolf in London. Faces of Death. Legends of the Fall. Nell. Currently I am still reeling from "Little Man"
Mania: Did you know then that you had a future in film making or was this later down the road in your USC days?

Lucky: I decided to switch my dream from writing and drawing comic books around middle school when I realized that I would never be able to draw as good as John Byrne. I switched to movies and have been obsessed ever since.

Mania: Who are the directors of previous generations which piqued your interests in horror?

Lucky: Horror specifically, huh? I'm going to answer this question with just some favorite filmmakers...To me character goes above genre, but all of these directors have gotten under our skin in some way or another... Kurosawa, Michael Powell & Emeric Presburger, Rian Johnson, Scorsese, Lynch, Chris Sivertson, Billy Bob Thornton, DePalma, Kevin Ford, Tobe Hooper, Wes Craven, Skip Lotem, Angela Bettis, George Lucas (yeah, I said it. Fuck off, haters!), John Cassavetes, Jim Henson, Zach Passero, Richard Fleischer, Tex Avery, Roger Avary, Poperratic,  Hitchcock, Rod Serling, and on and on and on...
Mania: How does the methods they applied in their films relate to you as a director and a script writer before you roll the camera for your film?

Lucky: They really care about their characters. They get in the mood. They go as far as they can with their ideas. Each one has their own signature style.

Mania: Roman(2006) was the first time in which you wrote, produced, & starred in a movie. How would you describe that experience? Are you interested in doing that again?
Lucky: I've produced. I've written. But I ain't never played no lead before. It's quite an undertaking! It helped a lot that is was my own personal script. I enjoyed the hell out of it and if someone I see eye to eye with wants to work with me, I'll give it a go.

Mania: We have quite a few camera wielding horror fans here. Some even had their films featured in the last Horrorfest. What is your best advice for them being noticed by distributors like Lionsgate? What would be their best chances of getting contacts inside the industry? What worked for you?


I wrote scripts that got an emotional response from people because they were embarrassingly personal. If you can't show heart, I probably won't like your movies! You can be someone that makes cheap hamburgers or you can learn the fine art of broiling a good steak. Work your ass off, read a lot, write a lot, draw a lot, make music, sharpen your skills and keep putting things on the shelf. Maybe one day someone will want to put it on their shelf too. But you gotta' do it for yourself first and foremost.
Mania: It seems you have quite a great working partnership with Angela Bettis. Does it help you as a director knowing the stars so well beforehand vs. someone you've never worked with?

Lucky: Comfort is everything in acting. So yes. Of course.
Mania: That leads me into this question. You had a chance to work with Bruce Campbell, Rachel Nichols & Patricia Clarkson in David Ross's The Woods (2006). How would you describe that experience compared to your previous films?

Lucky: All three of those actors are completely different. I learned so much from them that I'll carry with me forever. Rachel is going to be a BIG star real soon, I think. She's smart. She's drop-dead gorgeous. And she works her ass off. We had a really cool connection. Bruce is a crack-up and a really serious actor as well. He has skills runnin' out the wazoo. And he reminds me of the time I had amnesia. Patricia did a great job. She's got fantastic presence and it was a great experience teaming up with her. She's classic.

Mania: You were approached and pegged to direct Showtime's "Masters of Horror" episode Sick Girl(2006) by Mick Garris. This show is definitely a favorite of fans and has its fair share of director icons being attached. What did you get out of that experience and would you be interested in doing more?

Lucky: I had a blast. I was able to do what I wanted and use people that are near and dear. What could be better? It was a flawless experience and a tremendous honor.
Mania: There's now confirmation that there will be a full time Horror channel. As we know, there has been horror genre specific shows on network TV but most tend to fail due to being pulled early on. "Masters of Horror" seems to have found its niche on premium cable programming. Do you see the Horror channel as a chance to perhaps one day expand original horror series in the future on network TV?

Lucky: Yeah, they've been talking about that channel for a while, but they just don't seem to be able to get it together. I truly believe all this shit's gonna' end up on the internet in the long run. You'll probably be able to download my thought patterns within 2 years.
Mania: We've had quite a few conversations between ourselves on the nature of PG-13 horror films vs. Rated-R horror films. What's your take on this? Does a PG-13 film conflict with the director's intellectual honesty of the horror concept or can it be done?
Lucky: I think ratings are bullshit. A good movie is a good movie. Would people seriously not like The Innocence because it would be rated G by today's standards? It's a pretty silly thing to even stress about. Take a load off your mind and watch the films not the ratings. They are nonsense.
Mania: You had yourself a busy and successful 2006. Roman, The Woods, & "Masters of Horror-Sick Girl" were all released in this year. What's planned in the future for Lucky McKee?

Lucky: goes up in April, baby...It's going to be really wild...and a third part in the MAY/ROMAN thing is coming together quickly...
Mania: We certainly appreciate you taking the time to sit down and give insight into your world, Lucky. I speak for everyone here at Mania in saying thanks and good luck on your future endeavors!

Lucky: And thank you. Appreciate the promotion! Keep bustin' moves and I'll do the same.


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