Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Sex, violence and very hot pizza - suits me!



With only one day to go before THE DEVIL’S ROCK gets its long awaited premiere in its native New Zealand, there's so much excitement down there that I’m damned sorry I’m currently on the other side of the world – director Paul Campion and star Gina Varela are, as we speak, doing an interview with TVNZ at Wright’s Hill Fortress, where many of the exteriors were filmed, while NZ’s TV1 and TV3 will be on the red carpet with the cast and crew at the premiere itself in Wellington.

Though I’m a Brit, I’m proud to have written the script for this New Zealand movie. Of course, originally I never knew it was going to be a New Zealand movie. That came about because Paul Campion, who has dual British and New Zealand nationality, found great interest down there when he was discussing the project with various potential financiers. And once the highly energised New Zealand film producer Leanne Saunders got hold of it, there was no stopping us.

It became a full New Zealand production, complete with New Zealand money, a New Zealand cast, New Zealand facilities, (incredible) new Zealand locations, and who else but those New Zealand-based pioneers of state-of-the-art FX and props, the WETA Workshop, already so famous for the visual miracles they worked on movies like LORD OF THE RINGS and KING KONG.

On the subject of which, the two on-set production stills I’ve included above display WETA technicians doing what they do best – touching up the grue.

To the left is undoubtedly a more aesthetically pleasing picture. You’ll need to forgive my vagueness here – as I said, I'm on the other side of the world at present – but this has something to do with New Zealand's own Hell Pizza chain, who’ve been doing their bit to promote the movie on the Island of the Long White Cloud. Whether this is supposed to be an actual representation of the devilishly sexy Gina Varela, I’m unsure, but the similarities are remarkable.

For the record, I received this image with an assurance from director Paul Campion that “Hell Wrath pizza with extra olives, jalapenos and anchovies with forked tongue double chillies is absolutely my favourite pizza in the world”. Don’t know about you guys, but that got my stomach juices churning.

I was also elated to see the movie’s latest review, via MORE HORROR. It is one of our best to date, and actually gives the writer quite a bit of credit, which certainly makes this a red-letter day when it comes to online reviews. Check out these enjoyable quotes:

The Devil's Rock is a great example of what can be achieved with a great script and a low budget. This is a very tight and claustrophobic film with some great performances from the leads. Paul Finch has produced an excellent script that captures what I think a film about Nazis and demons should be.

In an era when almost every other horror movie is a major dumbfest or a reworking of an older film, it was great to sit and watch an intelligent film that didn’t treat the audience as if it was comprised solely of prepubescent teenage boys.

Speaking as a serious film-writer (as well as a prepubescent boy) that’s the sort of review I like.

I hope the film’s premiere goes as well down in New Zealand as it did in Britain, and that as many get to see it in the cinemas as they did in Canada at the Fantasia Film Festival.

All I can say is that THE DEVIL’S ROCK has been an absolute blast. Not just working on it, but experiencing the excitement and the unique atmosphere of a movie release – which, when it’s a movie you were at the heart of, really takes you to another plain.

I don’t think I’m breaking too much of a confidence if I now reveal that we are engaged in serious discussions about THE DEVIL’S ROCK 2. As always, watch this space for more.

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