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The Violent and Gun Loving World of Darren Ward: A Severed Cinema Interview Part II Print E-mail
Written by Jay Creepy   
Tuesday, 19 February 2019

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Back in November, I headed many miles from my home city to be a part of Darren Ward's Beyond Fury, which is a jaw dropping violent epic and stands as the finale to a trilogy of guns 'n' gangs flicks he began back in the late '90s -- Sudden Fury (review here) and A Day of Violence (review here). Beyond Fury is due for a release very soon. As I sat with Darren in his office, he showed me scenes of graphic injury and madness no sane man should be allowed to see. I was OK with this, naturally.

You may recall I interviewed the man behind the mayhem back in 2016 (read interview here) and learnt a fair bit about what makes him the deranged Italian flick influenced, but also incredibly nice guy, that he is.

This time 'round, I interviewed him in his office, and then in his car on the way to the set, and simply let him talk. Darren Ward knows how to talk, bless him. Unfortunately, the first maybe minute or so wasn't recorded, so this kind of jumps right in....

What's a big difference with Beyond Fury?

I want it to look bigger and more cinematic than the other two movies which is why we're shooting on a Black Magic camera, two and a half K raw image with film lenses - prime lenses, so you can play with all your different lenses and get the desired effect. But it's hard, it's the hardest thing. It's double the length of anything that I've shot.

Other than the money, what's been the hardest part over the four years? Cause it's been coming four years now hasn't it?

Yeah, but it is the money.

The money all the time, yeah?

Yeah it is the money, but luckily a friend of mine for the last five years has worked on Game of Thrones so he does some effects on that and he's part of the effects team. And we're having a chat last Christmas and I'm going, “I'm fucked! I've got this movie but I don't know where the money's coming from 'cause I can't take any more loans” and blah, and luckily the money came in.

Oh yeah, wasn't it on Facebook, the Beyond Fury page money had come in? You didn't let on where it was from but you said some money was forth coming, I was like, “Hey, brilliant!”

Yeah, so I got the thousands needed to finish it and it's why 2018 is mental, the deal was done in January, but contractually I have to be finished, principle photography, by the end of November. Which is why, in November, we have three night shoots and a day shoot to go, and then we're wrapped, but the time it's done and out, yeah, it's been four years. But the hardest thing with independents and money is it doesn't matter if you've made other movies, had them released worldwide, you get awards, and all the rest of it. When it comes to – well certainly for me as I don't have family and friends with silver spoons in their mouths like a few other directors I know do, it's easy for some to get the money. I've never found it easy. That's why it takes so long. Plus the struggle of having to shoot a scene this month, or that month 'cause half of your crew work in the business and they're half way across the world, or your actors are on the other side of the world, it's a nightmare.

Going forwards, and I will put it out there, going forwards, if I can't raise a budget that I can't tangibly have in my hands in my bank account and we do a solid four to six week shoot, I can't see it working out for me again like this, cause, you know, I've gone through three decades like this, and it's fucking hard mate! On the house, the stress, everything! The knock on effect is, you know, life, marriage, it all kind of gets in the way, cause it has to be the most important thing and I don't have a team of people behind me. I've got no one behind me sorting this out...

Look, this isn't an 'Oh, poor Darren' thing, but it just gives an insight. In fact I'm gonna write a book about this – a coffee table book. You have to wear every cap, you have to make and take every phone call. If I have to phone forty people, then I gotta phone forty people. And if, like that one person who's principle in that scene can't do it, then guess what? You have to phone those other thirty nine to arrange another date. And you got to put people up, hotel fees, you know. They're not all gonna want to crash at my house.

Have you had many people crash here?

Yeah, Giovanni's crashed here, Jeff Stewart, Dan Van Huson's not crashed here, but he's been around. People sort of drift in and out.

I'm sat in the room where legends have been? Fantastic. (laughs)

Yeah, yeah exactly here and (starts pointing to varied props and make up remains from various shoots) surrounded by all this. There's a fake hammer, flick knives, there's bits of eyes, knives up through faces... Hang on, I'll show you some stuff, none of it's scored but I've got some here on a memory stick.

To which we broke off for a while and Darren had me almost ejaculating in my pants as my eyes watched enthralled by so much on his computer monitor. Which then leads to a question we had touched upon on a phone call a few nights ago.

So do you reckon you'll have much trouble with censorship? I know we were talking about this the other night wasn't we?

Yeah, well, I don't know, I think it's the strongest movie we've done, and I was amazed we got A Day of Violence passed uncut, by the BBFC to be quite honest with you, and a subsequent hooking up, a meeting up with one of their chief examiners at a festival. He kind of laid the gauntlet down to me and he said I'd have to try harder (laughs) So, yeah, so what's in this movie?

There's feet getting mashed up by a hammer, there's a tongue getting cut out, there's cigarettes going on people's faces. There's stabbings, multiple shootings, chainsaws through heads, machetes taking arms off. There's eye gouging, erm, yeah, there's pregnant women being stabbed
(Darren had showed me a selection of these moments and I let out a very loud “Wow”) so it's all quite heavy.

It's very heavy. My love of movies started in the Beta and V2000 pre VHS era of video tapes, the video nasties as well.

 

Yeah, same here, I was brought up movie wise in those days.

Yeah so, look don't get me wrong, I love many genres of films -- I love a comedy like anyone else, but when I direct and do my own stuff I want to do my own stuff, and it's dark! You know, we've done this trilogy of crime movies and I'd love to one day do a pure horror movie but in one or two locations with a small cast, and you know, they just take you back.

The nostalgia of the '70s and '80s.

Yeah, the '70s and '80s. These movies, okay they haven't got the budget to make everything look like we're in the '70s or '80s but with the camera work, the film, the grittiness, and everything, it's just that love of the '70s.

That's the in thing now isn't it? But a lot of the, shall we say, the younger directors, if they haven't grown up through that era or watched VHS tapes in the old 'puffa' box VHS tapes, the films just haven't got that feel. They're just trying to put something together but they don't understand the love of it.

And I don't think it's a love that happens after just one or two movies. I started when I was ten-years-old. And then when I was a teen, I started getting everything on the DPP list. I expanded and built on that, into the Heroic Bloodshed movies, John Woo, Chow Yun Fat double guns, we have Walker and double guns... and Sam... Sam Peckinpah. A heavy influence, not that you'd.... well, there's certain homages and you will notice them if you have a keen eye.

It's funny you should say about the John Woo films, that's where I got the idea for my portrait of Milsom from, the image I've got in my mind of him. You know the final church battle in The Killer? There's that guy with the sunglasses who just walks in, and shoots, and it's the first time one of the heroes gets hit by a bullet, and he's just stood there with that emotionless face.

Yeah, a bit like in Scarface, where you've got that Cuban guy walking behind Pacino at the end with the glasses on.

Always the emotionless guy has the biggest effect.

Yeah, and that's Milsom. He's just like a killing machine. He's obviously been used before by Lenzivitch, cause at one point he says “Call Milsom” and one of his guys is like “Whoa, he's some heavy shit.” You see in my universe all my characters kind of live in this dark and dingy underbelly -  I guess kind of underbelly of society.

Like reality then, if you're that sort of person, like the characters, then you are in that world you do sort of live it. On one side you have your family life, but behind the scenes you are living that world, and it's one and the same.

Yeah, yeah, exactly, and you become that guy one hundred per cent of the time and you don't try to cover it up. But going back to the question about censorship (long pause), yeah, I reckon we might get problems. There's like a rape scene in the movie and that's a bit of a hot potato. I haven't tried to make it exploitive, but then I don't want to Hollywood it and gloss over it either. It's just showing the right amount to make you feel uncomfortable.

And as for the blood and the splatter, we've got a new guy with us, Beau Townsend (who was at behind us building a severed arm at the time) and he's doing some phenomenal make-up and effects stuff. There's stuff we've kind of done before but this time we haven't tried to do the height of this splatter before like we've done in this movie. And I know it's not a film for everyone, I know that. It'll have its fans, it'll have its haters. You have people that no matter how well you do it, they'll hate it and kind of blacklist it.

Anyway, I'm waffling a bit and time's ticking on. (laughs)

Thus, myself, Darren, and Beau finished up, loaded the car and sat amongst varied boxes and effects bits 'n' bobs as we headed off to our destination where a lot of guns and deaths would occur. On the way I decided to record a minute or so more to kind of round off the whole interview.

So what were you saying about a.... can I have one of those? (I spotted food)

Yeah, get some out.

Hmmm. (chewing sounds) So, you was saying about a coffee table book?

Yeah, I wanna write a book. Once the trilogy is completed, I mean, I can't just jump into anything else, I've spent four years making this and I've got about twelve thousand photos from the three movies, and I wanna write a book, sort of a director's struggle on the twenty four years it's taken to make them. All the highs, the lows, the parties, who I've met...

David Warbeck. You could probably devote more than a whole chapter to him (laughs)

Oh yeah, that man is legendary. We spent eighteen months going up to his place for legendary parties. Oh, man yeah. So yeah. What's that one? (Darren stares out of the window checking we haven't missed the turning) Hang on (laughs) I love talking and driving. So yeah, I want to write a book, and I've got a title and I don't think it's been used anywhere – The Road to Fury!

Oooh, nice!

I mean it's not just about me, it's about making the movies, I guess any movie, and the struggles.

It'll probably help other people in the future won't it? They'll read it and probably be like: “Fuck that! I ain't doing an independent movie!” 'cause there's that much stress and drama, but it's also prepares people so it helps to have all the lows and the highs I guess.

Yeah, and it's my take on it, I mean, it might not be everyone’s take on it, there's a lot of people who have money and have their eighty grand in their back pocket to shoot their movie. This is true independent and the struggle through it all. I aren't saying if it's right or wrong, but that's my path, my story and I just wanna tell it... 

Ah right here we are.

Thus concluded our interview and we arrived for hours of awesome prepping and shooting through the late afternoon and long into the wet and cold evening. My tale continues in this article posted in late November last year (here) and here's the Beyond Fury official Facebook page: https://www.fb.com/groups/172619162788724/. Severed Cinema will of course give out any updates closer to the time of release.

 

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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 19 February 2019 )
 
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