Everyone Loves Neil Diamond & More Things We Learned From The Filmmakers Of 'Drive Angry 3D'

by Leah Zak
February 25, 2011 6:09 AM
2 Comments
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Patrick Lussier & Todd Farmer Call Amber Heard The "Anti-Damsel In Distress" & Espouse The Emotional Impact Of 3D



Exclusive: We recently had the opportunity to sit down for an interview with “Drive Angry 3D” director Patrick Lussier (henceforth occasionally referred to as PL) and writer Todd Farmer (henceforth occasionally referred to as TF). We reported on what they had to say regarding their some upcoming new projects yesterday, but we learned a few more things during the chat that we thought you should know. Read on for more on the emotional impact of 3D, William Fichtner’s embodiment of a truly odd antagonist and Amber Heard’s anti-Damsel in Distress character.


“Everybody loves a smattering of Neil Diamond”
When speaking about the influences they found for each of the actors, Farmer and Lussier admitted to a somewhat strange mix for Billy Burke and his character Jonah King – the dangerously charismatic Satanist who is ultimately the villain of the film. “We joked that [he] was sort of a mix between Jim Jones and Jim Morrisson with a dash of Neil Diamond just sort of smattered on top. Everybody loves a smattering of Neil Diamond.” OK then.

The Origin of Soon-To-Be Iconic Man in Wig
If you’ve seen “Drive Angry 3D” you know exactly what we are referring to. If you haven’t seen “Drive Angry 3D” you will know as soon as Man in Wig walks on screen. As far as interrogating the filmmakers on the subject, it only took us saying “there was this one guy’s hair...”
PL: Would that be Man in Wig?
TF: Man in Wig
PL: Man in Wig is the character’s name, it was called that in the script, when the character was created it was called Man in Wig and by such he became Man with Wig.
But the process for finding such a character-defining wig was not easy “We kept thinking, what’s the wig gonna look like,” said Lussier, “We talked about Joe Pesci’s wig in 'JFK' and that sort of became the model and then our hair designer (Solina Tabrizi) she went to the wig place and found the wig.” But even then the shop owner tried to talk her out of it. “He’s like no no no you don’t want that wig you don’t want that, that wig is terrible, and she said 'no. that’s a perfect wig.'”
TF: It’s funny because he walks around the corner and people laugh
PL: And we never acknowledge it we never talk about it, we never address man with wig, but if you watch the credits he is listed as man with wig and you know exactly who he is.

Amber Heard is more than "beautiful furniture"
“Amber did it, she nailed it, because she needed to be a character that could hold her own with the boys, could throw a punch yet at the same time she’s the heart of the movie,” explained Farmer. When working with the actress on bringing her character, Piper, to life, Lussier made sure to include the different aspects that Farmer refers to, “We talked about the strength of a woman who’s not a damsel in distress who’s not the beautiful furniture but a woman who is incredibly powerful, incredibly well-rounded and has incredible heart... and it’s ferocious and she can bring that ferocity in not just physical violence -- which [Heard] can totally do -- but in emotional heart. We couldn't have asked for better.”

Lussier’s (bad)ass menagerie
Lussier admits to holding on to a few of the film’s more memorable props, “The wig’s at my house, I have that wig as part of my little menagerie – because it’s its own living thing – I have the God Killer [ed. note: a special gun used by Nicolas Cage in the movie] and the wig.”

Acting? Fichtner basically is The Accountant
One of Cage and Heard’s pursuers in the film is a mysterious yet well dressed man who introduces himself as The Accountant. Played like a simmering wild card, some of the best moments of the film come from actor William Fichtner's take on the role.
PL: The Accountant was unique and unusual and pretty much unto himself.
TF: But that’s pretty much Bill.
PL: That’s Bill
TF: That’s Bill Fichtner bringing his own inspiration.
PL: We really wanted to have a character in The Accountant that was somebody who was wickedly funny and incredibly dangerous, and Bill, he could bring that, he could bring the humor the character yet also the ultimate threat of the character.

3D can be more than a "spear through your eye"
The shock value of 3D is perhaps its most obvious draw (and abundantly used in “Drive Angry 3D”) but as the filmmakers note, it can be used to create images that pack an emotional punch as well. Said Lussier “The flashbacks that [Cage] has when he’s driving the car ... sort of one layer over another and how it hits you not just visually but emotionally, particularly in the end of the sequence when you get Billy Burke’s face and Nic’s face one on top of the other and you understand the power of those images. When you see it in 2D – flat -- you see, yes they’re overlaying on top of each other, but in 3D you really feel that depth and separation as you look through sort of the one ghost reality into another. It becomes such an incredibly powerful thing, that it’s not about driving a spear through your eye -- although we’re incredibly guilty of that too, and with no apologies -- but that concept of 3D is really exciting.”

“Drive Angry 3D” opens today in theatres and believe us, Lussier and Farmer make every dollar of that 3D ticket count.

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2 Comments

  • The Playlist | February 25, 2011 7:09 AMReply

    Saturday -- sorry, we're delayed. Thanks for asking though.

  • Ryan | February 25, 2011 7:08 AMReply

    When will Playlist have a review up?

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