Redd Inc. Interview – Part 1
A few weeks ago at the Tom Savini Q&A at the Vanguard (more of which soon); I had the pleasure of meeting Redd Inc. co-creator Anthony O’Connor and I asked if I could interview him and the Redd Inc. team, they were kind enough to take some time out from their busy schedule to do so late last week. Below are questions and answers from Jonathon Green (writer/producer), Anthony O’Connor (writer), Sandy Stevens (producer) and Daniel Krige (director).
GEORDIE: Firstly, thank you for the opportunity to put a few questions to you and your team about Redd Inc.
JG: Our pleasure.
GEORDIE: Tom was awesome; I was starstruck for most of the night… I couldn’t begin to recall how many times I’ve seen his work on screen. He was generous, open, funny and very humble face-to-face in the bar afterwards, a true legend.
JG: He’s a great guy.
GEORDIE: The website synopsis for your movie states: “Redd Inc. is the story of a capricious, officious and vicious boss (Redd) who traps his victims and forces them to work in an horrific office of his own insane creation. They are tasked with a seemingly impossible job which they must complete or face a grisly “termination”. The casual reader could assume that there are elements of Saw-like mental and physical torture involved, or should we expect Redd Inc. to take a different approach?
JG: Redd Inc. has a few brutal kills in it masterfully rendered with the help of Tom Savini but takes a very different approach to other films. Redd considers himself an office boss and is simply after results from his workers, he’s not interested in torturing them or teaching them a lesson. He’s all about achieving important work goals which become clearer as the movie progresses and which twist the story in new directions. He is clearly deluded but the pain he inflicts is a means to an end which he believes is entirely justified. I think Redd Inc. could be better described as horror/thriller/satire than horror/torture porn.
AOC: Redd is the kind of boss who takes corporate office culture to its logical (albeit INSANE) extreme. He gets no pleasure inflicting the punishment. For him it’s nothing personal. He’s just a boss, trying to get a job done. He even gives his staff members five written warnings before it’s time to… re-evaluate their positions. Admittedly he etches said warnings into their flesh but it all makes sense to him. There’s method to his madness.
SS: Redd offers up his own version of reality and some unique office-related one-liners that explain and justify his actions… This is where the satire and dark comedy add a different element, to alleviate the tension and give some relief at times so the actions are not as horrific as the torture porn version of the genre.
DK: While the situation could sound like “Saw”, REDD INC really has its own style and tone, which has elements of comedy and humour to alleviate the moments of true horror. As for the character of Redd – he’s a charming person who just wants people to do their jobs and to do them well. As in any workplace, if a task is not completed, there are consequences.
GEORDIE: Your online ‘Act 1’, ‘Act 2’ and ‘Act 3’ challenges were a unique way to cast both in front and behind the camera. It was original and I suspect due to budget restraints, one borne out of necessity, how did the process originate and evolve, and did the results surprise you?
JG: We are proud to be the first dramatic feature film in the world to do this. It would have been cheaper to create the elements we crowd-sourced ourselves so it was not borne out of necessity but we were keen to test new, innovative ideas and to include our potential audience in the process of making the film. It evolved by just thinking about what we would like to see happen and how we could develop an audience for the film… it just seems so obvious with YouTube and all the other ways that people get to self-actualize today that this should happen. Frankly, I was surprised that no-one had ever done it before. The results are very impressive. The contributions are amazing fitting perfectly into the movie and the experiment was a huge success.
AOC: Do you remember reading FANGORIA in the 80s when they’d have an open call for zombie extras in, like, Day of the Dead and similar? I used to get sooo frustrated because I was in Australia and had no way of getting there. These days your geographical location is largely irrelevant – especially for the parts we wrote for our online crowd. We got entries from literally all over the world, which was amazing and gratifying. What was surprising is how seamlessly the entries fit into the film.
SS: it is a global marketplace and in offering people an opportunity to be involved at an early stage, it is a way of attracting a worldwide fan-based audience, who we hope will remain engaged throughout the process and will want to see the end result and buy a ticket to see the film!
DK: It was an exciting and groundbreaking idea to cast certain roles from the world wide web. We got all sorts of entries. There’s some very talented people out there… and there’s also some very, well, enthusiastic people out there! From a directorial point of view, the challenge here was to make sure the performances gleaned from this process were tonally coherent with the rest of the film.
GEORDIE: I love that you guys are ‘fiercely independent’, that seems to be the way to produce original horror these days. From Blair Witch through to the Paranormal Activity series and this latest mammoth opening for The Devil Inside; even the Australian release The Tunnel from last year. How difficult has it been to stay with the project over the last year and a half without major financial backing?
JG: Very difficult but we have stayed determined and were continually re-energised by the quality of cast and crew attracted by the script.
AOC: I think having more than just one element helped a lot. We had the script, which Jonathon and I would keep rewriting – never settling for a “just okay” result. There was the website which gave us instant feedback from our online community and there was the novel: Nothing Personal – which ties in with the movie, Redd Inc., in a really cool way. So having a variety of irons in the fire is a good thing. Also we got to meet amazing people like Tom Savini who gave us a shout out and an interview waaay before he was on board supervising special make-up effects. We also had a lot of people who would give us honest feedback. Having people who will remain honest with you in the scripting stage is a must. You might kinda hate them at the time but having people challenge you along the way really helps hone your story.
SS: it has been fantastic to collaborate on a film that does not have the restraints imposed by a studio, government organisation or other outside entity. To be in a position to make the best creative decisions with the group of people that have written, developed and slaved over the project and who have the most passion and commitment to the film, decisions that can be made on the run, on the day, on the set. A privilege and a way to remain true to the idea, no matter how crazy….. I agree that is why a lot of original horror films are made this way, with low budgets, so that there can be that freedom. We watch these films and know what the fans want to see.
DK: The completely independent approach to making REDD INC was a creatively refreshing and invigorating one. While it was a relief not to have to deal with the frustrating yard-sticks that government bureaucracies or studio figures can impose, we had to be careful not to go off “half-cocked” so to speak… Jonathon and Anthony were very diligent with script development – we all wanted this thing to be the best it could on the page before the trigger was pulled on production. Because of this REDD INC was probably more of a collaborative process than a film made through more “conventional” means – from the script development to casting, right through to the shoot, solving problems on the run and making sure we kept it fresh and original. We were all there every step of the way easing this baby from the page to the screen. It was an inspiring film to make.
GEORDIE: Is it harder to get a movie made now? Have changes in the local movie business made it harder for you to get this film made?
JG: Not at all.
SS: I don’t believe it is ever easy to get a film made, it is a hard slog every time, you have to believe in the project every step of the way to be able to have the energy to get through it all!
DK: Filmmaking is an exercise in persistence and patience no matter what the job. You really have to have inspiration and belief in your material or you won’t go the distance.
JG: You can expect a bizarre, twisted character in Redd who is exceedingly cruel in his determination as a deluded boss-from-hell but who develops a strange, uncomfortable empathy as the movie progresses. Nicholas is amazing in this role. He relishes every moment and transfixes audiences with his off-centre characterization.
AOC: When Jonathon and I were writing Redd Inc. we would talk about our dream cast. Hope was always at the top of the list for Redd because he just inhabits those meaty roles. I still love Bad Boy Bubby but with Redd, Hope has given us a truly iconic movie monster. Honestly he’s going to blow everyone away with this.
SS: It is great to see Nicholas back on the big screen, he is a wonderful, talented, dedicated performer. Nicholas brought Redd to life from the page in a way that has thrilled us all and we can’t wait to share him with our audience.
DK: It was a great joy working with Nic Hope. As a person he’s a true gentleman, and as a performer he’s dedicated and focussed on his craft. Whenever we were doing a scene, Nic would always have an internal logic for Redd’s actions. His performance approach really brought the character of Redd to life in an exciting, entertaining and terrifying way. What more can a director ask for?