Chris Forbes (Director - 'All Hell Broke Loose')
'A Gunslinger's Final Hurrah'
A former Civil War sharpshooter must choose between his past and his future in 'All Hell Broke Loose,' out now on DVD from North American Motion Pictures.
The film stars the late David Carradine ('Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2'), who passed away in June, in one of his final roles - and his very last role in the genre that made him famous.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Director Chris Forbes about 'All Hell Broke Loose' and first wondered if he was afraid that the film was going to ultimately be remembered not for its creative workmanship, but for the fact it was David Carradine's last role in the genre before his untimely death late last year. Indeed, was it a good thing or a bad thing for your movie? "It is a great thing for the movie because, regardless of how the film catches a person's attention, it is always good to have the film noticed for something besides being 'another western'."
And, as the beloved former 'Kung-Fu' star plays U.S. Marshall Ian McHenry, a man powerless to stop a band of outlaws from having their way in a small town outside of Sacramento, watching him perform, did it ever cross your mind that he wouldn't be powerless fighting off anything; being that the man's fierceness in just a look was pretty darn foreboding?! "I believe you are referring to Mr. Caradine's on-screen persona, which is an exercise is absolute confidence that people who study acting should focus on. In regards to the character he plays in the film, Marshall Ian McHenry has been around for a LONG time and it's obvious that he longer has to be, nor desires to be, the "point man" when it comes to taking down the bad guys. McHenry takes calculated risks when he has to, unlike Will Drayton (the main character), who has a lot to prove ... to himself."
Have you a favorite memory of Carradine from the set - something that he did, or said that you'll remember to your own dying day, perhaps? "About halfway through the first day of shooting, David and I were going over the script when he stopped and said, "You know, when you jump into these independent films, you never know what you're getting into." He then motioned to the script and read his favorite line, which is one that I wrote: "Drayton, I remember the last time you shot a man down in the street...for a pocketful of silver." He then pointed to the script, looked at me and said, 'This is good shit!'"
Was 'All Hell Broke Loose' always meant to be a low-budget, direct-to-DVD production, or was there a juncture where it was considered for a small theatrical release? "We actually ran the film in a few theatres around this area (SE United States). That was back when it was called "Long Shot", which was the original title."
According to all sources, you not only co-wrote the film, but directed it, composed the music for it, was the cinematographer, editor and even managed to produce it! My God man, was there nothing you didn't do to ensure this film got made?! "There are other directors out there who take on this much. Robert Rodriguez comes to mind. I believe he wrote, directed, edited and scored a number of his films. Personally I would love to be able to delegate more, but you have to have very competent people to delegate to and that can be a problem at this level."
Being that it also stars your Co-Writer, Jim Hilton as Will Drayton (a former Civil War sharpshooter who is coerced into dealing with the outlaws), did it ever cross your mind to take a role in the film yourself? "Yes, it crossed my mind and I did take a role. I was the crazy preacher!"
Being that 'All Hell Broke Loose' was shot in video with an unknown cast and using limited sets, what were your main obstacles in bringing this film to life? "You just named two of the obstacles - having an unknown cast and limited sets. One of the main obstacles is cast availability. We have to shoot mostly on weekends because the vast majority of our cast members either have full-time non-film jobs during the week or are full-time students."
Looking back, if you could have had the money and time to do a scene better, which one would it have been and in what way would you have redone it? "There are a number of scenes in the film that are quite effective just as they are. I suppose if I could change anything, it would be during the middle action sequence (the first major gunfight in the film). The change I would make is placing the sharpshooter further away from the outlaws, who are in the process of robbing a bank at that point. I was trying to make that point that Drayton was way out of practice and not at all very good at doing the job he was hired to do. Some people get that and others just complain about how extremely bad a shot he is."
Trolling around the internet, it seems there have been some very scathing (public, not press) reviews for this film. One, and without going into too much detail, has quoted his thoughts as: "Acting appears to have no direction whatsoever .. plot is flimsy at best ... this has to be the most god awful piece of film that anyone has ever attempted to distribute." Although I completely disagree with this viewpoint, do you yourself read such comments online and if so, how do they effect you - now and for future endeavors? "I can't help but read them sometimes, but on the whole I don't go looking. These comments have no bearing on future endeavors. Regarding how they effect me at the time I am reading them, it depends on if there is any real analysis behind the comment. I've read negative reviews of my work before that I really got a lot out of, because the reviewer was precise in their commentary, not just boneheaded like the one you quoted. The only thing I can say about comments like the one above is that the person making the comment obviously hasn't seen very many films. I wonder in these situations if the commentator has another agenda that we don't know about."
As you seem to work so very hard on all your films, what's next for you? Another one of your own works, or perhaps something already written (by someone else) and that you are simply only taking the directing helm on? "As I write this I am a couple of weeks away from finishing production on the followup to 'ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE,' which we call 'SHARPSHOOTER.' Another co-write with Jim Hilton, who by the way I think is the future of the Amercian western."
Lastly, and throwing you a real journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine love Penguins, .... do you, perhaps? "Well, I like most movies about Penquins. I don't know any Penguins personally, but if a relationship develops I'll certainly get back with you and give you a report!"
Interviewed by: Russell A. Trunk
DVD Purchase Link
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