Mark Anthony Galluzzo (Director)
’Ten New Ways To Reinvent Some Old Rope’
Philosophy student Nick Collier and his friends have just graduated from college. Before the working world comes and scatters them all in different directions, Nick plans one get together for everyone to celebrate. The party is a smashing success - such a success, in fact, that its host never wants it to end. The only way Nick feels he can achieve this is to kill them off, one by one!
The new movie outlined above is from Lions Gate Films and is called ’R.S.V.P.’ and is due out August 26th. Directed, Produced and Written by Mark Anthony Galluzzo (’Trash’), the film garnered the Audience Award for Best Feature at the Slamdunk Awards and also lead actor Rick Otto Best Actor and Best Cinematography at the Screamfest Awards just recently.
Chatting one-on-one with the Director himself, I first asked Mark why the last minute name change had come into effect? ”Yeah, originally it was called ‘Sticks & Stones’ and then ‘The Blair Witch Project’ came out with a behind-the-scenes documentary a few weeks later with the same title! So, it’s one of those decisions where you quickly decide what to now switch it to. We went to ‘Names Will Never Hurt You,’ because of ‘sticks and stones,’ but then somebody said that that would never fit on a marquee and that it was too long!”
Talk about the many film styles that you’ve ‘borrowed’ for this movie ”Actually, we sort of played with three films here. We played with ‘Rope,’ ’Ten Little Indians’ and Frank Capra’s ‘Arsenic and Old Lace.’ ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ kinda gave us the zaniness, ‘Rope’ was primarily the plot idea, and ‘Ten Little Indians’ was just the idea of whacking them off one-by-one. And we just sorta put the three of them together.”
Are serial killers a form of high fascination for you or was it just a film genre to explore? ”It was just to explore and I just decided to have fun with the thriller genre. I ended up doing a ton of research over the internet and oddly, somebody pointed out to me that on my very first day of college at the University of Florida was the day that the Gainsville Ripper [Daniel Harold Rolling] struck for the first time and killed about five people!”
In today’s world, could ‘Nick’ (Rick Otto) actually get away with this kind of mass murder in one night … in the one place?! ”I think that it could be pulled off,” he finally admits, after some very thoughtful ‘umming’ and ‘arring’, ”but I think it would probably be a lot more violent than the way we portrayed it. Ultimately, the character ‘Nick’ is in it for the fame verses the infamy and he just wants someone to recognize him as this genius. So, in his mind, the trial would be just as good as the attention he would gather along the way.”
The character ‘Hal’ (Glenn Quinn) ALSO being a serial killer was a very, very subtle piece of info that I missed – do you think others missed that also and if so, why was it left like that? ”Well, that was one of those things that in the decision-making process and editing that we decided to eventually leave out - which was my own fault! We had test screenings with audiences and it was one of those things that when we had Hal as the competing killer, the audiences were getting lost! They wanted a simpler story line and ultimately it was my decision and so that whole section unfortunately hit the cutting room floor.”
Was the ‘Quick Brown Fox’ a real killer or invented?! ”Nope, that was the one that I made up! Every other one I used are real murders. It came from ‘Nick’ and his reasoning of, ‘Why?’ … because I can! Because I’m a higher being and if I can kill you and get away with it that’s just the laws of nature. But, as Dostoevsky points out the problem is we are humans and we have consciences and the guilt will kill you!”
Why have ‘Hal’ wink BETWEEN credits at the end, KNOWING that a high percentage of people would have stopped the DVD by that point?! ”Oh yeah,” he laughs sheepishly. ”Because it bumped up against the role call – which was kinda old school ‘Great Escape’ style – I thought I’d break it up. And so what started as a little nod towards a sequel, obviously now we can’t do a sequel because Glenn has gone and Jay’s in rehab!”
How and when did Glenn pass away? ”Glenn passed away in December of last year. It was quite tragic. He died of a drug overdose. He did eleven months of rehab and he called me up the week before he got out and appologized to everyone that he had let down – which is like the last step of rehab – and then he went home for Thanksgiving with his family. From what I understand, they had a nice week and then he went off with his old friends and something happened. That’s one of the things that I sorta got a little down about after this film was that Glenn had the issue with drugs and Jay’s obviously always had issues, but now he’s facing five years in jail if HE doesn’t clean up! So he’s in court mandated rehab in Jersey right now!”
Man, your ‘surviving’ cast are just dropping like flies! ”Thus the sequel went out of the window,” he laughs.
So, that just leaves Brandi (‘Jordan’) from the cast ‘survivors’! ”Yeah, but I don’t even think she’s acting anymore,” he heavily sighs. ”I think she’s singing or something.”
It seemed like after the death of ‘Nick’ that Jay and Brandi just ad-libbed the final scene of the movie! Could that be?! ”Yeah, believe it or not, but Vegas gets really, really, really f**kin’ cold and we were not prepared for it. It was October or early December and we were up on top of the Freemont Hotel exposed on their little helicopter pad and there was only one way up! So basically, once you were up there you were stuck! So, the actors were freezing and so when it got down to that final scene, every one had had it! They were all tired, we had been up there for four straight days, we were freezing to death and I just sort of let them go … and Jay just did his ‘Jay thing’! Actually, if you could see what we cut from that scene it’s hysterical. Jay just got rude and as far as Jay goes it was really funny rude, but for the end of the film it was a little too much when he turned to Brandi and I think he asked if he could go down on her or something,” he laughs.
Tell me more about the wonderful, and spectacular Bong used heavily in the film! ”Well, ‘Sheeba,’ is what I think they dubbed it! Then, the art department – and if you’ve ever been on film sets, for some reason the art departments have a passion for smoking lots of weed – they really took it as the key prop! They devoted a lot of time to making sure that it was realistic, so to speak! Yeah, the bong got a lot of use, but we actually used what’s called Pretendica. Which is a company that makes fake weed for movies or high school kids that want to impress their friends! And we used Pretendica except for one close-up … where we had to go get real buds! And again, that was the art department telling us they had to do an extreme close-up of the bag of drugs and so who had any on them! And then there’s like five guys who are like, ‘Yeah, what kind do you want?!’” he laughs.
Who was the cast member most prone to ad-libbing their lines?! ”Jay is one of the guys who I would feed him the lines and invariably they would change in-between! I’d be off screen literally giving him line by line and he always, ... well, he’s just Jay! You turn him on and let him go!”
Why the constant references to bullfighting? ”Well, with the bullfighting thing I sort of looked at it like this. The thriller genre nowadays is so well known and the audiences are very savvy. Especially this new generation of kids. They’ve seen it all and every genre’s been beaten to death. So I kinda took the thriller genre and contrasted it with the bullfight. Whenever you see a thriller, you know exactly what’s gonna happen, especially in these ‘Scream’-type movies. And it’s kinda the same with a bullfight though. When you go into a bullfight, you know exactly what’s gonna happen – the bull’s gonna die! The bull’s gonna be executed in pretty much the same fashion as always, yet people still go and people still love it, but what they’re coming to see is the execution of the matador: his style, his composure, and how close he can come to getting gored. So, that’s what I kinda did with ‘Nick’ in as much as how close can he come to getting caught?!”
Reveal a secret about yourself! ”Well, I have that chest now in my house, that they put the guy in … and oddly enough, everyone wants to get inside of it!”
Was it hard wearing the hats of Director, Producer and Writer on this movie? ”Without a doubt, producing is the hardest and in my next film I’ll probably be just the Producer in name only! Like, leaving the rest up to pre-production, because doing the three is just too difficult. You’re spread in so many different directions, you’re trying to think about the budget and marketing and you’re just not thinking about what you’re meant to be thinking about!”
So, what is your next project? ”It’s a really cool political black comedy called ‘Human Resources.’ I joking refer to it as ‘Falling Down’ meets ‘The Breakfast Club’,” he laughs. ”It’s about a chronically laid off temp worker who goes postal and goes to the regional headquarters of People Power – the largest temp agency in the world – and takes it hostage on the same day a class of high school seniors are visiting for career day! So it kinda plays out this absurd ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ scenario.”
Why choose the Madness song ‘One Step Beyond’ for the focal song of the movie? ”I like verbal jokes. You know, little clever ones and I know it’s sort of a geek thing, but firstly it’s Madness and ‘Nick’ is quite clearly mad! Secondly, it’s all ‘one step beyond’ and it opens with, ‘Hey you. Don’t watch that. Watch this. It’s the heavy, heavy monster song.’ And the point there is that at the same time that she’s calling on the phone, the phone’s ringing in the chest and so don’t watch that, watch this! It’s a complete distraction and at the same time I love Madness. Of course, after we had it in the film they jacked the price up!”
’R.S.V.P.’ quote: “Murder is the ultimate art form” – Do you now believe this yourself after putting this film together?! ”No! When I created the character I tried to literally make him come alive. So, I took ‘Nick’ as this really intelligent, misanthropic type of guy who is very vulnerable and so when that’s quoted it’s really coming from the mind of an intelligent kid with knowledge without the application. “
Interviewed By Russell A. Trunk
To win one of ten DVD copies of ‘R.S.V.P.' OR one of ten copies of Jason Mewes' previous movie 'Vulgar', just tell me the 'infamous' TV sitcom that Glenn Quinn starred in back in the '90s? Then, just send an e:mail to me with the subject title 'RSVP' OR 'VULGAR' and the answer in the text to:
FYI - Three lucky winners will ALSO receive a signed 'R.S.V.P.' poster by the Director himself AND a 'R.S.V.P.' wool hat!
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