If you grew up in the nineties, you’re probably familiar with the name and the work of Dean Devlin, because you grew up with his creations. To many, he’s a Steven Spielberg in regard to his timeless and iconic work, especially in the genre of science fiction.
He’s the creative mastermind behind Independence Day and Stargate, and is attributed to other blockbusters like the famed attempt at Godzilla in 1998. Not to mention television series such as Leverage and The Librarians. He’s also stood behind the camera many times, including the fun and surprisingly terrifying Geostorm, but Devlin has once again reinvented himself.
With his latest company, Electric Entertainment, he’s decided to take on the independent world and with his first project Bad Samaritan, he’s done so with nothing but finesse as well as a scope for a high octane story with great characterization. This film is truly its own animal, a mix of drama, humor, action and even horror, which is handled masterfully by his onscreen villain Cale, played by David Tennant.
The story itself focuses on two young valet attendants portrayed by Robert Sheehan and Carlito Olivero, who steal from their customers when they enter the Italian restaurant where they’re employed. Sheehan and Olivero are visited by Tennant one day and decide to break into his home, only to find the unthinkable – a young woman is being held captive there. This sets off a game of cat and mouse where everyone in the cast shines, especially Tennant, who shows how evil and supremely mischievously psychotic he can be on the screen.
Recently, we caught up with Devlin to talk about his latest effort. Over the course of our interview, we chatted about the evolution of the story, creating a memorable cast and what audiences can expect from his new film. Enjoy!
Dean, first let me say what an honor this is. I grew up on your movies, of course.
Dean Devlin: That is very kind of you to say that.
And Bad Samaritan is just awesome. It really is a cool movie.
Dean Devlin: Oh cool! I am so glad you liked it.
The film is very fast paced and terrifying, there is so much to this story. But, when you saw the screenplay, was there anything that you had to change to make certain scenes work, or was it all pretty straightforward from the jump?
Dean Devlin: Pretty close. We took some scenes out, but for the most part it all worked. Plus, the writer was there on set every day, it was a great collaboration. It really worked from the first draft.
I’ve seen Bad Samaritan categorized in so many ways, including horror. Personally, I don’t see it, as it’s definitely its own thing. Was there a particular audience you had a desire to focus on when the film was released?
Dean Devlin: You know, never in my career did I focusing on the marketing when making a film. When it’s done, obviously. I always make movies from a fanboy perspective. I think about what type of movies I would like to see on a Friday night. There have been some really great horror movies recently. But they tend to deal with some sort of science fiction or creatures, where I see the scariest stuff is already out there. The guy that may live next door to you or across the street. So for me, as someone who lusted for this kind of movie, I thought of films like Dressed To Kill, things with that type of vibe. That’s what I was shooting for with this.
When it comes to David Tennant and his portrayal, his character really is a puzzle box of emotion that come out at different times during the film. Was that something that was due in part to his performance, or was that always the idea?
Dean Devlin: Everybody was so prepared because we had little money and time. So everyone really did their homework, and David really worked on it. He had so many questions during pre-production, and we really built Cale from there. We really came up with this guy that is in essence an evil Bruce Wayne (Laughs).
That’s very true. He does mention that he has quite a bit of money. So, when you were fleshing out the story, was there anything that was too intense and needed to be cut from the final print?
Dean Devlin: There was one scene that we took out, but it wasn’t because it was too dark. It was simply because we had a hero moment for our main character, and didn’t want to give our villain a hero moment right after that. (Laughs) For the most part we took it easy on the violence and gore. We never sexualize the victim, we stayed on a straight line for the most part.
It’s interesting that you mention that, because it’s very evident that he does not want her sexually, where even she looks confused as to why she’s there.
Dean Devlin: Exactly. I find it much darker that you aren’t too sure, until it’s finally revealed.
You’ve assembled a great cast for this film. I mean, everyone has a great catalog of work. But I wanted to ask you about Kerry Condon. I mean, she’s already iconic, especially being the new voice of Tony Stark’s Iron Man program, but how game was she to play this captive who goes through so many horrible things?
Dean Devlin: Well, she was remarkable. The thing about her character is to make her captor believe that she’s becoming more docile, when in fact it’s an act. She’s waiting for him to bring his guard down so she can spring into action. We needed an actor with enormous skill to play someone who seems broken but is still very much alive. She has such depth, and I couldn’t see anyone but Kerry playing her.