Even though Joe Lynch has abandoned straightforward horror in order to make more action-centric adventures, the filmmaker’s genre love stills finds a way into any project he tackles. His latest offering, Everly, may present itself as a contained survival story at first glance, but once the gore kicks in and insides start finding their way outside, Lynch’s horror mentalities once again make themselves known. This is one of the factors that makes Everly more than just a Salma Hayek vessel with guns and explosions, and one of the main reasons I gave Lynch’s film a favorable review coming out of Fantastic Fest.
In between the countless screenings and flurry of milkshakes, I managed to sit down with Lynch to talk about his new project, but the conversation evolved into much more. Starting off with a few questions about Everly, Lynch revealed who was originally cast in Salma Hayek’s role, and I also discovered his love of Christmas horror and what makes the twisting of such a happy occasion so much fun.
Also with Knights Of Badassdom still weighing on me, I had to ask if we’ll ever see his director’s cut, to which Lynch gave as optimistic of an answer as possible. Plus, he revealed who HAS seen the film, and the glowing endorsement this particular star bestowed upon Lynch’s still-unreleased version. For now we’ve got Everly, but I’d still give anything to see Joe Lynch’s cut of Knights Of Badassdom – and we might be one step closer.
Check out what the director had to say below and enjoy the interview!
WGTC: So you’re still standing after boxing the monstrous beast that is Josh Ethier at Fantastic Fest. Congratulations!
Joe Lynch: That was the whole point – I just didn’t want to get knocked out. We’ve been friends for years and he wanted to do the Fantastic Debates, so I figured why not, it’ll be fun! What I didn’t realize is that they’d scheduled the Debates ninety minutes after the premiere of Everly, and I never asked how big Ethier was in terms of weight. We’re about the same height. I’m up there, and the announcer goes “Weighing in at 260 pounds..” and I realized “He’s 60 pounds heavier than me, I’m screwed.” That guy hits like… [shows bruises all up arm] Those bruises are the worst of it, but I kind of wish I had a black eye. Then I could be like “I MAKE ACTION MOVIES, DON’T MESS WITH ME! SCREW YOU JOHN FRANKENHEIMER, I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING”
Thankfully Josh and I are friends, because if we didn’t like each other, I would have been pulp.
WGTC: Yeah, no offense, but he would have absolutely demolished you… [Laughs]
Joe Lynch: I’m the first one to admit it! Before it happened I was just thinking “Let’s see how this plays out…” and by the second round I was only thinking “Don’t die, just stay on your feet, don’t make a total ass of yourself and someone will buy you a drink at some point to make it all better.” Look at Tim League, he got knocked the ‘eff out three times, and yet he still won. It’s a very humbling experience, because when I almost went down I went “NO! I MUST RISE LIKE THE PHOENIX! DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN!” Weirdly enough, I feel like a hundred bucks today! I thought I was going to be struggling in these interviews, but I’m having a blast! This is Fantastic Fest! You have this weird Fantastic Fest adrenaline high from Thursday until whenever you leave, then when you leave there’s a crushing blow of depression. When I leave on Wednesday, I think that’s when the pain is finally going to hit me. All of a sudden everything’s going to just fucking fall apart. [Laughs] That’s the Fantastic way, they’re just pumping us with drugs in the food, drinks – there’s sedatives in everything.
WGTC: Alright, let’s actually talk about Everly for a little bit [Laughing] – so why did you decide to set the film during Christmas?
Joe Lynch: It’s funny because people immediately go “Oh, Die Hard.” That’s part of it, I love the juxtaposition of taking joyous, gleeful, happy holidays and meshing that with brutal, vicious violence. This is from the kid who grew up with Christmas Evil, Silent Night, Deadly Night – but also Shane Black movies. I love Shane Black movies. I ran into him a couple years ago at the new Beverly, and he couldn’t get rid of me. It’s like “Alright kid, go away now.” You take one of the first scenes in Lethal Weapon, or the one where the girl falls, and there’s just something so interesting about taking the things we find so joyous and happy then mixing that with blood and guts – I love that.
It’s more the fact that I love that juxtaposition, but I’m also heavily influenced by Shane’s work. When he put Christmas in Iron Man 3, to me I go “That’s a Shane Black thing,” but it’s not a Joe Lynch thing just yet. I’m still working on that, Kwanza is next. [Laughs] But I love taking those two things and mashing them together. Any chance I get to put Christmas music on durning sadistic, gross moments of violence and blood, that makes me giddy. Everly was a movie where I had to listen to my giddy self. Whether people like it or not, it’s not that I don’t care, but I had to be the cowboy in Freaked who kept saying “Follow your heart! Follow your heart!” That was me.
With Knights Of Badassdom, there was a lot of me going “Well what do they want.” There’s nothing wrong with that. As a director or filmmaker, you have to think of what the audience wants. But you also have to remember why you did this, why you decided to become a filmmaker. You want to harness the same things you feel when you watch your favorite movies. That’s what filmmakers are always chasing, the high of the cinematic experience. I wanted to get high on Everly, so I had to think of all those things that make me feel giddy, happy, excited and instill that into a very simple story that allowed me to do so. Hey, I want a Japanese torture master? I got it! I want a bunch of Big Trouble In Little China inspired creeps? Done! SWAT team scene? Boom! It was just trying to take all those things I love about genre movies and fitting them into this wonderful little mystery box. Sorry J.J., this is my mystery box! Mine!
WGTC: So why don’t we have a Joe Lynch horror movie about Christmas yet? There are already so many like Jack Frost, Santa’s Slay – when do we get your take?
Joe Lynch: Yet! I think there should be – maybe not a Joe Lynch movie – but I think there should be a Chanukah horror movie! You have the seven or eight days, you have the extended amount of time that you can put people in that situation! Maybe every time a candle burns out someone dies?
WGTC: So like a Chanukah torture porn movie?
Joe Lynch: Potato pancake porn? Latke porn? Wait, no that’s a COMPLETELY different story. I’m sure it’s out there. Oi vey. [Laughs] No, I’ll eventually get [to directing a holiday horror movie]. Someone recently asked me if I was going to do another horror movie, and I love horror and the visceral response, but everything I’ve read lately is just not really there. I’m writing one now, but it’s one of things where every time I get an idea I’ll go back to it, but I don’t want to rush it. It’s one of those things where you’re just driving down the road and you go “OH MY GOD, THAT’S AMAZING” and you write it down. Hopefully someday soon I’ll have enough of those inspirational moments in one final script, but I’ll get there.