Exclusive Interview With Joe Lynch On Everly

su-grad-joe-lynch-films-everly-6b999ce4428f787c

WGTC: Was Salma Hayek always going to be your Everly? Was the part made with her in mind?

Joe Lynch: Oh no way! If anything, Salma was far removed from who I thought Everly was going to be.

WGTC: Did anyone else test for the part?

Joe Lynch: Tons! We actually cast Kate Hudson in the role. We actually shot a promo with her – she was in! I actually met with her and fucking Kurt Russell! Kurt Russell watched *my cut* of Knights Of Badassdom and said it was better than Ghostbusters. MY CUT! Not the one that went out, the version I had. Seriously, my son’s middle name is Plissken, and Kate told Kurt that and Kurt asked “What’s his first name?” So I said Remy, and he goes “That’s a great name! That kid is going to be a fuckin’ star!” I was freaking out, being validated by Snake Plissken. Amazing!

No, when the script originally went out and was on the black list, Everly was actually a different character in a way. She was a junkie, completely emaciated. The reason she would never leave was because Taiko was just feeding her drugs, and then Kate was the first person I met that really got the script. She had some great ideas, too. There’s actually one scene in the movie Kate influenced. When Everly leaves the room and goes down the steps, that was Kate. Kate gave us that note, so thanks Kate Hudson! But then Glee happened, and I’m not going to be the guy that takes away anyone’s chance to sing and dance…

WGTC: Yeah, but she could have had the chance to kill people and shoot guns, why would she pass on that!

Joe Lynch: You would think! At that point she just stopped calling me back, so I figured “Alright, I guess that didn’t work out.” Then Salma came to us. She was the one who pursued the script, and she was like, “Baby, you can do whatever you want to my body. Iz OK. Lez do this, baby.” [Doing his best Salma impression] When you’re sitting in Salma Hayek’s compound…

WGTC: Wait, compound??

Joe Lynch: Oh no, it’s a fortress. You’re surrounded by Frida paintings and she’s doing kicks and shit, and I’m just like “HIRED! HIRED, HIRED, HIRED!” But the first thing I thought of leaving her place was “She doesn’t look like a junkie.” I’m sorry, no junkie looks as good as her, so unless she was planning on losing a lot of weight – which I think would have been a huge mistake – the character needed to change. That’s the beauty of being a storyteller, where you can manipulate enough without losing the core emotional elements, the visceral moments and other visual set pieces, but it’s coming from a character place that doesn’t feel like typecasting because you’ve altered the role to fit the actress. I’m sure there are some filmmakers who would say “No, you find your crackwhore! You find your emaciated junkie!” But everyone being pitched to us were people you’ve seen in these kinds of movies. That was part of the reason I wanted to find someone different. That’s why Kate Hudson was perfect – she was the girl next door gone bad! You could see her kicking ass!

With Salma, because of her association with Robert Rodriguez, you think she’s done this type of movie before – but she’s more the damsel in distress in Desperado and a seductress that lets people suck her toes in From Dusk Till Dawn. It’s not quite the same. This is a movie where she’s the center of it, she has to shoot guns, she has to protect her family, and she has to survive the night. It all hinges on her. It was worth changing the script to know I was going to have such an emotionally powerful actress come in here and give it life. Even on page, if I wanted to make it a guy – that was another thing! I never said “I’m going to do Die Hard with a girl!” No one ever said that’s the hook. Everly is this character’s story. This was ninety minutes of me embodying the old adage of the woman who picks up her bus to save her kid. That’s what I wanted to make. It changed so completely when I had a child, then it became emotionally responsible of me to make it more than “bang bang, blood blood.” That’s what I wanted, and Salma brought so much of that. It wouldn’t be the same movie without her.

WGTC: So when you’re looking at the character of Everly, were there any female protagonists you looked towards for inspiration?

Joe Lynch: Ellen Ripley. She’s the go-to, but when you watch those movies, you know why. She’s got the perfect arc and she got to do it within three movies. Aliens is obviously the apex of it. Funny enough, I wasn’t trying to deliberately make a female-centric action movie. I wasn’t brushing up on all of these different movies. Frankly, it was my mother who inspired me. She rules. She’s a court officer in Brooklyn. She used to take care of us when my dad went off to work, she was the glue that held us together at home, then when I went to college and my brother went to school, she was done with being a homemaker. So what did she do? She got a gun and became a court officer in Brooklyn! She keeps her gun in a tupperware box – how rad is that?

Look, my Dad was a sonofabitch, but she was always strong, never taking shit, and that really inspired me. When I showed her the movie, I didn’t tell her that until the end. I said “This is for you, this is how I see you,” and she goes, “She’s got much bigger boobies than I do! I don’t know where you see me in her!” [Laughs] She got the emotional part of it, which is great. The good answer is Everly was definitely inspired by my Mom, in terms of examples.

WGTC: So I have to end talking about Knights Of Badassdom. Your cut exists. People have seen it. Kurt freaking Russell has seen it and loved it. Others rave about it. Why hasn’t the public seen it yet and when are we going to? This is something that needs to happen.

Joe Lynch: No comment! [winks emphatically] I’ll tell you this – eOne has approached me about [my cut]. The version released was extremely successful on VOD and Blu-Ray, EXTREMELY successful, and look, there’s a lot of fans of the movie. If you didn’t know anything about the controversy, you’d think it’s a fun little romp. It’s just unfortunate that I was never given a DGA (Directors Guild Of America) screening, and that’s mandatory. My version has been seen – Kurt Russell saw it and said it was better than Ghostbusters – do I need to say anymore? I was making The Goonies for grownups where the final product ended up being more Role Models with the little bit of blood they couldn’t cut out and were stuck with.

WGTC: I sat there watching Knights Of Badassdom knowing full-well your version probably contains so many decapitations, bloody battles, and absolute insanity, and THAT’S what I want to see. Is that pretty on-point?

Joe Lynch: Oh completely, but it’s not even that. There’s a whole 10 minute ending that was cut purely for financial reasons. They didn’t want to finish the special effects and the owner didn’t like someone’s dress. I was like, “Come on, really? That’s the reason why?” He was like, “No, of course not!” Yea, whatever, that was the reason why.

But, I can’t dissuade anyone from seeing the film that’s out there, and if I didn’t have Everly, I’d probably be a little more depressed. [Laughs] At least now I can go, “Well if you liked Knights Of Badassdom, you’ll REALLY like Everly!” Who knows, people are enjoying it. But yes, someday my version will be released, it will definitely happen.

That concludes our interview, but I’d like to thank Joe Lynch very much for taking time out of his Fantastic Fest to talk with us. We’ll let you know once Everly has a confirmed release date!