The Horror Honeys: SXSW Interviews: TURBO KID

SXSW Interviews: TURBO KID

Turbo Kid - SXSW Interview

Catch up on my review of Turbo Kid HERE. This indie post apocalyptic love story with a Sci-Fi twist netted the Audience Choice award in the Midnighter's programming at SXSW 2015, and it's a well deserved award indeed! 

Munro Chambers - The Kid
Laurence Leboeuf - Apple

What drew you to this project?

Laurence: Well, I guess first and foremost, I was working on another project and the costume designer came up to me with a drawing - it was a headshot of mine with a helmet and makeup from the 80s drawn on it and I looked like a strange superhero and I wanted to know everything about it. I fell in love with the story, the writing, the humor, their imagination and their world, and I just completely fell in love with it.

Munro Chambers "The Kid" and Laurence Laboeuf "Apple"
+ Gnomestick <3

Munro: It was very similar for me. When I read the script, I couldn't compare it to anything. It was something that had so many elements to it that sounded like so much fun. On the surface it has all this great genre stuff all about gore and blood and guts and bodies going on bodies and that was really cool, but underneath is was this great coming of age story and a love story. I thought that was something I could completely relate to, and that it was something that was really special. For me, I always like to take risks and challenges, so for me, it was kind of a no-brainer.

Laurence, I love Apple's character, she reminds me of Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter - did you do anything specific to prepare for the role, and did you bring anything of yourself into Apple's character? 

We got together to read the scenes and a lot of stuff came out of that, because it's the first time you can really get a feel for the character. Most of it for me, stuff happens when I get on set when I get into costume and you can fall literally into the story. For Apple, it's the part of me that loves to see the good in everything that loves to be amazed by any details of life that sometimes you don't notice or pay attention to anymore... a naiveté, to always see the good news. I think that I have that a little bit, so I made it a lot bigger with Apple. She's really special. 

Munro: The Kid is a new kind of superhero, what was it about him that made you excited about this role? 

I think he's the kind of superhero that every kid kind of wants to become. For me, I totally related to him. He's kind of an outcast, living in a world that's very strange to him and a lot of people live a way that he's not used to. He's very uncomfortable but he has his own system and his own way of living. But deep down, like any kid, he wants that opportunity to be a superhero and be the "cool kid." For me personally, I remember being really young and I would always wish that Professor X would knock on my door and tell me that I had special gifts and that I had to go with him. So, for me, it was really fun to hit notes of how awkward a fighter he is, and how awkward he is at trying to be a hero. Because you're not going to make it cool on the first run. I think every little boy or little girl who's into this kind of fantasy world always wanted to be a superhero, so it's fun to bring that back.

Do you have a favourite part of the film? What was the most challenging scene to film for each of you?

Munro: The most challenging was in the pool... In the pool was really cold. So many times during the film, RKSS had to sacrifice some of the gore scenes and some really great sequences because we had time and budget constraints and we had to make due. Being in the pool there were a bunch of things we had to take out. That was really tough with the cold, trying to work in that really small area and move things back and forth with the time we had in the day. But the most fun I had was that, y'know, feeling really a part of the crew. Everyone was a part of this project and everyone added their own little touch and you felt wanted and your opinion mattered and they made that environment on set. You didn't feel like you couldn't say anything - they took it and respected it and made you feel valuable on set, and the respect went both ways. The fight scenes were so fun. The scene where Apple is teaching The Kid how to fight. That was fucking awesome. We did it in one shot, we didn't intend to do it that way but I don't think we could have done it that way if we didn't have as much fun as we were throughout the filming.

I'm totally obsessed with Apple and her pony hair. Not gonna lie.

Laurence: I have to agree, that moment with Munro was an awesome moment. I like all of our moments where all of a sudden we're in this crazy world and we're doing something crazy and over the top and we had these moments where it felt like time stood still and it get's real and true and serious all of a sudden. It was really wonderful.

The pool scenes were the most challenging because of the weather and conditions... but everything was just so much fun, and fun to explore the scenes, and they let us suggest and propose and improv and we felt like part of the crew and part of the gang. That was most of the shooting, and the most challenging scenes were because of the weather and conditions - it was so cold and so damp. Our first scene when we meet, it was cold and windy... the weather was our worst enemy.

Munro: I have to interject and give credit to Laurence on that day, because when I shot my coverage for that scene, the sun was out... it was great, I wanted a Margarita, I was having a good time...  As soon as it was her turn, I don't know who she pissed off that day, but the wind picked up, and Mother Nature was PISSED. But you would never know it because she was such a professional... it was like a hurricane around us, you wouldn't know the weather was crappy at all. So that's a credit to Laurence.

What's next for both of you?

Laurence: I'm actually working right now in Montreal on a TV series, we started in Jan and are going until May, and I think we're waiting for a go for a Bravo series that would start in June and go all the way to November.

Munro: For me right now, it's the airing of the final season of Degrassi, which is really bittersweet, but I think it's a really great season and a really great wrap up. I have a couple of guest starring roles coming up and I'm filming something soon that I really can't talk about right now, but I can talk about it later... [laughs]

The question I always ask... What is your favorite horror movie?

Laurence: OMG - horror movies scare the hell out of me, but I can't help but watch them which is the probelm. I get so scared that I can't watch half of it, but I can't help but watch them. They all scare me... I'm a wuss.

Munro: I'm not too big on jump scares... I get skittish easily. But I love The Shining, that one is awesome.

RKSS - filmmakers

Anouk Whissell
Yoann-Karl Whissell
Francois Simard

How has your SXSW experience been so far, and what was it like seeing it on the big screen?

Yoann: The crowd here is intense... they gave us so much love, it was incredible. 95% of the people stayed for the the Q&A and it was awesome!

Can you tell me about the journey of Turbo Kid from short film entry to big screen at SXSW? Did you always plan to turn the short film into a feature?

Yoann: No! Actually, when we did the short film for ABC's of Death, the producer (Ant Timpson) asked us if we wanted to turn it into a feature, and we said YES, and that's why we had to expand the universe. From the short to the feature we definitely had to expand on the universe, because the short is basically a big fight scene. We went from that and wanted to create a cute love story in the middle of an insane world. When we created the short, we knew it would be a fun feature, but we didn't know that it would be our next project. It's been a dream come true. We've been making short films for 10 years, so it's a dream come true to make a feature. 

Turbo Kid feels like a love letter to 90s kids everywhere, and I see a lot of elements of films and cartoons I loved as a kid. Are there specific inspirations for the short film, and the feature?

Yoann: Thank you for saying Love Letter, we wanted for people to feel that it was genuine, and that it was filmed in the 90s. Tons of films that we had when we were kids and were growing up, Neverending Story, mixed with Road Warrior, Italian ripoffs of Road Warrior, Brain Dead, even further to references to Saturday morning cartoons.

Anouk interrupts: and video games, like the original Nintendo!

Yoann: I think if you were a kid growing up in the 80s/90s, you can relate to Turbo Kid. One of my favourite cartoons of that time is The Mysterious City of Gold, which was a HUGE influence on the film, especially the soundtrack.

We had different cartoons on the French Canadian side too, we used to get all of those crazy things like Johnny Robot and French cartoons too. 

What part of the film was the most challenging to film or coordinate?

Francois: The weather. We were shooting in April, but it felt like winter. Every day was minus 10, and we had a couple of days at -20 and one day was a snow storm, so it was a complicated shoot. We found solutions, bit its to function when everything goes bad.

Anouk: That's also why we had to switch things from a dry wasteland to a nuclear winter..

Yoann: In the pool scene... It was so fucking cold that the fake blood would freeze.

Francois: We didn't have lights at one point because it was so cold and the generator exploded.

Yoann: One thing we learned was to make sacrifices and preserve the story, and take care of the heart of the story at all times. If you don't have a heart to your story, people won't care. 

I love that you're a group of three filmmakers. Tell me about your writing and directing process, how collaborative are you and do you take turns? Does anyone have a favourite scene/element that they like to take control of more? 

Yoann: We do take turns, but we do everything. We don't separate ourselves so there's always one voice.

Anouk: It's always the three of us working on everything. One of us will be with the actors, one with the technical side... we do everything together.

Yoann: I think the only time we argue is when we write, but it's behind closed doors so nobody sees. (laughs) At the end the story is better because we have to fight for our ideas. On production we know where we want to go. 

What's next for RKSS?

Yoann: We're writing right now, we also hope that we could do a Turbo Kid 2, we would LOVE to do a trilogy.

Francois: People are approaching us for other projects and everything so it's crazy right now.

Anouk: We're really excited, it's very busy right now.

The question I always ask: What is your favorite horror movie?

Francois: There are so many, it's a tough question! John Carpenter's The Thing and An American Werewolf in London for sure.

Yoann: Definitely The Thing. But, Brain Dead - that was the movie that changed my life and made me want to be a filmmaker.

Anouk: I agree with all of these... But for something more modern, I loved The Innkeepers.