Interview: Lucky McKee on ‘The Woman’

Posted on October 18, 2011 by Ben

Interview conducted by Aaron Williams; introduction by Ben Bussey.

By now, you probably know the score on The Woman. It’s an intense piece of film, and has also proved intensely divisive. For evidence of this, look no futher than my review and Keri’s review; Two pretty different reactions, I’m sure you’ll agree. But for better or worse, the film has most definitely got people talking, so it certainly doesn’t hurt to hear what the director/co-writer has to say about the thing.

Aaron was able to fire a few questions McKee’s way, and here’s how it went down.

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BAH: How closely did you work with Jack Ketchum for this film?

Lucky McKee: Side by side. We wrote the novel and the script from the ground up together. It was a fantastic experience. No egos between us. We hope to do it again very soon.

BAH: The violence in the film against women has caused a bit an uproar in with certain audiences – were you expecting this? Was there an audience that reacted particularly badly/well?

LM: Sure. I was expecting some people to freak out. I don’t think we’d be doing our job if that wasn’t the case. We don’t want to make safe movies, we want to make scary movies that twist the brain around. The biggest contrast in audience reactions is whether they laugh or not. Some audiences really get into the absurdity of the situation and how far the movie pushes them and laughter comes from that discomfort. Other audiences have been largely silent with the occasional “Oh my…God…!” and gasps and what not. It’s designed to make the audience uncomfortable and I think it’s pulling that off quite well.

BAH: I notice there seems to be a running femininity theme through your films – is this intentional?

LM: I admire and respect women. I feel very comfortable working with actresses. I’m just going with what works and what’s interesting to me.

BAH: I couldn’t help but notice The Woman’s unusual use of music for such intense subject matter – it seems to have split audiences down the middle. What made you choose these tracks?

LM: I wanted the music to make the audience look at the pictures in a different sort of way. The use of music is a big reason the film makes you feel so weird when you watch it. We just wanted to do something a bit different and I’m very proud of the songs Sean created. Very proud.

BAH: How was it working with Angela Bettis again?

LM: It’s always a delight to work with someone so damn gifted. She surprises me with everything she does. She brings everyone she works with up to a higher level. I may just cast her again some day… heh…

 

BAH: So after this success, what are your plans for the future? Anything in the pipeline?

LM: I’m going to hole up for the fall and winter in my cave and just read and write. It’s always a big emotional transition to go from making a film, promoting it all over the place, being around all these people and all this excitement…then to return to the blank page, all alone and isolated for months on end. It’s a bit of a schizo sort of life to live, but there’s nothing else for me but studying and creating.

BAH: Anything in films out there that has caught your attention at the moment?

LM:I was able to see quite a few films in my travels. DRIVE is truly special. A work of pure cinema. A UK zombie movie called HAROLD’S GOING STIFF is a delight. I really liked a film called INBRED. That was a hoot. STAKELAND is good, BELLFLOWER is good, BRAWLER is good, the Del Toro-produced tooth-fairy movie is an excellent children’s film…on and on. Lots of good, unique stuff coming out.