They were a team with a dream. A dream that started as a graphic novel, then became an animated short, then a live action short and finally a full feature with famous names amongst the cast.
Yes, this is the story of Bounty Killer, part of Toronto After Dark's opening night. It served as the perfect palate cleanser from the quiet eerie art house horror of We Are What We Are with its over-the-top action in a world that's trying to pull itself back together after "The Corporate Wars."
There's a bounty on the heads of corporate executives that led the world into its current state, and bounty killers are the new celebrities.
Director Henry Saine was pleased to return to TAD; his The Last Lovecraft opened the festival in 2010, and he called Toronto After Dark "the best festival in the world." During the Q&A after the screening he, star Matthew Marsden, and writer Jason Dodson (Henry, Jason and Colin Ebeling wrote the screenplay) answered the crowd's eager questions.
One of the first questions was: How did you get so many big names?
"That amazed us, too. But by having the animated short, there was something to show the actors." That plus they knew one of the writers on 2 ½ Men and he liked their script. He liked it so much that he was willing to approach people like Gary Busey about the project. "And some of them said YES!"
It was a 18-day-long shoot, but with a number of the bigger named actors, like Gary Busey, only on set for one or two days, extra challenges were added to the production.
Saine said one of the best days was Father's Day because they invited their friends and families to join them for a crowd scene and barbeque. He hadn't thought many would take them up on it, but he was told afterwards that "it was the best way to spend time with family." Another budget saver was having Saine's wife be an extra. "She was killed three of four times."
Adding to the look and style of the movie were all the fabulous vehicles that are in chase scenes. An audience member asked how they found them. Saine himself has a 68 Mustang, "which is always in the shop." It must have been a car crowd because there were a few knowing laughs at that. His mechanic specialized in American muscle cars, so there were always a number of them around. Saine would talk to the owners saying "Your car is really cool, can it be in a movie?" Not only did he often get the car, the owners agreed to be in the film driving them, while wearing extreme make up. This meant that the car budget for the film was $300 for gas, with only one person asking to be paid.
That scene was also amazing because they had use of the Skyfall ultimate truck crane and team. "At first," Saine said,"the team was just there, but then they saw what we were trying to do and began to help out and give advice." The chase scene definitely looks anything but low budget.
"I intended it to be fun; I do love making things silly," said Saine. The movie might have been silly, but, despite the short skirts and skimpy outfits, the leaders of the three main factions in the movie were all run by females. The film even passed the Bechdel test a few times with female characters talking about the world around them rather than just about a love interest (although they did talk about the lead, Drifter, too).
The movie should now be available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and Video On Demand. As Saine said, it's silly, but made with heart and skill and smarts.