LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview with Fernando Alle, writer and director of Mutant Blast
By James Whittington, Thursday 29th August 2019
One of the wildest and most bizarre movies of FrightFest 2019 was Fernando Alle's gore-splattered sci-fi inspired feature, Mutant Blast. Here, he tells us the story about making this crazy piece of celluloid.
HC: Regular FrightFest goers will know you from your pieces Banana Motherf**ker and Papa Wrestling, why has it been so long for Mutant Blast to come along?
FA: I started making this film in 2012, and it has indeed been far too long. I figured that making a feature film would be 10 times harder than making a short film, but in fact it is at least 100 times harder. I am glad I was naive, because otherwise I would have cut a lot of stuff from the script and the film would not have turned out as good. To give you an example, there is a giant rat that appears for less than 2 minutes in the middle of the movie. But the actual rat took 3 years to build. Had I known how much hard work it would be to build the damn rat, I would have cut it from the script, but the film would lose one of its funniest scenes.
HC: Where did the idea for Mutant Blast come from?FA: I have always wanted to make a zombie film. But when I started writing this script, the zombie genre had become saturated. As such, I became disinterested in zombies, and what started as a love letter to the zombie genre transformed into a break-up letter. That is why the film, which at first looks like it is going to be a Resident Evil/Terminator knock off, halfway through turns into something else entirely: an emotional bizarre road trip with philosophical musings on the arrogance of humanity and our negative impact on the environment, while never ceasing to be funny.
HC: Its packed with bizarre inspirations and mixes up so many genres, did it take long to write?
FA: It does mix a lot of ideas. Some ideas I took from potential short films. I had been thinking about the story for over a year. Afterwards, counting all the time procrastinating, it took 3 months to write the whole script. Every year or so, during the five-year pre-production period, I would rewrite it, and I also rewrote dialogue on the eve of every shooting day.
HC: What did the cast think of the script when they first read it and were there any actors who just didn't "get" the idea?
FA: Everyone who read the script loved it, but there were definitely people who wondered how I was going to pull it off, because the film is very ambitious. But everyone put their trust in me, and while we were filming the I could feel the cast and crew get increasingly confident in the film.
HC: This is your first feature as director, were you nervous about taking on such a large scale piece?
FA: Yes, absolutely. The thought that I might fail was always on my mind. But it dissipated after the first couple of days of shooting. Although almost every shooting day there was at least one complicated special effect or creature that was a heavy burden to the actor wearing it. So, it was never easy.
HC: Do you have a favourite character?
FA: Jean-Pierre. I fell in love with the character while writing it, and I am sure the audience will fall in love with him too.
HC: Which scene or sequence was the hardest to shoot?
FA: Everything was hard, but one sequence I was particularly nervous about filming was the one-shot sequence in the beginning of the movie, when the main characters break out of the prison complex. It is a one minute long shot with the main characters fighting off a horde of zombies through a hallway. I was so scared to shoot it that I intentionally scheduled it as one of the last scenes to be shot. But when we got to film the scene, it went very smoothly.
HC: Have any directors influenced your work as your pieces are very original?
FA: Thank you. I do try to be original. My favourite filmmaker of all time is Peter Jackson. I think you can easily guess how his earlier films influenced Mutant Blast. Other filmmakers who I admire and whose influences can be felt in the film are George Lucas, Werner Herzog, Quentin Tarantino, Sam Raimi, James Gunn, and John Landis.
HC: The legendary studio, Troma picked up the movie, you've got to be proud about that?
FA: Definitely, especially when Lloyd Kaufman compares me to James Gunn, whose Guardians of the Galaxy is, in my opinion, one of the best blockbusters ever made.
HC: So, what are you working on at the moment?
FA: This film is my son, and I had a 7-year gestation period with it. I still feel that, at this stage where it is only touring the festivals, it is not quite born yet. So, like a pregnant woman probably doesn't think about her next child, I am not thinking too hard on my next project. I am focusing on Mutant Blast being successful. But, having said that, I would also like to direct a martial arts film, and if Mutant Blast is a success, next year I plan on producing a dystopian feature film with dinosaurs and lots of gore called Fangs and Claws: 2097.
HC: Fernando Alle, thank you very much.
FA: Thank you.
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