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Interview with Zach Lipovsky, director of Leprechaun: Origins.
By James Whittington, Thursday 28th February 2019
Zach Lipovsky

On March 1st, Horror is bringing you the UK TV premiere of a real corker of a shocker, Leprechaun: Origins. The movie follows two couples backpacking through the Irish countryside who end up spending the night in an old cabin, and learn the terrible truth about Ireland's most famous legend. So begins a living nightmare... The movie is a smart entry into the franchise so we decided to chat to its director, Zach Lipovsky.

HC: Did you know from an early age that you wanted to work in this industry?

ZL: Yes, I grew up as a child actor. Mostly as an excuse to be on set and not at school. I was quickly more interested in making movies than acting and from the age of 10 started shooting silly projects with friends. My mother was a TV producer and encouraged me every step of the way.

HC: How did you go about casting the movie, did you have anyone in mind for each character?

ZL: Dylan was already on board the project before I was hired. It was designed for him in a lot of ways. He was nervous about acting, but when I explained I wanted to try and make him more of a monster than a comedian he was excited about that. He was never given the chance to play a villain in WWE. For all the other characters we auditioned them and found the right mix. Much like Jennifer Aniston in the original Leprechaun, both lead girls were pretty new at the time and have gone on to star in big series. Stephanie Bennet stared in the Canadian series 21 Thunder, and Melissa Roxburgh is the lead in the hit series Manifest. We also named Melissa's character Jen as an homage to Aniston.

HC: Did you have much of a budget to play with?

ZL: Budget was limited, but like many great low budget films we tried to use that to our advantage. Often hiding things to make them scarier like Jaws. My main goal was to come up with some really engaging ways of killing off the characters, I think I found some unique deaths that nobody has done before.

HC: What was the shoot like and are there any moments that stand-out for you?

ZL: The first time we got Dylan into the Leprechaun makeup he needed to walk to set down this dark black light smoky road. I knew he was coming but the actors and crew did not. I had a speaker on set so I started playing really scary music and pointed to the distance and say "What the F*** is that?!" and everyone turned and applauded as he hobbled down the road towards us. He was pretty scary looking, some people were disturbed. Another great moment is at one point the Jennifer character looks out a window and there is a Leprechaun jump scare. I told her that we would just say "Boom" and thatís when youíll jump back as if you're scared. What she didn't know is Dylan was hiding below the window for real and I gave a silent queue during the first take. He jumped up and scared the crap out of her. That's the take that's in the movie. Her emotion there is as real as it gets.

HC: What are the major differences from working on TV movies to theatrical movies?

ZL: Mostly the time and budget are much more limited, but even with the much bigger movies I've done... there is never enough time or money. In the end it's the same craft. Do your best to make the audience feel something. In features I've tended to have a much bigger role in the development the story, and there is more time to get the story right so it can lead to richer narratives. But we all know that sometimes it does not.

HC: Are there any other horror movie franchises you'd like to direct?

ZL: Alien is my favourite "Creature Feature" franchise. Kinda feels like it's been overdone right now. But would be cool to reboot it in VR. Or to do the live action adaptation of that video game that follows Ripley's daughter.

HC: You're a multi-talented person, is there one job that you prefer to do?

ZL: I feel very fortunate to be a Director. It's a job that most crew and actors want and I don't blame them. Being able to work with so many talented people on every part of the film from beginning to end is super rewarding. Film is the most collaborative art form and conducting that orchestra is a blast.

HC: So, what are you up to at the moment?

ZL: My sci-fi thriller, Freaks just premiered at TIFF, and is coming out in theatres around the world in the summer. It stars Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern, Amanda Crew and Grace Park. It's a really great thriller about a girl who's locked up in a house and her father says she can never go outside or people will killer her. Near the beginning she escapes to find out that he's telling the truth.

HC: Zach Lipovsky, thank you very much.


Related show tags: LEPRECHAUN: ORIGINS
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