The B Club presents “The Interview”
Further to The B Clubs recent review, we are delighted to be joined by…..
THE DIRECTOR AND CO-WRITER OF HECTIC KNIFE,
B: Welcome to The B Club Greg, we really appreciate you taking the time to talk us.
Greg: Thanks so much for having me, pleasure to be here.
B: So, Hectic Knife.....it’s a trip! A pleasure to watch, but to review? It was very difficult to put
into words what had just taken place! To the fans who have yet to see it (no spoilers!),
how would you describe Hectic Knife?
Greg: I just tell people it's a comedy. But, to be more specific, it's a sarcastic take on all the big
super hero, comic book movies that Hollywood is making. It essentially follows the same
structure, a beginning, a big, long, crazy middle that means nothing and then an end.
Ours is just trying to have jokes at every beat instead of FX and wizards or whatever else they got nowadays.
B: We understand your comments, especially with current Superhero films (generally DC and Marvel) not being able to cope without CGI, which actually cheapens a film as it’s so obvious. Each to their own!
So our understanding is that both yourself and Peter Litvin (co-writer and star) didn’t plan on making Hectic Knife (HK) as a full length release movie, why was this and what made you change your minds?
Greg: Peter and I were making a bunch of goofy short films just for fun. We threw them on YouTube but they were really for us to just have fun with and do projects, (we'll be releasing them all on a DVD called “Short Films For Nobody”, soon), this was back in 2010, I was broke, living on his couch (Link's room
in the movie) and had a mouse die in my laundry bag.
One of the shorts we made was Pete in the HK costume (unbeknownst to us at the time)
and I filmed him doing knife moves on our apartment roof in Brooklyn.
We just thought it was really funny. I made it black and white. Pete wanted the character to
fight bad guys, so we went on craigslist (NYC classifieds). We started shooting every Monday
and by the 3rd Monday I said “this is a movie”. Once that became solidified it all started to fall
into place and make sense, to me anyway!
B: So HK sounds like he was an accident?? That makes the character just that little bit more awesome!
Ok, two things......2010, film released in 2016?? HK didn’t look like he aged a day (even from the flashbacks!?!), is that true, six years in the making?
Also as you mentioned Link’s room, the couch? That’s going to have to be explained........
Greg: Ha look again, dude there's a scene where he has a full 5 o'clock shadow and then it's gone in the next close up because it was a reshoot 2 years later!
Yeah, I was living in Pete's living room with no 4th wall, so just an open space. The couch wasn't vertical but that bed that Link lays on when he comes in was my bed in my room.
And yeah, it was a 6 year, 20k production, all out of our pockets.
Pete was 25 when we started shooting and I was 23/24, I cant remember. When we finished shooting Pete was 30. I'm 31 now, HK was done when I was 29, I wanted it done before I turned 30 and I just made it.
But, there's a ton of arrested development, it was clearly made by a growing 24 year old me, not me now, which I like. But, man, too much swearing, haha! Check it out! (VIEWER DISCRETION)
B: Wow, when you put it that way, two minutes forty two......impressive! So the couch? Genius comedy, who and why??
Greg: Well, it seemed dumb to just have the couch in the room, right? Like, why would Hectic have a couch? But, it was kinda too big to move out of the way so it was just set dressing that got incorporated into the dialog because it was there.
B: Obvious really when you put it that way!! So tell us more about you and Pete, old school
buddies? Similar tastes in movies? Both like your metal (killer riffs in the movie, a perfect blend!)?
Greg: Hahaha! Yeah Pete and I go back to high school. He was a grade above me, we're from
suburban Detroit. So, after high school I moved to NYC right away to go to New York Film
Academy and try to make movies. I finished at NYFA when I was 18 and I stayed out in
Brooklyn for the next 6 years. Pete moved there a few years after me and even though we
knew each other in high school we really became close then. Pete likes everything ever and
my taste is really really narrow, but yeah, Pete is a lifelong Troma fan, I've never even really
seen an entire Troma movie unless you count Cannibal: The Musical, which was a HUGE
inspiration for me!
Pete is a musician first, which worked out great for us because he mixed our sound, recorded
all the ADR (Automated Dialog Replacement or Looping), did the score himself! So, we saved
hundreds of thousands in budget, but it just took 5 years of our personal time.
For me, Pete's music makes the movie! But, luckily our own things we did professionally don't overlap. So, we co-write it completely and its pretty much all written, not much improv. But, I shot, edited and directed. He co-directed but starred in and then did the post sound while I did the visual post. It was a clear delineation and it worked out really well!
And we learned A LOT! Like don't start mixing your sound until you're picture locked!
Unless you have a fluid way to make the changes. We lost probably over a year of
technical work time making up for lessons learned like that.
And yeah, funny enough, Pete is the best guitar player that I know in life but he didn't do
any of the metal riffs I don't think. He can play metal but he's a jazz, punk, rock, pop
kinda player really. Our good buddy Jesse Wozniak, who recorded foley
(special FX recording) for us and also plays The Junkie in the very beginning --
he does the Slayer style metal song over the fight scene.
B: The B is in shock...........you really should lock yourself in a room, with TV , remote and good internet connection, sign up to www.watch.troma.com and have a tromathon!!! 240hrs should cover it!!
Who were your influences (if any) for the final edit, The B got a hint Return of the Killer Tomatoes with the “we’re in a movie” and “director please say cut” scenes?
Greg: Haha, well, since we've joined the Troma Team, I've studied up of course. I like Toxic Avenger but that's a given. I like a lot of the documentary stuff they put out and I loved Lloyds book Make Your Own Damn Movie, that book, I read when I was 20 and was a good influence on me! I’ve never seen Killer Tomatoes actually.
Nah the number one influence was David Wain's Wet Hot American Summer.
And then, and this is true, I once had a thought when we started making HK, if only I could put these two movies together somehow... Well, years later someone on IMDb that I've never met saw the movie somehow and literally said the exact two movies...Eraserhead meets Airplane! It’s in a huge auditory review the guy wrote on IMDb, I was so honoured and amazed that he picked the exact movies I had picked 6 years previous in my little Link bedroom! It's really one of the coolest things that’s ever happened to me, I'm totally serious!
But yeah, I'm a Spielberg-kid, grew up on Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones. Although Back to the Future and Ghostbusters are just as close to my heart. My favourite movies are Signs, American Movie and Raising Arizona. I'm a documentary-head and a comedy nerd.
B: Awesome, so Troma, a pretty epic moment for you, how’d that happen?
Greg: For sure. So, just from living in NYC and freelancing around for 7 years I knew a few people who knew Lloyd so I just got his email address, I said to him "Hey Lloyd, I took your advice and
made my own damn movie, now everyone says Troma would love it, want me to send to
you? It's got Blood, Babes and Bagels..." Lloyd responded about 13 minutes later and said
"Hectic Knife is the story of my life, send it over." A wee later we started negotiating our
Dream come true for sure, my first feature, published, by Troma, a company I had heard of,
hahaha! It's still a thrill!
B: The B can imagine, from all the work, the time, the effort and the end product, very much deserved. So what’s next for Greg and Pete, staying a team or moving and hoping to
cross paths again?
Greg: Haha well, we still love each other at the end of it all, ya know, as friends, NOT THAT THERES ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT, but yeah, I'm married during production. I'm in Detroit, living, having fun, working on tons of projects, beyond prepping for the VHS, Bluray releases of HK, I am getting ready to raise $$$ to finish my 12 year long project in the making. A 2.5 hour long, documentary about music with over 100 interviews all over North America!
Pete is doing his music thing, he's always releasing funny, cool ideas on YouTube and last year he wrote a draft of HK2 plus another feature called Dragos that he is going to go make in Romania -- totally not kidding!
HK2 will probably exist someday. But, ya know, we're still NEW so the demand isn't really there yet. But, trust me, it's in the works…. Colour, HD, Space Adventures!!!
But, yeah, my doc is called What Kind of Music Do You Listen To? And Pete's movie is called Dragos. He's always got cool stuff happening and I'm juggling a few larger projects and whatnot as well.
B: So life’s good! Good luck with everything you work on, thankyou so much for bringing HK into our lives, we’ll be checking for HK2 updates daily!!! Thanks for your time.
Greg: Yeah man! Thankyou so much for having me, my pleasure totally!
Hectic Knife is available via stream on Watch.Troma, DVD and Bluray.
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UPDATED 14th January 2018