SHANNON YOUNG’S RAZOR EATING ACT

I see so many independent films and the reason most of them are so horrible is not because the acting is so bad, (although it usually is) they’re over ambitious. Most people would have taken Shannon’s film, and instead of blowing up buildings, would have put in fire later with CGI. In a sense, laziness. I think that they’re not realizing a lot of the potential of their film, and that they are automatically assuming that some things are just impossible. You didn’t do that. You knew that if the script called for blowing up a building, you were going to blow up a building, and if it took 8 months, well, then, you’d wait 8 months.
I do see it as a form of laziness. Our attitude on this film was – You’ve got a massive marketplace, to try and make a statement here. You’re competing with a massive amount of people. You need to set the bar really high. It was really deliberate on our part.

When I actually conceived of the idea and I was going to have a bunch of guys that went on a rampage through a big city, if they go out and just kick a few walls and spray paint it’s not going to be that interesting. The actual guys that this film was based on were nothing more than vandals and arsonists, and they ended up getting caught because they were filming themselves, that was the inspiration for the film. It’s got to be something more.

I also thought that if it was just them on a kill crazy rampage just murdering people, that’s going to get boring in about half an hour. I needed them to have a purpose, a goal. And I settled on the idea that their primary motivation is to be remembered forever, that’s the core idea – infamy. That’s what it’s about. I think we set a really dangerous standard by the amount of publicity that we give to criminals. It’s a problem in Australia too, it’s everywhere. I wanted to depict a gang of guys who were motivated by that, more than anything. The character of Zach clearly doesn’t care if he lives or dies, he just wants to know that everyone remembers who he is. That came out of a lot of the research I did into guys like Zach. Based on research I did for the film, a lot of violent impulse crime, and this isn’t the primary cause but it’s definitely one of the causes of it, a lot of criminals simply wanted to be remembered.

If you think about the people who are actually getting killed in the film, the people paying with their lives are criminals, drug dealers, and other people they punish, they don’t take their lives. You can take the life of a drug dealer, no one cares, take the life of a parking inspector, not a good idea in film. In fact, when I was writing it, I figured the character of Zach would be smart enough not to murder the people who weren’t criminals. He just wants to punish them. And in the course of it, we get a major kick out of it too.

How much did you vary from the original story?
The only part of it that’s based on reality is the premise. In the film, the crimes that are committed are fictional. The real group of guys it’s based on, a group that called themselves the Hedge Burners, they were vandals, wrecked things and spray painted things, and ended up getting caught because they were recording it.

I had written an earlier version where the whole gang successfully faked their deaths and escaped the law. They used the camera to record their death, in a way I liked it, but in another way I thought, well, it just didn’t sit right in the sense that they go out and commit all this violence and there are no consequences. Ultimately it didn’t feel right.

The interview continues in part three of SHANNON YOUNG’S RAZOR EATING ACT>>>




Posted on September 3, 2004 in Interviews by
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