One of three films previewed during the “Virtual Drive-In” panel in Hall H tonight at the San Diego Comic-Con is Charles de Lauzirika’s Crave. Before the panel, Bloody’s Evan Dickson caught up with de Lauzirika and star Josh Lawson to talk about the thriller. Crave also stars Ron Perlman, Emma Lung, and Edward Furlong.
“Aiden (Josh Lawson) fantasizes about a better life away from his gruesome job as a crime scene photographer working alongside his detective friend Pete (Ron Perlman)–a heroic life where he falls in love with the perfect woman and dispenses justice on the hard streets of Detroit. When he meets the alluring young Virginia (Emma Lung) and steals a gun from a crime scene, the line between his darkest fantasies and reality begins to blur, with deadly consequences. This visually arresting psychological noir begins its festival run with its world premiere at the Fantasia Film Festival and continues on to other festivals around the world.“
First of all. That scene in the trailer where Josh puts the shrimp in his mouth then puts it back on the buffet is crazy.
Charlie: That was entirely Josh. It wasn’t in the script and he did it on the day. But it’s such a great snapshot of the mind of the character.
This movie seems like it has a bit of Dirty Harry and Death Wish in its heart, but against the entire world. What inspired it?
Charlie: I wanted to do something lean, mean quick and dirty. And my neighbor at the time, Rob Lawton, had something that he pitched to me as Travis Bickle meets Walter Mitty. A cracked, disturbing character that gets lost in his own world, these flights of fancy. All of these dark sexual and violent fantasies are in his head. And that was the original thrust of the vigilante stuff of the film. But the romantic relationship in the film adds some extra flavor to that.
Josh, what was your approach to such a sick character?
Josh: It was really unusual and unique. Detroit is such an overwhelming presence, particularly at that time of the year. And that really helped. Charlie had a very specific idea of what the film was going to look like and who the character was. It was a hard character to shake at the end of the day. You’d go back to your hotel and you’d feel really heavy. It was a really dirty film to swim through. But every time it felt like that it felt like we were onto something dark. In a good way. Aidan’s mind is so murky and so dangerous it’s a weird place to stay.
The film looks pretty intense. What was your approach to the tone and violence?
Charlie: It’s interesting because people would ask me about the tone and I’d say, “well what tone is Fight Club?” Because that film has drama, action, horror, sex and comedy. All of those things. And Crave is kind of like that too. Not in its worldview, but in terms of its playful nature in hopping genres. It’s all through the cracked prism of Aiden’s mind.
Detroit looks pretty creepy in the film as well.
Charlie: Detroit is so economically depressed. There’s all these ruins that are completely post apocalyptic.
Josh: It literally looks like a zombie apocalypse.
Charlie: But there’s a beauty there too. You can set scenes in so many unexpected locations.
Given the extreme nature of the film, was there ever a point where you felt where you were going too far? Did you ever have the urge to pull back?
Charlie: What’s the line?
Yeah. And did you cross it?
Charlie: I’m not sure if I did. I tried to stay to the script and embrace the happy accidents. You can make the scariest stuff not scary [if you're not paying attention]. But you can also make the simplest stuff scary too.
What was it like having Ron Perlman onset?
Charlie: He shows up and the character is there. It’s amazing.
Josh: He came to set and he wanted to work. He cares about the product.
Charlie: There’s a great diner scene with them. It’s the one of the only moments in the film where we just let the camera sit there and just be there with the performances for however many minutes that scene is.
Josh: He’s a powerhouse. Such a brave actor.