Nurse 3D opens in select theaters and VOD everywhere on Friday, February 7th and I’m going to go ahead and recommend it to you guys heartily. The movie is a blast. It knows exactly what it is, which is a batsh*t crazy juggernaut of blood, nudity and camp. My full review is coming tomorrow, but go ahead and pay down your credit card by a few bucks so the iTunes rental won’t be a problem.
I recently spoke with writer/director Doug Aarniokoski about achieving the film’s balance of the unbalanced, managing the gore and making sure his actors and actresses were comfortable with the rampant lack of clothes onset.
“By day, nurse Abby Russell (Paz de la Huerta) lovingly attends to the patients at All Saints Memorial Hospital; by night, Abby prowls nightclubs, luring unfaithful men into dangerous liaisons. After Danni, a young, sensitive nurse, joins the hospital staff, Abby pursues her friendship. But when the friendship turns to obsession, Danni spurns Abby, unleashing Abby’s fury and a rampage of terror.” The film stars Paz de la Huerta, Katrina Bowden, Corbin Bleu, Boris Kodjoe and Judd Nelson.
They had a script that took place in this world, if you will, that they brought to me. It didn’t quite work, it was more of a straight-on thriller. Lionsgate and I talked about what we wanted this to be and we wanted it to be fun. Sort of a noir-esque psycho thriller and we wanted to have a good time. So I did a page 1 rewrite on it and sort of developed it to be more of a thrill.
There’s a lot of nudity in the film. If I was the director onset I would have been constantly worried about my performers being in vulnerable positions.
It’s not easy at all. I don’t know what the perception is but it’s problematic. It takes a long time to shoot, people are uncomfortable, there’s a lot of people around. You have to be respectful of the actors and what they have to do and who they’re doing it with. That being said, when we were writing the script and casting the movie, we didn’t pull any punches. We told them it was an erotic thriller and we wanted them to think of it as a foreign film and to go into it with that sensibility. And everybody was very onboard with it. The movie’s about sex and betrayal and it’s hard to sell that if you’re not having sex or betraying people.
There’s a lot of carnage, especially at the end of the film. What’s your approach to staging those set pieces?
I guess I just approach it first and foremost as a giant movie lover. That’s how I spent my youth, going to the movies and watching lots of films. That’s just my thing, that’s what I love to do. For this movie, knowing what it was going to be and knowing what the marketing was going to be for it, I was sort of laying all out there. It wasn’t a subtle reference to blood and gore, it’s about a woman who goes around killing people and she’s a nurse – so she’s not bothered by blood or using these tools. It what she uses every single day. If you were a butcher, cutting meat wouldn’t really bother you. So we just went as far as we could with it.
Some people don’t like voice-over in films, but I loved the voice-over here. It’s so integral to the tone. Was that always in place or was that added in post?
It was always part of the plan. In the first draft there wasn’t any of that in there, but I thought the only way to understand Abby was to know what she was thinking. I didn’t want her explaining herself to other people so, as a fan of American Psycho, I decided on an internal monologue. That movie brought his character to life with the voice-over so we played around with it and we would shoot takes knowing that we may or may not put voice-over there. We gave ourselves room to play.
I didn’t expect Judd Nelson to pop up in this, but he plays a dirtbag for the ages.
When we were talking about casting we were like, “this guy has to be intelligent because he’s a surgeon.” He’s a very manipulative individual, he’s very conniving and very cunning. But he’s got to be a dirtbag when nobody is looking, and the first person I thought of was Judd Nelson. Lucky for us he had time in his schedule and he loved the script. It was one of those twists of fate that worked out in our favor.