Part of the SXSW Midnighters, which played from March 13 – 21, 2015 in Austin, Texas, is the crime-horror-thriller He Never Died.
Written and being directed by indie helmer Jason Krawczyk (The Briefcase), He Never Died stars punk icon Henry Rollins as Jack, a mysterious loner who has lived an inexplicably long life fueled by blood lust and filled with crime and violence.
Krawczyk spoke exclusively with Bloody Disgusting, starting with the genesis of the religious-themed horror film.
“I started writing the first draft in 2006ish. That definitely wasn’t the same movie, but the idea was the same,” he tells Bloody. “I always loved villains, because 9 times out of 10 they’re victims of circumstance. I wanted to tell the story of the worst person that ever existed, but somehow exuded some sympathy.”
“Henry Rollins was always my mental reference for Jack,” Krawczyk says as to how Rollins ended up being cast in the lead role. “I was a massive fan and he just seemed to fit the role in a way no one else could. When we started gearing up to cast He Never Died we sent him an offer. He responded in a day. Just knowing that made my palms sweaty. We met up shortly after and his enthusiasm was exceedingly humbling. He knew right away the humor involved and his devotion to the character was remarkable. His work ethic is truly phenomenal.”
The above still implies some serious violence, Krawczyk speaks to the gore hounds: “He Never Died is pretty violent. It’s not Human Centipede 2, but we did our best to keep the gore a stones throw away from reality.”
As for the meaning behind the film, “Jack’s supernatural circumstances is an allegory for everyday vices,” he explained. “Hopefully the audience can relate to him with whatever carnal temptations they go through in their lives.”
Rollins is joined on screen by the Twilight franchise star Boo Boo Stewart (X-Men: Days of Future Past), Kate Greenhouse (The Dark Hours), Jordan Todosey (“Degrassi: The Next Generation”), and Steven Ogg, who is fresh off his success playing the popular character Trevor in the critically acclaimed “Grand Theft Auto V.”
“He Never Died follows Jack in his battle with cannibalism and mental sobriety. An exceptionally prolonged life has brought depression and detachment. Jack buys stolen blood from a hospital intern, plays bingo, sleeps fourteen hours a day, watches television six hours a day, and lives alone. This is his life – he has shelled himself away from social interactions. The fuse is lit when Jack’s past comes back to rattle him. Jack must now walk a tight rope of sobriety and try to eat as few people as possible in this violent tale of personal responsibility and self worth. As it turns out, there are very few reasons to live when you can’t die.”