We caught up with director and writer of Calvary, John Michael McDonagh ahead of the DVD and BluRay release of Calvary today.
The talented filmmaker talks about the expectation of success after The Guard, working with Brendan Gleeson and his new film, War on Everyone.
Calvary has been called (by us and many others) the best Irish film ever made. How does adulation like that sit with you?
A. I’m a very arrogant person but I believe I have the talent to back it up, so I fully expect that kind of adulation.
It's another phenomenal performance by Brendan Gleeson. At what point did you give him the script?
A. The first draft. We developed it from there to make it more emotional, particularly the scenes with Kelly Reilly’s character.
After the success of The Guard, did you ever imagine your second film going down so well?
A. I thought we’d made a good film and that it would do well critically, but I didn’t expect it to do as well at the box office, particularly international (we’ve just overtaken The Guard in
Australia and New Zealand), so I’ve been a little surprised by that.
Films with these types of budgets and distribution seem to be somewhat rare. Is Calvary proof that not typically mainstream films can be both critically
and financially successful?
A. Only if you’re prepared, you’ve written a great script and you’ve hired a great cast. Otherwise your film will die a death, just like all the other lower budget films that are around.
You're currently in America promoting the theatrical release. The Guard was a sleeper hit there, do you feel Calvary will resonate with audiences in the US as much as it has in Ireland?
A. It’s looking good so far. I’ve done a lot of interviews with faith-based publications and my feeling is that it will play well for a long time. Dallas, surprisingly, had some of the best responses to the film, from audiences and
journalists alike, so fingers crossed.
Where are you with War on Everyone and what can you tell us about it?
A. Michael Peña and Garrett Hedlund will star as two corrupt cops who go around blackmailing and framing every criminal unfortunate enough to cross their paths, until they meet a man more dangerous than they are. Or is he? Shooting in the Deep South in the first quarter of next year.