Lucky Mckee is the creative genius behind 2002's "May," a moving tale of a girl willing to do anything to make a friend. He followed that up with 2006's "The Woods," a film which was marred by creative strife between Lucky and the studio, and a high profile project named "Red" (based on the Jack Ketchum novel) which recently fell through. He's also taken a detour into acting by starring in Angela Bettis' directorial debut "Roman," in which he plays the lead character. He's currently resting his creative muscles and working on his official site which will launch with the New Year, and he stopped by today to answer a few questions we had to toss at him.
As creepy as it may sound...I'd probably be a more pathetic version of Roman or May...
I remember seeing the trailer for "May" on the DVD when it first came out and thinking it didn't do the film justice. Was 'May' just too complicated to fit into a :60 second trailer? Did you run into any trouble along those lines while selling the film?
I don't think MAY is a hard sell at all. Lonely girl goes to horrifying lengths to make a friend...How hard is that? Angst? Loneliness? All of those things are easy to relate to...for people of any age...
MAY is heavily influenced by TAXI DRIVER...and Columbia had no problems selling that one back in the day... I think the biggest problem is that it's not REALLY a horror film...It's about character more than genre and I think that sort of baffled Lions Gate. Something like CABIN FEVER is a much easier sell for a company like that. Because we all grew up on films in that style. MAY is a little more left of center and I think it was probably a mistake to label it as simply horror.
I saw an online "Top 10" list the other day dealing with "hot lesbian scenes" in films, and the scene with Angela and Ana from "May" made it on the list. Any reactions to that?
You gotta' be tops at something right?
Seriously though...I think what makes that scene so effective is that it is done in a genuine way. It's more about being sensual and romantic than exploitative or sexual.
Obviously your films deal in a large degree with outcasts and loneliness, and you've said alot of that is based on your own experience. Do you find as you get older that those feelings are dissipating? With the success you've had, have you been able to overcome some of that? Or has it gotten worse?
All of us are lonely people at the end of the day. I think those feelings start to dissipate the more you accept that no matter what you do, you're going to end up alone a lot of the time...Especially if you are an artist. As far as success...I don't know if I'd say I'm truly successful at this business... Sure I've been able to eek out a modest living from it, but I've by no means conquered the form in any tangible commercial or artistic way.
You've mentioned that with "The Woods" that you felt it was a bit of an "overdrawn" picture. Can you expound on that?
It's a 90 minute movie and I spent two and a half years on it. A year and a half of that was editing. Way too long. Wayyyyyyy toooooo looooooong....After spending too much time with something like that, you start to second guess the simple things and that is dangerous. All that being said, I think the final version of the film is the best version I was able to come up with considering the ridiculous circumstances I was forced to work under.
Was there more Bruce Campbell footage that didn't make it into the final cut? Because I remember feeling like I wanted to see more of him. He's great in those dramatic roles.
I pretty much used every scrap of Bruce I shot. In retrospect I guess it was sort of foolish to under-use him so much. It's one of the biggest gripes the fans seem to have.
You switched roles with Angela Bettis for her directorial debut "Roman." How did it feel to have such a surreal juxtaposition?
It felt great. Angie and I compliment each other perfectly. We are a sound duo and this was just a cool new permutation of our ongoing creative relationship. She is like a long lost sister. We are the best of friends and just fit together as artists. We will work in various ways together for the rest of our lives I think.
Is acting something you want to pursue more, or just something you want to do on the side?
I will pursue acting more if I am encouraged to do so. I don't get up every morning thinking about what character I'm going to play. I get up thinking about what characters I'm going to create in my stories. Acting is just a way to help me become a better storyteller.
Now that you've moved on from "Red," what's up next for you? You're working on your official site now right? When is that going to launch?
The site will launch with the new year. I'm very excited about it. It will be a combination of all the different art forms I dabble in. Just to show the creative process I go through in my own dorky way...
Can you tell us anything about the sites mascot, "Crumple"?
She will be the conduit through which all of the content of my site will be seen.
Any news on the long awaited DVD for "All Cheerleaders Die"?
We're (Chris and I) are finally getting closer to figuring out the best way to get that out there. I don't think it will be much more of a wait. Sometime next year hopefully.
As long as we're on the subject, do you think there will there ever be a special edition of "May"?
It would be very cool. I have over sixty hours of documentary footage, all the storyboards, conceptual stuff, auditions, table reads, festivals...so much material. But I believe that stuff has a value...so if the people that own the film want to do a special edition with any of my stuff, then we have to work something out that's appropriate and fair.
If you weren't making your living as a filmmaker, what do you think you'd be doing?
As creepy as it may sound...I'd probably be a more pathetic version of ROMAN or MAY...
Any general words if wisdom?
Don't plant corn in the winter.
Thanks for answering our questions, it's been a pleasure!
And thanks for having me! Rock and roll...Lucko