Ryan Kwanten and Patrick Hughes’ Bloody Road to “Red Hill”

Ryan Kwanten and Patrick Hughes’ Bloody Road to “Red Hill” (photo)

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Even before the opening credits run before “Red Hill,” there’s something mildly amusing about how Patrick Hughes named the couple at the center of his contemporary western Shane and Alice Cooper, the former an admitted nod to westerns past (Gary Cooper) and the latter a possibly inadvertent reference to something more rock ‘n’ roll. Ultimately, Hughes’ film is a bit of both, set against the backdrop of a once prosperous gold rush town that has fallen into disrepair when a young cop (Ryan Kwanten) and his pregnant wife (Claire van der Boom) resettle from the city to raise their soon-to-be-born child. But Officer Cooper’s first day patrolling the country roads is as pressure-filled as when he was minding the streets when a convicted murderer escapes and seeks revenge on the men who arrested him.

“It’s like a prequel to Eastwood and Wayne,” Kwanten said during the post-screening Q & A of the film of his character Cooper, a rookie who is tasked with covering the ominously named Skins Creek Road as an afterthought by his commander Old Bill (Steve Bisley). While Cooper’s new squadron barely takes the new guy seriously, “Red Hill” itself is the real deal, a mashup of eras that sees fit to score an old fashioned bar shootout with Stevie Wright’s tubthumping “Black Eyed Bruiser” from a nearby jukebox and illustrates the slow death of a town that time has simply passed by.

After years of directing commercials, Hughes had a similar fear of opportunity passing him by after trying to get a feature into production for years. Calling in favors from his commercials crew and shooting on the unused reel ends from bigger productions such as “Fast & Furious” (meaning the occasional stoppage of a scene just to replace the film in the camera), Hughes put up his own money to make “Red Hill” and developed the film as his wife was pregnant, which contributes to the resonance of our hero’s struggle to make it out alive for the birth of his son. Following the film’s premiere at Fantastic Fest, he and Kwanten sat down to talk about the “True Blood” star’s first Aussie production in eight years, Hughes’ plans for a trilogy and why fake blood makes Kwanten feel like a man.

09252010_RyanKwantenRedHill2.jpgWhat was strong enough about this that you decided it was going to be the first feature?

Patrick Hughes: I sat down and said I’m just going to write something I know I can shoot in four weeks with little money, but I felt like at the same time that I wanted to write something that would have impact. All any filmmaker wants to do is try and get noticed and get into the system and tell a story at the end of the day that you want to go and see. I felt like I wanted to go and see a movie like this, but no one’s kind of made one. So I thought it was a bit fresh in that sense that it was a modern take on it.

Ryan, when you hear Patrick has literally bet the house on this movie, what makes you want to join in?

Ryan Kwanten: His madness. [both laugh] Because I think you have to have a chromosome missing to want to be a part of this business and I think you have to have two chromosomes missing to want to be a part of this film.

PH: [laughs] And three if you want to put up your house.

RK: Right. [laughs] I thought if this guy is willing to go to these lengths, he must believe in it. His script already made me a believer and then after speaking to him, I was more than ready to sign on. And he kept telling me in the conversation, this is going to be a tough shoot – very much appealing to me anyway. I wasn’t after an easy shoot. And it was tough, but it was certainly memorable and I felt like it was a very worthwhile journey.


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…


IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 


IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.


The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”


Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).



Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.


Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.


Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!



Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.


Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.


If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.