Sundance Film Festival alumnus Tommy Wirkola has been making successful movies since 2007. The cult hit "Dead Snow" debuted in 2009, and "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" grossed more than $225 million worldwide in 2013. The Norway-born director/scriptwriter has seen "The Empire Strikes Back" about 200 times. He also told Indiewire "I eat a lot of dried reindeer hearts."
What it's about: "It kicks off where the last film ended, and we follow Martin, the sole
survivor of the mountain slaughter, as he takes on Herzog and his army
of the undead, only with the help of Glenn Kenneth, a local emo, and the
Zombie Squad, coming all the way over from the US."
What it's really about: "What I was most happy about with 'Dead Snow' was the last 20 minutes, where I got to go all out and mix extreme gore, with tons of action and lots of humor. This time, in 'Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead', we get to do that for the entire film, taking everything to new and absurd levels. Hopefully the audience will appreciate that."
Biggest challenges: "Time and money. Coming off of 'Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters' where
we had a decent budget, and the backing of a major studio, it was both
refreshing and challenging to make this film. Refreshing, because there
was no interference at all, but challenging, cause we had to get all the
money ourselves, and when you do that, there is NEVER enough money. But
we had an amazing Icelandic crew (faked Iceland for Norway), and
somehow we got it made on time, and (somewhat) on budget."
Inspiration: "I loved the early work of Peter Jackson and Sam Raimi growing up, and
they are, of course, a direct influence for me in making the 'Dead
Snow' movies. I remember seeing them, and experiencing the sensation of
being scared, disgusted, and also laughing at the same time, and that
was an eye-opener for me... that you could actually combine these
Cameras used: "Red Epic."
Did you crowdfund? "We did, a little bit, through Indiegogo. We started way too late, though, while we were IN production, and never really got it off the ground."
Hopes for Sundance audience take-away: "I want them to have fun and to enjoy the ride. To laugh and discuss it
after, and hopefully say things like 'I can't believe they did THAT!?.' I
also want them to be surprised by it, and maybe even feel something, as
I do believe that 'Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead' is also somewhat romantic."
What's next? "I've written a draft for a sequel to 'Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters,' and I'm also working on something called 'What Happened to Monday,' in which Noomi Rapace will star. It's a sci-fi movie, tonally comparable to films like 'Children of Men,' 'Moon' and 'Source Code.'"
Indiewire invited Sundance Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they're doing next. We'll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2014 festival. For profiles go HERE.