Are you ready for a Zombie film? Luke Kenny certainly hopes and thinks so because he is bringing the first Zombie movie to Indian cinema. What is really cool is that this is just the first part in a trilogy he plans for audiences to get hooked on. Luke not only wrote the film, he is also producing, co-directing and playing the lead role! We chatted with Mr Kenny about the film, about playing a man turning into a Zombie and all that that entailed, the unique music and so much more. Check it out!
You are making India’s first Zombie movie, why did you decide to make this film?
Devaki and I are huge film fans…and horror being a particular favourite the whole gamut of the genre automatically fall into our scope. Zombie films being a huge and popular genre, are also very exciting to tell stories about. So when we saw that that as Hindi film watchers we did not have our own zombie film a spark of an idea developed and has become Rise of the Zombie.
Did any certain horror films influence this film?
The fact that we have made a zombie film automatically harks back to a homage to all the greats who have dabbled in the genre.
How would you describe the story?
It’s a horror/drama about the mental deterioration of a passionate human being into an uncontrollable beast.
What attracted you to the lead role?
Well, the fact that I would get to play a creature that is so firmly entrenched in world pop culture was exciting in itself.
Tell us about him.
He is a passionate wildlife photographer who leaves all worldy ties in favour of his work. In the face of what he does relationships take a sideline…for which he begins to pay the price as the story moves along.
Tell us about creating this character.
The idea was to keep it simple so as to keep our audiences engaged. This is an origin story, so it’s like reading chapter one of an epic novel.
Did you enjoy playing this role?
Absolutely! and its not over yet…we have two more films to make with the continuing story.
Tell us about the process of making you into a Zombie.
One of the key elements is the makeup. That gives the character a lot of gravitas in the context of the story. So from a half hour a day to four hours a day the makeup process was an exciting part of the making of the Rise of the Zombie.
What were the biggest challenges in making this film?
The fact that we, as filmmakers, are embarking on a journey within the Indian film watching consciousness, that has never been taken in the 100 years of Indian films. The idea was to keep the story as simple as possible and engage the audience on a organic level.
Tell us about working with Devaki Singh.
Devaki has a strong sense of visual and story play out. Her minimalist style of writing manifests itself beautifully on screen. She also has a great sense of design, also being an artist and painter. So when we would discuss composition and framing of a scene her involvement was immersive.
Was it difficult to produce, direct and star in the film?
Not really, but not something that is recommended unless you have a cool temperament and a jovial personality. Fortunately this being a simple story the logistics were endurable.
For the music you also have the unique concept of using singers like Aditi Singh Sharma, Suraj Jagan, the band Boomerang and independent composers creating the sounds for the film. Tell us about how that works and why you decided to go this way instead of the classic music director route.
The concept is unique only to India. Anywhere else in the world the independent route is the norm. There is a composer who does the background score and if any songs are to be added the wide popular diaspora is always tapped. Only in India the tradition of the music director has been followed for various reasons. Some of them being greed and selfishness. I have been a believer in the non-conformity of music and its creation since the beginning. So now that I have the opportunity I have curated an eclectic bunch of like minded singers-songwriters-composers-arrangers to create their own individual music that fits the soul of the story. The results are there for all to experience.
Your favorite song?
All the songs on the soundtrack are dear to me because they have been worked on with much love and passion. And I challenge you to pick a favourite after hearing them all.
What to you is the coolest thing about the film?
The film itself and all that it contains! Because it has the first of everything in it.
Are audiences ready for a Zombie movie?
What do you think of Hindi films today?
There needs to be a greater effort made to rise above the mediocrity that has somehow become the norm. Most of it gets disguised behind the star images and ego massaging awards shows. The censors also need to re-look at the processes and audience tastes on a global level and not just from an Indian standpoint.
What will audiences see when they come to see Rise of the Zombie?
THE Rise of the Zombie!!
Check out a sneak peek in this trailer for the film that hits theaters on Friday!