The director talks about the new DVD and even discusses two sequels to his animal opus!
Director Jonathan King might well have made an instant cult classic. In his new film Black Sheep King examines the relationship between man and animal. There are 40 million sheep in New Zealand and only 4 million inhabitants. After a genetic experiment goes wrong, New Zealand's sheep start turning nasty, and it's the humans who begin bleating.
With the movie now on DVD, King recently sat down to discuss it.
How did you come up with the idea for Black Sheep?
Jonathan King: We have two things in New Zealand: A LOT of sheep and a history of funny, bloody splatter movies ... I'm amazed that I'm the first one to put those two things together! As soon as I did, it all flowed from there!
What was your goal in translating the Black Sheep screen experience to DVD? Do you have a favorite feature that's on the disc?
Jonathan King: I wanted to make sure there was extra material that reflected the work - and the fun - that went into making the film. The Making Of has some cool insights into what it takes to make sheep tear people to bits (I'll give you a hint: several shots of me pointing and saying "More blood" ...)
Was it hard getting people on board for this film? Considering the subject matter?
Jonathan King: No, it wasn't - amazingly! One of the first people on-board was Richard Taylor from Weta Workshop (Lord of the Rings). We, optimistically, sent Richard the script and he called back immediately to say, "I love it. We're in!". It was a hugely generous gesture, that really encouraged a lot of people that we could pull the film off and that it would be something worth doing.
Is there a fine line between merging comedy and horror and were you cautious of that in putting together this film?
Jonathan King: Yes, there is a line. Gross and funny, bloody and funny, outrageous and funny or jumps and funny are very close to each other. Real dread and terror and funny are difficult to sit close to each other and there were of few of those moments we juggled a bit making the film - both in the shoot and the edit. But I think we got the balance just right in the end.
What for you was the most difficult part of making Black Sheep? I assume it must've been getting the sheep to kill people but I can't be sure.
Jonathan King: It was getting the sheep to do anything! We had great sheep wranglers, but they are animals that do what they feel like, when they feel like. Keep feeding them and don't get them to do too much in one day and you get there though ... bit like the human actors really!
I actually interviewed you for this movie's theatrical release. You said you were done making killer animal movies... I was wondering if time has changed that at all? Why or why not?
Jonathan King: It hasn't really changed. Making films is hard enough - without the Random Animal Factor. I want to be challenged by the delicacies of mis en scene and montage next time ... not, 'will the animal crap in shot?'.
Do you think, possibly, we might see Black Sheep 2 if the DVD sales go through the roof and there is a demand for it?
Jonathan King: I think I can now tell you that it was never intended to be just one film. I always saw it as a trilogy - the next film will be set many years in the future, after the sheep have destroyed almost all of human civilization. Then the third film will be set many thousands years in the past, when sheep were just being domesticated ... Watch out for the box set Christmas 2017!
What are you working on next?
Jonathan King: I'm working a scary, dark fantasy called Under the Mountain, that I plan to shoot early next year.
Black Sheep is currently available on DVD from The Weinstein Company.
Dont't forget to also check out: Black Sheep