Exclusive interview with director James Merendino! New details on SLC Punk 2
Last year I was shocked to discover director James Merendino was developing PUNK'S DEAD, a follow-up to his cult classic SLC PUNK! Being a huge fan of the original, I was very curious to know what he had planned for his new movie, especially with most of the main cast returning. Luckily, I got to speak with him earlier this week, and he revealed a bunch of new information on PUNK'S DEAD, including how Matthew Lillard's Stevo won't be the lead this time, plans for a third film and how Heroin Bob will play a significant role in the sequel.
Merendino says filming for PUNK'S DEAD should begin in a couple of months:
"We are looking for an early May to mid June shoot. We have financing and we are casting and making sure everybody's schedule fits, including the bands for a rather large punk show scene."
On when he decided he wanted to make a sequel to SLC PUNK!:
"It had always been on my mind. I am just not done telling the story of outsiders in SLC. It's a subject close to my heart."
SLC PUNK! was inspired by people James Merendino actually knew while living in Salt Lake City, but he says it's still fiction, and the same goes for PUNK'S DEAD:
"It will be based on my experiences and influenced by stories I've heard, but as the first movie, it's fiction. But hopefully relatable to anybody. Also, the fans from the Facebook page have had a lot to say and I've been listening to them closely. They have greatly shaped the story."
So what have Stevo, Sean, Trish, Mike, Mark and the rest of the gang been up to for the past 18 years, and how will Heroin Bob return in PUNK'S DEAD?
"I was first really interested in catching up with characters whose arcs were left unresolved. So I focus a bit on how life goes on with these people in the wake of Bob's death. Primarily Trish, who has a kid, Ross. She is left raising a child, as a single mother. And her support system are the guys who are all surrogate uncles to Ross. On another note, people keep asking how Bob can come back. Well, he's the narrator."
Merendino went on to share some more plot details on PUNK'S DEAD, and what story he'd like to tell with a third movie:
"Ross and two friends are the primary focus of this movie. Ross lives under the long shadow cast by his dead father. He struggles with this and as the story unfolds as he tries to come to terms with the pressure of having to make up for the loss of this now legendary dead local figure. So, you could say, he's the lead. I'm sort of passing the torch. It's largely about how these new young outsiders in SLC behave and how the old crew from SLC Punk reacts to them, in their own, idiosyncratic way. I want to show a modern youth culture in this picture. At first I had intended to make a 'Punk' Mid-life crisis movie. And I still want to tell that story in a third movie...The story of what is happening to Stevo as he experiences the world outside of SLC. This is something I really want to do."
SLC PUNK! was filmed in a very kinetic style, and I wanted to know if PUNK'S DEAD will feel the same as the first movie:
"I will shoot in my style. So I guess yes."
On what fans should expect for punk music featured in PUNK'S DEAD:
They should expect a similar soundtrack to SLC Punk. Different tunes, some newer tunes. All good. I haven't started licensing, so I don't know exactly. But I have an idea of what music I want to use."
On when he realized SLC PUNK! had such a huge following:
"When I saw how many people joined the fan page. And how vocal and interactive and engaged they are. I was very surprised about how many people have related to SLC Punk. And the fact that 1500 of them contributed over $115,000 of the budget (through Indiegogo) to help us make Punk's Dead."
I had one very important final question for James Merendino: are rednecks still the mortal enemy? His response?
You can follow James Merendino on Facebook for updates on his new movie, as well as the official fan page for SLC PUNK! and the sequel. PUNK'S DEAD currently doesn't have a release date, but it might be out sometime this year.
|Extra Tidbit:||Are you interested in a third SLC PUNK! movie?|