INT: Lennie Overgaard

The Arrow interviews Lennie Overgaard

Writer/Producer Lennie Overgaard has been busy cooking in the genre kitchen now of late. Not only was he a publicist for CUBE 2 and an online artist for CUBE ZERO, he also recently wrapped RIP CAGE, a horror dish that he wrote, appears in, did effects for and produced, among other things. Old Len got in the ring with yours truly and here's how the bout went down! DING DING!

What’s your favorite horror movie?

I have lots of favorite horror movies. I don’t like picking single ones out. But if I had to choose just one I’d be lying if I didn’t say SAW. That film made a HUGE impression on me. So, to say the least I am really looking forward to SAW II. Especially with The Arrow in it.

As a matter of fact, and some people might want to kill me now, but Cube 2: Hypercube is my favorite film of all time and I feel very lucky to have been a part of its creation. If I should mention other films I liked a lot then Ichi The Killer, Frailty and The Ring Remake.

What was the creative spark that launched the Rip Cage storyline in your mind?

Years back I was wandering around with a story in my head. A story that was very similar to what I ended up writing. I pitched it to a few production companies and the same answer I got was: “You can’t do this. You can’t make a film like that.” I was sick of hearing that. One day after work I went home and began writing the first draft and it was the craziest thing I had ever seen. I passed it on to Savage Dog Films and they said “we’ll do it”. That’s the great thing about working with small production companies, you get a lot more creative freedom.

How long did it take you to write the screenplay and how arduous was it of a road?

I did quite an extensive amount research of various religions. I spent about 6 months researching everything from New Age, Buddhism etc. to Christianity. Add to that, 1½ years of writing the actual script. It was a long and painful process with a lot of rewrites.

When my part was done I let Vanessa Mason do the rest. She added a little more character story and basically did some really good improvements. Vanessa and I write very similarly and she’s a person I absolutely trust. If I could choose, I’d be working with her all the time.

How involved were you in the development/pre prod and production of the film?

Being the writer and among other things executive producer and visual effects supervisor I’m quite obviously involved with post, shooting and post. However, with a limited amount of time, and five shooting rounds in 5 different corners of the world I’ve had to stay home for some of the shootings, which is an awful shame. But every time this baby takes a step I’m there. At least I try to be.

What’s the CG and practical effects ratio in the film?

I’d say about 90/10 with CG effects taking the heavy load. It IS a CG heavy film and we never try to hide that. The film’s not always 100% photo realistic and that’s always been the plan. We try to tweak reality a little bit to make it all a little more interesting to see. Which is why every single shot of the film has some sort of digital element embedded.

How gory would you say is the picture?

Of course I don’t wanna spoil it all, but I think horror fans will really enjoy the carnage. I think death scenes in horror film nowadays are tough beasts to conquer. You have to come up with new ideas all the time and I truly think we’ve done that with this film. There’s gonna be an endless amount of decapitations, corpses, blood, knife stabbings and internal organs all over the place.

Will we be graced with female nudity i.e. the foreign sale tool in this one?

I’m sorry. I have to disappoint you with this one. The closest we come to nudity is our lead actress in a wet shirt.

Where is the film right now in terms of distribution? When can we expect to see it?

I kid you not. We talk to distributors and acquisition companies every day about selling this film and they all really like what they’ve been shown so far, but of course they all want to see the finished picture first. I don’t know when the film is done. There’s still a lot of work to be done, so we try to hire more people to ease the workload.

Director Vincenzo Natali has a role in the movie; how extensive is his part and would you say that he winged it acting wise?

Vincenzo Natali plays writer/philosopher Marcus Fiehls and it’s Vincenzo for an entire first minute of the film. So, it’s not a big role, but what he talks about in that first minute is pivotal and affects the rest of the story quite a bit. Vincenzo did a lot of takes and he nailed it pretty much every time. It was only at the ending that he messed up with the lines. It’s kinda funny to listen to now. Especially since his stuff was done more than a year ago. It was actually the very first material shot for the film.

Rip Cage Part 2 is that even half of a thought at this point?

I WAS developing a story for Rip Cage 2 a few months back, but that’s been deleted from my harddrive now. I am not that interested in working on sequels. I think it’s better and far more interesting to work on new stories. Especially things that haven’t been done before. Of course, my work on Cube Zero and Hypercube being an exception ;o)

What’s next for your, any other projects in the works?

I am currently editing Vanessa Mason’s horror film Mania for Savage Dog Films. It’s far in post-production and it’s looking quite good. It will be released worlwide on DVD this Fall and will also play at numerous film festivals around the world at a later point in time. I’d expect a trailer to be released soon. I am also working on a high concept horror screenplay for Sony Pictures and developing a pitch for Lions Gate Films (it’s a short film). The one for Lions Gate is a new part of a franchise. I don’t expect them to turn this one down -;o) It’s VERY inventive imo.

I'd like to thank Lennie for duking it out with me for the site! Here's to Rip Cage, ripping us a new one when we see it!



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