THE WILD HUNT directed by Alexandre Franchi, written by Franchi and Mark Antony Krupa, with Krupa, Ricky Mabe, Kaniehtiio Horn and Trevor Hayes. A TVA Films release. 97 minutes. Opens Friday (April 9). For venues, times and trailers, see Movies.
Alexandre Franchi and Mark Antony Krupa, screenwriters of the new movie The Wild Hunt, have been doing press all day. But only one of them has been doing it dressed like a Viking.[rssbreak]
That'd be Krupa, a larger-than-life kind of guy who's gamely donned the costume of his character, a Live Action Role Player named Bjorn, for the TV cameras - the better to make for a memorable visual. Franchi, who directed the film, is dressed more casually.
The contrast between the two nicely captures the contradictions of their film. Shot on a shoestring in the forests outside Montreal, it's an ambitious, epic action picture that just happens to be set in the world of LARPing.
"I love Conan The Barbarian and all these big fantasy movies," Franchi says as Krupa nods. "But nowadays those fables are just escapism; they're not real myths any more. Those 12th-century Viking sagas were flawed stories with flawed heroes that mixed humour with tragedy, absurd situations, burlesque and horror at the same time. They mirrored life, provided a benchmark on how to live your life and be a good man. We've lost that."
The two wanted to make a film where their hero used his imagination not as a means of escape but as a source of strength.
"That's kind of what happens to Bjorn, in a way," says Franchi. "He still believes in Thor and Odin, but he's gonna deal with reality."
The setting of The Wild Hunt found Franchi and Krupa setting up the production amidst an actual LARP event outside Montreal, and recruiting the participants as extras.
"We shot for about 24 days," Franchi says, "16 with a crew of 20 people, and eight with a crew of five. We had a pelt over our camera. We were dressed in medieval costumes. The scenes where people are dancing on tables are really people dancing on tables, and they're really drunk. I had to bribe the Gypsies so they'd bring their women on the tables, and my actors running around - that scene was like a documentary."
It worked out well (Franchi says the players got so involved that they'd plan new stunts and pitch them to the crew between set-ups), but other LARPers haven't been as well-disposed to the film.
"We're trying to plug the criticism from the LARPers who think we're gonna make them look like psychopaths," the director says.
I don't think they have a case.
"Because you're a non-LARPer," Krupa says. "And non-LARPers feel like you do."
"Also, you saw the film," says Franchi, "and these guys only see the trailer. The trailer is way more commercial - it's like a slasher movie. I tell these guys, ‘Be open-minded, like you expect people to be open-minded about your game.'"
Mark Antony Krupa on the genesis of The Wild Hunt:
Alexandre Franchi on what drew him to the material:
Franchi and Krupa on the decison to shoot the movie in English rather than French:
Krupa and Franchi on casting actors as actors: