1.) I Declare War: kids. In the woods. Kids in the woods with weaponry. Please, exactly where in the amazing, dark, recesses of your mind did you come up with this idea? Because it's awesome.
Thanks! You'll have to jump in a time machine and ask the amazing, dark recesses of my 12-year-old mind, though, because that's when I first started running through the woods and pretending I was hunting and killing my friends. As for the script, I actually wrote it ten years ago, when I first started making films, just because it was the kind of movie I wanted to see. I also really wanted to tell a story about what it was like to be 12, and how intensely you feel things when you're that age, and a game of war felt like a good setting to get into the intensity of a 12-year-old's internal life.
2.) Quick: we're having a battle in the woods. You can pick five members for your team. Living, dead, fictional--who would you choose? (I already called dibs on Chuck Norris, sorry.)
Snake Eyes. Starscream. Spider-Man (John Romita, Jr., not Todd MacFarlane). Wolverine. Boba Fett. (All answers provided by the 12-year-old me.)
3.) Just how was it with an entire principle cast of 12 and 13-year-olds? Was there a lot of dialogue improvisation?
It was utterly professional, and a ton of fun. They kids were ridiculously committed to the script. We gave them a pretty long leash to say things in the way they felt most comfortable, and there was the odd word change if some of the slang felt unnatural to them, but by and large they loved this script and wanted to play it out the way it was written.
4.) I vividly remember playing war games with my brothers when I was little (with Nerf guns, as was the way for Kids of the Nineties) and I'm sure you do as well. I'm curious about these new generation kids: did they have more experience playing war games through video games, or do kids still get outside and run around?
It was a little scary...when we first trained the kids on the weapons with our stunt coordinator, they knew the make and model of every weapon, on sight, and could recite them easily. "Is that the AR-15? With modified grenade launcher? Cool!" And we realized it was because of Call Of Duty. So yeah, most of the boys were into that game, but they still had all played Capture The Flag on the schoolyard. I can confirm for adults everywhere: children still play outside.
5.) I can imagine this film is going to get people talking, given that some people don't like the equation "children + weapons". Obviously there's a lot more to your film than just children and weapons and blood, oh my. What are you hoping audience members walk away with after having seen the film?
More than anything else, we just want audiences to be entertained and to experience the pleasure of a story well-told. It's a story about what it's like to be that age, and if people come away from the film empathizing with young people a little more, then that would be great.
(Questions thought up by Siân Melton; answers provided by Jason Lapeyre and Robert Wilson)
Sun., Sept. 9th, 4:15 PM SCOTIABANK 4
Tue., Sept. 11th, 2:00 PM CINEPLEX YONGE & DUNDAS 10
Fri., Sept. 14th, 9:45 PM SCOTIABANK 4