I was in New York this weekend, doing publicity for A PERFECT GETAWAY, and I got asked how I came up with the idea for the movie. Now this is typically the toughest question a film-maker can get hit with, and I usually give some half-glib answer like “Well, it’s what I do – make up stories.”
But maybe it deserves a better response than that. So let me try to fill in the historical record right now.
As a reaction (maybe an over-reaction) to big-scale movie making, I knew my next directing effort should be something that allowed me to work faster, cheaper, something where I could be more nimble and adaptive. It wouldn’t have a lot of visual effects that would keep me in technical purgatory. It should be a movie that allowed me to get closer to the camera and closer to the actors.
Storywise, I wanted to do something that would shit all over the typical three-act structure, because I think the audience is hip to that formula now and it can make a movie feel, well “formulaic.” So I was imagining a story that had its own native rhythms. And something that was as raw as it was unpredictable.
And rated “R.” Definitely “R.”
So with those loose goals stumbling around in my brain, I found myself vacationing in Hawaii. There, I was struck by how often people talk about themselves while on vacation, talk to people they only just met. I was thinking about that impulse – and how dangerous it could be — while hiking the Kalalau Trail on Kauai. And as other trekkers came and went, I began imagining their backstories – “Okay, these two are engaged but not married…he’s a manager in a sports bar, she’s the hostess he hired…this guy here looks ex-military…and these two questionable characters over there? Definitely serial killers.”
Anyway, that sort of speculation led me to wonder if I couldn’t stage a fairly thrilling thriller right there on the Kalalau Trail. And so I actually started writing A PERFECT GETAWAY as soon as I made my way back to the Princeville Hotel.