Ryuhei Kitamura made a name for himself internationally with his third film, VERSUS, a film that combined martial arts, the Yakuza and well..zombies. After making a few more films in Japan, Kitamura made his American debut with an adaption of Clive Barker’s short story, THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN, a very underrated horror film starring a then lesser-known Bradley Cooper (THE HANGOVER, DUE DATE). Kitamura is returning May 10th, with a brand new bloody as hell revenge film, NO ONE LIVES, and he was lucky enough to answer a few questions we had via e-mail recently, so read on!
NO ONE LIVES is your second American film, was the process of making this movie, as well as your American debut THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN different that it would be making a film in Japan?
Not really. Movie directing is all about communication and building relationships with producers, crew and cast. It doesn’t matter where you make a movie, what size the movie is… movie making is a tough job. Unlike being an author or a painter or a sculptor, you can’t make a movie on your own, so in the end it’s all about human relationships and getting as much support from your team as possible.
What attracted you to want to make NO ONE LIVES?
To be honest I didn’t want to do another bloody movie again. I am not a horror director and I don’t want Hollywood to put a label on me, but the script was so powerful, unpredictable and simply irresistible. It’s not just about blood and guts, it’s a twisted love story. I couldn’t resist creating the character of Driver.
Are you a fan of the horror genre, and if so, are there any recent films that have stood out to you?
Of course I’m a big fan of the horror genre. I was so impressed by CITADEL. Also, I really liked SINISTER and MAMA, and I can’t wait to watch THE CONJURING. I Love James Wan.
Something that really stands out about your work, is that you’re able to continually make films that don’t feel like your previous film, do you think that as a filmmaker, that it’s important to somewhat reinvent yourself from film to film?
I get bored easily, that’s why I don’t want to repeat myself. I always want to try something different, something new.If there’s an easy way or a hard way, I choose the hard way. I keep pushing myself and try to be a better director every day and yes, I do think it’s important to reinvent myself.
It was recently announced that you’ll be returning to the VERSUS universe and making a sequel to that film, could you shed any light on that?
I’ve been hearing voices from the fans all over the world for the past 13 years about VERSUS2 but I didn’t want to do it for easy money. There’s no point in repeating myself and as we all know, most sequels and remakes are never as good as the original. So I knew that I would only do VS2 when the time was right. When I was in pre-production on NO ONE LIVES, suddenly an idea came to me and I wrote the script. This will be something totally new, bigger, crazier, but with the same spirit. I will do this in next few years.
NO ONE LIVES opens theatrically on May 10th via WWE/Pathe Films.