SXSW Interview: John Michael McDonagh talks about his new film War On Everyone

In our second  interview with the War on Everyone cast and crew, Larry talks to Writer/Director John Michael McDonagh about his first film away from Ireland.

John: I’ve just spent 3 months in Australia

Larry: Of course! You’re working on some stuff down there aren’t you?

I’d like to be making a movie over there. My wife’s Australian.

Oh ok, so you had a holiday! A family holiday!

I had a holiday yeah! I have to recuperate after making a movie.

[Laughs] Well thank you very much for joining us. Congratulations on the movie. We were just talking about it before, There’s no Brendan Gleeson in this film, I don’t really know what to ask.

There’s only one Irish person in it. Two Irish movies, first American movie.

So you’ve kind of snuck this in amongst your Brendan Gleeson trilogy?

Yeah, if that happens. I haven’t even written that script yet.
The next few are probably going to be American movies so yeah, it was just getting out of Ireland ya know, waking up in the sunlight and filming all day in the sunlight and then going home in the sunlight so that was a good experience.

A little different than what you’re used to at home?

Yeah you wake up in the darkness, then it gets dark at 3:30, it’s quite depressing, but you know, good people.

So tell me a little bit about how this project started, because you wrote the script as well didn’t you?

Yeah I write all my scripts. How it started was, it had been percolating for a while and in a way it could have been set in London, I’m from London, even though my family’s Irish, or it could have been set in Ireland in Dublin. It just never felt quite right, it felt like it was almost a western and it felt like it should be in some western type landscape. So once I reworked it for New Mexico that’s when it all started to feel more…right in a way, it never felt proper before that. So it was good to get those landscapes, get the widescreen western type feel going.

Did you personally scout those landscapes?

Yeah we had a really good location manager, went out to a lot of good places. The only thing with it was, you’re trying to avoid Breaking Bad. Not to avoid it because its bad but because it so good and so many people saw it and you don’t want a repeat the visual locations that you’ve seen before. And it was only once when I arrived on a location and it turned out it had been used by Breaking Bad. So I was happy. “That’s alright, its just one”.

That’s alright! Those are good numbers, those are good odds. So I’m a huge fan of the The Guard & Calvary –

Yeah we always did well in Australia, both the movies. Yeah, and I went over for Calvary a few years ago so we’ve always been treated really well over there so its been good.

So for fans of those films, what can we expect?

Calvary had a lot of comedy but it was kind of bleak. This is kind of going back to The Guard. Its more fun, more entertainment. Still black comedy, still a lot of meloncholic moments but it is more in that vain.

Fantastic, well I can’t wait to watch it, pleasure to meet you. Cheers.


For more information on War on Everyone and remaining screenings at SXSW click HERE


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