Unleashing “Becky”: An Interview with Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott

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In 2017, WorldFilmGeek had the honor of talking to the duo of Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott about their amazing action thriller Bushwick. This Friday (June 5th), they are back with the new action thriller Becky, which guarantees viewers to see comic actor Kevin James in a whole new light as a serious actor. The film comes courtesy of Quiver Distribution, which will release the film in select theaters, drive-ins, On Demand, and Digital.

WorldFilmGeek got the chance to talk to Murnion and Milott about their latest thriller.
JM: Jonathan Milott
CM: Cary Murnion

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Cary and Jon, it’s great getting to talk to you again. You did an excellent job on Bushwick and I have to say, you really surprised me with Becky. I mean I was really shocked with this film because I felt you outdid yourselves with this film.
JM: Thank you, man!
CM: That’s a great intro (Laughs)

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Becky (Lulu Wilson) attempts to hide from Dominick (Kevin James) in Becky (Quiver Distribution)

How did you guys decide to make this your next feature film?
JM: We had a few films in development and we got the script from the producers. We loved the premise. We thought it had a lot of potential. We told the producers that we liked it, but we had to push it further. We had to really deliver on the premise, which is this 13-year old girl exacting revenge in a brutal manner. We worked with screenwriter Ruckus and Lane Skye and really made sure they delivered on that point.

That’s awesome!
CM: Yeah and we also loved the scenes where we got to work with the actors specifically. We would communicate the things that we’ll go through. This is an elevated coming of age story, so we delved into the potential of what she’s capable of.

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Lulu Wilson as the titular Becky (Quiver Distribution)

Lulu Wilson was excellent in the titular role of Becky. There couldn’t have been better casting here. What was she like on the set?
JM: We agree! We were lucky to have Lulu because she has this passion and talent you would normally expect from an adult. She brought to the table, as a young person, the ability to get to the core of the character. She would immediately go to that level of intensity that was needed. There were times where we needed her to be emotional and sad, and she would go there super quickly. There were times where we needed her scream for scenes of violence towards her loved ones.

That actually happened on her first day on the set. One of the first shots we had, we asked her to do a slow-motion scream as she’s reacting to something horrible. And it’s crazy to drop into a moment just like that, but it’s just the way the schedule worked out. And it was so cool having her scream with such intensity because it sets the tone for the rest of the crew and the cast. If one 13-year old can bring that level of intensity, then we all better step up our game. That’s just an example of how amazing she was.

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Kevin James goes against type as the film’s antagonist Dominick in Becky (Quiver Distribution)

This was a total shocker as well, but Kevin James was so good in this film! Usually known for his comic shtick, he pulled it off as villain Dominick. How was he approached to play what could be one of his best roles to date?
CM: Well, it’s interesting because if you look at the history of the casting, we had another actor originally for the role of Dominick and Kevin was looking to play a different part. But when the other actor dropped out, Kevin said ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if I play that?’ We were looking at comedians to play the atypical antagonist because we wanted someone for a charismatic cult leader and not just a bad guy. When the idea came up for Kevin to play the role, it didn’t take us long to be really excited about it. We called him up and started talking with him about the character.

That was another key to success. Right from the start we had this great dialogue with him and he was willing to do whatever it took to make the role work and bring that level of intensity for the character, without going over the top. We didn’t want him to be a parody or ridiculous. We didn’t want him to be like that and he didn’t want to either. We worked diligently with him

And that’s exactly what I love about his role. I’m used to seeing him in these goofy comedies and here, he goes from subtle to ruthless when the script calls for it. He went no holds barred and hands down, this is one of his best roles to date.
CM: I totally agree and what’s even more amazing is the physicality he did that you rarely see in his comedic roles. He’s someone who’s not 20 years old, but he moves like a 20-year old. He’s running up hills, fighting dogs, and he did all of his own stunts. And to bring that level of intensity to the subtleness of the character as well.

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Becky (Lulu Wilson) tries to converse with her dad (Joel McHale) in her eponymous film (Quiver Distribution)

How long did shooting take and if any, what difficulties did you face?
JM: We had a 25-day shoot and it was a typical indie shoot. When we make a movie, we like to do things that everyone tells us not to do. With Cooties, we had a gigantic cat and kid. With Bushwick, we did the extremely long takes, or making a series of one-shots. We just upped the ante by having kids, dogs, stunts, shooting in the water. It was like everything we could make more difficult, we did it.

One of our favorite stories of something that was unexpected on the set involved the two big dogs that weighed more than Lulu. We were filming in a car, which had its own challenges, and one of the dogs was in heat. So while we’re trying to get an emotional performance from Lulu and Joel McHale [who plays Becky’s father], the dogs were, how should I put this, consummating their relationship.

(Laughs) Oh that is so funny! I would have never imagined that! I bet that caused a lot of laughs on the set.
JM: Oh yeah! It’s one of those things we could laugh about now, but at the time, when we had to get the shoot done and the dog trainer had to separate them, it was pretty intense. It’s funny to look at it now!
CM: And Joel would make a funny comment as we drove on the way. We were in another car, traveling next to him and he would look back at us and make this comment about the two dogs in the back seat. It was a fun time!

That’s really funny! Finally, are there any new projects in the works that you can talk about?
JM: Well, we are still working on developing a few projects, but nothing that is set in stone yet.
CM: I can say about the projects that if you like the level of intensity on Becky, we plan to go even further and up the ante.

That’s awesome and I will look forward to whatever is next! Becky comes out on June 5th and those who have been anticipating the film will be pleasantly surprised in both Lulu Wilson and Kevin James’ performances. Cary and Jon, you guys are awesome, and thanks again for talking about the film!
JM: Thank you so much! And we do want everyone to know it will be playing in drive-ins so if there any by you, see if the film is playing!
CM: Thank you for having us!

A Special Thank You goes to Katrina Wan PR and both Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott for making this interview possible.

 

 

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