|The Human Race writer/director Paul Hough|
PAUL HOUGH INTERVIEW
Interview conducted by Richelle Charkot
Born in London England, Paul Hough is the writer and director of the films The Backyard (2002) and The Angel (2007). Richelle had the opportunity to catch up with Paul about his latest film, The Human Race.
Richelle Charkot: While watching The Human Race, I began to wonder how I would react in that situation; if I could step up and be a hero, or panic and become self-preserving. How would you handle yourself in The Human Race?
Paul Hough: Well, I'd try and get everyone together and persuade them not to race. However, given that only one can win this race, inevitably people would have to take part or starve to death, so I doubt I'd be successful.
RC: How do you think the majority of humans would react in this scenario?
PH: I think it depends on who you're there with. I think if you're with family it would change a great deal than whether you're in the race alone. Sadly, I think it would probably become survival of the fittest.
RC: In that situation, do you think that a normal, mild-mannered person could become a man like The Yellow Jersey, lacking regard for everyone else's safety if it meant he was safe?
PH: Yeah, I think if you really know you're going to die vs. strangers who you don't know or trust you might do anything to survive.
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RC: I have seen some people say that this film is an exercise in exploitation, such as the output of Grindhouse films, and I have seen others say that it is a commentary on human morality. How would you define The Human Race to someone who hasn't seen it?
PH: If it has felt Grindhouse, then that is just a result of how we had to make the movie – being that it was shot over a four year time period and for an exceptionally low budget. But I didn't set out to make a movie that was exploitation. I wanted to make a movie that showed characters that you don't expect to see in a movie like this. And while it certainly is layered and explores several different complex themes and is a reflection of our society today, it was made primarily to entertain and for people to enjoy.
RC: How did you get the idea to write a "fight or die" film, ala Battle Royale?
PH: Battle Royale and Run Lola Run were certainly big inspirations. One of my other inspirations was actually the actor Eddie McGee – who has one leg. I wanted to make another movie with him and what better way to torture him than make him have to run day after day after day.
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RC: What would you say is the cultural importance of a "fight or die" film? What are we learning about ourselves while watching these types of movies?
PH: The Human Race has always been about survival. Unfortunately, torturing fellow man is a heinous part of human history and continues to present day. Those who believe people can't act the way they do in the movie unfortunately are oblivious to the true nature of how cruel our world constantly is. The movie is full of characters with prejudices and it was difficult writing for characters who don't share the same outlook as me – but overall I think it is reflective on society across the globe today.
I think there is so much going on that how we regard the movie might have a lot to do with who we are and how we feel about life.
RC: As well as directing, you also wrote the script for The Human Race, did you have actors in mind as you were writing it?
PH: Yes. Aside from Eddie McGee, I actually wrote a lot of it based on actors I knew I wanted to work with. For instance T. Arthur Cottam and Trista Robinson, who are the deaf characters.
As the shoot went on, unfortunately I had to let a few people/original characters go and it created opportunities for other characters and situations to emerge. Richard Gale (director of The Horribly Slow Murderer With the Inefficent Weapon) – who plays this real evil guy who shoves a lot of people onto the grass – initially just came to the shoot to help out and be an extra. When I realized how good of a bad guy he could be, I asked if he wanted to play a bigger role.
RC: What is it like to see the characters that you created be channeled through actors?
PH: Fantastic. It is quite amazing to see them brought to life.
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RC: Tell me what you like to see in horror movies. Are you a fan of the jumpy-startle, or do you prefer something with more a more lasting scare?
PH: I love the lasting scare of Halloween and Jaws and equally love the jumpy-startle of..the original House On Haunted Hill. I like an array of all types of horror movies. In particular I like good endings of movies. One such movie that actually had all of the elements listed above that I'm a big fan of is the Mexican movie The Orphanage. I thought that was fantastic in every way.
RC: What's next for you?
PH: Probably a dark horror thriller called Companion, which is likely to be shot in Japan.
RC: You inherit a Drive-in Theater. What's the first double feature you play?
PH: The Beast Must Die and Demons.
We'd like to thank Paul Hough for his time. You can catch The Human Race in theaters or you can pre-order it now with one of the links.
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