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You are obviously cowriter codirector with your wife, so if you want to tell me how Hanky Panky came to be and the process of writing such a script?

Nick: It just came out of the like we just wanted to make a movie so bad that we were gonna make whatever movie we could. And that meant working with what we had. And we were like, we got friends who can act. So we have an ensemble cast. We had this very crazy short we made with a talking napkin, so we were like, talking napkin ensemble cast.

We had access to this cabin, so we were like, okay it's a cabin movie ensemble cast and okay, it's a horror movie in a cabin with a talking napkin.

And then from there, the rest of it really just like writes itself. You're like, okay, so now people got to start dying in a cabin. What would be killing them in a talking hat movie? Every everything from that actually flowed. Quite logically, I think.

Romey: Logically.

Nick: Once you start with just like a base layer of this is insane. But then you just try to play it out with 100% commitment as seriously as you can. It's just that then that's what you end up with.

Did you think both you and your wife's humour is reflected in this script and how you wrote the characters?

Nick: I think it's really especially with the script and the characters that of a very collaborative and team effort where because we made this with a group of friends like we're close friends with everybody who worked on the movie. And so, everyone got a say in their character and helped develop it and worked on this. We all worked on the script together so it's really a reflection.

I think the humour itself is a reflection of the whole group rather than, I mean there's pieces in there that I'm like, that's me and or Lindsey or whoever. But it's really like this is its own thing that sort of came to life.

Did you allow the actors to have that kind of freedom with the characters, and improv?

Nick: Heavily, actually. I think most of the best stuff in the movie is just moments that sort of came from improv and from, you know, actors just making stuff up. And we were rewriting the whole process, rewriting throughout the movie. You know you rewrite a lot in editing.

It took a really long time to edit it. Lindsey and I edited it together and it was just a very long, difficult editing process to get the movie where it is.

Romey: So you probably end up with what hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours of footage that. You guys then have to sort of compress down into a film? I can imagine that’s difficult.

Nick: The first, the first cut was like almost 3 hours long and. There's a lot of three-hour movies nowadays, but not but this one wanted to be under 90 minutes.

Romey: And a lot of people are striving for the good 2/3-hour mark, but I think when it comes to comedies, keeping it a nice hour and a half is good because you don't want it to be overplayed, overstretched, and your film definitely doesn't do that.

Nick: It's not a predictable film because two things, one, I wrote the original script; it was pretty early in my screen writing career and I didn't know what I was doing. And then so it's not like it really follows an expected form. Then two, So much of the story was determined by just like what we had and what was available.

And so it was like the characters, kind of the characters who die in this movie mostly die in the order that we lost the availability of the actor rather than something sort of dictated by the story.

But because of that, I think there's a real, like you're genuinely surprised you would have a really hard time predicting what happens next or who's going to get killed next because it's not, oh that actor has to get back to a job in Los Angeles, like we've got to kill them off.

We only had Azure Parsons, who plays Lilith for a really limited time. So not only did we have to kill her where we killed her, spoiler alert, but also we had to hide her for a while and like the entire genesis of what's definitely the craziest thing in the movie, which is the reveal, I'm not worried about spoilers.

I think it will only encourage people to see the movie, but the reveal that she has a face on the back of her head all just came out of like we were just trying to figure out why she was why she might have a migraine or be hiding downstairs because we didn't have her for the when we were shooting the upstairs stuff so.

Romey: I was worried that she was a bit of a mystery, and she was going to be a made-up person.

With the unpredictability, I wrote that in my review because I was like, I have seen an abundance of films, and I can usually predict where some stuff is going just from knowledge of writing as well, and I couldn’t predict a lot of this film. It keeps you on your toes.

I mean, there is a scene that I'm going to call a slapping scene.

Nick: We called it the slap orgy.

Romey: Yes, that's what it felt like. I was just laughing the whole way through, and I could not have predicted that with the best will in the world. It was shocking and it was so stupid, but it worked so well.

So, I want to know how many takes did it take?

Nick: There, was a lot. There was a lot of slapping that could have gone on a lot longer and.

I don't wanna name names, but some people did slap other people harder than others. There was a one scene that's on the cutting room floor of the movie is directly after everybody slaps each other for like a solid minute or so like it would. It used to hard cut to then like everyone with ice packs on their face. And they're trying to figure out things like what to do with the body and whatever. And it was a very funny scene and we shot it. But then it's actually in the editing room you discover it's actually funnier if you just see them cut from that moment with that improv line of Lindsay when she says "So this is sad".

That's just one of my favourite improv moments.

And then just to cut from that directly to the body being thrown unceremoniously into a

snow bank, you go okay, well, we lose this other funny scene, but it works better this way. And we keep the movie moving much faster.

You don't have to see them make the decision to get rid of the body.

Romey: Yeah, it works and it kind of adds to the absurdity of not having that scene after.

Nick: I learned a lot about screen writing from editing this movie because of moments like that where you're like, you have to be willing to let the audience be behind certain things and playing catch up on some stuff.

I think that's like a fun way to do it, because if you just hand everything it's too boring, but there's a fine sort of balance here where it's like, okay, so now they're just have them be like, what is this body doing in the snow? And then quickly like sort of, I think you put it together from context, right? So I don't know, it's just a fun exercise.

Romey: And I think the participation in this one is thinking of The Who did it? What did it? What's coming? Like constantly on your toes.

Nick: And you're never going to know what's coming.

Where did the Hanky come from? Where did the hat come from?

Nick: It came from effectively nothing.

Like, sometimes the a lot of the stuff in this process came from just a group of us sitting around spit balling and whatever made us laugh the hardest is what ended up in the movie. I don't remember who thought of there being a killer top hat at this point. Like somebody said that one of us did, and then I know that I ran with it and wrote it into a script, but I don't like. I can't even give credit because I don't remember how we came up with why?

Who is your favourite character in the whole thing?

Romey: I loved Carla.

Nick: Christina will be so happy to hear that.

Romey: I don't know if this was what she was going for, but again, that sarcasm, and totally not giving a shit vibe was brilliant. She gave us a great shot where Sam and Diane are talking, and Carla is drunk in the background, a bit blurry on the sofa. And I'm getting so much from all characters, not even from speaking, you know, at this point just that was brilliant.

Nick: All credit for that shot in most shot making to Lindsey Hahn. My Co director and IRL wife, who also plays Rebecca and is the production designer and the Co-editor.

Anyway, we again very small cast and crew, but yeah, she was she was really the one who was sort of spearheading the like, how to get comedy gags and sort of horror invocations out of sort of, you know, where to where to put the camera and the entire time, I'm just focused on, like, so the trying to make the script to make whatever scraps of sense I could make it funny.

Romey: I think working with your partner, I can imagine it's so much fun, but I can imagine it could be quite stressful at times, especially if you've both got very maybe a different artistic direction for some ideas. But you guys seem to have like a really nice balance.

Nick: Yeah, I think we worked together pretty well and we recently years after the fact of the actual shooting discovered like a video that we made that of just the two of us, like the night before we started shooting where we're like, what are we convinced all of our closest friends that we knew what we were doing and we're ready to shoot a movie and convince them to come up to a cabin in the middle of nowhere.

And now we have to do it and we have no money. We have no crew. We have none of the things that we were hoping we would be able to like. We have just the absolute bare bones. Are we gonna be able to pull this off?

How did you find it working with what I would say is a low budget and getting people to help? How was it making an independent film?

Nick: We had done it, many, many times with shorts and music videos and really but sketch type stuff and this was our whole team's first time attempting this with a feature I would say you can only pull off what we pulled off here. Like maybe once a decade like we you must do this kind of movie, we had to sort of call in, like, every favour.

Whatever you think of it, what we achieved is not easily replicable, you know, because you can only sort of convince your friends to, like, come work on this movie and give us lights and convince a camera company to give you all the lenses and all of that. Like you can only do that so much with no money and no resources, and just go out and do it. Umm, but if you can, it's tremendously, tremendously fun.

How long was filming altogether? How long were you guys actually at the cabin for?

Nick: We prepped in like a few weeks in December I think we had like three weeks in December and then shot in in three weeks in January for the main body of it umm and then and then there was a few pick up days in Los Angeles but other than that the main threats of it was done in like 2 months.

Romey: That's amazing.

Nick: Well, like I couldn't, I have a lot of friends who are really talented cinematographers, and I could not convince any of them to come for a whole month to do it for free. But I could convince three of them to come for one week each. So we had three DP on this because, you know, especially cinematographers, they're they're always picking up other work and work like to see whether it's shooting headshots or shooting a commercial or doing whatever.

Without giving any spoilers, it’s a nice hopeful ending. So will there be anything like a Hanky Panky 2?

Nick: I'm writing the sequel right now, and I figure I should write it before it comes out, or at least before I start to get numbers because it'll be harder to write the sequel if nobody if it bombs and nobody watches the first one.

Romey: I'm excited.

Nick: The sequel leans much more into the alien invasion of it, and is it sort of the way I'm thinking of the sequel is Sam and Diane and Woody and and gangs Quest to they have to rally the Topanga Women's Ayahuasca troop against the impending threat of of the now full scale invasion of Harry the hat and the the hat kind that are coming from outer space.

Romey: Now, so I'm imagining multiple hats. Different styles flying around baseball caps, fedoras, everything is like Age of Ultron, but with hats.

Nick: That's very much the sort of multiverses collide to and the final. The final standoff, though it's not the final standoff because I have a third movie in my head. The third movie is also in my head.

Romey: You got 3.

Nick: Yeah, Hanky Panky 3, hat trick.

Romey: Ohh, genius.

Nick: The first one is like I sort of pitched it as clue on acid murder mystery in a cabin.

The second one is really Independence Day on acid, where it's like a full alien invasion, and then the third one is a war movie. It'll be like Apocalypse now I think.

If you manage to secure more budget, where will you spend it?

Nick: I think a lot more fake blood would be where we would go with the with if we had more money because like we were able to do really good work.

I think with like so this is just some like gaffers tape we would put like a zip lock bag full of fake blood in the hat. There's some very fun test footage of Toby and I just like testing how fast and how big the holes in the blood bag should be.

But I think maybe you know in in the sequel one of my ideas is that there are more hats.

Maybe crush ahead a little bit more effectively and so just like a lot more I think a lot more gore.

Romey: Proper gruesome.

Nick: Huge, gruesome gore. You know. I'm thinking of alien invasion movies like Mars Attacks also, as like a bit of a touchstone I wanna. I think that's where this franchise goes.


Nick: We had a really cool camera. I should give a shout out to the people at Digital Bolex who who helped us out a lot. The movie kind of looks better than it should.

Romey: Ohh beautiful shots.

Nick: For what it is especially and like when you get out into the wilderness, when you're shooting in like that snowy cloud, whatever. It looks like The Revenant, because you don't have to light it. It just looks perfect when you're out in the snow. Beautiful. Those mountains are so gorgeous.

Romey: So I was like, you know, you had a beautiful location and I'm glad you used the outside as much as as you did like with the beer seeds and stuff because it was stunning.

Should be really proud of what you've done.

Nick: Thank you.

Yeah, it's amazing that it's just like it's a movie and it's a real movie, after everything, I think I think a lot of people, including most of the people who worked on it were are surprised that it exists and is a that we like did it.

Romey: If the real yes and people are gonna watch it.

Nick: And it's a film, and it's coming out on like platforms that we've heard of.

So yeah, April 19th. Amazon, Apple and Google and everywhere else in the UK, not Google in the UK. Just Apple and Amazon, I think.



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