Director Roger Avary wrote 'Lucky Day' during year-long incarceration with 'dialogues, ruminations and themes' from 'cell block C4'
Terming 'Lucky Day' as the sequel to 'Killing Zoe', Roger Avary says the films' leads Red and Chloe are allegorical versions of him and his wife
The film 'Lucky Day', which released October 11, is Roger Avary's return to filmmaking after a long absence. His last directorial release was way back in 2002 with 'The Rules of Attraction'. In an exclusive interview with MEA Worldwide (MEAWW), Avary spoke about how 'Lucky Day', which he described as a "burlesque noir comedy", has been 10 years in the making.
"I had always wanted to write a sequel to my 1993 film 'Killing Zoe', and I found the time to do so while [I was] incarcerated in 2009-2010. Incarceration tends to be a Kafka-esque environment, [so] I found myself writing it as an allegorical satire," he said.
According to Avary, the "dialogues, ruminations and themes circulating around cell block C-4 and for a while A-7" became fodder for the screenplay for 'Lucky Day'. Since his writings were "routinely confiscated as contraband", he would seal his writings into an addressed and stamped envelope, which is illegal for the guards to open, and mail them to his daughter.
"My daughter, who ultimately produced the film, was 14 at the time. She would transcribe the handwritten pages... we’ve been working together as writing-producing partners ever since my release," Avary added.
'Lucky Day' has a "shared reality" with the other films Avary has been involved with from 'Pulp Fiction' and 'Killing Zoe' to 'Natural Born Killers' and 'True Romance' and there are plenty of easter eggs for those inclined to make the connections. However, Avary says that while he did draw on his earlier work, he thinks of 'Lucky Day' as a "kaleidoscope of influences gathered together to create a kind of burlesque noir comedy".
The film does draw on what have become stock character archetypes in Avary's writing, be it on solo projects or collaborations with Quentin Tarantino. He compares Red and Chloe from 'Luck Day' with Zed and Zoey (Killing Zoe), Mickey and Mallory (Natural Born Killers), Clarence and Alabama (True Romance) and Butch and Fabienne (Pulp Fiction).
"They keep returning to me again and again. But what interests me the most is their child, who in this case is Beatrice. She’s the key. When I worked with Tony Scott, reworking the end of 'True Romance' so that Clarence would live, the solution was for him and Alabama to have a child, Elvis. The 'happy ending' solution was a family, something which for me makes the entire chaos of the film worthwhile. When looking at who these characters were to me today, the inclusion of a child was integral to who those two people are now, how they’ve evolved and how they’ve stayed the same," he said.
Explaining he saw Red and Chloe as "allegorical versions" of him and his wife, Avary said any scene with them "bantering and bickering and ultimately how deeply in love they are, are my favorite scenes".
The film has drawn criticism for its use of French and French accents but for Avary, it was a practical decision. "My family has ancestral ties to the Alsace region, so there are personal-allegorical reasons for me to use French themes in my work, but the truth is that this was designed to be a co-production. This film could not have been made without the participation of both the Canadian and French governments."
He also defends Crispin Glover's accent which he says was largely influenced by Mel Blanc, "whose Pepe Le Pew was an accurate Charles Boyer accent". Avary is currently working with his daughter, Gala Avary, on a screenplay for a film titled 'Glamorama' that will be shot in 2020, but his dream project is a biopic about the surrealist painter, Salvador Dalí.
"I’ve spent years attempting to mount the film, with Al Pacino, Adrien Brody, Vincent Cassel and others, and I’ve never been able to pull it together. It is my white whale," he shared.
Calling himself a "director who writes out of necessity", Avary says he is, first and foremost, a commercial filmmaker. "My films have all made money, and the key to that is that I keep the budgets impossibly low, and 'Lucky Day' was no exception. I would absolutely say I am a commercial filmmaker. I couldn’t survive in this business if I wasn’t."
'Lucky Day' releases in theaters October 11.