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  • Writer's pictureMartyn Wakefield

Ryuhei Kitamura (INTERVIEW)

Reigning two of horrors biggest titles, the Japanese vampire blood-fest 'Virus' and Clive Barker adaptation, 'Midnight Meat Train' Ryuhei Kitamura now has another feature, 'No One Lives' to add to the genre and cement his name as one of the leading directors of horror.

Synopsis: The film, starring Luke Evans, Adelaide Clemens, Lee Tergesen and WWE Superstar Brodus Clay, is the story of a ruthless criminal gang that takes a young couple hostage and goes to ground in an abandoned house in the middle of nowhere. When the captive girl is killed, the tables are unexpectedly turned and the gang finds themselves outsmarted by an urbane and seasoned killer determined to ensure that no one lives.

Martyn (BGUK):

No One Lives is set to be a violent revenge thriller, what can you tell us about the film?

​ It's a non-stop fun ride fully loaded with blood, guts, shock and a few laughs.

There is a pretty impressive cast including Adelaide Clemens, Luke Evans and WWE star Brodus Clay, did you have full choice over who was involved in the film?

​ Yes, producer Harry Knapp was very supportive all the way. We spent a lot of time trying to get a talented and passionate cast and crew on board.

What is you ambition with 'No One Lives'? From the trailer we envision a 'I Spit on Your Grave' meets 'The Collection'.

I tried to reinvent an 80's style slasher movie with a new touch. I also focused on the twisted love relationship between Driver and Emma.

I didn't want to make this movie just about blood, guts and violence; to me this is twisted love story.

Lead star Luke Evans plays 'The Driver', was this left ambiguous for a reason?

Yes, Driver is a man of mystery.

I don't really like to explain too much about the movies... Sometimes it's more fun to keep it mysterious.

What attracted you to the script?

The first 15 minutes you think this is another torture-porn movie with a story about a couple being captured, tortured and trying to escape. I wasn't interesting in doing that type of movie but the script turned into something totally different.

It was unpredictable, unstoppable

Your first film, 'Versus' was a bloody battle to the death, can we expect more of the same here?

It's a different type of movie but yes 'No One Lives' is BLOODY. Isn't the title a bit of a spoiler?

What are you talking about? 'Friday the 13th', 'Saw', 'Halloween', 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' etc

You know everybody dies, right? Can we expect 'The Driver' to be the next name in horror?

​ I hope so. I tried to create a new horror icon and Luke Evans gave life to the character.

Do you find it easy to adapt a film to an American audience as opposed to your earlier works such as 'Versus' which were made in your native Japan?

I never aimed for Japan. I grew up watching Hollywood movies and didn't get much influence from Japanese movies. My personality is not typical Japanese anyway, so to me it's easier to aim for an American audience.

How much of yourself and culture do you bring to your films?

I always try to bring a bit of myself into my movies. I felt like Driver is a part of me, of course I don't stalk or kill... 'Versus' was 100% me and of course I wouldn't have made 'Azumi' if I wasn't Japanese.

Hollywood is like McDonalds to me: it tastes good but you don't really care about who is the Chef. I always try to put my stamp on it.

With 'Versus' and more recently your adaptation of Clive Barker's 'Midnight Meat Train' you show a taste for horror, have you always been a horror fan and if so what brought you into the genre?

I am a horror fan but I don't consider myself a horror director. I just like to create an experience we can't have in our real life.

American horror or Japanese?


What do you have planned next? Will you be making a return to Japanese cinema or are your feet now firmly on America?

​ After 'Midnight Meat Train' and 'No One Lives' I don't think I want to do another bloody horror movie.

I'm working on my first Japanese movie in 7 years which I'm shooting all over Asia this summer. After that I'll be back in Hollywood to start my next American movie.

Doesn't matter where and what, I’ll keep making movies and try to become a better director.

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