A Killer Conversation, a dark and absurd British comedy dated 2014, started life 20 years ago (give or take a couple) in Vienna in the dingy student flat of later writer and film critic Michael Haberfelner, who was attempting to come up with a story to film on the quick, with a minimum of locations, that could be filmed in just about anybody’s apartment – including his own dingy place – so how about a hostage situation taking a turn to the absurd?
“The script was written surprisingly quickly,” says Michael, “but quite frankly I liked it too much to just film it on my sub-standard equipment with my drinking buddies – so I shelved it for the time being, never giving up hope for the big chance to arrive eventually.”
That big chance came in 2012, when Michael, then busy with his indie movie website (re)Search my Trash, interviewed British actress Melanie Denholme on her breakthrough movie Lady of the Dark, who just happened to mention “I have started producing some movies (…) so I’m always on the lookout for script ideas than can be made into a low budget, one location film.” – “Now that sounded too much like that script from 20 years ago to not offer it to Melanie – though I was less than convinced she would get the humour I was going for, so my pitch was on the half-hearted side … but surprisingly she said yes and started planning immediately – and now I was in a bit of a situation, as my script was of course written in German, so I had to translate it, I had to perform a sex change on one of the characters because if you have an actress like Melanie available, you would be stupid not to put her in the movie … oh, and I had to find the script on my computer’s harddrive – after all, in the 20 years since I changed computer about 5 times, had long forgotten what the original title of the script even was and could only hope the file’s format was even compatible with modern computers… To cut a long story short, the movie almost didn’t get made due to technical hitches … but it did, I think exactly 6 weeks from first pitch, the cameras already started rolling.”
Melanie Denholme, whose fifth film as a producer this was, worked miracles during pre-production, drumming up a small but professional cast and crew during these six weeks, including director/cinematographer/editor David V.G. Davies (Monitor, Blaze of Gory), her co-star from Dark Watchers, Rudy Barrow (Exorcist Chronicles, Blaze of Gory), and Davies’ go-to actor Ryan Hunter (Monitor, The Dossier).
The shoot was stressful to say the least, as for various reasons, the whole 75 page script of mostly dialogue had to be shot in a mere three days (including rehearsals) – but the team pulled through as if they had worked with each other all of their lives, without diva moments or nervous breakdowns, and by day three, cast and crew had become one not very big but happy family.
So might there be a follow-up in the works?
My educated guess is yes.
And to bring the story full circle, yes, Michael Haberfelner still lives in his dingy flat – seems it has brought him luck so far.