Exclusive interview: LE ACCELERATOR director Thomas Eikrem
If you are looking for fresh, furious cinema out of Denmark, you have come to the right place. We’ve learned of Thomas Eikrem’s LE ACCELERATOR some time ago, and now we’ve finally caught up with the elusive world traveler and asked him a few questions about the project. If his name rings a bell, it might be because you are a proper cineast and regular reader of Film Rage magazine. The movie wrapped last week, and Thomas is already off filming his next project.
What is Le Accelerator about?
“Le Accelerator” is the story of an assassin who goes on a spiritual journey after being tasked with taking down 10 individuals sentenced to death, for unknown reasons, across the globe. It is a death meditation – as our protagonist believes the only thing men have in common is the knowledge of the last destination: death! There is no escape. He does not make a change, he just accelerates the journey for those who are on his list.
How would you describe the film’s genre and what are your major influences?
Stylistically speaking, the film is a hybrid of 1960s crime and 1970s Kung Fu. It’s shot on film and in black & white. Locations include Copenhagen, London, Marrakech, with supplementary footage shot in NYC, Seoul and Bangkok. Death has a passport, and it travels well.
What can you reveal about cinematography, editing, soundtrack and other major team contributions to this work?
I have written, produced, directed, shot and cut the film. The soundtrack was made in parallel by Rockford Kabine, and will be out on vinyl only (double album) this summer. There will be screenings of the film, where the band will perform the soundtrack live. There is very little sound except the electronic tunes of Bochum based Rockford Kabine in the film. The artwork is by Aidan Hughes aka Bruteprop who is based in Prague and Silver Ferox, who is of Irish origin. Stills from the films have been exhibited in London and Seoul, and there is a hardcover, coffeetable sized book out in June.
What can you tell us about the project’s origins and progress so far?
I met David Sakurai in Copenhagen back in 2010. In 2012 we decided to to make “Le Accelerator”. We started shooting in November 2012. We finished shooting in April 2014. The film is now in post production. In parallel, David has starred in a number of other projects, in the Golden Bear nominated “In Order of Disappearance” opposite Stellan Skarsgaard, in the TV series “Lillyhammar” and in Shaky Gonzales “Echoes of a Ronin”. I have completed principal photography for my horror film “Detroit Rising” which stars Jim vanBebber, the director of “Deadbeat at Dawn” and “Charlie’s Family”.
“Le Accelerator” has been a blast. David and I decided only to work with people we found talented and were great people. It has been fun. These were pre requisites after the trials and tribulations of “Detroit Rising”, where two of the actors died, including David Hess of “Last House on the Left”, and I had to change the writer mid production. That said, Jim vanBebber was superb in “Detroit Rising”, and with “Le Accelerator” all done and dusted this year, “Detroit Rising” should be released in early 2015. Again, Rockford Kabine, this time in collaboration with a number of international artists, will created the soundscape.
Filmmaking is not your day job, is it? How did you end up making this movie an what is it you do in real life? How is the film financed and how will it be distributed?
By day I do consulting in an entirely different area, which – for now – works, as it gives me control over the film, or rather, the entire life cycle, from pre production to distribution, which predominantly will be cinemas, festivals, galleries and special screenings. There will be no discount DVD release, live streaming or free copies. I loath the generation that are willing to pay EUR 5 for a Starbucks coffee, but believe that music and movies should be free, because some fucker uploaded the work on the internet. I wish them nothing but extreme pain and a slow death.
Le Accelerator stars a cast of veteran but also fairly unknown actors, can you go into the casting process and what we can expect to see in the movie?
With regards to the actors and actresses, there are a lot of very talented guys and gals participating. The only thing they have in common is that they got the idea and wanted to be part of a unique project. Everyone with a sizeable role got paid (not a lot, but worth their time, which was limited to a day’s work, with the exception of David Sakurai who has been with me for a year and a half); extras did not, but do get the same treatment as every contributor: full credit, invitation to all events globally, photos from the film, artwork etc… Bobby Rhodes, from Lamberto Bava’s “Demons”, is terrific: a sweet tough guy, who David thoroughly enjoyed snuffing. Dan van Husen is The Death Advisor: an excellent character actor, who has starred in Fellini’s “Cassanova”, Hertzog’s “Nosferatu” and numerous spaghetti westerns including the under rated “Cut Throats 9”. George Kahn, most famous for Besson’s “Fifth Element”, where he starred as the chief scientist was hilarious. Lizz Carr, most famous for her role in the BBC series “Silent Witness”, stand up comedian and spokesperson for disables actors, is an arms dealer. Tim Dry of “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” and Tik & Tok fame is in it, and Sebastian Solo stars as himself after escaping from a German mental institution. We also have a bunch of burlesque artists and performers including MiSSa Blue, Sophia Disgrace and Maria Popska, world class martial artists and Greg Burridge who runs a Mexican Wrestling School out of East London. Elvira Friis, a Danish model and pornographic actress, last seen in von Trier’s “Nymphomaniac” plays David’s Death Muse. Add a bunch a drunken sailors, freaks and weirdos, shake and stir, and you got a lethal cocktail that will kick you in the balls and eat your dark heart.
If this turns out to be very successful, what’s gonna be the next project after that?
After the completion of “Detroit Rising” in Q1 2015, I will be planning a global tour to celebrate the 25th anniversary of my film magazine FILMRAGE. In the summer of 2015, there is another project commencing. It is fully financed, externally this time, but the investor is a good chum and knows what he is in for,