Interview: ‘Iron Sky: The Coming Race’ Director Timo Vuorensola
When it comes to films about Moon Nazis attacking Earth with meteors in star-zeppelins, no one has done it better so far than Finnish director Timo Vuorensola.
With the movie Iron Sky, Timo incorporated perfectly hilarious doses of science fiction, political satire, and campy humor to answer the age-old question, “What if German Nazis escaped to the moon after World War II?”
We had a chance to chat with Timo about the film, it’s sequel Iron Sky: The Coming Race, and other film projects where he is pushing the envelope of awesomeness.
Patrick Emmel: Word is that you’re slumming it in Montreal at the moment. Are you there for the Fantasia Film Festival?
Timo Vuorensola: Yeah, here for Fantasia Film Festival, pitching a project and taking meetings.
Patrick: I heard you weren’t a big fan of the karaoke at Fantasia’s closing party? Did you brave the microphone?
Timo: Nah, Finns have a very nasty karaoke history.
Patrick: Rumor is that you’re attached to a film concept of the graphic novel “I Killed Adolf Hitler.” Is that rumor finally getting some legs? It sounds like the sort of sci-fi comedy that would fit right in with Iron Sky.
Timo: I’m attached to that film, but at this moment it’s not the one I’m pitching. I have, in addition to Jeremiah Harm and Iron Sky: The Coming Race, also a submarine horror film, where a bunch of divers find an unknown U-boat off the coast of UK, dive in and find out the crew is still alive… sort of.
Patrick: In regards to Jeremiah Harm, it’s good to see you taking a break from movies about Nazis. What can you tell us about that project? What stage is it in: pitch? Script? The promo reel looks pretty badass. Almost like a cross between Duke Nuke ‘Em and Judge Dredd.
Timo: Script is ready, funding is well in place, we are now doing casting and then bang off to shoot the f**ker! It’s a good description, Duke Nuke ‘Em meets Judge Dredd, an intergalactic bounty hunter chases a bunch of criminals to Earth and all hell is set loose. It’s based on a graphic novel.
Patrick: Submarine horror film, now you’re really fleshing out those director chops. Is it going to be a found-footage film?
Timo: Nah, I’m bored with found-footage. It’s a solid contained horror film, although I’m trying out 3D with it, since I claim that instead of building big spaces with 3D, it’s more effective in reaching claustrophobic environment.
Patrick: That’s an interesting claim, 3D being more effective in a claustrophobic environment. 3D can become a dizzying experience in a big setting like a landscape with a lot of action. Hard to focus. I can imagine scenes in certain horror films, like the splinter scene in Lucio Fulci’s Zombie, would be more invading in 3D because they would be ultra-focused with no hope for escape. Especially since you’ll be dealing with water. Has there been a film out there that’s used this 3D experience?
Timo: Not much. Actually, World War Z has some scenes which take place a bit similar environment, but it’s not really used as a method, no.
Patrick: Is it going to be a slow-burn suspenseful horror movie, or more a horror comedy?
Timo: Not a comedy at all, a nasty claustrophobic horror flick!
Patrick: I’m surprised I didn’t see a screening of the Director’s Cut of Iron Sky on the [Fantasia Film Festival] agenda. Are you keeping it a little under the radar for the DVD release? When can we expect that release?
Timo: I tried to push it to the program but I was too late with it, they had already slammed down the schedules. The release itself is rather awesome, 20 minutes longer cut and 1.5h [hours] of making-of docs, art book and so forth.
Patrick: I saw the trailer for the Timo Cut, and what stood out the most was that there seemed to be a lot more Udo Kier. Did he have a much bigger role in the original concept, or are there just more hilariously awesome Fuhrer jokes?
Timo: There’s one major scene with Udo Kier, the war preparation scene, which was cut out of the film because of resource issues in the last minutes.
Patrick: Was Udo Kier at the top of your original casting wish list? Was he the actor that popped into your head as you developed the script?
Timo: It was there before the script; I always knew that this film needs to have Udo in it, no matter how. Kier is going to have a role in [the] Iron Sky sequel. Rather big one, too!
Patrick: So you faked us all out with the death of Wolfgang Kortzfleisch, huh?
Timo: You have to pay close attention to Wolfgang’s demise in Iron Sky, you’ll find he is still exhaling after Klaus kicked him in the head.
Patrick: Is Iron Sky 2 going to be a prequel, or maybe even an alternate timeline? There are a lot of things you can do in a movie when you’re dealing with Moon Nazis attacking Earth in space zeppelins.
Timo: No, it’s going to be a proper sequel.
Patrick: Any other hints about the plot?
Timo: Not much more at this point! We are still writing the script so better not go saying something that might still end up changing.
Patrick: We asked about the potential for a giant Robo-Hitler before the first film was released. Obviously, that didn’t happen. Could it happen this time around? There have been rumors about dinosaurs, so could a slicing of DNA create a Hitler-zilla find its way into the plot? Or better yet, a Kortzilla?
Timo: We are going to have something giant with Hitler on it, but it won’t be a robot.
Patrick: I think it’s obvious enough to say that the character with the aptly vague name President of The United States bears quite a resemblance to Sarah Palin. Did you have a hope that she would make a run for president in 2012 and win, if only to make Iron Sky a hilarious foreshadowing of real events?
Timo: I was afraid that might happen, but humankind has an internal balancing mechanism; nothing bad of that magnitude would *really* ever get to happen.
Patrick: Political propaganda is a huge theme in Iron Sky. Considering the ending, will it be as strong of a theme in the sequel?
Timo: Yes, it will be. That, and religion.
Patrick: Sounds like you have a big pile of awesomeness on your plate. What’s the next stage for Iron Sky: The Coming Race now that your initial funding campaign broke your goal?
Timo: We are punching down the script as we speak. It’s a big story, and there’s the familiar challenge of wanting to add *all* ideas into one script, and then having to refrain from that because the main story needs to be the focus, the driving force. It’s always a messy process, this time. You pour in all kind of references, do a s#%tload of research which gets you excited on small details and then mix it all up, but that’s never enough for a good script. That’s when skimming down, focusing, pacing begins, and that’s the hard part. Ideas are easy to come by, to make ideas flow on paper, that’s the hard [part]. But we do a lot of that, and are actually inviting people to the process by Wreckamovie collaborative film making platform.
Patrick: Give the fans what they want by reading their ideas? How odd! Seriously, that’s a great way to get a reading on what people are thinking about in relation to your film at the time. So, should I try to start a task to get a scene in Iron Sky: The Coming Race written where a goofy reporter attempts to ask the film’s protagonists and antagonists ridiculous questions?
Timo: Yeah, well, it’s not exactly how that works but the basic idea is there. The system works so that I set up a specific task and then people contribute to that task, so you don’t get to create your own ideas on any random topic, but very specific ones.
Patrick Emmel is a big fan of over-the-top action movies, science fiction, and sharp political satire, so he obviously believes Iron Sky was made for him. You can see more of his work at The Inept Owl, The Critics Den, or heckle him on Twitter @Patrick_AE.