As a former theater fiend (and MFA-wielder), I love to see the stage cast its shadow of influence over the cinema. Maybe it’s in a three character, contained-set film that in former days would have been done as a play, like YESTERDAY LAST YEAR, which we just screened at Other Worlds Austin. Maybe it’s the magic realism of LA LA LAND or BIG FISH. Maybe it’s award winning playwrights like David Lindsay-Abair and Tom Stoppard crafting genre-defying screenplays. With that in mind, I offer you BLOOD PROSE, a smart and fierce crime short that mixes noir with William Shakespeare, and which I think would make a brilliant feature film. I had a chance to chat with writer/director/actor Randall Krongard about Will, the film, and villainy.
BEARS: Where did the idea for Blood Prose come about?
Krongard: I quote Shakespeare to my kids on the drive to school every morning and they have to guess the character and the play – they actually love it! One day, it occurred to me that it would be really cool to take this treasure trove of language from these different plays and cobble them together into a modern day action movie. I especially liked the idea of characters communicating with each other through their shared knowledge of Shakespeare and having this weave in and out of modern day language. So many people think Shakespeare belongs at the bottom of their grandparents closet in a dusty box – but if you are an action film junkie like me and love intense scenes, it doesn’t get any better than the Bard – and I wanted to do my part to prove that on the screen.
Krongard: The plots behind Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth etc. are so powerful on their own, that it really just became an exercise in connecting the dots. The main thrust of Blood Prose begins with the killer seeking revenge upon his uncle (Hamlet), then the subplot that slithers beneath is how his psychotic obsession with being a great Shakespearean actor overtakes him to the point where he begins to carve his performances into the flesh of his victims – the ultimate display of method acting!
BEARS: Shakespeare has created some of the most memorable villains of all time, one might say characters like Iago and Richard 3 are more interesting than the ‘good guys’ in those plays. Why do you think that is? How did you approach your villain?
Krongard: A story lives or dies on the strength of the villain – it just kills a film or play or whatever project it is if the villain can not pose a worthy obstacle for the hero to overcome. I wrote the villain in Blood Prose to reflect a wounded, yearning soul that takes refuge in the words and worlds of Shakespeare at first but then this gentle soul, erupts in rage. All people are capable of descending into madness – it’s just a matter of how hard a push we need.
Krongard: I needed an elegant, yet broken down theater - Phantom of the Opera type. I found a lot of small theaters in L.A. but they didn’t fit that look – and literally the night before filming, we found a perfect match in the Roxy Theater downtown. Thank you Film Gods! Literally the floor moved because there were so many rats in the place, and we wore dust masks between takes to keep out the dust and god knows what else was floating in that air!
BEARS: Seems like there is a larger story in this short, any plans for that, and preview on what might be in that?
Krongard: I’m polishing the feature script as we speak! I’ve added a character who combines the elements of Iago and Richard 3 as the lead villain and I have to say, it’s the best character I’ve ever created. The other element is the expansion of the fighting and action which culminates in a vicious battle involving pistols, knives and a circular power saw!
BEARS: What are you working on next?
Krongard: I am in pre-production on a narrative feature about a young athlete who must overcome self doubt and self destruction to win the nation’s most brutal, extreme fitness competition.
Vimeo on Demand: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/bloodprose
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2sU3ZSW