– by David Morgan-Brown
It’s unusual for one of the world’s most well-known comedy actors to appear in an Australian film, especially one with its filming locations so close to our isolated city. Yet don’t be surprised to see the British Simon Pegg appear in some rather familiar, yet exotic-looking locations here in Western Australia in the new Australian crime-comedy film, Kill Me Three Times, which has recently hit DVD (and Blu-Ray) shelves. His work in this large western state is one of topics of discussions when I spoke to the film’s director, Kriv Stenders, whose previous film was the AACTA (Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts) Award winning film Red Dog.
“It’s one of those beautiful rare examples of a screenplay that already forms in your head as you read it,” says Kriv, as he explains his reaction to the twisting, swerving storyline of a script that landed on his desk. “James McFarland, the writer, wrote a brilliantly constructed screenplay which for a film director is the sort of script that you dream about being given because it’s like a beautiful blue-print like for a building or for a piece of carpentry. As you read it, it presents to you how it should be made.”
The script for this film seemed to be influenced by the same sort of films Kriv grew up enjoying. “The film is really a love-letter, a salute, to the Australian cinema that I grew up with which I think has been labelled Ozploitation. It appeared in the ‘80s where a lot of these bawdy genre films, really interesting genres films, were made under a tax law called the 10BA in which international stars came out and made these genre films that were specifically made for an international audience and it’s in this era of cinema that I grew up with as a kid that I loved dearly and it’s been embedded in my psyche, so Kill Me Three Times was a way for me to exercise that lust.”
As is the style of the Ozploitation films, filming was done mostly in the most Aussie-looking locations in this country. Unusually for a high-concept, not-too-low-budget film, it was filmed almost entirely in Western Australia, very close to our stomping ground here in Perth. “It’s set in this town called Eagle’s Nest which is really a composite of a number of towns and areas north and south of Perth, primarily the Margaret River region. Places like Yallingup, Bunker Bay, and the Barrinyup Forrest, and in north of Perth primarily Lancelin and the Lancelin Beach Hotel which is where a lot of the action takes place.”
Amidst these local and familiar areas was the international star of the show, Simon Pegg, who plays the hitman character who stealthily ruins the plans of all other characters in the film. “Simon came on mid-way through the process,” says Kriv. “I read the script and thought it was perversely blackly comic and really felt that … I really feel that comic actors always make for the best villains. So it was really one of my caveats to the producers saying “I’d love to do this film but I think we should cast it a little left of centre” and they agreed. We managed to get the script to him and he managed to say “yes”. That’s how we ended up with a Simon Pegg movie.” This Simon Pegg movie is available on Digital, Blu-Ray & DVD from 9 September.