Anna Boden does not condone violence. She abhors it, quite frankly. Yet “Freaky Tales,” her new film with directing partner Ryan Fleck that premiered at Sundance, is one she freely admits is their most violent film yet.
“There is something about, over the past few years, the anger people have felt about so much hate-fueled violence in the world,” Boden said at theWrap’s Sundance Portrait and Interview Studio presented by NFP. “So, I think it was cathartic for us to explore in a very safe place, like a movie, a bit of a revenge fantasy against that hate-fueled violence.”
Fleck recounted how he and his parents generation grew up watching movies where “everyone could agree the Nazis were the bad guys,” and made “Freaky Tales” as a nod to those movies.
“Liberal, conservative, we all knew who the bad guys were, and now it feels like there’s this gray area…and we’re like, ‘No, the f—ing Nazis are the bad guys and they’re going to get it!’ and then we light them on fire,” he said.
Starring Pedro Pascal, Dominique Thorne and longtime Boden/Fleck collaborator Ben Mendelsohn, “Freaky Tales” is set in Oakland in 1987 and follows four interconnected stories. True to Fleck’s promise, the film opens with a pair of punks fighting back against Nazi skinheads who set their favorite underground club on fire.
Fleck said he always wanted to make a movie called “Freaky Tales,” but in his talks with Boden about ideas for a movie with that title, nothing seemed to work and the pair moved on to other projects.
But, after the pandemic, the concept of a violent anthology film was finally the right fit and Fleck believes their experience working on the 2019 comic book movie “Captain Marvel” had a hand in that.
“Part of what unlocked the story beats when Anna finally said ‘Yes, this is the movie we’re going to make’ is that the previous versions we tried had character beats, nuance,” said Fleck. “I think neither one of us would have the idea to put these action sequences and visual effects into this story had we not had the Marvel experience.”
Watch the full interview with Boden and Fleck in the clip above.
“Freaky Tales” is a sales title at Sundance.
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