"We were looking for something weird to tell about frustration and addiction"
The winner of December edition, Hooked, was different than all the other winners in 2016. In fact, it's probably different than anything you've seen on screen lately. While our lead judge of December, Nigel Barber, described it as "a driven, frantic, chaotic drug-fuelled rollercoaster," the director of Hooked, Luca Vecchi, was even more straightforward. He called it "a pure madness."
We interviewed Luca in order to understand the mind behind Hooked.
How did the idea of creating Hooked first come to you? What was the inspiration for the story?
The writer, QualcosaDelGenere and I were looking for something weird to tell about frustration and addiction. Becoming criminals just because you find a lot of money and an abandoned location with an old mad granny is not that easy. We choose to tell our story about the many obstacles you could eventually run into…
Don't tell me it's based on personal experience.
Of course not. But I found many similarities about a brief Bukowski’s tale found in Tales of Ordinary Madness. In Italian this tale was traduced with “Una Sirena Scopereccia”
While writing the script for Hooked, did you have any logistic considerations in mind?
Sure. This is was the first project totally self-produced all by me with the great work and vital help of a great friend of mine named Marco Castaldi, who was the executive producer. We were raised up together in school and meeting for work like that after years was a kind of new born brotherhood that I hope could be just the beginning of a long path.
Your academic background is impressive - you attended Nuova Universita del Cinema e della Televisione in Cinecitta for undergrad in Film Directing, and later got a master's degree in Studies in Performing Arts at Rome University Tor Vergata. What was the best thing you took with you from these prestigious institutes? What were the best opportunities those institutes provided for you?
The opportunity to hold masterclasses in university and schools just to perpetuate and share passion with students and a new generation of filmmakers. There’s no bigger and precious occasion to do so.
Was there anything that didn't work out the way you planned, during the principal shooting? How did you deal with that?
I think making films is trying to re-create life in a laboratory. Making a deal between best expectations with mere reality. Trying to match them...
Did you hold any rehearsals with the actors?
Nope. Just put them in the situation and gave them a chance to see how they'd react. It’s more interesting.
How many shooting days did you have?
How did you find the locations?
We waited one year to find the appropriate location. The granny’s house need to be old fashioned, sumptuous and large space to act in many different ways, like: dancing, getting mad in, fight, tripping, etc.
Did you have any reference you looked up to when creating the locked cut for Hooked? The editing is quite brilliant!
The editor, Nefasto, made his best for many weeks. The rhythm is chaotic but enthralling. Hope that every turning point is in the right place.
The Pills is a previous project you created, directed and acted in. Can you tell us a bit about your process when wearing these hats simultaneously?
It was formative. Hope to get back there soon with a new perspective.
Do you have a team of filmmakers you usually collaborate with?
Yes, sure. I grew up with them, like the cinematographer-operator, Vito Frangione, or sound engineers Luca Cafarelli and Diego Tomelleri.
Which part of the production of Hooked did you enjoy the most?
Maybe writing with QualcosaDelGenere. The planning part is always the best, because it’s the quiet and reflective, contemplative part. I hope to spend more time on that part again soon. Maybe get paid. Could be better. I think. Rarely happened.
Which is your favorite scene, and why?
Brotherhood under the influence of ketamine was the interesting part. Their intention was very passionate and full of feeling, but they cannot communicate like normal persons… but they’re friends! So they can understand each other. But we need subtitles.
When watching Hooked now, after it's done - is there anything you think "I should have done that differently"?
Everything. And it could be interesting in a different way! This is the best part.
Calling Hooked a 'dark comedy' is an understatement - it's super, super dark comedy! And we loved every moment of it. Did you host a test screening before finalizing the pilot? Did you get any funny comments or reactions from audiences who watched it?
“It’s pure madness. But it’s interesting… I would like to see more” this was the more overrated reaction. And I think it’s not bad at the end.
What is next for Hooked? Did you write the next episodes yet?
We’ve got a prologue and an epilogue. But everything could change at any moment…
You have worked for brands like SONY PlayStation, Netflix and more, but have also created brilliant original content that became popular! What is next for you as a filmmaker? What are your ultimate goals?
Telling stories. Different stories in different ways. Rom com, horror, I don’t care. Every story is a chance.