SXSW 2015: Director Jason Krawcyzk Previews Henry Rollins in He Never Died



Henry Rollins, the immortal cannibal. Intrigued? Director Jason Krawcyzk, whose He Never Died premieres as part of the 2015 SXSW Midnighters, thinks so. He’s thinking that’s enough to draw us in, and I’m inclined to agree. We still asked a slate of questions about the film, anyway. 

In He Never Died, “Jack’s in a rut. Depression and severe anti-social behavior has whittled down his existence to sleeping and watching television. Seeing the human race as little more than meat with a pulse, Jack has no interest to bond with anyone. There’s little purpose for him to make friends with someone he’d eventually eat or outlive by more than a millennia. The fuse is lit when Jack’s past comes back to rattle him. Jack must now walk a tight rope of sobriety and try to eat as few people as possible in this violent tale of personal responsibility.”

Shock spoke with Krawcyzk about the film ahead of its SXSW Premiere…

Shock Till You Drop: We have a film, a cannibal horror film starring Henry Rollins. What do you want folks to know?

Jason Krawcyzk: That’s kind of it. I mean, there are reveals in it, and it’s a slow burn. If people could just go into the movie with that synopsis, I would be all for that. I don’t think that would help everybody, though. I think knowing that he’s an immortal cannibal, who is struggling with his own fame of being an immortal cannibal may help. And that it’s okay to laugh sometimes. It’s very banter-y and dry at times. We’ve attempted to walk the line between drama and horror and action and comedy, and make a sincere movie.

Shock: You look at cannibal horror, a lot of it is kind of grim and naturalistic. How do you approach the subject? Is there mythology? Do people gain strength by consuming flesh?

Krawcyzk: Like the Wendigo? Not so much the Wendigo effect or anything like that. I’ve researched plenty of folklore and myth, a couple of biblical references and ideas of people who are immortal and go through time and just keep showing up. I just wanted to get as much as that I possibly could. Just the fact that Noah himself is like 740 years old and weird scenarios like that that show up in folklore. I wanted to inject a little bit of that, that he’s not anyone in particular, but he’s where a lot of the legends come from.

Shock: You must keep it vague, but are you hoping viewers make their own decisions on who he might be? Have you decided?

Krawcyzk: There’ll be plenty of hints of who he may be throughout the movie. I won’t say if there’s a reveal or not, but I think the audience might be like, “Oh, okay, I think I have a good grasp on who this could possibly be or what he’s based off of.”

Shock: How did you get Henry Rollins in on this?

Krawcyzk: I actually wrote with him in mind. I’ve always wanted to write something that starred a very terrible antagonist. When I look at vampire lore and Dorian Gray, these immortal characters always seem very suave and competent and sure of themselves, and they just exude sex appeal. I always felt like, would the pathology be like that? Would you be that confident? Or would you be this very detached loner who can’t really socialize with anybody, or have any real connection because you know it’s all fleeting. I saw him as a visual representation of that. He has a face that’s just chiseled with experience. He’s been around for a very long time, he’s been through a few wars, so he he’s stocky, broad shoulders, but he’s also very vulnerable. Henry actually has really huge eyes, I never noticed that. He’s very good at emoting without doing very much, and that’s just a testament to how good of an actor he is.

Shock: And other immortal tales, that stuff is sexier in a period era, where you can sulk in a manor or castle. In He Never Died, he’s just in an apartment.

Krawcyzk: Just sitting in his apartment, pretty much by himself and has no interest to talk to anybody. The more social he gets, the more human he potentially can be, the more it kind of lets that cannibal animal out of him. So, he feels a great deal of guilt and shame for that. He has to keep himself distant from that, as well. It’s a movie about trying to get over who you are and trying to walk that tight rope of mental sobriety.

Shock: Is it a personal story?

Krawcyzk: There’s a little bit there. It’s more just trying to realize who you are. I’ve had spouts of loneliness and depression, and it does help me to project out that way, but I realize if I project too much, I overbear the world around me. It’s a discretionary tale of how to walk that tight rope of living life and getting through it.