Henry Rollins, the immortal cannibal. Intrigued? Director Jason Krawcyzk, whose He Never Died premieres as part of the 2015 SXSW Midnighters, thinks so. Hes thinking thats enough to draw us in, and Im inclined to agree. We still asked a slate of questions about the film, anyway.
In He Never Died, Jacks 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. Theres little purpose for him to make friends with someone hed 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: Thats kind of it. I mean, there are reveals in it, and its a slow burn. If people could just go into the movie with that synopsis, I would be all for that. I dont think that would help everybody, though. I think knowing that hes an immortal cannibal, who is struggling with his own fame of being an immortal cannibal may help. And that its okay to laugh sometimes. Its very banter-y and dry at times. Weve 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. Ive 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 hes not anyone in particular, but hes 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: Therell be plenty of hints of who he may be throughout the movie. I wont say if theres 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 hes based off of.
Shock: How did you get Henry Rollins in on this?
Krawcyzk: I actually wrote with him in mind. Ive 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 cant really socialize with anybody, or have any real connection because you know its all fleeting. I saw him as a visual representation of that. He has a face thats just chiseled with experience. Hes been around for a very long time, hes been through a few wars, so he hes stocky, broad shoulders, but hes also very vulnerable. Henry actually has really huge eyes, I never noticed that. Hes very good at emoting without doing very much, and thats 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, hes 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. Its 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: Theres a little bit there. Its more just trying to realize who you are. Ive 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. Its a discretionary tale of how to walk that tight rope of living life and getting through it.