Similar to Jason Lei Howden‘s first film, Deathgasm, Guns Akimbo is a “see it to believe it” kind of movie – a film with so many wild set pieces and such a unique style that no description can do the experience justice. That being said, I walked away from the movie with a million questions for Howden and stars Daniel Radcliffe and Samara Weaving. I’m shocked this interview isn’t 20 minutes of me asking, “how did you do this, this and this,” with an awestruck look on my face, but somehow I managed to keep it together and run through Howden’s journey from the release of Deathgasm in 2015 to finishing Guns Akimbo for a TIFF 2019 debut.
Just so you have the basics, the movie stars Radcliffe as Miles, a video game developer who’s targeted by the most popular (and illegal) reality show on the Internet, Skizm. In the game, players are pitted against one another in a fight to the death and now Miles is being forced to participate. He wakes up to find out he’s got guns bolted to his hands and that he’s facing off against Skizm’s top player, Nix played by Samara Weaving.
Check out the video at the top of this article to hear all about Howden’s experience getting Guns Akimbo off the ground, why vitamin C is key to Weaving’s role, the incredible technology Radcliffe got to work with on set, and loads more. (There’s even a little “Would You Rather” in the mix!) Also, be sure to check out my full review of Guns Akimbo right here.
We also need to send a big thank you to our presenting sponsor Nordstrom Canada and supporting partners Marriott Bonvoy and Ciroc Vodka for supporting the Collider Lounge at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and helping to make these interviews happen.
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You can find a full breakdown of the interview and the official TIFF synopsis for Guns Akimbo below:
Samara Weaving, Daniel Radcliffe, Jason Lei Howden:
- 00:20 – What’s Howden been up to since the release of Deathgasm in 2015?
- 01:40 – As if the finished product isn’t ambitious enough, Howden details some crazy scenes they had to cut from the script.
- 04:25 – The style and tone of the movie is very specific. What’s the biggest difference between Radcliffe and Weaving’s first impressions of the script and the finished film?
- 05:52 – Howden on putting an AR Rig and a Russian Arm to use for the first time.
- 07:25 – The impromptu car stunt with Howden’s rental car; the happy magic that comes from something not going according to plan.
- 11:14 – The movie magic of snorting cocaine.
- 12:15 – Would you rather have to fake sneeze or fake vomit in a scene?
- 12:55 – Would you rather have enough time but not enough money or enough money but not enough time?
- 14:30 – If Howden could observe another director, who would he choose?
- 16:45 – If they could be on a reality TV show themselves, what would they choose and why?
At a time when millions of people around the world are streaming e-sports content every day, it’s not hard to imagine a possible future with the blood-sport insanity of Jason Lei Howden’s Guns Akimbo. Videogame developer Miles (Daniel Radcliffe) is a little too fond of stirring things up on the internet with his caustic, prodding, and antagonizing comments. One night, he makes the mistake of drunkenly dropping an inflammatory barb on a broadcast of Skizm, an illegal death-match fight club streamed live to the public. In response, Riktor (Ned Dennehy), the maniacal mastermind behind the channel, decides to force Miles’ hand (or hands, as it were) and have him join the “fun.” Miles wakes to find heavy pistols bolted into his bones, and learns Nix (Samara Weaving), the trigger-happy star of Skizm, is his first opponent. She’s at his front door.