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 Post subject: Darren Ward Interview (english Language)
PostPosted: 29. Jul 2013, 22:36 
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Darren Ward (*03.04.1973) is a Director/Screenwriter from Southhampton, Hampshire, UK.

Darren Ward started out making micro budget short movies in the early 90s. BITTER VENGEANCE, a 17 minute short was highly commended at the annual BAVA (British Amateur Video Awards) awards in 1994.

Ward rewrote and turned BITTER VENEGEANCE into his first feature film - SUDDEN FURY (1998).

SUDDEN FURY marked the last starring role for the late great David Warbeck (Lucio Fulci's 'The Beyond' & Sergio Leone's 'A Fistful of Dynamite'). The film is an independent gem that has its own cult following. The Film has been released in every major territory on video/DVD between 1998 - 2013.

Ward followed this up with a multi-award winning short thriller 'NIGHTMARES' (2004)(silver remi, Worldfest & best score Crimson Eye). The short went on to be broadcast very successfully on Propeller T.V (sky channel 195). 'NIGHTMARES' had its world premiere at 'LA International short film festival' in Hollywood.

In 2010 Ward unleashed his Multi-Award winning feature film 'A Day of Violence' (featuring Italian horror legend Giovanni Lombardo Radice). ADOV is a brutal hard-hitting crime thriller with a twist.

It has won many awards from around the globe including 'Best Feature', Best Special Effects and Best Director.

Ward now intends to complete the trilogy with BEYOND FURY (Barbara Cupisti, Giovanni Lombardo Radice & Nick Rendell) - A blood drenched revenge thriller set deep in the criminal underworld.

The film is presently seeking finance.


UkF :
Hello Darren.
Thanx for taking the time to do this interview with me for our forum. I am very happy it worked out and that you take the time to answer our questions.

Darren Ward :
Hi Dan – I would like to thank you for the opportunity to talk about my films..

UkF :
How did it all started for you with filmmaking? Was it the conventional way like other movie directors went too? That you were a (Horror) Movie Fan and you wanted to shoot your own movies?
Which was the Movie or the Movies that had the biggest impact on you that you felt the desire to shot your own movies?

Darren Ward :
I used to watch the Hammer movies when i was very young and instantly fell in love with cinema. I was always fascinated with special effects and wanted to know how it was all created. From Hammer i moved onto watching the so-called video nasties in the UK (Zombie Flesh-eaters, Cannibal Ferox etc).

I directed my first short horror film under the Giallo Films banner in 1991 ‘Paura il Diavolo’, but had been involved in making at least fifteen other short movies, mainly gangster/action movies from between 1989-91.

With the explosion of home video back in the early eighties, I found myself watching all kinds of great films across many different genres. However the films of Sergio Leone, Fulci & Argento made the biggest mark on me and really made me want to pick up a camera and experiment with creating my own style.

UkF :
Your first movie was PAURA IL DIAVOLO which you directed in 1992.
When I watched it the first time back in the mid-90ties I directly noticed that you are very influenced by the Italian Horror Movies and PAURA IL DIAVOLO looked to me like it was a fanmade sequel to the DEMONS Movies from Lamberto Bava.
I also noticed that the transformation of the Demon looked a lot like in DEMONS and was very well done.
Am I right that you were inspired by DEMONS and DEMONS 2 when you shot PAURA?

Darren Ward :
You hit the nail on the head Daniel! I was very much inspired by both the Demons films and yes our transformation scene in PAURA was a homage to them both especially the nails coming through the skin (laughs). I remember us all having great fun back then, covered in blood, fake sick and general nastiness!

UkF :
How did you financed PAURA?
Did you payed the whole Budget out of your pocket and how much were the production costs estimated?
I ask because I noticed that in the movie is the Song “Rain” from the band THE CULT featured and since the Band is popular i assume that it wasn’t that cheap to get the rights/license to use that song.
Or may did you just used it without paying and/or asking THE CULT? (laughs)

Darren Ward :
PAURA was financed by myself and cost very little to make. We probably spent no more than £300- on making the film. Interested in how you saw that version with THE CULT playing? When it was released under ‘Darren Ward’s Three Tickets to Hell’ in Germany all known band music was replaced in the 3 shorts with our own music (under Red Movement). The version with the CULT playing was only in a private version which was used as a temp track!!! LOL :D


UkF :
One year after PAURA you made your next short movie, BLUE FEAR.
It was very obvious that it was a homage to the Gialli Movies and Dario Argentos films.
It is very clear you are a huge fan of the Italian Genre Cinema.
What are your favorite Italian Directors and which Movies are your favorites?

Darren Ward :
Sergio Leone, Sergio Martino, Umberto Lenzi, Dario Argento, Michele Soavi, Lamberto Bava, Ruggero Deodato, Lucio Fulci – the list could go on and on…..

Italian horror/action/gialli were drenched in atmosphere, raw brutality, with ramped up nudity and gore and with more fancy camerawork than you can shake a stick at! They beat their American counter-parts hands down in my humble opinion. It is those elements I have tried to carry across into my own films. Some of my favorites in no particular order:

Opera, Profondo Rosso, Tenebre, (ALL Sergio Leone movies), Zombie Flesh-Eaters, Contraband, Cannibal Holocaust, The Church, Demons etc etc……

UkF :
Besides the Italian Directors which other Directors are a huge influence on you?

Darren Ward :
Brian De Palma, Martin Scorsese, John Woo, Sam Peckinpah, Clint Eastwood

UkF :
Your 3rd Shortmovie, BITTER VENGENACE, was a Short Movie Prequel for SUDDEN FURY.
What was the reason you decided to make a Full Length Feature based on the Story of BITTER VENGEANCE?

Darren Ward :
BITTER VENGEANCE is a 17min short action movie with the characters of Randall, Walker and Jimmy. We shot the film for around £600 in 1994, it was made specifically for BAVA (British Amateur Video Awards), which was an annual film competition that happened in London. BV went on to be awarded a ‘Highly Commended’ achievement by the judges.

Not long after BAVA, I was discussing BV among friends and we all thought it would be a great idea to take the three main characters of BV (Randall, Walker & Jimmy) and remake it into a feature film. So I immediately started to write the screenplay for SUDDEN FURY. We started shooting SF in April 1995 and it was completed in late 1997.
Before my three shorts were released in Germany I only ever sold them from adverts in fanzines. The response was good and feedback was always very positive. I still have all the correspondence in files!


UkF :
SUDDEN FURY was very violent with more bloody shootouts than in Sam Peckingpah and John Woo Movies.
I assume you also are a fan of this two directors and a admirer of the “Heroic Bloodshed” Movies?

Darren Ward :
I was a huge huge fan of John Woo’s movies (Better Tomorrow, The Killer, Hard-Boiled, even have a soft spot for the unrated Hard Target). All of my shoot-outs in SUDDEN FURY were heavily driven and inspired by Woo. Woo really bought back the bloody squib! LOL

Sam Peckinpah is still and always will be a huge influence in my style. His shootouts were bloody and brutal and matter of fact. He never hid away from the fact that death is painful and sometimes slow.

UkF :
In SUDDEN FURY the Exploitation and Horror Icon David Warbeck had a part.
How did you got in touch with him?
Did you had to convince him to be in the Movie and how hard was it? (laughs)

Darren Ward :
DAVID WARBECK was and still is a LEGEND! I was very lucky to meet David at a Eurofest film festival in London back in early 1996. I approached him, introduced myself and then proceeded to tell him all about the film I was currently making SUDDEN FURY. I may of mentioned that I had written a character for him (PIKE – which at this point I hadn’t!!! I had to get David in the film). He was very interested and he arranged for us to meet a week later at his home.

Now, I thought shit! I haven’t got a character for him, so I went home and spent the next week writing and fitting the character of PIKE into the film (named after William Holdens character from Peckinpah’s WILD BUNCH).

David was very excited about playing the character and based the way he looked (hair, clothes) on Charlie Kray (brother to the UK’s gangster twins REGGIE & RONNIE). He was an absolute joy and pleasure to work with and in between scenes he would tell hundreds of amazing stories of working in the Italian film industry. David held many a party at his London home and until his death was full of love for Indie cinema. We became great friends over an 18 month period and he is still very much missed to this day.

I always say it and I will say it again. It is one thing to watch your favourite actors on screen and then to meet them is different again, but to get them into your films and suddenly you are directing them like all your favourite directors did before……simply amazing!


UkF :
Are you familiar with German Indiependent Directors and does the Name Timo Rose ring a bell?
I ask because he made a Movie called MUTATION 2 : GENERATION DEAD and in this Movie there was a Contract Killer which had the name “Mr. Walker”.
Back in the Days I asked Timo and he told me that this Character was a direct homage/reference to SUDDEN FURY.
Did you ever heard this before and how do you feel when other directors make direct references to your films?

Darren Ward :
I know of Timo but not personally unfortunately. WOW I did not know that. Thank you very much Timo, I will be sure to let Nick (Walker) Rendell know.

I am honored that someone would pay homage to one of my films.


UkF :
Your last Movie A DAY OF VIOLENCE seems to be pretty gory again and is a homage to the Italian Crime Cinema.
You also worked again with an iconic Actor again, Giovanni Lombardo Radice.
How did you got in contact with Giovanni and how did he finaly got into the movie?

Darren Ward :
We meet on myspace back in 2007. I stumbled across a profile for Giovanni and emailed asking if it was really him or a fan run page. Giovanni replied that it was really him! And we got talking about ADOV. I sent him the script which he simply loved. He really wanted to play the character of BOSWELL, but due to the long schedule it wouldn’t have been within our budget to fly him back and forth from Rome to the UK every other weekend. So we both decided that HOPPER would be a great character for him to play. It all worked out great in the end. He came over for 4 days and did the scene. Like Warbeck working with Giovanni was an absolute pleasure, he is very focused and professional bringing the character to life. It turned out to be a fantastic scene and ultimately gave JOHN MORGHEN another great on screen death!


UkF :
From what I know you shot the movie on the weekends and this for more than a year.
Wasn’t it very hard and difficult to schedule this all?

Darren Ward :
You’re right, the film was shot over a 15 month period mostly on weekends (90% of people involved in the film had full time jobs either in the industry or other employment, so it made it very difficult getting everybody together on a given weekend). It has its pros and cons! Pros being it allowed me time to secure more finance as we went along. As the film grew so did the budget and of course I am used to long shoots as SUDDEN FURY took over 2 years to complete. One of the major cons being that if your special effects crew are out of the country on a big Hollywood job then of course we have to wait until such times we could arrange convenient dates to shoot.

UkF :
Are you happy with how the movie came out and looked in the end?
How was the feedback for A DAY OF VIOLENCE?

Darren Ward :
I am very pleased with the end result. It is such a gritty and brutal little movie that I feel it made its mark with the desired audience for sure. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and the film has been shown at many festivals across the world and has won many awards too.

UkF :
Are there already some Labels outside the UK interested in releasing ADOV?
I hope when they do a german dubbing it wont be as bad like the one for SUDDEN FURY – the german dubbing for SF was pretty bad and sounded like a cheap Porn Flick (laughs).

Darren Ward :
A DAY OF VIOLENCE has to date been released in the UK (101 films), US (MVD), France (Elephante Films) and on VOD in Spain. The German release in sometime later this year by Illusions Unlimited. I have heard some of the German dub and it is a major improvement over the SUDDEN FURY dub (laughs).

UkF :
Just let us go one step back in your Filmography.
In 2004 you made a Shortmovie named NIGHTMARES which I sadly haven’t seen.
Could you please tell us a bit about NIGHTMARES, like a short synopsys and facts about the Production?
Are there any plans to release NIGHTMARES on DVD?

Darren Ward :
NIGHTMARES revolves around a fictitious serial killer who recounts his crimes to camera, so as an audience he is talking directly into the lens at you! We then have flashbacks to some of his previous crimes. I wrote the script after being interested in all the serial killer cases that were rife in the media here in the UK (Fred West, Harold Shipman). These guys turned out to be some of the worst cases in the UK and you had people saying I knew them for years, such a nice guy etc etc……. I just wanted to get across that these people truly exist and blend into society.

NIGHTMARES was shot over 3 days in October 2003 on Super 16 and went onto win several awards (Worldfest Houston, Silver Remi Fantasy/Horror), it was also shown over 50 times on SKY (Propeller TV).

I would love for it to be available on DVD it only runs for 11mins but I have extensive footage of behind the scenes and making of….. I do plan to edit this into a featurette including the film. Maybe it would come out around 60 mins+.

UkF :
Have you ever thought about to re-release your first Shortmovies, which were also released as a compilation on VHS with the Title 3 TICKETS TO HELL?
Maybe in a remastered version and with NIGHTMARES included too?
I am sure there still are a lot of Darren Ward Fans who would appreciate a Release!

Darren Ward :
I would love to but unfortunately PAURA, BLUE FEAR & BITTER VENEGEANCE were only ever shot on VHS, so re-mastering is out of the question. However I would love to see them released again and with NIGHTMARES added who knows. Is there anyone reading this who wants to make it happen?!


UkF :
I noticed that it usualy takes a few years till you direct a new movie, after SUDDEN FURY it took 12 long years till ADOV was released.
What is the reason that it took so long? Do you need a creative break to be more productive or do you didn’t have the time to direct more movies?
I assume that you cant make a living with directing movies an besides your work as a director you have a regular fulltime Job to be able to pay your bills?

Darren Ward :
Well, after SUDDEN FURY I took a 3 year gap and wrote a few screenplays (Insurrection – an epic zombie film, Passion – Giallo and Beyond Fury). I came close to getting 1 million to make INSURRECTION but in the end it came to nothing. Then I made NIGHTMARES in 2003 and after the success of the festival circuit (Premiered in Hollywood at the Arclight cinema as part of The LA International Short Film Festival in 2004) I decided to write a feature film of NIGHTMARES which I finished in late 2005. I then started writing the script for ADOV shortly after the birth of my daughter in mid 2006. This impacted on the storyline as I wanted to know how far someone would go for family. Ultimately ADOV would turn out to be my next film. We started shooting ADOV in June 2007 and completed in April 2009. The film started to play film festivals and was released on UK DVD in August 2010.

I work full-time in the NHS and have done so for the last 22 years! It pays the mortgage and gives me the freedom to have time to write and plan my films.

UkF :
The next Movie you gonna direct will be BEYOND FURY which is a Sequel to SUDDEN FURY.
Can you tell us a bit about the 3rd Part of your crime trilogy?
Will this be the last, closing chapter?

Darren Ward :
Yes and I can’t wait to make the final part. It has been on my radar since 2002 and has changed many times to become what is now the finished script! WALKER returns for the final part in my crime trilogy and he is a completely different person to when we last saw him in SUDDEN FURY.

Now just in his forties he has left the world of hired guns well behind and has settled into a normal lifestyle. Walker and his pregnant girlfriend Claudia are out celebrating their new dream apartment when they decide to walk back home across the park.

They are brutally attacked by a gang of street thugs resulting in the death of Claudia and the unborn child. Walker is left barely alive…….

What follows is an explosion of action and brutality on a biblical scale.

So far we have a great cast in place:

Nick Rendell will reprise the Walker role. Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Barbara Cupisti, Bobby Rhodes & Dan Van Husen are all attached to the film.

We just need to secure finance so we can start making the film. Anybody interested in financing should contact me at contactus@giallofilms.com

UkF :
Do you already have a project you want to do after BEYOND FURY?

Darren Ward :
I have an epic Zombie film script entitled ‘Insurrection’, that would be great fun to make. We came close some years back to getting a million pound budget....

UkF :
Did a lot changed on the Indie Movie Sector since you started?
Is it easier or more difficult today to find people to invest money in Indie Movies?

Darren Ward :
It has changed a lot over the years. There are now so many indie directors out there making movies and with cheap technology available it is easier than ever to grab a camera and make a film. However, it is much harder finding people to invest large amounts into a film when the market at the moment seems so unpredictable.

UkF :
In the UK the Indie Scene has grown a lot and there are a few directors like Alex Chandon, Neil Marshall, Craig Strachan, James Eaves, Pat Higgins, Alan Ronald or also Nik Box from DEAD GOOD FILMS LIKE.
Are there any connections and/or support in the Indie Movie scene in the UK?
Do you know some of the directors personaly?

Darren Ward :
I know Alex, James (James lives 15mins from me) and Pat personally, whenever we catch-up with each other, it is always each other’s projects that get discussed first! LOL We like keeping tabs on each other!

On a serious note though, everybody supports each other, we share contacts and experience and help each other out where and if possible.


UkF :
Do you know any Indie Directors outside the UK like Germany – Directors like Timo Rose, Andreas Schnaas or Olaf Ittenbach?
Do you know some personaly and do you like their work?

Darren Ward :
I know of all three directors work, but unfortunately I have only met Olaf (usually at film festivals in Germany!), great guy and full of energy! Blood and gore…of course I like their work!

UkF :
What are your Top 10 All Time Movies?

Darren Ward :
All Sergio Leone films!!

I have never been able to narrow down the huge amount of movies I love to ten! Here are some titles that I really do like and have watched 100’s of times.


UkF :
Who is your favorite Director/your favorite Directors?

Darren Ward :
Sergio Leone for his pure visual style and perfect framing. I also love the following in no particular order.

Dario Argento, Ruggero Deodato, Lucio Fulci, Martin Scorsese, Brian de Palma, Clint Eastwood, Michele Soavi, Sam Peckinpah, John Woo…………………

UkF :
If you could do a remake of a Horror / Exploitation Movie of your choice, which one would it be?

Darren Ward :
I would love to have a crack at CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD

UkF :
Which movies have a bigger influence on you, the US or the European Flicks?

Darren Ward :
European for sure!

UkF :
Which of your own movies do you like best; which one you like the less?

Darren Ward :
ADOV is my current favorite, followed by Sudden Fury and Nightmares on a par.

UkF :
Which Movie did you recently watched and how did you liked it?

Darren Ward :
Maniac remake….bloody loved it – amazing soundtrack and camera work was very gialli..

UkF :
What do you think about the Horror Movie Remake Madness of the last couple years?
Which Remake you like best and which one you didn’t like at all?

Darren Ward :
I am really sick of all the constant rehashes and sequels to films that don’t deserve them in the first place. If only indie directors with original ideas and exciting scripts could be given a chance. I totally get the reason behind them though (milk as much money as possible). So until people stop watching them, then be prepared!

However some remakes are good.

Texas Chainsaw
Hills have Eyes
Halloween 2

Not so good!

Evil Dead

UkF :
Are there any Actors you would love to work with?
Who is your favorite actor?

Darren Ward :
I would love to work with Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro, Kevin Bacon, Asia Argento, Natalie Portman.

My favorite actor still alive today is Clint Eastwood.

UkF :
If you would win 1 Million $ in a Lottery, what would you do with the money?
I guess making more movies (laughs)?

Darren Ward :
I would jump straight into making BEYOND FURY and wouldn’t need to worry about any compromises!

UkF :
Thank you sooo much for doing this interview for our forum Darren! It’s a great honor for us and I really enjoyed it!
I cant wait to receive the Screener for ADOV from you and to write a detailed Review and hope ADOV will get recognition in Germany and other countries!
I wish you good luck and that you keep making independent movies for the next decades!
I really do hope that ADOV is succesfull and that we will be able to see BEYOND FURY soon!
You can say some closing words now (if you like);)

Darren Ward :
Many thank indeed Daniel – It has been great talking to you and I hope everybody in Germany really likes the upcoming release of ADOV from Illusions Unlimited. I to hope the wait for BEYOND FURY isn’t too long!!!!


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