Darren Ward - Rising Fury

Interview by SGM USA correspondent Carl Isonhart

Many of our readers will know that Alan has been championing the talents of Darren Ward and his merry crew, and also the visceral qualities of his film 'Sudden Fury'. Darren was kind enough to grant us an interview and to talk about some of the memories from that film, and from his time making films up to the present.

Darren Ward and pals

This interview took me forever to complete due to many things outside of my control. Darren was always available and always happy to do this, no matter how many obstacles I ran into. So please, take the time to read this, and to check out the films that Darren has made, all of which are listed in here. Darren is a great filmmaker, and from what I found one heck of a guy also!

Q. Congratulations on your upcoming DVD release for SUDDEN FURY on the UK and US shores! Let me start by asking�what film study background do you have?

A. None. I never did any traditional film study. Everything I know about films is what I taught myself from trial and error and watching too many movies.

I met up with a group of film makers after leaving school in 1989, who under their own moniker 'Andal Visions' they had made vhs-c low budget horror films. I was introduced to the group through a mutual friend. The next thing I knew I was having my neck cast which was later bitten out in our horror zombie film short DEAD TIME.

Ever since, I have worked with one of the guys, Alistair Vardy, who is a pyrotechnic wiz. His credits include; Event Horizon, Lock stock, Snatch, Messiah 2, Behind Enemy Lines to name a few. Alistair's exceptional work is clear throughout Sudden Fury.

Q. That's quite an impressive resume he has! Any chance of his bringing your stuff to some of these big-wigs and getting a film for you? Hate to have friends knocking on doors and all, but you have to do what you have to do! Or is a bug-budget film bit that inviting to you? After all, look what happened to Guy Ritchie!

A. I have always strived to get there under my own steam, but to be honest if the opportunity were to arise and a Hollywood big-wig saw the film through Alistair, then I wouldn't complain. You don't look a gift horse in the mouth in this industry!! Guy Ritchie should never have involved his missus.

Three Tickets To Hell

Q. How many films is this for you now, and how can we get hold of the others?

A. Sudden Fury is my fourth film, my first full length feature. My other 3 movies were all shorts-

1. Paura il Diavolo 45 mins 1992 (horror)

2. Blue Fear 70 mins 1993 (Giallo)

3. Bitter Vengeance 17 mins 1994 (Action. Sudden Fury is a remake of this short)

The early films were released in Germany and re-titled Darren Ward's Three Tickets to Hell. They were released in 1997 by Incredibly Strange Video. These were the guys who co funded Sudden Fury. They have not been released anywhere else at the present time.

Q. Are these still available through anybody that you know of?

A. I think Chainsaw video may still sell them, but I honestly don't know.

Q. You mention on the 'Sudden Fury' commentary track that you like the camera movement of Italian directors, and that it helps make a small budget film gain the look of a larger budget. Do you take time well before shooting to set-up these shots, or are there times where you decide to add these movements once you are on the set?

A. For the most part of filming I knew the shots were going to happen, so yes, a lot of preparation went into setting up the track and dolly. Sometimes on set it became apparent that doing a dolly shot would work better than say a static shot. The equipment was always there on set, just incase.

Q. SUDDEN FURY has some elaborate gun battles, who choreographed these battles?

A. I choreographed all the gunfights, this was done at script stage. I knew from the onset that the film would rely very heavily in the action department. I must have watched every John Woo movie available at the time. My brother is a huge heroic bloodshed fan, he had a whole lot of Chinese, hong kong imports.

We would not always film the exact script version of these scenes. Sometimes on set we found ourselves introducing props that hadn't entered our mind before shooting.

For example in the warehouse shoot-out with David Warbeck, I wrote the scene of 'Pike' running into a porta cabin and there 'Walker' would kill him. It wasn't until we were shooting the scene that I thought it would be much better for David's character to climb on to the cabin roof and get shot. A lot of fun was had on set when everyone's ideas came together.

Q. John Woo has commented on how he knows very little about guns, do you have any knowledge, or does it all stem from Woo's lack of knowledge?

A. I love guns, I know enough to know what guns I like to use in my films, but I wouldn't know the names of parts etc. As long as they look good and kick ass that's fine with me. Watching plenty of action movies certainly opens the door too what guns are available.

the late great David Warbeck

Q. How long did it take to get David Warbecks scenes done?

A. The torture scene in the garage was filmed over one day, the shootout over three days. Four in total, but what a great four days!!!

Q. How was his health at the time?

A. David had early signs of illness, but he never complained. He was always an absolute scream to be around. His stories covering the 80 plus movies he made were just utterly amazing. He does look slimmer in his scenes if you compare the two.

I can honestly say though in the eighteen months I knew David we became great friends, it was simply an honour to work with someone I had grown up watching. It was a great loss when he passed away.

Q. Was this his last film?

A. Yes. Sudden Fury is the last movie David appeared in. Between filming with me he did work for Jake West in 'Razor Blade Smile'. Then a couple of months later we filmed the warehouse scene.

Q. Did he ever get a chance to see his work, that you know of?

A. He certainly did, luckily David got to see rough cuts of both his scenes before his untimely death. He was so proud of his work and the film, he even insisted 'Sage Stallone' watch the scenes in one of their meetings prior to recording an audio commentary for Grind Houses 'The Beyond' DVD.

Q. Any desire to return to the Giallo film?

A. I would love to do a very violent giallo. I have had an idea for a script for some time. Recently I have been putting the finishing touches to a script for the 'Sudden Fury' sequel. The working title is 'Beyond Fury'. We will soon be seeking the budget for this.

Q. Any hints as to what the plot for BEYOND FURY might be?

A. 'Beyond Fury' starts with 'Walker' being rushed into hospital, only for 'Wyman' the stake-out guy from the first movie seeing him and trying to inform 'Randall' of his whereabouts. At this stage 'Wyman' has no clue that 'Randall' is dead.

It turns out that a big drugs gang from London had invested 10 million pounds in Randall's drug factory, now with 'Randall' dead and their money lost, they seek revenge and go after 'Walker'

I don't really want to give anymore than that away, but rest assured not everything goes to plan and even more carnage than the first movie erupts across the screen.

I am currently seeking finance for the film, so if anyone reading this is interested???

Q. Any chance of us getting a film with the character of "Jimmy"? With as brutal as he was in the beginning, I was a little disappointed that he didn't carry on that role for the whole film.

bloody mayhem

A. Andy Ranger was brilliant as Jimmy, in the movie his character calmed as soon as Walker appeared on screen. To me, Jimmy respects Walker even though this isn't necessary crystal clear in the movie. You see a lot of dislike for one another, but maybe that is mutual respect as well???!!!!? Andy is now living in Australia, but I would love to work with him again.

Q. Any chance of resurrecting him for BEYOND FURY?

A. I don't see an option for 'Jimmy' coming back from the dead, not unless we do a John Woo thing and make him Jimmy's twin brother!!!

Q. In SUDDEN FURY, Walker is shown in combat, what war was this meant to be?

A. Purely fictitious, it was orchestrated to set up a past between Lennox and Walker.

Q. Along with the Italian directors, are you influenced at all by Tarantino, Richie, or Rodriquez, or do you think you all have a similar style due to all having almost the exact same influences?

A. Tarantino and Rodriquez to a degree. I loved the gunfights in Desparado. Tarantino blasted onto the scene and the energy in his movies are amazing. I think any young film maker today would be hard pushed not to include Tarantino as an influence.

Q. Stupid question time! If you could have the ability to work on your dream project, what might it most resemble? Who would you cast, what would it be about (roughly, no secrets revealed please) and all that clap-trap.

A. God what a loaded question! Taking the first thought that enters my head, I would have to say that I would like to make a true horror fan's horror film. There has been too many horror/comedy, or horror/teens movies.

All the great true horrors ceased to be made from the mid eighties onwards. I have written a horror film called 'Insurrection' which involves a modern day special ops team going after a team of undead. Unlike Fulci and Romero's zombies, these guys act like humans in speed and thought process, but are dead and eat flesh!! Ian McCulloch was due to star in it but the money never came.

The script was sent to Miramax and Warners to name a few, but was deemed unsuitable in the then current climate (2000/2001).

It's a shame as it really does go for the jugular. As for dream cast, well again the choice is overwhelming. I would love to work with a lot of the horror gang from the Italian classics and some modern stars!!!

SGM would like to thanks Darren for his time and patience with his participation in this (long overdue) interview. Darren has informed us that 'Sudden Fury' has been passed uncut by the BBFC, so expect a UK release in September (all going well). German readers can pick up a nice special edition currently available from Dragon Films and US readers can pick up up a copy now also as it's just been released by the lovely folk at Sub Rosa.You can order a copy direct by clicking here.

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