Interview with Stuart Urban Writer and Director of May I Kill U?

urlTelling the story of a psychopathic bicycle policeman tweeting his killings in a warped mission to clean up the London streets the brilliant satirical highly topical black comedy May I Kill U? is finally out on DVD and Blu-Ray and a must see for anyone with a dark sense of humor and a love of horror. We managed to quiz writer and director Stuart Urban on his amazing movie, casting Kevin Bishop and his views on some of the controversial topics his film tackles.

Love Horror: At 13 you became the youngest director to participate at Cannes with a short film you had made, how did you get from there to working in television?

Stuart Urban: I worked on any film I could in school and university holidays, including Caligula. Then I made a short a year before graduating that was a spoof promotion for an assault rifle. It toured festivals and got me in as they youngest director to do a film drama at the BBC in 1982.

Love Horror: Is the jump from TV to film a big or a small one and what are some of the major differences?url-1

Stuart Urban: Nowadays, the borders are becoming blurred, particularly with the constant crossover of talent. I would say that longform TV series obviously engage the viewer in a different way. Personally, though, I prefer seeing a different movie every day, from all the world, and any genre. To me, that’s being more alive than watching yet another Mad Men or Borgen or Breaking Bad, brilliant though they are.

Love Horror: What’s the best advice you can give to anyone trying to make it in movies?

Stuart Urban: The equipment and opportunities to interact with your audience and even raise money with crowd funding are so extraordinary that I’d say you teach yourself and pick up a camera. And devote all your time not making the film to pushing it on social media ?

Love Horror: How did you come up with the idea and story for May I Kill U?

Stuart Urban: It was in my newly acquired half-sleep state that I find reaches me at dawn nowadays, quite often. I dream or meditate on ideas for films. This one was, “what if a killer’s victims agreed with him? Or appeared to?”. Next day I felt it was absurd, so why not turn it into a black comedy?

Love Horror: How long did the shoot take and what where some of the challenges you faced while filming?

Stuart Urban: 27 days. The challenges were having a lot of locations, having a fair bit of action and effects, and being in public so often. It was handy having two lead actors in police uniform that kept quite a few bad boys at bay in dodgy areas. They were so confused! Oh, and our stuntman police cyclist who was on a filming run with mini cameras got chased by a police car but managed to give them the slip.

May I Kill U?

Love Horror: What where some of your inspirations when it came to scripting and shooting May I Kill U?

Stuart Urban: It was the interface, I suppose, that will soon arise between the serial killer’s quest for fame and his “audience”. Why are people so obsessed with them? What will social media do to amplify this and let killers interact? It’s already happening, there have been three cases since I wrote the script that in some way relate to this new idea of killing on the web (Breivik in Norway, Merah in France, and Rocco Magnotta in Canada).

Love Horror: Kevin Bishop is absolutely brilliant as Baz, how did he become involved in the film and how closely did you work with him on creating what is such a complex character?

Stuart Urban: He did a blinding audition, I loved his TV comedy, and I loved his film acting. We did a fair amount of rehearsal and preparation, but he was absolutely on the same wavelength. I felt he made Baz totally human, and that is difficult to achieve.

May I Kill U?

Love Horror: The film is most definitely a black comedy, how hard is it to tread that line between funny and frightening?

Stuart Urban: Most definitely! Some people find the film sick and unfunny. Sorry ?

Love Horror: May I Kill U? comments on the world we live in especially in regards to social media, what are your opinions on how Facebook and Twiter have changed the world around us?

Stuart Urban: I feel this is not something I can answer in a few words. Got a few hours?

Love Horror: The film is visually very stylised at times, what was your thinking behind using less standardised way of telling the story?

Stuart Urban: I adore fantasy films. I broke out of TV, despite having been lucky enough to help craft Bafta-winning dramas, because I wanted to step out of conventional realism. It bores me, actually, and it’s the bane of a lot of British film-making. At times I was satirising it in my stylisation here.

May I Kill U?

Love Horror: As a Londoner myself I found the scenes of the London riots at the start of the film still felt very raw. What was your take on what happened during those few frighteningly anarchic days and what do you think have been the after affects on the country as a whole?

Stuart Urban: I think it was a frightening descent into mindless materialism, caused as much by materialism as by disaffection. Everyone is just hoping they won’t come back, but I don’t know if the outreach programmes will have any effect in this recession.

Love Horror: Baz is most definitely an advocate of capital punishment, as long as they agree to it, what’s your opinion on the matter?

Stuart Urban: I am against nearly all of Baz’s opinions, and was playing devil’s advocate.

Love Horror: How have you found the film has been received?

Stuart Urban: I just had the best show of my life at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival last night. Even better than FrightFest. The genre crowd and press has been right behind this movie. On the other hand, traditional critics were mixed or hostile, except some brave chaps like good old Philip French of The Observer, who dared to speak out vehemently in favour of the film.

May I Kill U?

Love Horror: What’s next for you and do you think you will return to horror at all?

Stuart Urban: I am contemplating a sequel to Preaching to the Perverted. We are restoring it in a crowd-funding campaign at present which is going very well. Please give us a shout and check out our site Here! Also, I have written a script of the classic gothic Jewish “Frankenstein” legend, The Golem.

May I Kill U? is Out Now and you can read our review right Here.


Alex Humphrey

Alex studied film at the University of Kent and went on to work for Universal Pictures in their Post Room gaining an inside look at the movie industry from the very bottom. Constantly writing reviews in everything from local magazines to Hip Hop sites Alex honed his critical skills even spending a brief period as a restaurant critic. Read more

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