Interview with Armin Siljkovic on Death Waits for No Man
The Postman Always Rings Twice meets John Dahl in writer-director Armin Siljkovic’s neon-doused indie noir-thriller Death Waits for No Man.
Expected to release late 2017/early 2018, it’s the unnerving and complex chronicle of a neon art collector that seduces a lone drifter into killing her abusive husband.
Black Sails’ Angelique Pretorius headlines a cast that includes Bradley Snedeker, Corey Rieger and Travis Myers.
We spoke to Siljkovic ahead of the release.
Q: Tell us about your beginnings in film…
A: I started making short films as a way to learn how to make movies. I didn’t go to film school and I always wanted to direct the screenplays that I wrote. So the only way was to go out there and make short films and learn.
Q: Is there a genre you think you gravitate towards more than another?
A: I gravitate towards thrillers and film noirs. I like the darkness that they bring to cinema, not just visually but emotionally as well. Film noir is a genre that tends to challenge the audience as much as entertain them, and I love that.
Q: How do you categorise Death Waits for No Man? What category would place it under if you were running iTunes?
A: Technically it would be “thriller” but it’s a modern film noir.
Q: Looking at your back catalog, it would seem you’re a filmmaker that considers substance as important as style, much like the classic filmmakers.
A: I think you can only go so far with style in a film. You can have a beautiful, stylish film that will keep the audience engaged for 20-30 minutes, but then what? You need substance in the form of great characters and a story to sustain the movie.
Q: How important is sound to you?
A: It’s just as important as the cinematography. I’m fortunate to have a great sound designer and composer in Joseph ‘Sloe’ Slawinski. I’ve worked with him for years on my short films. He’s a real artist when it comes to sound and how it affects a scene, the characters, and the movie as a whole.
Q: Where do you think your strengths lie as a writer?
A: I think writing compelling characters and then putting them in crazy situations is my strong side. But I’m sure most writers would say the same.
Q: What about as a filmmaker?
A: As a filmmaker/director, you have to have a lot of “strengths”. You have to know how to work with actors, you have to know about cinematography and what shots to go with, you have to know about editing and pacing, and you have to know about music and sound design and their emotional impact on the movie. You have to stay on top of all those aspects of filmmaking, because ultimately, it’s your film and it’s your responsibility.
Q: Is there a moment in the film you’re especially proud of?
A: There are a couple of really intense scenes that I was nervous about, but the actors did a great job and pulled it off. You can write a great, tense and suspenseful scene, but you need the actors to actually bring it to life and make it believable. And I think they did on Death Waits For No Man.
Q: Had you worked with Bradley Snedeker before? Looks like he has those classic Hollywood-looks and could go far..
A: This was the first time working with Bradley. He doesn’t just have the “classic Hollywood look”, he’s also a great actor who understood the part and worked really hard. It was a difficult part for an actor — he had little dialogue and had to communicate a lot non-verbally, while at the same time being someone the audience can identify with.
Q: How is he to work with? Was he collaborative?
A: For sure. All the actors were collaborative and showed up prepared and ready for battle. You can’t ask for more as a director.
Q: Where did you shoot?
A: We shot Death Waits For No Man on location in Los Angeles.
Q: Is the location as much a star of the movie as the actors are?
A: Not the location itself, but I would say the art design is. Every room is designed with a particular color in mind, and we used neon lights in different colors to accentuate the colors and art design.