It has been one of the surprise hits of 2018, a film that some have said has turned the whole serial killer genre on its head, and while critics have been quick to compare it to films like Seven or The Silence Of The Lambs a quick chat with director Johnny Martin about his brand new film Hangman quickly reveals that this is a film right out there on its own.
Martin began his career in Hollywood as a stuntman working on classic films like Terminator 2, Titanic and Enemy Of The State just to name a few of the more than 150 films he worked. In later years though Martin has made a name for himself as a gritty director who has got to work with actors like Nicolas Cage (Ghost Rider, Gone In 60 Seconds). With Hangman Martin brings even more talent into his fold working with the legendary Al Pacino (The Godfather, Dog Day Afternoon) and current Hollywood ‘it’ man Karl Urban (The Lord Of The Rings, Star Trek).
“So basically I did a movie with Nicolas Cage called Vengeance: A Love Story,” says Martin when I asked him how he became involved with Hangman. “It was a movie about rape and it was a very hard movie to film and how to know how to make it different and I struggled with that, but that was how I became involved with Hangman because the financier said to me ‘are you interested in working on a movie like Se7en? It is with Al Pacino so you would have to meet with him.’ Then they him (Pacino) my movie and he saw the rape scene and he thought it was brilliant and he as a filmmaker he liked it so much, so I got invited to go to his house and when I got there I was so nervous because everybody was pounding into my head that I was making the next Seven and I said ‘I don’t read that, I don’t know what you guys are reading because in Seven you follow the horror character, the killer, but this movie is about four people that are struggling with their lives and they are part of each other and want to help each other out and get them through this’.”
“To me though this was more of a character piece and then when I got to Al Pacino’s house he is like ‘so is this going to be like a Se7en?’ and I said ‘Al, I’m sorry but I disagree with that, this movie isn’t like that, this is a character piece that needs to have intense moments but is really about the struggle of these four people, that’s what is going to tell the story.’ I was nervous about how he was going to respond to that but he said ‘Oh my God I was so hoping that you were going to say something else rather than Se7en’ and then we were together for like four or five hours and we went through the script and were doing dialogue together and we were making changes and then it just all came together!”
Hangman is out now on VOD and DVD.