With Card Dead ready to shoot, we caught up with writer director Tim Thorne to find out where the sequel to his first feature, Killing Lionel, picks up
Tim Thorne: Funnily enough I wrote the treatment for ‘Card Dead’ in 2010 with my friend and co-founder of ‘Sunsetrider Productions‘ Pete Carroll. I then went on to develop the script over the next 3 years. It was around 2014 that I decided that I was going to shoot a feature after many amateur short film projects, but such was the scale of ‘Card Dead’ I decided that I would try and write a smaller sub-plot film before it, which ultimately turned into ‘Killing Lionel‘, which we shot in 2015.
D&CFilm: Where does Card Dead pick up from Killing Lionel?
Tim Thorne: Card Dead picks up 3 years after the events of Killing Lionel. Eagle eyed/eared viewers will pick up cross over references, especially concerning the main character of Card Dead, Woody. Both films work without each other, but they also tie together nicely.
D&CFilm: What did you learn – makes and what worked well – that you’re bringing into Card Dead?
Tim Thorne: I learnt that organisation and preparation is key. I knew this already though, having made a few short films, and each one of those I stepped up the organisation. I’m quite ott when it comes to lists, spreads etc, I guess even a little OCD :) On KL, I was organised, but not enough! I was very green back then and often stumbling around in the dark, lol. I’m blessed to have had such a great DoP in, Tom Turner, by my side, as he really did help me on some of the difficult sequences, basically co-directing some of them with me.
D&CFilm: How would you describe the look and feel your after for Card Dead, and is that different to Killing Lionel?
Tim Thorne: Stylistic, cartoon like and claustrophobic are just a few of the words I would use to describe the look and feel of CD. It will obviously differ from KL, which in essence was a film centred around an abused housewife, where as CD is focused on a game of poker. However I will certainly be bringing my style and stamp to CD, and I would hope that this would translate from KL, and the audience will be able to see it’s a film by this Director.
It’s interesting, as this is now my second feature, and I feel I’m still developing my style. I’m learning so much though, and I can’t wait to get going! Being the writer too does help, as I’m not trying to translate some one else’s vision.
D&CFilm: How about cast and crew – who’s coming with you, and how difficult has it been to find people to fill the roles in front of and behind the camera?
Tim Thorne: Some of the cast from KL are in CD, and all of those guys were thrilled to be back to the fold shooting the follow up. The crew, I have kept the spine of the team, but as it is with life, others have moved on/away and are doing other things now.
Tom joins me again as DoP, and we have been working closely over the last few months, developing boards and sequences and trying to be as prepared as possible. In terms of filling the other places, my friend Phil Baker (who plays Eddie in both KL & CD) helped me tremendously with the C&C.
We put an advert out on social media which got a decent response, and with that and some other recommendations, I’ve done interviews and people sent over self-tape-auditions. It hasn’t been an easy task, but now we are fully cast and crewed up, it’s very gratifying.
We had a C&C meet-up day on the 19th of July, where we blocked out scenes, fitted costumes and had a read through. And seeing this all being brought to life after so many years, gave me a definite ‘Wow’ moment and almost a little tear!
D&CFilm: What locations have you found and how easy was it to get them and secure them?
Tim Thorne: The locations weren’t easy to come by, and I ended up going round in circles for a while.
There were of course, some easier ones which I went and visited, and everything slotted in nicely. But the locations for the main bulk of the film caused me the biggest headache. It was difficult, as sometimes you just don’t know what you’re after until you see it!
Anyway after no luck looking myself, I found a website online which specialises in finding locations in the Devon area. filmindevon.com is run by a guy called Steve Hart who has worked on some huge productions such as ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, and after phoning him up, I discovered he only lived about 25 mins down the road. I went to visit him and the rest is history. He found us a wonderful location, which basically has every location we need in one place.
D&CFilm: Killing Lionel has secured a worldwide DVD and Video On Demand distribution. How difficult was that – and how hard is getting your films out there?
Tim Thorne: Well, with KL we tried and tried in this country to get a distributor to take it on, but to no avail. In the end I had sort of given up, but then I thought no! I have come this far and I’ll be damned if I’m not gonna get this baby out there. A tremendous amount of work had gone into it by all concerned and it deserved to be seen. So I just started plastering it everywhere, on forums, social media and the like, in the hope that someone would see it.
Low and behold out of the blue, I got a message from a guy in Vegas called Cleo Flucker. He had seen the original teaser trailer we shot in 2015, and wanted to see more.
We had a private trailer for distributors to view, so I sent him that, and that’s when it all took off. He was shocked to think it hadn’t been picked up, and instantly asked me if he could represent me. It’s hard speaking to someone via IM over the other side of the world, but we did seem to hit it off and be on the same page from the start.
To cut a long story short, after some offers from other distributors, we finally got one from a company called ITN studios after Cleo had taken KL to the AFM in Santa Monica of November last year. The wife and I flew out to Las Vegas in January to meet with Cleo and sort out a deal. After that, the decision was made to get Card Dead off the ground and made in 2019.
Cleo arrives in the UK at the end of July to work on the project alongside me, and has a pivotal role in the film as one of the card players ‘Rolo Jones’.
D&CFilm: Now that you’re on your second feature, tell us a bit about your journey to becoming a filmmaker?
Tim Thorne: My story as a filmmaker is a long one, but I’m not gonna bore you with every detail. I always knew I wanted to be a filmmaker, from a very, very young age. My fascination on how movies were developed were put together, outweighed every other interest I had. And I walked around with a camera glued to my arm from as far back as I can remember.
It was around 2010, when writing the treatment for Card Dead that things really started to hot up, and a burning passion inside me to make films just wouldn’t go away. So I just started to make films with my close friends, some of which to this day are still acting in my features, and working on BTS, and design work. I really wouldn’t be here without those guys. I guess a real turning point was when I met up with Martin Ross, who was a local actor living only about 15 mins away from me.
We met via social media and I took him over the script for Killing Lionel which he loved. He put me in touch with Phil and Tom who I mentioned above, and the rest (and I know this is cliche) really is history! Here we are 5 years down the line making the follow up.
D&CFilm: It might seem a long way off, but when can we expect the see Card Dead?
Tim Thorne: Yes it is a little way off, but if we’ve learned one thing from KL is that having these deals in place before we make it is of the upmost importance. And Cleo has already been working on getting a deal in place. There was also a lot of hold-up with post production situations, which I have learnt from, so we won’t be making the same mistakes again that’s for certain. My Dad always said, it’s never a mistake if you learn from it, and that’s a definite when it comes to this! To answer your question though, I would hope that we would see CD late 2020 early 2021.
D&CFilm: Thanks for your time Tim, good luck with the shoot and we’ll be looking out for it!