Exclusive: RT Visits the Set of WAZ
Blood, gore and cement factories in Belfast.
Minutes earlier, she and co-star Stellan Skarsgard shared a emotional and dialogue-free exchange in an abandoned cement factory having just discovered the body of a seventy year-old woman with equations carved into her chest. We're gathered together on location in Belfast at three o'clock in the morning on the set of gritty psychological horror WAZ. It's a creepy environment to be in and a cold reality of movie-making glamour, or lack therof.
The script comes from City of Vice scribe Clive Bradley, who claims to have come up with the movie's premise after flicking through a book on Darwinism. "It featured a mathmatical equation - W Delta Z - formulated by American population geneticist George R. Price," he explains. "It supposedly shows that there's no real altruism in nature; no such thing as selflessness. Price was so upset by his findings that he ended up giving away all his possessions to the poor and, eventually homeless himself, committed suicide with a pair of nail scissors in a filthy London squat."
And filthy squats provide something of a backdrop for the film. Set in New York, it's about a pair of detectives attempting to solve a series of grisly murders in which the victims have this equation, WAZ, carved into their chests.
Stellan Skarsgard and Tom Hardy on the set of WAZ.
"I play a kind-of beleaguered cop called Eddie Argo," reveals Skarsgard as he joins RT behind the heaters, "but there's more to him than meets the eye. He has dark secrets and Melissa's character, Helen Westcott, who's his new partner, is having trouble dealing with him."
Joining them are Selma Blair, Ashley Walters and Tom Hardy. Argo's secrets connect all of these characters to one another and to the case they're trying to solve. Saying too much would give away the twisty-turny plot designed to keep you anchored to your seat for the film's runtime.
"It was the story that attracted me," continues Skarsgard. "It's a very good story, it's surprising and it has the potential to become something interesting I think, if Tom can create a universe that can carry the story, and I think he's doing that."
Selma Blair gets mean on the set of WAZ.
The film is being directed by Tom Shankland, who's making his feature-length debut with WAZ. The film's similarity to Se7en - detectives solving grisly murders - is not lost on the diector but, he claims, there's more to it than that. "I love Se7en but it's important, too, to point out that it's not just a rehash of that film," he tells RT. "We have to find our own style and identity. So there are shade of Se7en, but like any good drama you have to kill the father to kind-of grow up!"
The entire cement factory -- a real location forty-five minutes out of the city centre -- is bathed in just the right amount of light to give a suitably eerie atmosphere. As the hours of Belfast dark tick by and the rusted metal creeks, we're left in no doubt that is an ideal spot to shoot a horror film. The lights have been set up to illuminate the building just enough to shoot around, and cinematographer Morten Soborg, best known for his work on the Pusher films, is running around making sure it's suitable scary here. The crew are using shoulder-mounted High Definition digital cameras to keep the action moving and sharp.