02nd Oct2017

‘Armstrong’ Interview: Directors Kerry Carlock & Nicholas Lund-Ulrich

by Philip Rogers

With the upcoming release of the Armstrong on VOD and DVD, I was lucky enough to ask directors Kerry Carlock and Nicholas Lund-Ulrich a few questions regarding one of the most original superhero movies in years… If you haven’t read my review yet, check it out right here

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Where did the concept of Armstrong come from?

KERRY: Nick and I have always wanted to make a film together but when we started seriously talking about it, we wanted to find a concept would speak to each of us. It had to be something that would keep us engaged and feel personal to each of us.
NICK: Yeah, so for me I really wanted to do something with a superhero that had a sci-fi element and for Kerry it was a great female lead and something that felt intimate and real.
KERRY: Combining those two points of view was a challenging mashup but I think what we came up with is very unique and hopefully very exciting to fans of both genres.

Why did you choose to give Armstrong only one arm as a weapon?

NICK: This movie was shot for $150,000. We knew Armstrong would have to have superpowers that were doable on that budget.
KERRY: Nick knows his strengths as a visual effects artist and a bionic arm seemed to be the perfect low budget, high production value weapon.
NICK: It gave us lots of possible ways to fight the bad guys but was also contained enough that it was easy to track and animate.

Are there any plans for a sequel or even an origins prequel to Armstrong?

NICK: Every comic book has a next issue!
KERRY: The end of the movie felt inevitable and the right way to tell Lauren’s story. It wasn’t our intention to just set up a sequel but enough people have asked us about it that its something we need to seriously consider!

What is your process for directing the film together?

KERRY: We spent many years developing and writing the script and that forced us to hash out different ideas way in advance. So by the time we were on set we were really on the same page.
NICK: We didn’t go into it with a plan but what ended up happening organically was we’d divvy up the scenes for the day and figure out who would take a lead during what scene.
KERRY: We didn’t realize it until about half way through the shoot but that’s what happened and it worked really well so we just kept doing it that way!

By directing the film together, you can work to each other’s strengths. What do you think the other person brings to the film?

NICK: A director has to wear many hats and it’s nice to have a teammate who can help you juggle all of it. Kerry naturally gravitates toward dialogue and emotion…
KERRY: And Nick likes to work very visually…
NICK: So having all of those bases covered makes the whole process easier for all of our cast and crew- not just us! It was a big help on set because we could split up and cover more ground, which for a tiny budgeted movie like this was invaluable.

What makes Armstrong stand out from other superhero movies?

KERRY: We wanted Armstrong to be an intimate character driven movie rather than a bigger spectacle driven one- so it feels totally different than what audiences might expect.
NICK: We feel like there are not too many other smaller superhero movies out there and I think our experiment worked because a smaller movie totally lends itself to the genre.

What is your favourite scene in the film?

NICK: I think my favorite scene is between Lauren and Armstrong in the parking garage. It features great performances from Shawn and Vicky, great dialog from Nick Rufca, our writer, and the whole scene really captured alot of the ideas we wanted to show in Armstrong.
KERRY: I love the last minutes of the film. The movie starts with Lauren by herself and it comes full circle at the end as she tries to figure out her next move. We worked really hard to make those final moments work and it took a village! It feels like the right moment for the movie and it feels like the greatest accomplishment for us as a team.

Did Armstrong have any additional abilities which weren’t used in the film?

NICK: We had discussed an energy shield gag, where he could block bullets but during production we didn’t have time to shoot the shot which would feature it.
KERRY: And at one point in the script there was some magnetic powers but it almost felt too simple. Like there was cooler technology to mine.
NICK: We always envisioned the arm as like a swiss army knife! It’s kind of like a soldiers tool kit, providing solutions for absolutely any situation.

Armstrong has bionic arm which contains a multitude of different weaponry and gadgets. If you had to choose an alternative part of the body to make bionic, what part would you choose and why?

NICK: I think some sort of armored/bionic headpiece would be really cool. The face is the thing that really expresses our humanity so if that is missing the character becomes really monstrous and strange.

If someone is looking to direct their first film, what advice would you give them?

NICK: Surround yourself with cool smart talented people to help you get your movie made. Our producers, Doug Bilitch and Paul Rocha were invaluable in everything they brought to the production- including their own set of cool smart talented people that they had worked with before.
KERRY: Our AMAZING DP Amanda Treyz made our little movie look like a million bucks! And she brought on some of her people who were all so awesome. It was a ripple effect and everyone just made it happen. We can’t stress enough that to make a good movie you need good people.
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Armstrong will be available on VOD and DVD (Walmart only) from October 3rd.

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