The Movie Waffler Interview - RED HANDED Director Frank Peluso | The Movie Waffler

Interview - RED HANDED Director Frank Peluso

frank peluso interview
Writer/director Frank Peluso discusses his new thriller.

When their father is murdered, three brothers descend upon an Oregon mountain river to spread his ashes. After they arrive, one of their children goes missing. One of the brothers was himself abducted 30 years ago when they visited this same river, but he has blocked the incident out of his mind. Only by unlocking the mysteries inside his subconscious, will they be able find the child and return him to safety. Writer/director Frank Peluso talks about his new film Red Handed.

red handed poster

What a creepy thrill-ride! Did anyone or anything inspire the film, Frank?

The real life story of a friend of mine, Scott, and the abuse he endured as a child, the devastating truth that he told me, that was the inspiration for the protagonist, Pete.

Tell us about the film’s conception – how did it come to be?

One afternoon I was sitting at Nick Cassavetes' kitchen table. He said we should make a movie at a ranch in Oregon that belongs to a dear friend of ours, Mike Marvin, who directed Nick in The Wraith. Because the setting is ominous, where the fog rolls in in the morning, we thought the film must be a psychological thriller or a horror film. I suggested a story of three brothers and then Nick said "What if one of the brothers was taken when he was a child?" That was the magic "What if?", and then we just had to fill in the blanks after that.

Nick Cassavetes onboard to produce from the beginning? How did that happen?

I worked as Nick’s director’s assistant on four films, starting with The Notebook. Nick is my mentor and dear friend and taught me everything I know about filmmaking.

And what kind of advice did he have for you in those early days?

While Nick was making a film, he would always let me be right by his side when he was directing actors. Unless it was a really personal moment, in which case he would go off and tell them the direction privately. But it was never really private, since the actors were always miked! So I was able to listen to all the magnificent directions he gave to some of the greatest film actors in the world for years. This education was priceless.

Is it hard to write ‘scares’ into a film? Do most of the scares just happen on the day or are they something engraved into the script?

It’s really hard, I wish I was better at it! My editor’s dad, Richard Halsey, who won the Oscar for Rocky, saw an early cut and told me that we needed to get some more shots to make it scarier. So I took a few actors back to Oregon and shot some new footage for a couple days. This was a month after principal wrapped. What do ya know, he was right.

Is there a sequel idea?

We kicked around a couple ideas when we were on set. Christian Madsen, who plays the boy’s dad, had an idea that what if his character was also captured as a boy? And at the end of the movie, we would see that he has the same Satanic symbol, the serpent bite marks on his shoulder that Pete has. We actually put him in makeup and shot it, so we have it. But we didn’t include the footage in this film because we thought we wrapped it up on the correct emotional plane.

Red Handed is now available on DVD and Digital from High Octane Pictures.