WAYNE KRAMER (biography on thereelblog.com, April, 2013)
Wayne Kramer is one of the most distinctive voices to have emerged over the last couple of decades. Favouring the crime genre, he's an uncompromising writer-director whose films are exciting, authentic, provocative and challenging. Kramer's first film THE COOLER (2003) drew acclaim and commercial success, and secured Alec Baldwin an Oscar nomination. RUNNING SCARED (2006) is now a huge cult film, and a once-in-a-lifetime blending of grindhouse crime movie thrills and Grimm's fairytale storytelling. CROSSING OVER (2009) is an ambitious drama focussed on the trials and tribulations of various immigrants in the sprawling city of L.A. Kramer's new film PAWN SHOP CHRONICLES (2013) is due to open soon ...
Do you always try to go in a different direction for each film?
I don't really look at it like that. Everything is based on its own merits. I'm not someone who has a problem being typecast as a director of crime stories or dark, intense films. I'm certainly not the guy Hollywood comes to when they need someone to make something like THE HANGOVER (2009). I've been offered bigger Hollywood films - franchise sequels to films like UNDERWORLD (2003). I just didn't think I could bring anything distinctive to films like that. The characters and the look of the worlds have already been created. I'm just not a gun-for-hire kind of guy. I have to feel very passionate about a project in order to take the journey because it's going to be hugely stressful upon my life. After I walked off BULLET TO THE HEAD (2013), a project that I was going to be well compensated for, I ended up doing PAWN SHOP CHRONICLES, my new film, for no money. I put my fee back into the production just so we could get some production value on the screen. It was kind of a palate cleanser. It's all for the love of making films. I have a hard time faking anything. If I did a film that I had no interest in making, where everything was a slog, it would turn out to be a bad movie. The excitement and the vitality of a director has to be felt through the entire process and communicated to the actors. I can never see myself cashing a paycheque and making a film I would never go see.
What can you tell us about PAWN SHOP CHRONICLES?
It's the first film I've directed and not written myself, and is unlike any film I've done. It's written by Adam Minarovich from TV's 'The Walking Dead'. I just loved the sensibility of the script and I felt like that could've been my voice. lt's very darkly humorous, very black, and is going to upset a lot of people. Many people are just not going to get it. It's very transgressive. It's closer in tone to some of the early Coen Brothers film like RAISING ARIZONA (1987) or THE BIG LEBOWSKI (1998). It's very quirky but it has some crime film elements to it as well. It has a sort of redneck, PULP FICTION (1994) structure to it. You'll get to see actors like Paul Walker, Elijah Wood, Vincent D'Onofrio, Matt Dillon and Brendan Fraser doing stuff you've never seen them do before. It was a very stressful production because there was never enough money.
Born in South Africa [in 1965], Wayne Kramer immigrated to the United States in 1986 to pursue a career in film after graduating from the Johannesburg School for Art, Drama and Music.