I wrote the movie with Mark Palermo, a Canadian film critic from Halifax. We started it about three years ago on a trip to the Coachella music festival, where I stated I wanted to make a movie about high school. It took a year to beat out the story, then another year to write it. To be fair, I was busy with with my day job doing videos and commercials so the writing was sporadic.
But one day the Virginia Tech massacre happened, and then I finished reading a book about Columbine. I got really angry about these young psychopaths, finally knew what our movie was about. I flew Palermo down and devoted two
months. We hashed out a real draft over lots of bad diner food at 2 AM.
Pictured is Cinderella, most likely the film's slasher icon
Next Khan was asked about his horror influences.
I'm not really a huge horror fan to be honest. I like monster movies but slasher flicks grate on me with their blatantly misongynistic hang ups with women. I had a problem wrapping my head around some of the bad things I had to do to some of girls in this film to fit that aspect of the genre, but hopefully I think we made a focused point out of it. That said,Detention isn't really a horror comedy. It's kind of indescribable genre wise.
He's then asked about the high school horror theme and the cool kids and outcasts.
Detention is about both. The popular kids and the outcasts, and also how those lines can be blurred. I was an outcast in highschool, but I got a quasi-popularity because everyone liked the videos I was making then. Could never get a date or interact at a party, but I amused people. It's a fine line sometimes between ignored and liked. When you are lonely, it all feels shitty.
Khan was then asked about mixing and adding time-travel in with horror and comedy in a high school element. Hot Tub Time Machine or Ground Hog Day?
Maybe both, and maybe neither. Its definitely not what you expect it to be. This is not going to be an easy watch. You're going to have to think and keep track of stuff as you watch it. Definitely easier to watch on repeat viewings.
Khan was asked how he got Cook and Hutcherson invloved in such a low budget movie.
They liked the script.
He was also asked about the music video directos making the big move and the attention they're getting with the huge projects.
I don't think music videos really mean that much in a change of filmmaking styles. There are plenty of music video directors who now direct feature films and television who have piss poor boring styles. What I do think is that videos are a great training ground in that you just get a lot of on set practice running a crew. This is the hardest part of the job: knowing how to be a leader and execute things to a schedule. It's a very technical way of looking at it, but filmmaking costs a lot of money, and producers want not only creative vision, but people who know how to pull things together on a budget. People don't just pop out knowing how to do that, and video directors who shoot new projects every two weeks are good candidates for that transition.
Finally Khan was asked what project he'll do next.
At this rate I make movies once every eight years, and I scratched my itch with a lawn mower, so I'm going back to videos and commercials.
So if all you fans out there love Detention don't hold your breath for the next Joseph Khan film!