There’s a super cool movie opening this week. It’s called Turbo Kid and we here at Inked absolutely fell in mad love with the destined-to-be cult classic. If you threw The Road Warrior, The Goonies, and a video game like Mega Man all in a blender, Turbo Kid is what you would get. It’s a gory, sci-fi/action romp oozing with ‘80s flare and style and features an ass-kicking soundtrack that sounds like a lost Kraftwerk album. But underneath all the mayhem and buckets of over-the-top gore, there’s a quirky love story that serves as the movie’s heart—and you don’t often find that in splatter fests like this. So if you have no plans this Friday, August 28th, we strongly urge you to track this baby down. It’s a limited release, so if it’s not playing near you, don’t fret. The movie is also coming out on VOD the same day. The flick was directed by a Canadian trio that calls themselves RKSS (Roadkill Superstars). They are: François Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell. We managed to have a chat with Anouk to discuss the movie and it turns out both she and Francois are tattooed.
INKED: Let me start by saying I loved Turbo Kid. Your movie originated from a short film you did called T Is for Turbo. What made you decide to expand it to a feature film? Was it easy to extend and flesh out the story?
WHISSEL: Well let me start by saying thank you! Yes, the movie comes from T is for Turbo which was a short we submitted to the first edition of the ABC’s of Death contest. On the set, we were joking about making a feature out of it, but it’s really when Ant Timpson (producer of ABC’s of Death) contacted us, asking us if we would be interested to turn it into a feature that it all became real. We already had a cool concept which was Mad Max on a BMX but the short was only a big battle, so we had to expand the universe, its rules, and flesh out the characters—doing one hour-and-a-half of only violence and gore would have ended up being pretty boring. We concentrated our efforts on the heart of the story, and the main characters, so that the audience would connect to them and feel involved in the movie. We believed that by doing so, Turbo Kid would stand out from the lot.
INKED: There’s also a lot of ‘80s influence, it reminds me of a lot of retro films and video games. Can you tell us which movies or video games had an impact on you and if they also influenced this movie?
WHISSEL: Yes, from eighties teen movies like The Goonies or BMX Bandits, coming of ages kids adventure like The Neverending Story, cheezy Mad Max Italian rip-off like The New Barbarians, to early Peter Jackson splatstick gore comedies with a zest of Japanese superhero flicks like Kamen Rider or Power Rangers and a hint of classic old school video games such as Zelda or Mega Man, these have all influenced the movie, but also how we grew up and probably made us the filmmakers we are today! Turbo Kid, is really a nostalgia themed love letter to everything that was awesome when we were kids!
INKED: Another standout thing about the movie is the awesome soundtrack by Le Matos, who also did the music in the original short film. There’s a heavy Kraftwerk vibe going on, which is great. How did you first find these guys?
WHISSEL: Our first contact with Le Matos was via Jean-Philippe Bernier (one half of the band and good friend of ours.) We started working with him around 2007 as our cinematographer (he’s a guy of many talents and we consider him RKSS’s fourth member.) He really helped us push on the technical side of our shorts, and because we are so connected with the same influences, it was only a matter of time until Le Matos started scoring our shorts. Starting on our first feature, it was really important for us to bring him and Le Matos on board, and we were lucky enough to do so!
INKED: Did you have a lot of input with the soundtrack or did you just let them do their own thing?
WHISSEL: They did miracles and an amazing job scoring the film with a really tight deadline caused by our selection to Sundance. At that moment, we were in New Zealand, and would regularly Skype with them exchanging inspirations, comments and feedbacks. But really, we trusted them with our lives and it was so spot on that we rarely had something to say! Having Jean-Philippe involved as Turbo Kid’s cinematographer they knew the core and heart of the movie, and composed the perfect score for it—their music is the soul of the movie.
INKED: In Hollywood, it’s common that most films are directed by one person at the helm. It’s pretty rare to see a film directed by two people—the Wachowski’s come to mind, or the Russo Brothers who directed Captain America: Winter Soldier, but even rarer is hearing about a film with three directors. There’s the only saying, “three’s a crowd.” How did you guys make this work without bumping heads?
WHISSEL: We’ve been working this way as a trio for over 10 years, when we started making shorts as a group of friends, having a very good chemistry and dynamic it was only natural for us to keep it this way! We developed a way of working that’s super efficient, we’re like three passionate filmmakers that have the power (with magic rings) to combine into one giant robot. The only moment we really bump heads is when we write the script—and we do this behind closed doors—so nobody ever saw this.
INKED: Michael Ironside was the perfect fit for the role of the lead villain. Was he always first in mind? Were there any other ‘80s stars you had on your wish list?
WHISSEL: We’ve had Michael in mind from the early stage of the script writing, but we honestly never thought it would have been possible for us to get such a talented veteran actor on our first feature! It’s like faith brought us together, when we met him completely randomly at a cocktail at the Toronto International Film Festival (where he wasn’t supposed to be.) Our Canadian Producer Anne-Marie Gélinas, pushed us towards him, did a quick introduction and let us pitch the story. He liked the idea and asked to get the script, after reading it he said he loved it and was immediately on board. So nothing’s impossible!
INKED: The movie has a lot of fun, over-the-top gore. How hands on were you guys with the effects team? Did you get your hands dirty?
WHISSEL: On our short films, we used to do all our effects ourselves, on Turbo Kid, it was the first time we ever worked with a team of pros. They did an awesome job, but yeah, it was stronger than us, so we managed to get our hands dirty. François even sacrificed his winter coat! [Laughs].
INKED: You guys have tattoos—any special stories behind any of them?
WHISSEL: Yeah! We love tattoos and we do wish we had more! Having studied in animation, we’re kind of good at drawing so we designed our early tattoos, but we’re also hard on ourselves and we haven’t had time to design something worthy of being immortalized lately. My first one was actually tattooed by my father (who appears in the movie as the arm-wrestling referee), making it super precious for me. François’ latest tattoo, was actually made a few months back, on our trip to Brazil for the Fantaspoa film festival. They offered us as a gift/souvenir to get the festival logo tattooed. Just before we left, François decided to go for it, and the tattoo artist left his paintball game and came to his studio to do it! This had the side effect of reviving both our need to get ink.
INKED: Do you have any more tattoos planned? Maybe a Turbo Kid one to commemorate the movie?
WHISSEL: Yes!!! We do need more tattoos! And a Turbo Kid tattoo is definitely on our minds, to commemorate the whole adventure! I probably will get a quote of the movie done shortly.
INKED: Can we assume there’ll be a Turbo Kid sequel? Do you have any ideas for it you can tease us with?
WHISSEL: We would love to do a Turbo Kid sequel, we’ve got tons of ideas, which we’ll keep secret for now –[Laughs] but we know the entire cast is looking forward to it. But yeah, it’ll all depend on how well it does on the release, so please go see it! Support Turbo Kid!
Find out more about Turbo Kid including theaters that will be showing the film at this link.