A talk with Alex Turner: His background as well as his thoughts about Sean Doolittle & THE CLEANUP.

A while back, we reported that Sean Doolittle sold the film rights to THE CLEANUP.

The buyer was director Alex Turner. Turner has directed a couple of shorts (CHUCK, DISPOSAL) as well as having done a couple of horror/thrillers (RED SAND, DEAD BIRDS). Sean is pretty pumped about the deal and thinks that Turner will do a great job.

I know little about Alex so I decided to harrass him a bit to get a little info about him.

How did you come to be aware of THE CLEANUP?

I first came across THE CLEANUP while researching another project at the San Francisco library. I saw the title and I was intrigued enough to pick it up. I started reading it there and then and was immediately hooked. It’s a great novel, filled with rich characters, great dialogue and a twisty plot. I could immediately see it as a film.

Have you read other works by Sean?
I’m slowly making my way through Sean’s other novels. So far I’m very impressed by both RAIN DOGS and SAFER.

Do you read a lot? If so, who are some of the authors you enjoy?

I love to read! In terms of contemporary fiction, without over thinking it; John Irving, Michael Chabon, Dan Simmons, J. M. Coetzee, Steven King, Elmore Leonard, Frederick Forsyth, Cormac McCarthy, Larry McMurtry. I could go on and on but Sean Doolittle is my current favorite…


Where are you from?

New York City born and raised. Now living in Northern California.

Growing up, how early did you know you wanted to be involved with films?

My father is a photographer (check out www.peteturner.com) and he would take me to the movies all the time when I was young. Early movies I remember seeing were PETER PAN and BARRY LYNDON strange combo, I know. He’d take me to everything from BARBARELLA to THE KILLING. The combination of being surrounded by cameras and fantastic imagery my entire childhood also probably had something to do with my early interest in filmmaking. I was hooked for life when I borrowed my dad’s Super 8mm camera and started making movies with my friends when I was about eleven or twelve years old.

What kind of films did you gravitate towards?

All genres, but always really loved science fiction, horror and thrillers. Anything that took a matter-of-fact situation and pushed it to the extreme was usually aces in my book.

What is your background in terms of schooling and whatnot?

I’m a graduate of the film program at SUNY Purchase. After that I worked in production for a few years before getting into directing commercials and music videos. I did that for awhile and kept making short films on the side. One of the shorts, CHUCK, is what got me hired to direct my first feature, DEAD BIRDS.

Do you have any kind of philosophy as far as filmmaking goes?

Keep it simple.

How has your experiences thus far shaped you as a filmmaker?

Certainly my last film, RED SANDS, was a giant learning experience. I attempted to make a twenty million dollar feature for 1.5 million. Not the best decision I’ve ever made. Ultimately I ran out of resources and the studio re-titled and re-cut the picture. Obviously I never want to be in that situation again so I’m trying to steer towards projects where I will have more creative control. THE CLEANUP is a perfect example of the direction I want to take.

So is there any kind of timetable for THE CLEANUP?

Timetables can be fragile when you are getting a film up on its feet so rather than giving you an arbitrary date I’ll say that making THE CLEANUP is my number one priority and I’m very much aiming to make it my next film.

I recently had a chance to watch both CHUCK and DISPSOAL and dug em. I am really looking forward to seeing what Alex does with THE CLEANUP.