Danish director Anders Walter’s debut feature-length film, I Kill Giants stars Madison Wolfe as Barbara, a young adolescent girl swept up in a world of imagination and magic. Borrowing Tape caught up with Walter to talk more about his cinematic take on a concept originally adapted from a comic book series.
How does the film differ from the I Kill Giants graphic novel?
The graphic novel is very visually expressive. The line work is full of energy and the black and white drawing style of Ken Niimura makes it look a little gritty. I love that for the book, but in the case of the film, I wanted to make it feel much more grounded. I fell in love with the emotional impact of the story and to me, that was best translated into live action by creating a very realistic world.
What was the most challenging part of adapting the film from its source material?
To get the film financed. It took almost 3 years to get the ship sailing. When we finally got a green light the creative process was a pure joy. I literally loved every single minute of making the film. To get a budget of 15 million US dollars on your first feature you don’t want to complain, especially not when the producers basically let you do the version of the film you want to. Big respect to all of them for trusting me. Made for a fantastic journey.
The actors give wonderful performances in the film. What was the casting process like for finding the right people to play each role?
We searched all across the US the UK to find the girl to play Barbara. But Madison stood out from the very first audition tape she sent. I was never really in doubt about her. I had an instant feeling that she was the one, which is always wonderful in a situation where you have to choose between 700 girls. Zoe Saldana and Imogen Poots were both girls I wanted for the film and I was lucky to get them.
The designs for the Giants are very unique. What inspired their appearance?
A wonderful and extremely talented French concept artist, Frederic Perrin. The concept was to design creatures that resembled the environment they lived in. So for the great big Titan at the end, he had to feel and look like a big coral reef. A very simple concept, but something that helped both Frederic and I in the process of developing the creatures.
What aspect about the film are you most excited for audiences to see?
The emotional scenes. For me, I Kill Giants is about human potential and the relationships we built with other people when we are experiencing periods of grief.
What was your favorite part of directing I Kill Giants?
Being around my creative friends, like my Danish DP and my team of producers. And of course being close and intimate with the actors. Nothing more satisfying than seeing your actors fall into the characters and making them feel real.
Do you have any advice for aspiring filmmakers on how to make it in the business?
Keep pushing and never give up. But also get to know your own strengths. You are not going to be good at everything, so really the best you can do is to figure out what you do best and do that a 100%. Be a dreamer, but also grounded and responsible. You are not going to write or direct Godfather in your first attempt, so allow yourself to fail.
If you could work with any professional in the film industry, who would it be and why?
I love Tom Hanks. Hopefully, I will get a chance to work with him someday. I think he has a tremendous variety in his acting and he is just extremely relatable. He feels real.
With an infinite budget and unlimited resources, what project would you like take on?
The comic book, Akira. I would do an adaption very close to the source material. Totally mad, surreal and wonderful.
What’s next for you?
I’m doing a feature version of my short film, 9 Meter. Joe Kelly who did the screenplay for Giants is writing it. Very excited.