Bad Karma: director Suri Krishnamma talks about the Gold-Coast thriller
[Fri 17/08/2012 04:32:50]
By Rocheen Flaherty
Always ensure that any risky situation is tested before putting actors in a potentially dangerous situation. This is the lesson director Suri Krishnamma (New Year’s Day, The Grief Tourist) took away from filming the thriller Bad Karma.
Set primarily on the Gold Coast, Bad Karma follows a reformed criminal played by Ray Liotta who is forced to confront his crime riddled past after it turns up unexpectedly in the form of a gun-toting Dominic Purcell.
Describing the film as a complex love story, Krishnamma said the relationship between the reformed criminal and his new girlfriend (Vanessa Gray) is what makes Bad Karma more than a simple psychological-thriller.
“I would describe it as a love story about a man and a woman where a man's past has returned to haunt him. He has a choice to either return to his old former criminal days or to embrace the new life that he has begun to build and wipe out his past,” Krishnamma said.
Krishnamma said careful casting and the collaborative efforts of all involved in the film enabled him to create believable characters with depth.
“I think the reason that casting is complex and critical is that sometimes the obvious casting isn’t necessarily the right casting. You have to be careful to avoid a two-dimensional performance in a film, particularly in a genre film, which in some ways this is."
It may be a love story in Krishnamma’s eyes, but Bad Karma still has the violence and nudity that audiences have come to expect of a thriller. So how exactly does the director of a low-budget film approach shooting violent and risky scenes?
“First of all, the golden rule in filmmaking... is that safety always comes first."
Shooting a scene involving smashing glass cabinets reinforced his belief that every situation has to be thoroughly tested beforehand.
“We’d planned it very carefully… that the glass would smash for real rather than be triggered by a detonating device. So it was real glass; at least lots of it was real glass being smashed. Then once it had smashed we would lay out rubber glass on the ground and replace the real glass with rubber glass.
“We were told... that this glass had been tested. It was only just before we went to do the first take that somebody – I believe it was Vanessa Gray – actually asked the question once more: when did we test this? I turned around and asked people to give me dates or times when it had been tested and I suddenly realised no one really seemed to know."
Krishnamma said they then cleared the set and tested breaking the cabinet only to discover the glass didn’t smash as they had anticipated.
“So we decided to clear the set and test one of the cabinets smashing, and to our slight horror what we expected to happen didn’t happen. We then had to rework how we were going to shoot this so that we could make sure that the actors were fully protected from the possibility of glass flying around.
“We then shot the scene – it worked perfectly, looked great, and it was also completely safe. It was a good lesson in filmmaking in the sense that however many times you think something has been checked and tested, you have to ask who tested it and when. That goes for any stunt, fight scene, or any activity that involves a level of risk."
Bad Karma is released in Australia on August 23.
[Fri 17/08/2012 04:32:50]