CRUSH – INSIDER BRIEFING
It began with the germ of an idea one night, and blossomed into a dark tale
of obsessive love, in the hand of first time feature writer/director John V.
Soto; here he tells the story of how Crush was created and produced.
The story for Crush came to me late one night several years ago. I was musing
about how people can become so obsessed in relationships that they would do
practically anything to stop the other person from leaving them. There is love
and then there is obsession, which is clearly unhealthy. So I was
rotating/flipping ideas and concepts around in my mind for a new film and
suddenly it struck me - what if you have an affair with a woman who becomes
obsessed with you, with the kicker that she has deadly supernatural powers? Sort
of like a supernatural Fatal Attraction, only this time it’s a lot harder to
escape as she is all powerful.
"that was the genesis for the idea"
So that was the genesis for the idea. Naturally I was very excited, because
it had never been done before and it’s so difficult to come up with fresh and
unique material. I wrote a detailed synopsis that night, finishing about 4am. I
finished the final draft of the script nine months later (after twelve different
I sent the script to a friend of mine who worked at a studio and he loved it. He
suggested I sell the script to a US studio, but I decided that Crush was the
sort of film we could shoot on a low budget in Perth and was something that I
could direct myself. Fortunately my business partner and wife, Deidre Kitcher
(an experienced CPA Accountant and Financial Advisor) also agreed, however she
set the condition that I had to write and direct an ultra low budget short film,
Repulsion, (based on the Crush concept) to demonstrate my ability to tell a
story with a camera.
Fortunately the short film turned out pretty good and we set about raising the
finance for the film, along with building a team of film professionals to help
achieve the vision. I brought on my co-Director, Jeff Gerritsen, who had shot a
number of corporate videos and the odd commercial to help guide the process. We
ended up splitting duties, I directed the actors and Jeff directed the crew. We
were also fortunate to have secured the talents of Chris Egan (Eragon, Resident
Evil 3), Emma Lung (The Jammed), Kane Manera (Cass), Christian Clark (Gates of
Hell), Brooke Harman (Ned Kelly) and Jenna Lind (Underbelly) as key cast
Chris was amazing. Although he was based in LA and had an offer for a big US
studio film, he loved the Crush script so much that he hired his own dialect
coach (the hero was from the US) and started memorizing his lines as well. When
he eventually made his way to Perth and we sat down to rehearse scenes, Chris
knew as much about his character, Julian, as I did. He could also quote the
lines from each scene perfectly. Naturally I was stunned to see the character
literally come to life before my eyes.
"The chemistry between Chris and Emma was perfect"
Emma Lung was also pretty amazing; we auditioned scores of highly talented
Aussie actresses for the role but Emma absolutely stole the show. She became the
femme fatale, Anna, and brought a malevolence to the role that was truly scary.
The chemistry between Chris and Emma was perfect and the performances from both
Apart from a highly enthusiastic crew we were fortunate to hire Jason Ballantine
as editor for the film. Jason had cut Wolf Creek, Rogue and the remake of Prom
Night and certainly knew his thriller and horror films. After each day’s shoot
Jason would give us feedback on what we had shot, what extra footage we needed,
what we need to improve etc and began to create a rough cut of the film. On
Jason’s recommendation we hired Jamie Blanks as composer which was a big coup,
because he not only is a brilliant composer but a great film director (he
directed Urban Legends and Storm Warning) and he would give us feedback on the
rough cut as well, which was very handy.
"a very lean, mean and cost efficient film set"
Overall the film shoot went smoothly, the producer, Deidre, ran a very lean,
mean and cost efficient film set, we had a great time and I learned an enormous
amount about filmmaking as we went along. Naturally we had minor problems along
the way, like all films do, but the can-do attitude of the cast and crew meant
they were solved pretty quickly. Amazingly the film pretty much resembled the
synopsis that I wrote a couple of years earlier and showed that the key to a
good film is to have a clear vision from the start.
Published October 8, 2009
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The trailer has (as at Oct 7) been viewed 403,384 times, making it 11th in
the world for "Movie Trailers 2009" on You Tube from over 100,000 other film
There are no other Australian films in the top 100 trailers, with the majority
trailers originating from the US studios.
The Crush trailer is averaging 2000 views per day with the following breakdown
25% US and Canada.
21% Australia & NZ
14% Europe excluding the UK
12% from rest of world
Over 50% of viewers are people aged 13 to 24 and the trailer's average rating is
4.75 out of 5.
Studying architecture at the University of Western Australia on a student
visa, banned US martial arts champ Julian (Chris Egan), gets a three month house
sitting job at a spectacular mansion in Perth – much to the annoyance of his
girlfriend Clare (Brooke Harman) who was going to live with him. Soon after
moving in, Julian is seduced by the mysterious and beautiful Anna (Emma Lung),
and his life begins to unravel; his relationship is in tatters, he loses the
championship match (and his coach) and his final uni assignment goes missing …
During a series of increasingly strange and dangerous events, he tries to end
the relationship with Anna but Anna’s infatuation with him turns deadly.