By MICHAEL GINGOLD
You can’t keep a vengeful teenager down, but you can give her a new attitude.
When BECKY debuted during the height of the pandemic in summer 2020, it became a drive-in hit and introduced a lethal teenage weapon played by Lulu Wilson, taking out the neo-Nazis terrorizing her and her family. Now she’s back in THE WRATH OF BECKY, world-premiering tomorrow at the SXSW Film Festival. Read on for preview comments from Wilson and writer/directors Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote.
When we catch up to her at the beginning of the sequel (which sees general release later in 2023 from Quiver Distribution), Wilson’s Becky has been off the grid for two years, living with the elderly Elena (Denise Burse) and working at a suburban diner. When she gets on the bad side of a group of right-wing thugs belonging to a group called the “Noble Men,” she has no choice but to call on her particular set of skills and engage them and their leader Darryl (Seann William Scott) in a bloody battle to the death. This is a tougher, more cynical Becky than we saw in the previous movie–a development that Wilson, also a producer on WRATH, was anxious to show.
“I obviously had so many ideas,” she tells us, “because I’m very passionate about this project and about Becky as a character. I wanted to make sure that we were able to see what has happened to Becky within the two years between the first and second films–how much she’s had to grow and how much she’s had to mature. Even though she’s only 16, she’s been through so much, so many lifetimes in this short amount of time. I really wanted to be able to see that in her character, and in the way she handles these new situations she’s having to go through. I also wanted to show that she never really lets her guard down; I don’t know if she’s ever going to let her guard down ever again.”
Angel and Coote, whose previous films include 2018’s THE OPEN HOUSE and 2021’s HYPNOTIC, had the same goals for the movie. “When we were approached with the project,” Angel recalls, “our biggest thing as we started to break the story was making sure we gave a new audience an opportunity to get to know a new character. All my favorite sequels really take their time to introduce you to a new version of a familiar face. That gave us some freedom to explore the backstory of the two years leading up to the second film: what took place for Becky, how she’s dealing with her trauma from the first film and what she’s buried, how deep it’s buried and how it conveys itself in this new version of Becky. We wanted a new and improved Becky 2.0, and to see how that trauma resonates with her–and then how to awaken it.”
“Life’s filled with different chapters,” Coote adds, “but you can’t just decide not to bring your baggage into a new chapter; you still have to freakin’ deal with it. That was important to explore.”
Part of Becky’s process is to face the world with a snarky, sarcastic sense of humor, expressed in recurring voiceovers, that’s part of THE WRATH OF BECKY’s overall heightened tone. “It’s very much a comic-book feel,” Wilson says, and Coote responds, “Yeah, Lulu hit the nail on the head–a comic book is exactly right. It was very intentional to throw her into a bright red jumpsuit, running around in the middle of the day. It’s ridiculous and it’s fun, and it should be like a comic book.”
Stay tuned for more on THE WRATH OF BECKY as it approaches its release!