Select Page

Interview: Filmmaker DAVID LIPPER on “THE CURSE OF WOLF MOUNTAIN,” “HUNT CLUB,” and More

Saturday, April 22, 2023 | Interviews

By JOSHUA “Prometheus” SCAFIDI

David Lipper doesn’t sleep. Instead, he makes movies. Lots of them. In fact, David and his crew at Latigo Films shot 6 of them during the pandemic alone. We recently had the chance to chat with David during one of his rare moments of spare time, and he gave us some insight into how they pull it off. We also discussed two of his new films, THE CURSE OF WOLF MOUNTAIN, and HUNT CLUB.

David Lipper

David, you have two films coming out! HUNT CLUB w/ Mickey Rourke, and THE CURSE OF WOLF MOUNTAIN, with Danny Trejo and Tobin Bell!

That’s right! HUNT CLUB just came out recently. We had a great premiere on it. 300 people showed up to the screening, and it was about two-thirds women. It was a female empowerment story, and we had a really heavy female presence on the crew, starting from the top down. In my company, Latigo Films, the two people we employ are women. Denise Lauren who acts as our line producer and is Head of Production, and Isabella Blake-Thomas who is really like my right hand. We had a female director, Elizabeth Blake-Thomas. Then we just flooded the crew with women. We had a female script supervisor, a female wardrobe, female hair and make-up, and in the camera department.

We wanted to make sure we were doing it justice, especially with me being a guy, and it’s based on a script from a guy. We wanted to make sure we let the women speak. What happened at the screening was magic. As a filmmaker, it’s really difficult to find that balance, and that line between how far to push it, in order to get the payoff. When I saw the women in that audience stand up and cheer when Mena Suvari and the gang of women were getting their revenge – it told me we did it right. The exit polls were tremendous.

That’s awesome.

We had a few distributors that were supposed to be on board but ended up being too scared that the female buyers would be offended. My favorite note that I got was “Can you just cut out all the parts where the guys do bad stuff to the women, and just have them take out all the guys?” I said, “So, they’re sociopaths?” It’s mind-boggling. They throw out story structure, script structure, and everything you need to have a good movie, in order not to offend anybody. I said “I’m not going to make that kind of movie. I’ll work with somebody else,” and we did.

Now, with THE CURSE OF WOLF MOUNTAIN, you directed. HUNT CLUB you wrote with John Saunders, correct?

Correct. With HUNT CLUB I also directed a lot of scenes, though. See with these films, the only way to come in at these budgets is to shoot less days. I shot 15 movies over COVID. I realized, if I shoot two camera units constantly, I could make up a lot of days. So, what I do, and I’ll credit myself as second unit director, but I really take on a major role in directing all of the unit footage. We just don’t have time, we need to shoot all the coverage. If you do it in 12 days, that’s two six-day weeks. I can get that cast and crew in and out in two weeks, and that third week is more often than not when everybody gets sick. (Laughing.) So, what do you do? If I’m shooting for 12 days, and one camera is shooting constantly for 12 days, I can take a second camera, with a second little mini-crew, and I shoot 12 days straight, on the same days, it’s like 24 days. It’s tough on the cast, but they were champions.

THE CURSE OF WOLF MOUNTAIN stars Tobin Bell and Danny Trejo. What was it like working with them?

Oh, man. Trejo is a legend. Tobin is a legend. You’re talking about Machete and Ajax. You’ve got two icons in one film, it’s fun! They were both total pros and all-around nice guys. I’ve done two films with Trejo now, and he’s a remarkable guy if you know his story. It started with alcohol and drug abuse, and he turned his life around and became sober.

Amazing story. 

He really is such a good guy. Tobin, he’s just such a pro. His attention to detail. He showed up for the film and went through what had to be twenty watches that he brought, just to see what would be the right watch for this character. We talked about his character and he came up with some great choices. He really opens up and closes the movie. It’s nice to have him as your bookends.

Malu Trevejo, this is her break-out film. This is going to be a big deal for her. She’s a Cuban pop singer, and she’s a star already, she just needs to translate it to the screen. It was awesome to get her. I love Fernando Romero,  she plays my wife in the film. I’m always looking for the comedy. We had a lot of fun. When you do a throwback to classic horror movies, you want to have some comedy in there. That’s what made “Scream” so successful.

Absolutely. Now, you kind of do it all. You act, you write, you direct. What would you say you prefer?

It’s tough to say because I love all the jobs. I probably like producing the least, and it’s probably the job I’m best at. You have producers who are good creatively, and you have producers who are good financially, and you rarely have two that speak the same language. I deal with all of it. I put a lot of my time into acting. I’ve been acting for forty years. That’s a long time. I studied acting all through school, I got my degree in it. I was on a soap when I was 18 in Canada. Sitcom after sitcom here, then movies. End of the day, I feel acting is the best thing that I do, but producing is my strongest.

Anything you want to mention, David?

Well, “Candy Flip” is in post-production. I hope that gets finished soon. “Joe Baby,” is our biggest budget one so far. Big cast. We have a movie called “Karma is a Bitch,” which Elizabeth Blake-Thomas and Isabella Blake-Thomas both did. Isabella wrote it, and Elizabeth directed it again for us. We also have a few movies we’re waiting on the yes for, and then we’ll get going on those.

You really don’t sleep, do you?

No, I don’t. (Laughing.) I don’t stop working. I love the job. Even with the stress. I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me.

It’s been a pleasure. Thanks, David!

HUNT CLUB is available to stream now and THE CURSE OF WOLF MOUNTAIN is expected to release in May.

Joshua "Prometheus" Scafidi