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Boy Kills World: Moritz Mohr's Deadpool Influence & Cheesy Evil Dead Coincidence - Exclusive Interview

The plot of the sci-fi action-comedy "Boy Kills World" — one of the many international and independent genre films to premiere at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival's Midnight Madness program — is self-explanatory: There's a guy named Boy (Bill Skarsgård), and he kills — maybe not the world, but he racks up an impressive body count nonetheless. More specifically, Boy is the deaf-mute trainee of a mysterious shaman (Yayan Ruhian) set on overthrowing the evil Van Der Koy family in a post-apocalyptic dystopia. Ultra-violent beat-downs and tragic backstories are complemented by maximum silliness, with the narration of Boy's inner monologue providing a constant stream of comical commentary.

Looper recently got the chance to speak with director Moritz Mohr. "Boy Kills World" is his first feature film, and we chatted about his influences (they're mostly filmic, despite the film's stylistic similarities to comics and video games), what it was like to work with producer Sam Raimi, and the ways "twisted minds think alike" in regards to that surprisingly specific parallel with "Evil Dead Rise."

Mohr downplays the comic and video game elements

This movie feels very inspired by comics and video games. Are there any particular titles that were influences on this film that stick out?

Comic books or video games? None of those two. I'm a big video game fan and [a fan] of comic books and graphic novels, but the more obvious inspirations come from other movies.

Which other movies do you want to talk about?

All the little references and all the things ... [It's] like the classic kung fu movies — Jackie Chan's "Drunken Master" from the training sequences, Park Chan-wook's revenge movies. All the other action movies that came before, basically, we're sort of trying to out-action. But all that came before us.

I did see an announcement that there's a video game tie-in for this movie. Do you have anything to do with that? What can you say about that?

Actually, I don't have anything to do with that. I love the idea of doing that. We started talking about this right after production ended, and I oversaw some of the designs, which looked great. But I haven't heard anything about it in quite some time because I was busy finishing the movie, and I can't wait to actually get an update on that.

Two different movies in Midnight Madness this year have tie-in games. "Aggro Dr1ft" also announced that it has a game element.

That makes sense. I can see that.

How Deadpool inspired Boy Kills World

I know 3D is basically dead now if you're not James Cameron or Wim Wenders, but there were a few scenes — particularly the more psychedelic ones early on in the movie — where I was thinking, "This would be awesome in 3D." Did you ever think about filming it in that format?

No, you actually nailed it. I'd bought a 3D TV. I had all the setup — I bought Blu-rays, and then they basically stopped producing them. The TV producers stopped making TVs that could do it, I think — I'm not quite sure, but that's what I heard ... So we didn't even talk about it. But if I could ...

I love "Avatar" and ["Avatar: The Way of Water"], the two greatest 3D movies ever made. If you want to do 3D, you really have to do 3D, not just a little bit of 3D. We never talked about it. I hope it's not dead completely; I hope it'll have a comeback one day. I'd be open to that.

What was the thought process behind having so many of Boy's thoughts be narrated in the film?

It was a device that we came up with very early on. We shot a proof-of-concept trailer for this six, seven years ago — the basis for the script and for this movie — and we started there. We were like, "What could you do that brings another level to an action movie?" It was like, "Deadpool had this thing where he keeps talking." We thought it was very fun and interesting to have a deaf and mute character and [have the audience] hearing his thoughts as the basis for a movie, because I don't think that was done before — at least not a lot in the action space.

It's somewhat unusual for a deaf character in a movie that Boy doesn't use any sign language. Did you consider having him sign but decide against it?

No — he's actually signing in a couple of scenes with the shaman, [who] is basically the only person who knows sign language of the people that he meets. It would've been different if he would've met another deaf-mute person and then they could have signed, but it wasn't in the story. We had a couple more scenes where they used sign language, but they landed on the cutting room floor.

Is Sam Raimi obsessed with cheese graters?

What was it like working with Sam Raimi?

That was a dream come true for me because I've always been a fan. "Evil Dead II" is one of my favorite movies ever. The first movie I ever shot on VHS also had an "Evil Dead" reference in it, so I'm not just saying that. I was always a big fan, and working with him was amazing because he's a great collaborator — really in support of his director's vision, always pushing me and pushing the movie in a direction in support of the creatives behind it, not just pushing his own agenda. He doesn't do that. He's very supportive in that way.

This next question I would've asked Sam if he were here*, but I still need to know, so I'm going to ask you: Between "Boy Kills World" and "Evil Dead Rise," Sam Raimi has produced two films this year in which horrible things are done with the cheese graters. Is this a coincidence, or is this his thing now?

This is a coincidence. I can prove it. We were already on set when I heard that "Evil Dead Rise" had a cheese grater scene in it. It was like, "Are you f***ing kidding me? What's going on?" But it was a "great minds think alike" thing — or "twisted minds think alike."

Let's end with a question that might sound weird but will make perfect sense once people have seen the movie. If you had to kill any cereal mascot, who would you kill, and how would you do it?

That is a mean question. I don't know. They all die ... We created all these things and then decided how they would die.

But if you had to pick a real cereal mascot — if it had to be between Tony the Tiger or Toucan Sam or ...

I love Tony the Tiger; I wouldn't kill him. Toucan Sam ... I guess you could just...

Cap'n Crunch is a general, so if you want to have honor in battle ...

Fight Cap'n Crunch. Cap'n Frosty and Cap'n Crunch stand-off, fighting a duel to the death ... Dude, I don't know. I feel like everything I said is like, "You twisted motherf***er," so I'm not going to go down this route.

"Boy Kills World" premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Release plans have yet to be announced.

*Though only credited as a producer and not a writer on "Boy Kills World," Raimi ultimately decided against coming to TIFF in solidarity with the WGA strike. This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the series being covered here wouldn't exist.

This interview has been edited for clarity.