'Girls Against Boys' director Austin Chick talks about his shocking (yet surprisingly mom-friendly) revenge thriller

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Image Credit: JOhn Romano

In the new revenge thriller Girls Against Boys, two twentysomething New Yorkers, played by Danielle Panabaker (The Ward, Piranha 3DD) and Nicole LaLiberte, go on a very gruesome killing spree when Panabaker’s character is attacked following a night of clubbing. In short, you might think the result would not be your mother’s cup of Earl Grey — but you would be wrong.

“The reaction that’s been somewhat surprising is that women, especially middle-aged women, seem to like it a lot more than they expect to,” says the film’s writer-director Austin Chick (XX/XY, August). “A lot of the time I’ll get approached after screenings by women who tell me that they didn’t think they were going to like the movie and that it completely surprised them.”

Below, Chick talks more about Girls Against Boyswhich opens at New York’s Quad Cinema tomorrow.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How familiar are you with the female-revenge genre?
AUSTIN CHICK:
Pretty familiar, the obvious ones like Baise-moi and Ms. 45. I’ve seen a lot of those movies. But I actually never thought I would make a rape-revenge movie.

How did this project come about?
It’s a script I wrote a while ago, actually. I hadn’t done much with it. There was a part of me that was a little bit nervous about making this movie, as a man. But I met the producers in 2010 and they were looking for something that they could make in this under-a-$1m budget range and it seemed like it was the right fit.

How tough was it to cast the two leads? With all due respect to the other actors it’s most definitely their movie.
It was hard. The character of Lu, played by Nicole, was actually written as an Asian-American and I had originally cast it with an Asian-American actress. It was only at the very last minute that she balked at the nudity and we had to recast that part.

Obviously, it’s not just about getting two great actresses, it’s about getting two people who work really well together. So much of it is about the dynamic between the two of them. In some ways they’re completely different and yet you have to believe that these two women would go on this adventure together. I thought they both did a really fantastic job.

They both have such angelic faces — and both end up doing such terrible things.
Yeah. I mean, Nicole almost looks like an anime character.

I was familiar with Danielle from the horror movies she has appeared in but I don’t recall seeing Nicole in anything before.
She was in Gregg Araki’s last movie [2010's Kaboom] and she did an arc on How To Make It In America. But I wasn’t familiar with her work at all. She came in and read for me, probably two weeks before we started shooting, and we were desperate to cast that role. She came in and she just blew me away.

You mentioned you were nervous, as a man, about making the film. One of the interesting things about Girls Against Boys is that there are times in the movie when you really seem to relish foregrounding the movie’s exploitation elements and then there are moments when you deliberately shy away from doing so, particularly with regard to the assault on Danielle’s character. What was your thinking?
The exploitation elements are certainly an integral part of the story. But, for me, it was never about making an exploitation film. It was about making a film about the dynamics between men and women and using the elements of the exploitation genre to talk about issues that interest me and have interested me since I first started making movies.

There is actually a band called Girls Against Boys. Have you reached out to them at all?
No. It’s funny, I only remembered that kind of late in the process. We were all done with the movie and somebody told me that. I had completely forgotten.

I understand you shot some exterior scenes without permits. Is that easy to do in New York?
It’s easier than I expected. And there’s something that I find very exciting about working that way. At times we worked with a very small, stripped down crew and there’s something really exciting about working quickly with a small crew, sometimes without permits. Actually, I’ve done it on all three of the films that I directed, even on August, which was a slightly bigger movie, we were shooting at times in the streets with background that was not extras.

Girls Against Boys feels very much like a New York movie — but it doesn’t depict the city in the way we’ve seen in so many previous films.
It’s not Woody Allen’s New York.

You can check out the trailer for Girls Against Boys below.

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