How crazy would you be prepared to get for $50? What about $500? What about a quarter of a million dollars? Such questions form the dramatic spine of the booze- and drugs-fueled black comedy Cheap Thrills, which is screening at this year’s Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. Anchorman star David Koechner and Sara Paxton play a rich couple who challenge a pair of much poorer new acquaintances — portrayed by Pat Healy and Can’t Hardly Wait actor Ethan Embry — to complete a series of ever more out-there challenges for increasing amounts of cheddar.
Cheap Thrills is the directorial debut of screenwriter Evan “E.L.” Katz, who penned the slasher movie Home Sick, the first film from You’re Next director Adam Wingard, and also co-wrote Wingard’s follow-up, the freakish, psychotropic Pop Skull. Cheap Thrills itself was written by David Chirchirillo and Trent Haaga, but Katz says he found it easy to empathize with the cash-poor plight of Healy and Embry’s characters. “I’ve done a lot of dumb s— for money,” he admits.
Below, Katz talks more about Cheap Thrills, how Fantastic Fest helped make him the man he is today, and why he might soon become a big cheese in Brazil.
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