Thrill & Kill: Paul, according to imdb.com you are a filmmaker since at least 1996, but you certainly take your time between filming. Not counting the documentary THE BACKYARD you only did a number of short-films over the years. What took you so long to bring out your first feature film?
Paul Hough: It took money. If I had financing I would have made a hundred movies by now. I made a short film (The Angel) which because it won some awards at major festivals got me closer to raising $ – but it just never happened. I have at least seven other movies I’m dying to make – but the search for $ or people willing to invest in edgy movies is the reason everything is so slow.
Thrill & Kill: The story of THE HUMAN RACE sounds like a mixture of Stephen King’s THE LONG WALK and movies like BATTLE ROYALE. How much did these stories influence you? Or don’t you even know them?
Paul: BATTLE ROYALE is one of my favorite films. THE HUMAN RACE was heavily influenced by BATTLE ROYALE and RUN LOLA RUN. Upon filming I wasn’t aware of THE LONG WALK (although am of course now) – but there aren’t really many similarities when it comes down to it between THE HUMAN RACE and LONG WALK.
Thrill & Kill: The term THE HUMAN RACE could mean two different things. Since we have all kind of people take part in the race, is there a deeper meaning behind it?
Paul: The race consists of a real cross-section of American society. In fact, probably everyone you could think of. From the physically fit to the disabled, from the elderly to the young. There are heroes and villains. There are the helpless and those who will fight for survival. This is part of the excitement of the movie – not knowing who will possibly win.
Thrill & Kill: You are from the UK, but THE HUMAN RACE was produced and shot in the USA. Still the movie has that typical raw and violent look, like many British films, so why was it done it the US?
Paul Hough: I’m from the UK but live in the US – which is why it was made here. It really could however been made anywhere.
Thrill & Kill: Your father John Hough worked as a director too, who also did some pretty scary stuff. He is also a producer of THE HUMAN RACE. Most parents don’t want their kids to do the same job as they do, because they know the bad sides of it. How was this in your case? Did he always encourage you to become a director or would he rather have you learn a “regular” job?
Paul Hough: No, my dad was and has always been super supportive of me. He is a true filmmaker who has taught me everything I know!
Thrill & Kill: I watched THE BACKYARD on youtube recently. While I used to watch the WWF/WWE fights on TV when I was younger, I didn’t know such a violent and raw wrestling scene even exists. How did you get the idea to do a film about it and what do you think about the people involved?
Paul Hough: I did The Backyard about ten years ago and am still friends with some of the participants. Others I didn’t really connect with and never felt a need to stay in touch. At the time I was directing part of a wrestling TV show and two kids saw me speak to the wrestlers – and gave me their „audition“ tape – which was them smashing each other over the heads with lightbulbs. I was fascinated by this – a sub-culture that I didn’t know existed – and so when I got the invite to go see 3 Stages Of Hell (at the start of the movie) I jumped into it.
Thrill & Kill: You appear to be dedicated to violent films no matter if it’s documentaries of fiction. What can we expect next?
Paul Hough: I love violence – in movies. In real life, I absolutely hate it with a passion. But in movies I’m a huge fan of it. THE HUMAN RACE movie is undoubtedly extremely violent – which is a reflection on society and the human race today.
Thrill & Kill: Thank you for the interview.