Residents of Los Angeles, beware—there may be some Psychopaths on the lose. So it is in the Tribeca-premiering feature from writer/director and horror master Mickey Keating, who has managed to bring five features to life while still in his twenties. Following Carnage Park, starring Ashley Bell—which premiered at Sundance last year—Keating’s latest entry follows a band of serial killers out for blood in the City of Angels on one truly terrifying night.
“It’s a very feverish ensemble piece about a group of psychopaths who kind of awaken, and wreak havoc across the city of Los Angeles,” Keating said, joining returning star Ashley Bell at Deadline’s Tribeca Studio on Saturday. “I was really inspired by films like Robert Altman’s that were really first and foremost about the characters, and allowing the movie to grow from that.”
Writing for specific actors, including Bell, Keating places absolute faith in his collaborators. “When you have an actor who you truly admire and trust, it makes my job very easy, and as I’ve always kind of joked, any time we had to do Take 2, it was because of a technical thing—it was never because of Ashley Bell,” he said. “So for me, it starts out in the script, and wherever the performance goes, I’m just lucky to see it.”
Among the frightening ensemble of killers featured in Psychopaths, Bell’s is perhaps the most memorable. “I play a psychopath that is stuck in a delusional reality, where she’s in a 1950s Hollywood musical, so I sing and dance, and possibly kill people, for the film,” she shared. “There was actually a bunny on the set we were shooting in, so I joked that in between scenes, I would kill someone, wash my hands, get to hug this bunny, have some hot chocolate, then go kill another person. It’s a tremendous amount of fun.”
Bell appreciates that—like showrunner Ryan Murphy, with his stable of recurring A-list actors—Keating keeps his actors around, bringing them in for multiple projects and letting them loose on the material.
“I’d heard Mickey kind of kept a core group of actors he worked with, and I prayed I’d be asked back after Carnage Park,” Bell said. “Having a friend, and working with a director like Mickey with such a strong vision, doing it for a second time, you can kind of jump off the deep end, and trust that a director like him will catch you. It is a completely safe and collaborative place to go to all corners.”
To view Deadline’s conversation with Keating and Bell, click above. Upcoming screenings for the film in Tribeca can be found here. CAA is handling U.S. sales.