They say never to work with children or giants—and of course, director Anders Walter did both with his Toronto Film Festival-premiering drama I Kill Giants.
Based on the acclaimed Man of Action/Image Comics graphic novel I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly and Ken Niimura, the fantasy film—akin to last year’s impressive A Monster Calls—follows a young girl named Barbara (Madison Wolfe), who battles with imaginary giants and demons inside, not to mention a great deal of external stressors.
Produced by Chris Columbus, that collaboration came about after the producer’s team saw Walter’s Academy Award-winning short, Helium, which suggested he might be the right fit for this material.
Finding an easy kinship with his actors on the project, the major challenge Walter faced on the film was winning over Joe Kelly, the graphic novelist, who had no burning desire to see his graphic novel brought to the big screen. “The graphic novel is a very precious thing for Joe and Ken, who did the artwork, and for Joe, he didn’t need the film. For him, it was a piece already as a graphic novel, so for him to put it in the hands of someone else, he really had to trust both producers and the director,” Walter reflects. Ultimately, both Joe Kelly and Man of Action Entertainment also became producers on the film.
The director did win Kelly over, but not before agreeing to have the graphic novelist write the screenplay for this adaptation himself. “Normally, I think in Hollywood, people would tend to not have the guy who did the graphic novel do the screenplay, but Joe insisted on doing that,” he says, suggesting that the final product was worth every giant hurdle. “I just think Joe did a fantastic job in turning this into a feature film.”
Led on by the young and already prolific Madison Wolfe, the cast also includes Imogen Poots and Zoe Saldana. To view Deadline’s TIFF conversation with the I Kill Giants team, click above.
Deadline Studio at TIFF 2017 is presented by Calii Love, Watford Group, Philosophy Canada, and Equinox. Special thanks to Dan Gunam at Calii Love for location and production assistance; and Ontario Camera for equipment assistance. Video producer: Meaghan Gable; lighting and camera: Neil Hansen; design: Dialla Kawar; sound recording: Ida Jokinen.
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