Karni Baghdikian is a busy man. Busy shooting movies. His latest short film entitled TRADE is about to hit the festival circuit and we know it’s going to get a LOT of attention. We were lucky enough to see an advanced screening and were so impressed that we asked if Karni would guest direct MAN VS. HORROR. To our shock and surprise, he said yes.
The other day we caught up with KB and asked him about his experience directing a MAN VS. episode. Enjoy:
MAN VS.: So that’s cool you directed MAN VS. HORROR. How’d you get involved and what was the experience like?
KB: You know, it was very cloak and dagger. My car service was taking me home from the studio one night a few months back, and I shit you not, thereâ€™s this dude in a trench coat and secret agent hat, sitting in the back of my limo. And at first I think Iâ€™m in the wrong limo, so I say â€œsorryâ€ like Iâ€™m about to get out. But then he grabbed my shoulder and tried to restrain me, so I instantly snapped the guyâ€™s neck with my bare hands. As he slumped onto the floorboard, a manila envelope fell out of his pocket, which I thought was odd. Turns out it was a pitch and offer letter from Man Vs. creator Matt Duggan. Whoops!
The experience itself was kind of like smoking crack, not so much for the first time, but maybe the fourth or fifth time when itâ€™s really really fun and just starting to become addictive, from what I hear. I donâ€™t know if youâ€™ve worked on a Man Vs. production before, but aside from the groupies lined up (and Iâ€™m in a serious relationship, so I mean, I would NEVERâ€¦) and the catered lunches, you get to work with stellar talents like Frank Krueger, Trevor Boelter, [Producer] Stephanie Bell, [SFX Makeup/Hair] Courtney Lether, [Sound dude] Barry Neely. We had a blast! Iâ€™m not sure if Frank Krueger [Floyd] could say the same because he had to sit in a bathtub of ice for about an hour. And Trevor DID actually drink a gallon of Colon Cleanseâ€¦he went very â€˜methodâ€™ on this one, hence the spandex bike shorts.
MAN VS.: What’d you shoot on?
KB: Sunday. I know, we had to squeeze it in between productions that bookended the weekend. Iâ€™m thankful that our army of a crew could be so accommodating, but we generally take really good care of them with triple overtime pay on Sundays, the rare instances in which we have to work them. Courtney Lether was rockinâ€™ as always with the Special Effects Makeup. And Josh Kristopherson and Mia Milosova were amazing with set design. Did you notice the way Rocky Coldwaterâ€™s lighting places emphasis on the tools of torture? Genius.
MAN VS.: When Floyd’s in the bathtub he reaches for a hedge trimmer that’s on the ground. Uhm, hedge clippers?
KB: I thought it played to his sensibilities, because Floyd is a character on the hedge. Iâ€™m sorry, I couldnâ€™t help it. The truth is, we were shooting on the set of the new Indiana Jones film, and those belong to my good buddy Shia LaBeouf. Thatâ€™s actually the bathroom in his star trailer we were shooting in. Pretty sweet, huh? Shiaâ€™s a good friend.
MAN VS.: What are you working on now?
KB: I literally just finished and delivered the final Festival cut for TRADE, which I wrote with Dawn Joyal and shot with the Annex Film Group. The AFG is an extraordinarily talented group of filmmakers, do check them out if you havenâ€™t heard of them. www.annexfilmgroup.com. Beyond that, Iâ€™m currently studying screenwriting at UCLA and developing a feature screenplay, plus the odd music video or spot that comes my way. Itâ€™s been a busy couple of months!
MAN VS.: What’s your favorite MAN VS. episode?
KB: Thatâ€™s a really tough one. Iâ€™d have to say itâ€™s a tie between Electricity and Poison. Electricity was just so well done and hit so many of the right notes for me. The dramatic energy, the well choreographed shots, and the score were perfect. I think it hits the proverbial nail on the head, and I can tell you from experience that is a tough thing to achieve in less than 90 seconds! But Poison is just so simple and perfect too, and the moment when he gives that gesture right before sipping the fatal sip of coffee, is just so funny to me. Frank Krueger is so fucking funny in the littlest and best ways.
MAN VS.: If you were being chased down by a femme fatale on a motorcycle through the hilly streets of Monaco, would you A) Turn around on your seat while still driving the motorcycle, dexteriously aim your cross-bow and fire for the forehead; B) Pull over and charm her into sleeping with you, then post-coitally leave her asleep in the hotel and steal her motorcycle, go to Casino Monte-Carlo and win 2 million euro; C) Push “hydro-turbo-jet launch” button on your cycle and rocket into the Mediterranean afternoon?
KB: D) The oil slick button built into my custom steering wheel usually works against the femme fatales, in my experience. However, for the paparazzi, I generally use more of a swipe-and-sweep cliffside approach so they can get a great rapid-fire photo as they launch over the edge. I canâ€™t tell you how many motorcycle photographers Iâ€™ve taken out like that while going for sushi in Redondo Beach.
MAN VS.: Have you ever killed a werewolf? if so, how?
KB: No, and not a lot of people know this, but Iâ€™m pretty hairy. So I have a lot of sympathy for werewolves. I could never.