Interview: Josh Forbes / Destroy All Neighbors (2024)

Walkden Entertainment (aka Peter Walkden) enjoyed chatting with Josh Forbes, director of Destroy All Neighbors (2024), Now Available Exclusively on Shudder.

How did you become connected with Destroy All Neighbors, and what was the biggest attraction to working on the project?

This movie was born out of my commiseration with writer Charles Pieper about our equally awful neighbors. Living in LA sounds glamorous, but if you’re not in that top 5%, chances are, you’re trapped living next to weirdos. Or you are the weirdo. Or in our cases…both. 

Do you love horror films? If so, do you have any favourites?

I adore horror movies! To an embarrassing degree. I’m omnivorous in my horror consumption, but I have a soft spot for films like “Night of the Creeps” or “Slither“. Movies that play with various tropes but also succeed at keeping you on the edge of your seat while also making you laugh. 

How long did it take to make this film from start to finish?

From the first initial jam session between Charlie and me to the release date, it has been about ten years. 

What was your biggest challenge while making the film?

Sticking with it. There were so many times along the road where any reasonable person would just say, “This isn’t working. Move on”. But luckily, when things got too difficult, we’d find another like-minded weirdo willing to join in the parade. From our tireless producer Russell Sanzgiri to Jonah and Alex coming on board, and our two other writers Mike Benner and Jared Logan… each step along the way, we’d find someone amazing to join in the parade.

There are many talented comedic actors in this movie. Did you ever allow them to be flexible with their lines of dialogue and ad-lib, or did you keep them to the script?

It was definitely a mix, but we probably kept closer to the script than most people might think. Maybe 3% was pure improv, but a lot of the script evolved as we rehearsed and read through the script. Jonah and I would meet up at a diner and run the dialogue over and over, coming up with alt jokes. 

Jonah and Alex were able to rehearse their scenes quite a bit, too, and during that process, I kept an eye out for improvised lines and then tried to weave them into the final script. I’m pretty strict about getting the script as it’s written, but once I feel we have what we need, I like doing a couple of loose takes where they go off-script. 

One of the best cameos in the film is played by actor Kumail Nanjiani.  Was he always going to be part of the film from the beginning, or did something occur that allowed him to play one scene?

Since he’s a good friend of Jonah’s, it was always on our wishlist, but it wasn’t until maybe a day or two before shooting that we fully had him locked in. Jonah and Kumail used to host a comedy show in the back of a comic book shop, which eventually became a TV show called Meltdown. It’s funny that they reference melting down metal in the scene because that wasn’t intentional. It was just a funny, happy accident.

Destroy All Neighbors uses a lot of prosthetics. Was this something you were experienced with before this project, or was it something you had to learn more about to fulfil your vision?

Early on, working with writer Charlie Pieper, we dreamed of somehow luring the legendary Gabe Bartalos onto the project. Charlie used to work for him, and so he was always in our back pocket. Luckily, when it came time to actually making the thing, he was fully on board. He was heavily instrumental in working out all the various set pieces. He’s amazing. He looks like if Anton LeVey were a wrestler, but he’s the sweetest most enthusiastic guy ever. He’s a pure joy to work with. And he makes some really bonkers movies, which I recommend to anyone who’s read this far into the interview. Particularly Saint Bernard. It’s absolutely bananas!

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Alex Winter is tremendous as Vlad (I’m also a massive fan of Alex Winter!).  It’s no secret the actor has a strong background in wearing wild costumes and has worn prosthetics before, including for his past film Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020).  Did it take a long time for Alex to get dressed as Vlad and did the actor have an inspiration for this character?

Oh yeah! Seeing him in that prison scene was what gave us the idea that he should play Vlad. Jonah and I (and the writers) are all big fans of Freaked and Bill and Ted, but when Jonah saw him as a terrifying beefy muscleman, it just made sense to reach out to him. Lucky for us, Alex was crazy enough to come on board. And the rest is history!

Do you have any upcoming projects? Would you like to continue working in the horror and comedy space or are you moving into different genres? Just a thought: could we ever see a sequel to this film?

I have a documentary that I’ve been working on for a long time about the American comedian Gallagher. That should hopefully be done this year. It’s totally different from Destroy All Neighbors, but there are some thematic similarities. 

I love horror and will hopefully get to make more movies in the genre. That said, I don’t know if I’m able to pull off actual scares. I think I’m better suited to the weird and comedic side of horror. But who knows? I’d love to branch out. I’m a big fan of any sort of choreography. Both dance and fight choreography. Maybe there’s a kung fu musical in my future?

As our interview ends, what would you like to tell the people of Australia and New Zealand about why they should check out Destroy All Neighbors (2024)?

Look, if you’ve gotten all the way to the end of this interview, you’re clearly deranged and in need of serious help. Just help can be found in the form of DESTROY ALL NEIGHBORS, available now on Shudder!

17th January 2024
Written by Peter Walkden

THANK YOU FOR VISITING!

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Walkden Entertainment (aka Peter Walkden) had the honour and pleasure of chatting with Director Ricard Cussó, along with lead actors David Wenham, Ed Oxenbould, Grant Denyer & Elizabeth Cullen, during the Queensland premiere of Combat Wombat: Back 2 Back (2023) at...

Combat Wombat: Back 2 Back (2023)

Several months have passed since Sanctuary City was introduced to Maggie, aka Combat Wombat (Deborah Mailman), and her sidekick Sweetie (Ed Oxenbould). Thanks to the latest technology developed by tech genius Lenny (David Wenham), the people within the city can now...

Weekend at Bernie’s (1989)

Two best friends, Larry (Andrew McCarthy) and Richard (Jonathan Silverman), work at an insurance company and are doing everything possible to receive a promotion. Each day, they dream of earning more money and living a life of luxury, even more so when they see their...

The Mountain (1956)

When a large plane crashes just below the summit of Bald Mountain, rescue parties are formed to climb to the disaster. The aircraft was on a routine flight from Calcutta to Paris when something unexpected caused the flight to crash. Each moment means less possibility...

This Is Me…Now: A Love Story (2024)

Prepare yourself for a one-of-a-kind journey that you won't experience anywhere else as you join Jennifer Lopez, a renowned celebrity artist and actress. Through song, dance, story and spectacular picture, she takes you on a tour of her mind, heart, and soul, guiding...

Subtraction (2022)

Farzaneh (Taraneh Alidoosti) is a driving instructor. During a lesson where she tries to teach someone who is completely ignorant and careless about basic driving rules, she sees something unusual far away outside the car window. From a distance, she can see her...

Inspector Sun and the Curse of the Black Widow (2022)

The film is set in Shanghai in 1934 and follows the story of Inspector Sun (played by Ronny Chieng), a brilliant and confident huntsman spider. Inspector Sun is known for working alone, and when we meet him, he has been tasked with solving the ultimate unsolved case -...

Riceboy Sleeps (2022)

Found on a cold winter’s evening as a baby wrapped in a blanket, no one knew where So-young was from. As she grew up, she bounced around from one orphanage to the next before packing her bags when she got older and leaving to live in a big city. So-young hoped for...

Interview: Mark Leonard Winter / The Rooster (2023)

Walkden Entertainment (aka Peter Walkden) had the honour and pleasure of chatting with Mark Leonard Winter, director and writer of The Rooster (2023), which is Available in Australian Cinemas from February 22nd. When the body of his oldest friend is found buried in a...

The Rooster (2023)

Dan (Phoenix Raei) is a police officer working within a small community. Life presents many challenges and struggles for Dan, and he finds himself walking around in what feels like a real-life nightmare. Pushing him even further over the edge is the discovery of a...

The Jester (2023)

One evening, a man named John (Matt Servitto) walks around alone in a small community. While walking, it's evident that something, or perhaps someone, is following him from a distance. John also appears to have strange and unexplainable visions of a little girl. The...

Dario Argento Panico (2023)

Introducing a documentary focused on the well-known horror director, writer, producer, actor, and composer Dario Argento. Today, many public figures would say Dario is like a painter or a musician in the film style. Dario's films have always featured fantastic camera...

May December (2023)

Elizabeth (Natalie Portman) is an actress working on her newest film. To prepare for her upcoming leading role, Elizabeth has the opportunity to study the real person she will be portraying, a woman named Gracie (Julianne Moore). It's been over twenty years since...

Birth/Rebirth (2023)

Celie (Judy Reyes) is a single mother who works full-time as a nurse. At the same hospital is Dr. Rose Casper (Marin Ireland), a morgue technician who is working in the field of pathology. Even though they work at the same hospital, Celie and Dr. Rose Casper are...

Interview: Simon Emmett / Welcome to the Darkness (2023)

Walkden Entertainment (aka Peter Walkden) had the honour and pleasure of chatting with Simon Emmett, director of Welcome to the Darkness (2023), available on Digital from January 24th, thanks to Lightbulb Film Distribution. Have you been a long-term fan of The...

Anatomy of a Fall (2023)

Over the last year, a family of three consisting of Samuel (Samuel Theis), Sandra (Sandra Hüller), and their vision-impaired son, Daniel (Milo Machado Graner), have been living in an isolated location in the mountains. The film opens with Sandra attempting to share a...

Welcome to the Darkness (2023)

It's incredible to think of it now, but in 2002, The Darkness was an unsigned band. By 2004, its key members- Justin Hawkins, his brother Dan Hawkins, Frankie Poullain and the original drummer Ed Graham- had sold over a million records. But in 2006, something...

The Iron Claw (2023)

Based on a true story set in the early 1980s, The Iron Claw follows the Von Erich brothers and their journey within the world of professional wrestling. Firstly, we are taken back in time to glimpse wrestling icon Fritz Von Erich (Holt McCallany), delivering a final...

The Jungle Bunch: World Tour (2023)

The Jungle Bunch is a group of animals who, when called upon, will help and save the day. Whether it's another animal in need of urgent help or an area in the jungle that requires their attention, their goal and desire is to help maintain peace and harmony. When one...

The Canterville Ghost (2023)

In the late 1800s, there's a wild storm during the night right at bedtime for Lord Monroe (Bill Lobley), the proud owner of a stunningly large manor house in Canterville Chase, England. However, before going to bed with his teddy bear, Lord Monroe encounters something...

Career Opportunities (1991)

Jim (Frank Whaley) isn't the brightest bloke in the community. He struggles to hold a job, still lives with his parents, continually lies to everyone around him, and has failed to discover his true purpose as an adult. When Jim loses his job at an animal shelter, his...

Destroy All Neighbors (2024)

William Brown (Jonah Ray) is a passionate rock musician and composer with one major issue: he's unable to create the perfect song to take him further. When William isn't working on his music or spending time with his partner, he works at a recording studio as an...

The Holdovers (2023)

Paul Hunham (Paul Giamatti) is a teacher at a prep school located in New England during the 1970s. Paul is a firm, strict, and extremely cranky teacher and is disliked by students and co-workers alike. As school breaks up for another year over Christmas, many students...

Stargate (1994)

In 1928 Giza, Egypt, an incredible, large artifact is discovered by a group of archaeologists. We then jump to the present day and are introduced to Dr. Daniel Jackson (James Spader), an archaeologist knowledgeable about ancient Egypt, including translating the...

The Man in Half Moon Street (1945)

Who was Julian Karell, and where did he come from? What manner of man was he? For some, he was a fine, incredibly courageous scientist who lost track of truth. Another man claims that Karell was a cold-blooded murderer and a remarkable criminal. Lastly, we hear from a...

Kane (2023)

The film opens with a game of chess being played by two mysterious men and a voiceover letting us know who they are: Abe (Jeremy Lindsay Taylor) and Frankie (Nathan Phillips). Abe is an old-school gangster who has dissociative identity disorder, meaning there are...

Top Rated Films of 2023

You can agree that 2023 was another outstanding year for cinema. Below is a list of my favourites and, once again, my top ten titles. Trust me when I say it: it was a challenge to narrow it down to number one. On behalf of my family and myself, I would like to take...

Anyone But You (2023)

It all begins when Bea (Sydney Sweeney) rushes into a local cafe, hoping to use the toilet. The cafe staff are not helpful, but Bea is rescued by a nearby knight in shining armour, Ben (Glen Powell). Regardless of a few funny and awkward moments between Bea and Ben,...

Ferrari (2023)

Set in 1957, Enzo Ferrari (Adam Driver) is an ex-race car driver and the current owner of a well-known Italian car company. However, Ferrari is currently in hot water due to the lack of sales. Enzo's wife, Laura (Penélope Cruz), also works with him as a business...

Dream Scenario (2023)

Paul (Nicolas Cage) is a biology professor with a wife and two teenage daughters. There are multiple challenges for Paul, including trying to fulfil his long-term dreams of writing and publishing a book. Many around Paul live a life of success and wealth, but for...

The Shift (2023)

While sitting at a bar and drinking alone, Kevin (Kristoffer Polaha) meets his true love, Molly (Elizabeth Tabish). Instantly, Kevin is smitten by her to the point he is willing to make significant changes in his life, such as taking a deeper step into church and...

The Boys in the Boat (2023)

In the 1930s, Joe (Callum Turner) is studying to become an engineer at university. Financially, he is struggling to make ends meet as he pays off school fees. Unsuccessful at finding a job, he is sleeping in his car each night. Joe hears of a paying job for the...

Coup de Chance (2023)

When Fanny (Lou de Laâge) walks along a busy street, she soon hears her name being called out from afar. A man approaches her, claiming to know her from high school. At first, Fanny is surprised but soon learns the man is Alain (Niels Schneider). Once upon a time,...

Wonka (2023)

After seven years of living on the ocean, Willy Wonka (Timothée Chalamet) has decided to say farewell to the sea and start afresh in a city over the horizon. Willy Wonka is a skilled magician and chocolate maker with determined dreams of opening a brand-new chocolate...

Merry Little Batman (2023)

It's the Christmas season in Wayne Manor, and the only thing that six-year-old Damian Wayne (Yonas Kibreab) wants is to fight crime with his father, Batman, aka Bruce Wayne (Luke Wilson). On Christmas Eve, Bruce decides to give Damian his present early. Damian eagerly...

Wish (2023)

When he and his family are attacked, Magnifico (Chris Pine) decides to start afresh somewhere safe. Travelling far, far away, Magnifico and his wife find an island where they can begin a new life, welcoming others to join them and live in harmony. In time, a new...