Richard Gale & Brian Rohan on ‘Spoon Wars!’

The director and star of the internet sensation The Horribly Slow Murder with an Extremely Inefficient Weapon discuss the making of their new sequel, Spoon Wars!

Fred Topelby Fred Topel

The most delightful surprise of Fantastic Fest for me was discovering the short film The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon. It’s a YouTube hit, with the spoon killer slowly beating away at his victim, one minor bruise at a time. I saw it for the first time at a screening, as the filmmakers premiered their sequel, Spoon Wars. I was so impressed, I spent the rest of the week chasing down an interview with director Richard Gale, and the spoon killer himself, Brian Rohan.


CraveOnline: How many other weapons did you think of before you settled on a spoon?

Richard Gale: Well, the initial concept was something that involved a spoon to begin with. The initial concept was over 10 years before we actually made the film. The initial concept was to do just a 30 second or minute long comedy skit/fake movie trailer. It was not nearly as epic as it turned out to be in the final product.

Brian Rohan: This was long before I met him.

Richard Gale: Yeah, this was long before I met Brian. It’s a friend and myself came up with some ideas to do a sketch comedy pilot. This was one of them but we never made it. But we had a short film at Fantastic Fest four years ago called Criticized. The next year we wanted to come back to Fantastic Fest and I had this idea for more of a comedy horror. So that’s just what we decided to do, having no idea that it was going to end up taking 22 days to film and just an insane amount of locations. Because it was such a ridiculous concept for a trailer, the more epic it became, it made it funnier for us so we just kept making it bigger and bigger and bigger.


Once you’re Ginosaji, do you not break character?

Brian Rohan: When we’re shooting, obviously I have to talk to Richard in between. If it’s anywhere, even if it’s outside in public, I really feel like it’s a bastardization for him to have a conversation. Out in public, we have been recognized. We were shooting in Griffith Park a few months ago and a group of kids came up and they wanted a picture, so I really felt an obligation not even to break when I was around a group of kids in between the shots. Maybe I’ll whisper something to Richard. And people have suggested that during the interview process, that I should go up and suddenly start talking like this [in a  British accent] and just come up with all sorts of clever quips. I’m like okay, but then the joke’s over. I just feel like there’s a character integrity to him.


How did you come up with his physicality?

Brian Rohan: He is actually born of necessity because we did a lot of guerilla filming. So we knew we couldn’t use any sort of prosthetics, basically in the beginning driving around and saying, “This location looks nice. Let’s get out and film here.” So we for the face, pretty much, Richard and I are big on discussing our nightmares so we thought what face would scare you? If you open your eyes in bed and something was standing at the foot of the bed, what face would scare you? So we kind of did that. As far as the body physicality, that was actually made up on the spot at the very first take. I didn’t even talk about that with Richard. I was chasing Paul and I just thought I needed something that would make me look 1000 years old. I actually thought of the George Carlin thing, his standup routine where he talks about firemen who have ankle-hipolitis where they jump out a window, their ankles get sucked up into their hips. So I kind of did that and it made me dislocate one hip when I did that.


And it changes the way you strike also.

Brian Rohan: Yeah, absolutely, just makes me a big bag of bones.


Did you come up with a backstory?

Brian Rohan: Yes, I kind of talked about it with Richard. We just knew initially he was over 1000 years old. He was some sort of demonic creature. As far as the specifics go, I leave that up to the writer but I have my own ideas.


Is your hair covered in the costume?

Brian Rohan: I look ridiculous doing the makeup job because I have a girly headband, just to keep the bangs from falling forward.


Did you actually run in front of the White House hitting Paul with a spoon?

Richard Gale: No, we didn’t. We ran through a park in Beverly Hills where they have a patch of grass. That was then composited in to a shot of the White House. Then to help sell it, I got a shot of a flag that was up on top of a bank on Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles and composited that into the shot because it was a still frame. I wanted to give it more movement.

The trailer says the actual film is nine hours long. Is it a testament to the short that we actually want to see the nine hour version?


Richard Gale: I take that as a great compliment and I’m honored, although I honestly don’t believe anyone would be able to sit through nine hours of this and actually say they enjoyed it. So if we were to ever do a long version, it would be very different.


How did you like recreating the ‘Psycho’ shower scene with a spoon?

Brian Rohan: Well, you know my day job? I’m Norma Bates at Universal Studios.


You are? You do a great job. I’ve taken that tour many times.

Brian Rohan: Well, I was the first one. Now there are six of us.


Did you play Norma at the Cinefamily when they showed ‘Psycho I-III’ for Mother’s Day?

Brian Rohan: Yes, that was me. I was having a little wardrobe malfunction there, but I brought the cadaver to take tickets with. It was so great, it amazed me that people stayed for six hours. I really love Psycho III if for no other reason than the fact that so much of it is Anthony Perkins. It’s his ideas, his direction.


No wonder you have the physicality. Do you have a background style you studied?

Brian Rohan: No, I’m just tall and lanky. I maybe just at an early age became aware of this is standoffish, this shows pride.


When you started doing movie parodies, was ‘Star Wars’ always one you wanted to do but had to wait for the sequel?

Richard Gale: No, the idea to do Spoon Wars came up within the last six months. I never thought I would do a spoof of it and really only the opening credits are a spoof of Star Wars.


Well, there’s a light saber.

Richard Gale: There’s a light saber and it’s set in the Star Wars universe, but rather than being a parody of Star Wars, it’s really more of an excuse for us to have an epic light saber vs. spoon battle on an alien planet. And it’s an excuse to experiment with a lot of special effects I had never done before.

Brian, is doing the Darth Sidius role in the ‘Spoon Wars’ spoof as monumental to you as the Norman Bates spoof?


Brian Rohan: As a kid, I had my action figures but I was more of a Superman: The Movie fan. That was one of my favorites but I still love Star Wars. When Richard suggested it, I said okay because I know he’s going to create something good. There were challenges though because you figure when you’re holding a spoon, spoons are what, seven inches? By the time you hold it, you have maybe four inches to play with. Fighting an actual lightsaber with it, because we did have a plastic lightsaber to use, there’s a reason why the weapons are usually the exact same.


Did you get your fingers smashed?

Brian Rohan: Yeah, quite a bit. In fact we were filming on the green screen and trying to keep the green screen totally clear, and I was fighting with Paul, fighting with Paul, doing take after take. I couldn’t even feel it anymore but I know we had a lot of collisions with the fingers, so what happened was Richard yells out, “What’s the black stuff? Who’s getting dirt on the green screen?” I looked down and I realized it was my fingers pouring blood. So I had to keep putting band-aids on my knuckles, putting white makeup over that and then doing it more and more until the band-aids broke off, but it was fun.


Does Lucas help filmmakers with the actual font?

Richard Gale: Well, Lucas has been very cool to all fans who want to make fan films that involve lightsabers and that sort of thing, because he realizes that these are people who love Star Wars and just want to play in that universe as well with their films. So he’s always been very supportive of fan films.


My friend suggested you should do a ‘Matrix’ spoof because there is no spoon.

Richard Gale: Actually, we’ve gotten that comment many times. There is no spoon, so therefore we could do something in the Matrix universe so that is one of the ideas that we have for an upcoming video that would be on YouTube, would be a spoof of The Matrix.


Brian, what has the YouTube phenomenon done for your profile as an actor?

Brian Rohan: I’m floored by it. When it first went up on YouTube, it was kind of an illegal download. Richard sent out copies to different festivals and I guess somebody got a hold of it and they put it up on YouTube illegally. So he would have it taken down but it was developing this weird now you see it, now you don’t kind of cult following. People would find it and then it would disappear. Everybody kept downloading it and putting it on YouTube themselves. So on one of those searches, if I was bored, I would just go into YouTube, type in “horribly slow murderer,” “spoon killer” or whatever to see what came up. I didn’t even recognize the thumbnail but it said “Horribly Slow Murderer with Extremely Inefficient Weapon.” I clicked on it and it was a tribute video. I saw a kid dressed up as the spoon killer doing the face.


How old?

Brian Rohan: He was in his teens but since then, I think there’s over 150 tribute videos. Some of them have been taken down, but not by us. I’m just amazed that something kind of made up on the fly caught on. If you type in the word “spoon killer” or “Der Loffel-Morder” in German or “assassino de colher,” all sorts of tribute videos come up.


Who are the best tributes you’ve seen?

Brian Rohan: Oh, I think they’re all [great], honestly. If somebody’s happy enough to put it on YouTube where comments can be vicious at times, we’ve been very blessed to get very nice comments. More power to them. This year I saw somebody in Hollywood dressed up as a spoon killer for Halloween.


Hmm, I’m looking for an idea for Halloween. I usually do something from a movie.

Brian Rohan: It’s so simple. It’s just an American Apparel hoodie.


Do you have any ideas for a feature version?

Richard Gale: I actually do. I’ve got quite a few ideas. In fact tens of thousands of them because we received 30,000 comments on the YouTube channel and so many of them are comments suggesting ways that Jack could try to take some certain action to try to defeat Ginosaji. People like to say what they would try to do to stop the spoon demon. So it’s great because there are a lot of ideas that come our way, so we actually do have lots and lots of ideas. I’m working on a screenplay now that may actually go in that direction, but we’re still figuring that out.

Brian Rohan: Richard and I have a great time working together. We worked on a project about seven years ago when we first met through a Backstage West thing. We discovered we’re born on the same day. He’s two hours older than me, which is good. If he were younger than me I’d have a hard time taking direction. So we just get along great. I’m just looking forward to our next project, whether it’s spoon killer or some of the other ideas he’s tossing around.


A few nights ago, Nacho Vigolondo was hitting people with your spoons at a party. Are you proud of yourselves?

Richard Gale: Yes, extremely proud because I created my own lyrics for the Radiohead song Creep that tell the story of the spoon killer. So I performed it at the karaoke night and our spoon killer was in a screening seeing someone else’s screening, so I got Nacho Vigolondo to come up. He’s a friend and he played our spoon killer so I was quite honored to have him be the spoon killer for that spoon. I told him he could keep the souvenir spoon, but he proceeded to assault pretty much every woman in the room with the spoon afterwards. So we had to come after him with sort of a spoon posse to try to get him under control.