Dreamland is one of the weirdest, wildest movies I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing and I was more than happy to talk to legendary Canadian director Bruce McDonald about his achievement. I have enjoyed many of his other films, of course, Pontypool, but also Hardcore Logo, This Movie is Broken, Weirdos, Picture Claire and many more. Dreamland has McDonald teaming up with many of his previous collaborators including writer Tony Burgess, and actors Stephen McHattie, Lisa Houle, Juliette Lewis, and Henry Rollins. Talking to him was a delight and here’s what we had to say!
note: due to some technical difficulties, my first question which was about how it was working with Stephen McHattie didn’t come out audibly, but Stephen McHattie, if you’re reading this, I definitely asked about you!
“We wanted to put the band back together…”
You got back together with Tony Burgess that you worked with on Pontypool for this script. How long have you guys been preparing this and how was it working with him again?
Bruce McDonald: Well, I love Tony. We’ve worked together a lot on other things as well. We talk to each other about every couple of days so Tony’s kind of like my brother and I think after Pontypool, when we worked with Steve and Lisa (Stephen McHattie and Lisa Houle), we all had such a fun time. As you know, movies take forever to get made. The idea for Dreamland didn’t come along that far after Pontypool. We wanted to put the band back together so we thought we might write something for Stephen and Lisa. We were inspired by a short film Stephen had made about Chet Baker and there’s a weird thing at the end of Pontypool, at the end of the credits, I don’t know if people watch it because it’s at the very end of the movie, but Stephen and Lisa are sitting at a sushi bar. He’s dressed up as a gangster and she’s dressed up as kind of a moll. He’s Johnny Deadeyes and she’s Lisa the killer and it had this sort of Raymond Chandler exchange and we thought, “let’s take those two characters and make a movie about them and Chet Baker” and that’s where it began.
I just got finished writing the review of Dreamland and it’s one of my favorite movies I’ve seen so far this year. It’s so unique. I’m curious, was all of Dreamland shot in Luxembourg, or just some of it?
Well, most of it was shot there. It was three countries, Luxembourg, Canada, and Belgium so we shot some of it in Luxembourg and some of it in a weird town in Belgium called Charleroi, which is sort of the Detroit of Belgium, it’s this broken-down industrial town. Just beautiful. So we shot it all in Europe. It was great fun to be there.