SPOILER WARNING: THIS STORY CONTAINS DISCUSSION OF IMPORTANT STORIES AND SCENES IN INTERCEPTOR.
First time director Matthew Reilly admits he never expected his feature film debut Interceptor to do as well as it has since it released on Netflix earlier this month. The Movie That Follows a Captain in the US Army (Elsa Pataki), which must prevent a nuclear missile attack engineered by domestic terrorists in collaboration with Russians, climbed to #1 on the streamer’s top 10 list with around 50 million hours watched.
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“It blew me away,” Reilly told me Friday morning as I caught up via Zoom. “I was hoping to sneak into the top 10 on Netflix, but ended up number one everywhere?”
“I don’t think anyone expected it to take the world by storm,” he continued before laughing. “I’m just as confused as everyone else.”
Produced by Pataky’s husband Chris HemsworthHe wrote the screenplay with Reilly Stuart Beattie (“Obi Wan Kenobi”).
“Interceptor” takes place in one place – a floating military base in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, equipped with a defense system capable of intercepting nuclear missiles. The film touches on a variety of hot topics, including #MeToo (Pataky’s character’s military career falters when a five-star general is fired after she accuses him of sexual misconduct), Russian aggression, xenophobia and right-wing conspiracy theories. The dialogue is peppered with unforgettable one-liners, including a soldier (Meyen Metha) joking with the villain (Luke Bracey), “I saw you in the shower. I could understand why you’re obsessed with rockets.”
Another sucker has a Bracey henchman (Aaron Glenane) and justified his acts of terror by saying, “I’m not a murderer, I’m a fucking patriot.”
The extensive bloodshed ranges from Pataky fatally stabbing an attacker in the eye with a gun to another villain being decapitated with barbed wire.
“I’m very aware of what the film is,” says Reilly, 47, who was born and raised in Australia before moving to Los Angeles a few years ago.
Yes, he’s read some of the film’s brutal reviews on social media. “If you don’t like my film, say you don’t like my film. It doesn’t bother me,” says Reilly. “But at some point in the last few years we’ve come to this extreme end and people are like, ‘I don’t like your movie, that’s why I hate you, that’s why you should die an agonizing, miserable death and never do movies again.'”
He doesn’t let hate get to him. So much so that he’s already written an “Interceptor” sequel. “Netflix likes it,” says Reilly.
Before landing in the director’s chair, Reilly was a bestselling author of action thriller fiction.
“I’ve been writing crazy, fast-paced action novels for 25 years,” explains Reilly. “It’s well known that I’ve sold them all to Hollywood studios, but they’re too big. Those are $120 million to $150 million worth of movies. I’ve always wanted to direct, so Interceptor was designed to be cheaply shot in a single location. But I would give it that energy, that enthusiasm, that crazy gonzo pace.”
Reilly said Netflix banned him from revealing his budget. “If they let me do the sequel, then I’ll do my ‘T2’ or then my ‘Road Warrior,'” he said, referring to the ‘Terminator’ and ‘Mad Max’ sequels.
Hemsworth has a cameo in the film as an electronics store clerk who smokes weed. “Netflix said they wanted to work with Elsa, and Chris said he was going to be an EP,” says Reilly. “Of course someone on Netflix says, ‘Hey, Chris, you might want to be in the movie.’ I got Chris straight from the ‘Thor’ set. I have to direct him for two hours. He doesn’t play around. It’s laser-focused.”
Will Hemsworth’s character appear in the sequel?
“I don’t want to speak for him, but I think ‘Interceptor’ was a one-and-done,” says Reilly, “but let’s just say the sequel is about ten times bigger. If he wants to be there, I’m pretty sure we can accommodate him somewhere.”
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