Interviews: Tanner Beard and Ken Luckey - Six Bullets To Hell

Tanner Beard and Ken Luckey talk Westerns, Almeria, and a Nicolas Cage comeback plan. 

We at The Movie Sleuth take great pride in supporting independent features. These guys have created something really cool with their new movie, Six Bullets To Hell. Check it out on streaming services and check out our interview with two of the brains behind the return of the spaghetti Western. 

TMS: Did you see Bone Tomahawk yet?

TB:  I loved it. Bro, I've probably watched Bone Tomahawk 4 or 5 times. I'm not kidding. The dialogue was just so precise. I thought it was cool, man. They definitely brought 'what makes this Western different than all the other ones to the table? '. 

TMS: What do you think is going on with the return to the Western? They've definitely made a huge comeback again. 

KL:  I think it's rising popularity. It's one of those things where a lot of things in Hollywood are cyclical and the Western genre is really coming back. Quentin Tarantino is leading the way with his movies. And Westerns are now more fun to watch because we were so used to Unforgiven and a lot of those '90s Westerns that were very long dramatic movies. Now they're action packed. We're going back to some of the spaghetti stuff. It's becoming more fun to watch. We're getting the older generation to watch as well as getting a newer generation to watch.... like millenials. 

TB: There's some really big stars doing Westerns now too, which is great. 

TMS: I grew up in the '80s so I didn't get that many Westerns but I did get Silverado and also Tombstone. Now that's a modern classic!

KL: It's one of my all time favorites. That's probably my favorite movie of all time actually. 

TMS: With Six Bullets to Hell, you had two directors. Is that hard? Is it like a super power team up? And why did you decide on using two directors?

TB: I've always been infatuated by the two director mold myself. I always wondered how the Coen Brothers did it. It was kinda easy for me. Russell is my cousin. We grew up making movies together. We actually wound up taking over the movie as we were shooting it. On the directing side, we kind of stepped up when some other people stepped down. It just worked out that way. We were like tag team wrestlers, man. 

We had to rely on each other when we were in the scene to give 110 percent in front of the camera. Then we'd kind of tag team behind the camera. It was a pretty full powered moving ship with the crew. It was a team effort.  Me and worked because we're family. We could yell at each other if we needed too but we still knew we were cousins at the end of the day. 

TMS: Looking at the production notes on this thing, I can see it was made in 2014. Was there a delay in getting this movie out there?

TB: Yeah. There was a bit of a delay. We wanted to secure some rights with some music issues. It just took a little while. We have some music from Ennio Morricone we really wanted to keep in the movie. And so we waited. Then it took even longer because he won the Oscar. He also won the Golden Globe. Just to get through to his company, it took a lot of time.

The artistic integrity got in my way. I didn't want to release the movie without it. We had some time to wait. The movie came out in Europe before we really brought it over to the U.S., so there was some lag time there too. During that time we were fortunate enough to create a video game to kinda help advertise it as well. It took a little while but during the wait we were able to net some really great things. 

TMS: Luckey, when you watch this movie, what other Westerns would you compare it to?

KL:  This is a throwback to the spaghetti Western genre. In fact, where we shot in Almeria, Spain is the mother place of all spaghetti Westerns. They had shot so many Westerns there. The Good The Bad The Ugly. And that sort of tone we piggybacked on that. We want you to look at this movie like it's an old VHS tape with a bunch of dust on it, we blew it away, then put it back in the VCR and watched it. It definitely has a lot of spaghetti Western put in the picture. 

TMS: Tanner, who is your favorite Western director?

TB:  Western director? John Forbes (laughter), really taking it back to its roots. I heard Tarantino say the other day if you've made more than 3, you're an official Western director. It's kind of the unwritten rule. He's gotta be up there too and just all around. It's interesting. I want to be my favorite Western director. 

Luckey and Crispian are my favorite actors but I'm my favorite director (laughter). 

TMS: Luckey, what's your favorite flick in this genre as a whole? Is there a specific one. 

KL: Ooh man. I was just thinking about this the other day. That's really hard to say. I would probably say Fistful of Dynamite. If I'd have to go with one, it would be Fistful of Dynamite. 

TMS: Tanner, if you and Russell could team up again on another movie, what would you guys do next time?

TB: A comedy, man. Another Western would be fun. Jean Claude Van Damme style stuff. Anything action. 

KL: What's missing these days is those blue jean cop dramas, you know? The standards were different back in the day. 

Have horse will ride. 
TMS: How hard is it getting funding for something like this?

TB: What's another word for impossible? It's really difficult, man. Like any business, it's gotta have some niche, whether it be someone who draws attention to it. Actor wise, it's gotta have somebody that draws attention to it. Director wise, even if you cast no names, you know you're gonna have people that watch his movie, because he IS the name. But this one, what we tried to to do to give it a niche is we made it an old Western today. Literally, we made a 1969 film in 2014/15. Nobody's made anything post 2000's where they had to go in and dub it over specifically like they used to do in the '60s cause they had no other choice. We thought that was an interesting style. We hope that audiences appreciate that, especially ones that are a little older. It was sure fun to make an old movie today. 

TMS:  What do you think about the way technology has advanced the way we make Westerns today. Is it good? Bad? Or ugly?

KL:  I think what you can do with it......well....with Westerns, the landscape is a character within that movie. And the more we can paint that picture for the audience in high could be something really amazing. In fact, we used a drone for one of our shots in the movie and that was something a little different and a little bit new...playing around with that. I'm definitely looking forward to the technology and how it will effect the Western or any genre for that matter. 

TMS: You know what would be really amazing and you guys can tell me if I'm dumb or not. But, there's one actor who has never really done a Western and the dude's career is in the total dumper right now. What if you could get Nicolas Cage to be in one of your a Western? 

TB: Well, first of all, he would do it, because he'll take anything these days. 

KL: He'd be the villain, right? He'd have to be the bad guy to pull it off. 

TMS: I keep seeing him in all these weird direct to video movies and I keep thinking there has to be a day he gets out of tax debt and makes a comeback. 

KL: (laughter)

TB: I think you're onto something. I think we should all put something together. Let's get Nic on a Western. 

KL: Movie Sleuth Productions presents......

TMS: What's the next project for you after this?

Guns don't kill people. Outlaws do. 
TB: We're actually doing another Western called Thou Shalt Kill. It's been in the works. But, I wanted to get Six Bullets to Hell off and running. It's a great, cool little western. It'll be a modern Western but we're keeping it with that European style. It's more like The Salvation, a really great European Western that came out. It actually premiered at Cannes Film Festival a few years ago when I was there. I was so excited to see something in that genre be so praised. One of their major films there was a Western and it gave me so much joy that something in that genre could be so timeless. 

KL: I just recently wrapped another Western in Almeria, Spain called The Price of Death. It's not as spaghetti but we used a lot more landscape. It was really fun this time around. Usually I play the bad guy. More character type roles. In this one I was more of a James Garner type. I really really enjoyed it so I'm super stoked for it coming out. Hopefully it will be coming out later this year. 

TMS: Where can people see Six Bullets To Hell and when is it getting released?

TB: May 10th, man. We have the video game, a cell phone video game. You play as Billy Rogers and you go and track down the big evil bandits. It's a really fun shoot 'em up game. Also, the same day Six Bullets will be on iTunes. Then following that we have the AM/FM fest in Palm Springs, That's the same day the movie comes out on Google Play, May 20th. Download the game too. It's a blast. Give the game a play. It's got direct links to download the movie. 

These dudes are awesome. Check out their new movie, Six Bullets To Hell this week on iTunes. And download their game too. I hear it's pretty cool. Now go shoot something.