Fried Barry director Ryan Kruger talks about putting his unique stamp on his directorial debut and how the cinematic mind-trip was inspired by John Carpenter’s Starman.
Fried Barry is a film fans will either love or hate and the director Ryan Kruger seems to agree. Kruger created Fried Barry as an experimental three-minute short and then began to expand the idea and flush out the concept of the bizarrely intriguing film. Kruger is a true cinephile at heart with reference and Easter eggs from some of the films that inspired Kruger spread throughout Fried Barry.
The Illuminerdi had a chance to speak to Ryan Kruger about making his directorial debut stand out in the current landscape of cinema and the cinematic influence found in ‘Fried Barry‘.
The Illuminerdi: From your opening about the rating to your intermission, it felt much like a throwback, almost like a grindhouse film to me. And this is your directorial feature debut, and I know that can be challenging because you got to make sure it’s the right project and it has to fit your vision and really put your stamp on a directorial debut. But I think you absolutely nailed that, even from the opening, a Ryan Kruger thing, you know what I mean? I love that.
So, can you talk to me about your experience with making your directorial debut for a feature film?
Ryan Kruger: I think, every director that makes his first film, it’s so important, which one you choose. Over the years I’ve always thought, should I make this film? Should I make that film? I’ve got another idea. I’ve never really known which one it would come down to. And that’s why when I got the idea, I just knew, straight away. I haven’t seen this film and that’s what excites me and the way I want to do it, that’s what excites me.
And there’s a lot of obviously 80s references within the movie. Like you said, with some of those like old-school grindhouse movies. There are so many Easter eggs in this movie. It’s ridiculous how many there are. And that’s just for, the great love that I have for the 80s and late 70s cinema. So, for me, it was all those.
The certification intro at the beginning, it was very much… Growing up in England, it was always a thing when you rented a video from the video shop, there was always a certification thing at the beginning of the movie, where the guy would be like, “Okay, this film is rated 18 and that means nobody under or at that age should watch this film.” And it was a big thing for your friends or family because you either need to fast forward it or you would all read it along with him because we heard it so many times.
Then obviously the intermission was also a big thing because growing up, going to the cinema, we used to have those in intermissions, which we don’t do now and the films are probably even longer than they were back then. We have no intermissions and we just play it. I’m so happy that it was this one, that was my first feature film. And I never would’ve guessed it would’ve been this one, but it just excited me because I hadn’t seen this film.
I guess at that time where I was in my career and my life that I went through a lot of depression and stuff. This film needed to be the one film that I could be super, super creative with. I think it was perfect for that to be this film.
What Films Influenced Fried Barry?
I couldn’t agree with you more. I love that you put your own individual stamp on it. I almost feel this could have been called, David Lynch presents, E.T. Do you know what I mean? It feels like a very adult E.T., but I also saw influences from things like Starman and Trainspotting and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. What were some of your cinematic influences for Fried Barry that you drew inspiration from?
Ryan Kruger: Definitely John Carpenter’s Starman. That was a big one. I used to love that film as a kid. Definitely E.T. Obviously, there’s a lot of E.T. there. There was the 90s’ film called Bad Boy Bobby. I took a lot of references, inspiration from that. I think they’re my main references and then it’s mashing them all up and just putting my spin on it.
Even like going back to what you were saying before, a Ryan Kruger thing. I’ve used that since it was like a kid. I think directors are always trying to find their style or their look. It’s a hard thing to get it. I think a lot of directors, struggle with it. I’ve always done my style, whatever that is, but it’s also how you present it to an audience.
It’s also how you present your name to the audience. It’s all down to marketing and put it in people’s faces. And for me as a kid, I was like, ‘Okay, you got Alfred Hitchcock flick, you got a Spike Lee Joint.’ And I was like, ‘Shit! Okay. I need something.’ And then my best friend growing up, James Skynay, he was like, ‘Dude, what about like a Ryan Kruger thing?’ And then I used that since I was a kid and I’ve always just used it.
If you’re into surreal films from David Lynch or are a fan of John Carpenter’s Starman, give Fried Barry a chance. It’s definitely worth checking out this Halloween season!
Fried Barry is available On DVD, Blu-Ray, and On Demand and Digital October 5, 2021. Will you be checking out Fried Barry? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter!