The two directors behind Swiss Army Man, a new film about a man who “rides a farting corpse” across the ocean, explained how their inside joke became “a gay necrophilia movie” in a new interview with the Telegraph.
Swiss Army Man stars Daniel Radcliffe as Manny, a corpse that washes up on a deserted island where a man, Hank (Paul Dano), befriends him, feeds him beans, and then rides his “gas-propelled body as a jet ski to escape the island.”
Calling their initial pitch “the worst idea we’d ever come up with,” directing duo Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert said they managed to gain positive critical reception at Sundance by pouring their hearts into the ridiculous storyline and refusing to feel ashamed by it.
“Because we were so ashamed of this idea, so ashamed that we were spending time on it, that kind of naturally bled into the film,” said Kwan. “That was a very relatable thing, having thoughts or ideas or neuroses that you’re too afraid to share with the world.”
“In some ways, this movie became that: something that we were afraid to share with the world. We realised we could connect those feelings with the feelings of body shame, and put them all together into a stew of what it means to be human, and what it means to be alive.”
Kwan and Scheinert said their original story involved Manny helping Hank back to the woman he loved, but that it didn’t make sense once they started writing.
“We could tell that Hank and Manny needed each other more than Hank and Sarah ever did,” said Kwan. “We just kept rewriting and rewriting, until we allowed them to fall in love. And once we allowed ourselves to write that, that story really started to grow and blossom into something worthwhile.”
“So that was a really interesting turning point – when we let Hank and Manny fall in love and accidentally made a gay necrophilia movie.”
The gay necrophilia point also connected with their overall moral, the directors said.
“The moral of the story that we came up with – because every great story needs a moral – was that shame keeps us from love,” said Scheinert.
“It gave us permission to go down these deep, philosophical routes. And talk about farts. They’re the most ridiculous thing in the world to be ashamed of. Literally every human and every animal farts.”
Check out the trailer for Swiss Army Man, available on DVD and streaming October 4, below:
— Swiss Army Man (@SwissArmyMan) September 23, 2016