Be Afraid

Forget Michel Gondry. Forget Spike Jonze. Meet Chris Cunningham. He’s the Brit music-vid genius behind some of the most stunningly dark promos ever made.

Cunningham’s astonishing work for Björk, Madonna and – most famously – Aphex Twin has had Hollywood chasing him for years. “I’ve been sent everything from Catch Me If You Can to 28 Days Later to Terminator 3,” the director tells Total Film in a rare interview. “It’s not that I turn stuff down, I just never read any scripts. I’m only interested in developing my own material.

My agent doesn’t bother sending me scripts anymore.” That takes some balls. But then, Cunningham’s got ’em. Motored by an obsession with anatomy and mechanics, the filmmaker’s work paints him as a violent, enigmatic fusion of David Fincher and David Cronenberg. Still, even after dabbling in Hollywood filmmaking (he developed Judge Dredd’s giant killer-robot and built an animatronic boy for a pre-AI Stanley Kubrick), Cunningham still couldn’t settle on his debut feature.

“I spent a year developing A Scanner Darkly,” he reveals. “I wanted to do the first faithful Philip K Dick adaptation, but I wanted to spread my wings, too.” With twisted short-film Rubber Johnny hitting DVD this month, Cunningham’s finally pressing ahead with his long-mooted movie career. “I’m developing three original scripts.” So what exactly can we expect from the man behind screaming demons, alien girls, copulating robots and monstrous dual-gendered dancers? Cunningham doesn’t even pause. “Sex and violence.”

Rubber Johnny is out to buy on DVD on 20 June.

The Total Film team are made up of the finest minds in all of film journalism. They are: Editor Jane Crowther, Deputy Editor Matt Maytum, Reviews Ed Matthew Leyland, News Editor Jordan Farley, and Online Editor Emily Murray. Expect exclusive news, reviews, features, and more from the team behind the smarter movie magazine.