William Friedkin talks Killer Joe: interview


Killer Joe , the twisted new thriller from director William Friedkin ( The Exorcist , The French Connection ), hits cinemas in the UK this week.

It tells the story of ‘Killer’ Joe Cooper, a Dallas detective who earns cash on the side as a hitman. His services are procured by Chris (Emile Hirsch), a lower-than-low-level drug dealer wanting to off his mother in order to cash in on her life insurance possibility.

Trouble is, Joe demands advance payment, which Chris can’t afford. In steps Chris’ young, damaged, virginal sister Dottie (Juno Temple), who’s offered as a retainer in a bargain with Joe. Needless to say, things don't quite go to plan…

Guaranteed to stir violently animated post-viewing debates, the film is at turns sadistic and brutal, and gasp-out-loud funny, with Friedkin ratcheting up the tension towards an unbelievable climax.

The smart, talkative Chicago native spoke warmly about the movie in his captivating trademark drawl, covering everything from filmmaking inspiration, movie censorship, working with McConaughey and Temple, and the controversy that frequently surrounds his work.

Read the full William Friedkin interview below.

Read our Killer Joe film review.

Matt Maytum
Deputy Editor, Total Film

I'm the Deputy Editor at Total Film magazine, looking after the long-form features there, and generally obsessing over all things Nolan, Kubrick and Pixar. Over the past decade I've worked in various roles for TF online and in print, including at GamesRadar+, and you can often hear me nattering on the Inside Total Film podcast. Bucket-list-ticking career highlights have included reporting from the set of Tenet and Avengers: Infinity War, as well as covering Comic-Con, TIFF and the Sundance Film Festival.