Mclean sparks with Guardians of the Galaxy creator

20 July, 2015 by Don Groves

Greg Mclean on the set of The Belko Experiment.


Shooting an action/horror/thriller movie in the Colombian capital Bogota sounds like a potentially scary experience.

Not at all, according to Wolf Creek creator Greg Mclean, who spent three months in the country working on The Belko Experiment.

Funded by MGM and written and produced by Guardians Of The Galaxy’s James Gunn, the movie focuses on the US Belko Corporation in South America, whose employees mysteriously are forced to either start killing each other or be killed.

“We had no security for cast or crew – we didn't need it,” Mclean tells IF from Los Angeles, where he is in post after a six week shoot.

“Most people’s impressions of Colombia are unfortunately from about a decade ago and mainly from 1980s action movies where there's gangsters in the streets shooting up the place.

“It's very, very different from what you'd expect and we had no problems whatsoever. Most people who got there were like, 'Oh my God, it's exactly like Vancouver or Melbourne or other large, modern cities.'

“The Colombian people were extremely friendly and nice to everyone and overall everyone enjoyed the place immensely.”

The only hassle cast and crew faced was the logistics of shooting in Bogota itself, where Mclean says the peak hour traffic makes peak hour in LA look like Sunday afternoon in a small Outback town.

“It was a fairly aggressive and ambitious schedule so I slept for a week once we were done,” he says.

Gunn had sent the script to Mclean via his agent, the director was hooked immediately and they got in touch via Skype until meeting in LA. The other producer is Peter Safran, whose credits include Annabelle, Buried and The Conjuring.

Mclean had a blast working with Gunn, explaining, “Our sensibilities clicked pretty immediately about movies, the kinds of movies we liked and what we thought this movie should be.

“He's a writer and director himself of course as well as being the producer on this movie, so we had a pretty good short hand during the process. He was very supportive in terms of protecting my vision for what I wanted to do as the director – having been in that position many times himself.

"He's lots of fun, super smart, doesn't take any shit and is basically obsessed with movies like myself.”

The cast includes Tony Goldwyn as Barry Norris, the COO of Belko, Adria Arjona as Norris' assistant, John Gallagher Jr, Melonie Diaz, John C. McGinley, David Del Rio, Stephen Blackehart, Josh Brener, Rusty Schwimmer, Michael Rooker and Sean Gunn.

“It was a really dedicated and incredibly hard working group of actors who bought their ‘A’ game every day,” he says.

Meanwhile the director is putting the finishing touches to his first US-set film, Blumhouse Productions' 6 Miranda Drive, a low-budget thriller starring Kevin Bacon and Radha Mitchell about a family that unwittingly brings a supernatural force home from their vacation to the Grand Canyon.

Mclean says, “It's a Universal movie so it will most likely be distributed via their distribution channels.”