Pierre Perifel interview: ‘The Bad Guys’ director
In order to achieve the stylized look for his film, “The Bad Guys,” Pierre Perifel knew that he first needed to capture the layout of Los Angeles. “All those lens flare and the white skies, the dusty city and the layering of the city and stuff like that. We wanted to incorporate this but also using all the tropes of the heist films,” he tells Gold Derby during our Meet the Experts: Film Animation panel (watch the exclusive video interview above).
He adds that a lot of this comes through with the cinematography that’s seen in the film. “We used a lot of long shots, like long camera relays between characters and situations. We used split screens making sure that you have fun transitions between the characters and situations when we’re talking about all the heist sequences that we did.”
The DreamWorks film, which is currently streaming on Peacock, centers on a group of criminal animals who routinely pull off extravagant robberies. When they eventually get caught, the gang pretends to have reformed themselves in order to avoid prison but in the process, the group’s leader Mr. Wolf (Sam Rockwell) genuinely wants to become a good person. In addition to Rockwell the film features the voice talents of Marc Maron, Awkwafina, Craig Robinson, Anthony Ramos, Zazie Beetz, Richard Ayoade and Alex Borstein. The film marks the directorial debut for Perifel.
Casting the movie presented a bit of a challenge as Perifel didn’t want the cast to feel predictable. “We were wanting some sense of sophistication to try to avoid the usual suspects for a movie like this so kudos to our casting director just to nail the casting.” When the cast was finalized, they were only able to record together over video due to COVID but it wasn’t a negative thing for Perifel. “That actually helped us because they were all sent kits at their own separate places across the globe. Then we could have them remotely record together and that would give you that very natural type of performance that you can get between characters.”
Perifel found himself directing voice actors for the first time in his career and having to juggle all the different responsibilities of directing actors. “I’m making sure they understand where the character is at emotionally at this precise moment and at the same time you’re also directing those actors for more than one sequence per recording session. So you have to have a very clear vision of where the story is standing.” He also utilized connecting with the performers on a personal level to make sure they were emotionally available for the performance. This allowed them to “really collaborate on creating and crafting the sequences and making sure that they would bring their own flavor to the characters as opposed to me dictating everything.”