2012 is finally here. Whether you believe in a coming apocalypse or not, The Divide is here to give way to the many post-apocalyptic films to come this year. In an attempt to escape a nuclear attack, nine tenants of a New York loft hide out in the building’s basement. With no sense of time, no hope for rescue and supplies running short, the group begins to descend into madness as each struggles to keep their humanity.
Director Xavier Gens (Hitman, Frontier(s)) goes indie as he guides an ensemble cast to capture the mental, physical, and psychosexual depravity human beings reach in extreme situations.
After a long casting process, the cast rehearsed through various improvisation performances to get into their particular mindset. “[It was] like seeing a laboratory experiment with white mice,” shares Gens.
With a strong and thrilling introduction into the atrocious terror that is to await each character, Gens gives subtle note to the inner demons that follow them to their downfall. Among them is broken and paranoid 9/11 hero, Mickey, as played by Michael Biehn (The Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss) who is the group’s only tie to order and righteousness. Following his banishment from the group gives way to the many heinous acts among the others.
Gens experimental filmmaking process gave the cast the chance to add their bits to their character. It was only after reading the script that Biehn took over the writing aspect of adding Mickey’s qualities and backstory.
“Mickey was the antagonist throughout the entire movie, so what I brought in was the 9/11 theme, the fact that he use to be a first responder, and had taken his team into one of the buildings, and he was the only thing left standing, and he couldn’t take it,” divulges Biehn.
A mysterious and misunderstood character, Mickey keeps audiences wondering, who the hell is this guy? Not sure whether to trust him or not, Mickey goes back and forth between hero and antagonist.
“He is the character that starts out really nasty and kind of finds his humanity in the situation as compared to the other people who think they have their humanity and loose it during the movie.”
Even with a considerable gap in storyline and unnecessary situations, The Divide touches upon a very real motif that holds true for Biehn. “This ambiguity about everybody, about him, and who he really is, and who are we, really? We represent ourselves like this, but if broke down, where do we go? I’m scared, personally about what’s going on in the world. I think were a lot closer to the divide than people think we are, as a society.”
Like many actors today, Biehn has just recently made the transition to writer-director in his directorial debut in The Victim. With three weeks of pre-production, 12 days to shoot, and total production control Biehn takes a leap to make the impossible possible. Working with some of today’s greatest filmmakers laid the foundation for Biehn’s transition into directing. “[When] I worked with Robert Rodriguez and he was doing the Grindhouse movies, and showing us all these movies that were made with not a lot of money, I started thinking about directing.”
With a nod to James Cameron, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, The Victim is a tribute to your basic deranged, homicidal grindhouse movie. “I describe it as a big bowl of ice cream, that you enjoy when you’re eating it, and looking at tits and violence and fun…Afterwards you’re like ‘Did I really enjoy that? Yeah, I did.’ It’s meant to be fun.”