Karl is the most obnoxious friend you could ever imagine. The sort of friend that no matter what you do, you can never seem to be rid of. Or can you?
In this sharp, dark comic short from Canadian directing and writing duo Joe Kicak and Karen Moore, Karl’s friends have had all they can take. When he manages to find his way in to another party to which he wasn't invited, he proceeds to be the person they all know and hate. Eventually pushing everyone to their very limits, they decide there is only one option. They must kill Karl and remove him from their lives forever. Seems reasonable right? I’m sure we’ve all felt the same way at some point.
In a brief period of time, Karl quickly cements himself in your memory, with Mike Lobel (as Karl) mixing detestability and a hint of vulnerability in to one tight performance.
The strong cast of friends that surround him, provide the norm to his overbearing nature and you strongly identify with their desire to have him out of their lives. Be honest, a little bit of black humoured wish fulfilment never harmed anyone, did it? Perhaps though, the friends themselves are not so perfect either - Karl may know more about them than they do each about other.
Creating a stylish and timeless look to the film, Director Joe Kicak portrays a believable world and stretches it to the extreme. Whilst Moore’s succinct script allows each moment to feed sweetly in to the next, building towards a black humoured finale which saves the best till last.
Leaving you wanting just a little bit more is no bad thing, so it's good to know that a feature length version of Must Kill Karl is currently in the works. In essence then, this twelve minute short is a taster of what is yet to come.
Grabbing the opportunity to pick Joe and Karen's brains, I became my very own Karl, with a string of questions to discover more about the film and their love of comedy.
- Being a couple in real life, how did you find the process of working together?
We had talked about working on a project together when we started dating and thought it would be fun. It's three years later... and it hasn't been that fun. Just kidding. We actually agreed on most things, but just like relationships, it's the little things that drive you crazy and those little things can be amplified in our roles as writer and director. We're now working on the feature version of "Must Kill Karl" and in pre-production on our kids adventure series for CBC called "Detention Adventure". All in all it was great, except now we have to mandate times that we're not allowed to talk about work so it doesn't completely take over our lives. Some of us are better at this than others, and by that we mean Karen is better at this and Joe is working on it. Karen is also trying to accept that sometimes Joe gets great ideas at midnight and needs to talk about them then and there lest they dissolve into the ether. Like we said, the little things.
- Is the feature script for Must kill Karl already written? If so, how easy was it to create a twelve minute short, and if not, do you already have solid ideas about how the story will develop?
The short was developed alongside the feature and always intended to be a proof-of-concept. We initially thought telling the story in the short would be harder than the feature because you need to buy into the friends deciding to kill Karl so quickly. We were the opposite of right. The short exists in a more heightened space than the current feature script, so we're still playing with how to best execute (pun alert) the feature-length story of friends plotting to kill their shitty friend in a somewhat more grounded setting. The film is currently in development with the National Screen Institute's Features First program.
- Do you think Canadian humour shares any similarities with British humour?
Yes. We both spell humour with two 'u's'. (Joe wrote that answer and Karen is embarrassed for us both.)
- Do you have a favourite comedy film?
Superbad holds a special place in Karen's heart. Funny, sweet, vulgar - it's got all the things. Joe admits to still ranking Ace Ventura: Pet Detective at the top of his list. "When you're 14 and have nothing but time to obsessively watch movies over and over, that shit was hilarious."
- How easy was it to cast 'killable' Karl?
Mike Lobel was cast alongside the very inception of Karl. Mike is a high school friend of Joe's and we had all the confidence in the world that he could walk the line of being someone you want to kill and someone you pity enough to save. He's also a talented improvisor and kept the rest of the cast guessing what absurd shit was going to come out of (or into) his mouth next.
If that has whetted your appetite, discover more:
Discover the film's website at www.mustkillkarl.com
More work from Joe and Karen:
Karen Moore https://www.thisiskarenmoore.com
Joe Kicak http://www.joekicak.com/
Must Kill Karl (12 minutes, 2017)
Director: Joe Kicak
Writer: Karen Moore
Cast: Mike Lobel, Stacey McGunnigle, Claire Stollery, Scott Cavalheiro, Sarah Power, Peter Mooney, Jamie Spilchuk