Interview

Interview

Exclusive: Director Doug Aarniokoski on Sex and Nudity in 'Nurse 3D'

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Nurse 3D hits theaters and VOD today, and while it certainly isn’t a movie for everyone, fans of exploitation will love it. Paz de la Huerta plays Abby, a dedicated nurse by day, sexual predator by night. After a night of partying with her good-girl mentee Danni, Abby’s lust and attention turns from murdering cheating husbands to getting Danni back in bed. And she will kill anyone who gets in her way.

We spoke to director Doug Aarniokoski about exploitation, being in on the joke, and of course, all the sex and nudity.

This movie has been on the shelf for a number of years, hasn’t it?

Yes, it has. It’s a weird thing with this movie. The short answer is yes. We shot the movie, and when we had finished, Summit and Lionsgate hard merged companies, and it became one of those situations where Lionsgate went from having X amount of films to release to having twice as many. So we became one of those films that got put on a shelf while they looked for a release date. It was just one of those crazy situations where we got caught in the blender of two merging companies.

How did Nurse 3D come about?

Back when they were making the last Saw movie, the head of marketing for Lionsgate came up with this crazy marketing campaign where they sent out blood drive trucks with the Saw theme behind it. They dressed the women who worked there in these 1940s, Thierry Mugler costumes, and they loved the design so much that it sparked the idea of, “Wouldn’t it be cool to have a nurse that is basically a serial killer, hiding in plain sight, killing off these adulterous men?” She was doing the wrong thing for the right reasons.

I have to admit, I loved it. It was a great mix of exploitation elements. I got the sense that you were going for a tongue-in-cheek feel, and I feel like movies like this don’t always take that approach. They take themselves too seriously, and that can ruin it.

Yeah, we wanted to really “pick a lane.” This is our movie, we’re going to have fun, we’re going to wink at the audience, we are going to have over-the-top kills, we’re going to give you a fun ride, and hopefully that is what you are looking for on a Friday night.

I’m really glad you agreed with me on that and didn’t say, “No, it was meant as a serious film!”

Oh, god no. We were trying to have as much fun as anybody. I always try to put myself in the audience’s chair. If I was watching this movie, what movie would I want to see? That’s how we approached it. I’m also a huge fan of American Psycho, and this felt like an opportunity to do a female version of American Psycho. That is how I approached it: how did they design that character, how do we get into the character’s flaws? Hence the voice overs we had. I guess those were really an homage to American Psycho.

How did you get Paz de la Huerta for the role of Abby? She is just the right mix of sexy and crazy.

That is the perfect definition! She is sexy and crazy at the right time. Paz was on Boardwalk Empire at the time, and we loved her on that show. We met with her and I told her, “This is one of those movies where you are all-in, or you’re not even sitting at the table.” There is no half-way with this film; you have to just go for it. I wasn’t going to shoot around the nudity or the sex. Same with Katrina Bowden. When they are making out at the club, they are making out at the club. This is the movie. If you are willing to push all your chips in and go for it, we can have a really fun time and make a really fun movie. Everyone was in. Corbin Bleu, Judd Nelson… they were all 100% in. As a director, that’s really all you can ask for.

The sex and nudity is obviously a very big part of the film. Are we going to see even more on the DVD?

I wouldn’t be surprised if there is an NC-17 cut that comes out at some point. We had a very tricky time getting it down to an R rating. It’s very racy and sexy. It was a difficult dance to get it  to the R rating. There is a lot more you will probably see in the future that will explain why we could have gotten an NC-17 rating.

How much did you have to cut?

There were a lot of trims. We didn’t have to cut any sequences; we just had to trim stuff down. Usually the ratings board will say, “There is too much full-frontal nudity. There’s too much girl-to-girl. There’s too much stroking of this body part. They’re making out for too long. There’s too much tongue. It’s still there, but it had to be truncated a little bit.

What was the funniest note you got from them?

By far, it was that we had too much full frontal of Paz. There was one scene where the girls wake up after having been fucked up the night before at the bar. They obviously slept together, and had a threeway with the guy from the bar. Paz is literally just standing there, full frontal, talking to Katrina before she even puts a bra on. We had to minimize that, so in the version now, her bra goes on much sooner so she’s not just naked. That was the biggest note.

Paz felt like [her character] had just spent the night with this girl, they had done pretty much everything you could think of to each other’s bodies. It wasn’t like she was ashamed or embarrassed . Her sexuality is one of her tools; that’s what she uses to manipulate men and women. I thought it was an interesting choice that, in that particular scene, she chose to put a bra on  because it is comfortable - she needed the support, but she didn’t feel the need to put her bottoms on. So she played the whole scene like that. Those are the moments on set that I wish everyone could see, because they are so surreal.

Was this your first film in 3D?

Yes it was - first time I had ever been involved in any project in 3D. We shot it in 3D. A lot of films now shoot in 2D and convert in post. It’s a pretty giant undertaking, especially when you are a lower-budget film like we were. It takes so much time and effort and planning to shoot in 3D. We had to make sure everything was lined up and dialed in. It is a very painstaking process, which is why I’m sure a lot of people do not shoot in 3D. It was a big undertaking and a challenge. It was exciting and fun, but I don’t know that I would ever rush back to do another 3D movie any time soon. Unless you have a lot of time and a lot of money, it’s a very interesting storytelling tool, but it’s a very time-consuming process.

Have you already started thinking about potential sequels?

Yes. Obviously, we left it open-ended, and I know Lionsgate is already trying to decide if they want to take Abby Russell in a different direction, or even Danni. We sort of left Danni damaged and scarred, so we will have to see if the effects of Abby have rubbed off on her in a way that makes her do things she shouldn’t.

What direction would you want to take a sequel in?

I would love a revenge story. I’d like to see Danni come after Abby now, after all that happened. It feels to me if you are going to close the circle, you should close it like an old western: you did me wrong, you killed my family, I’m coming after you.

It would also be closing the loop of a “rape/revenge” cycle.

Exactly! Single White Female gets her revenge on crazier Single White Female.

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