Finnish Film Director Timo Vuorensola became a cult filmmaker when his 2012 film Iron Sky first came into the public's eye with the "We come in Peace" trailer back in 2010. Now, seven years after the release of the first film, Timo is back with the second instalment in the Iron Sky universe with The Coming Race which is set multiple decades after the events of when we left Earth back in 2012.
We were lucky enough to sit down with Timo to talk about the sequel, the importance of fan support and what's next in the ISU (Iron Sky Universe).
STARBURST: First, congratulations on finally getting the film made, it's super fun! It's been a long time coming since the first film, but the support of the fans has really helped you out hasn't it?
TIMO VUORENSOLA: Yeah if it wasn’t for the fans, I would’ve quit many, many times because in many ways it’s a totally insane business is filmmaking. Especially when you are doing something this crazy on this scale, nobody’s going to call you and give you the money to do it so you’re going to have to work so hard for every freaking dollar you need. When you come to the post-production the low budget can cause massive issues that for bigger companies is no problem at all. So, all those moments the fans have been there, and they’ve never gone away which is unique and worth every moment. Sometimes it is hard to communicate with the fans but it’s always been worth it.
Not only have you directed both films, but you've co-written the screenplay too. How was the creative process of coming up with these crazy ideas along with Jarmo Puskala (the author of the original concept)?
Jarmo and I came up with the whole idea and I always had the idea that I wanted to tell three stories – so we’ve had the first film and now The Coming Race and there’s one more to go. All of this is something that both of us have been developing for many years since about 2005 so we’ve lived with these thoughts for almost 15 years. It’s turned into a bunch of crazy things that are constantly changing whether it be from stuff I see online or stuff that I read or watch. All these nuggets of craziness form over the years and create the story. It’s tough to make sure that they make at least a bit of sense when they are all put together. The process for the first Iron Sky was very tough getting things into place and then things were still tough but a little easier with The Coming Race because we had more of an idea of where things were going. It always begins with those crazy ideas picked from various parts of society.
What is mighty impressive about Iron Sky is the fact that you've created these outlandish set pieces and storylines for the audience without being offensive. How hard was it to find that balance especially the way people can be today?
The thing is we set up a clear tone in the first Iron Sky where we made fun of the Nazis and not the victims and when you establish something clear in your head it’s easy to follow along. We always look at it from that perspective as it’s very easy to fall into the trap of being offensive and excessively bloody and gory. If you direct it incorrectly it becomes unnecessary. You must be aware of the red lines which makes it difficult in the beginning. I’m just grateful that we now know our target audience – although we still have had quite a lot of people who got offended (laughs) especially with the Jobists that appear in the film – that idea stemmed from the fact that so many people nowadays are attached to their phones or other pieces of technology and we (the writing team and I) all thought that that would be something we had to bring into the film to poke fun at.
A lot of the original cast is back for this second instalment. How was it reuniting with everyone after all this time?
For me, it was great especially getting my good friend Udo Kier back and it was his idea to do a double role and play Hitler (he said it must be me) (laughs). It’s been such a long time but once you get on the set everything clicks again very quickly. It was a bit of challenge for some of the new actors I think because Iron Sky was such a unique film and we had to do a lot of explaining but there was a real sense of family which helped a lot. A lot of the new actors said it was a crazy and fun experience.
Out of all the memorable moments across both films, whether it be on screen or behind the camera, can you share with us some of your favourite moments?
I think for me I enjoyed working with Udo a lot and whenever I was fretting or getting stressed he was always there to help me out which was amazing, just his presence was enough to get me through the toughest of times – that is a priceless thing to have as a director. Working a lot with green screen to bring all my crazy ideas to life was also a special experience.
What can audiences expect from the future of Iron Sky? You've currently got a spin-off in the works called The Ark? Can you tell us more about that project?
The Ark is a Chinese movie that is its own story and doesn’t have a lot to do with Iron Sky except it’s under the same umbrella. In terms of the main storylines we’ve had Iron Sky and now The Coming Race and the third film which I originally wanted to title Endgame (but for some reason I had to change it), that will be the last instalment that I have in my head for the Iron Sky franchise but I, unfortunately, can’t say too much because we are still in the very early stages of developing it and some of the crazy plans we still need to sort out. I also have another Chinese movie coming which I directed which has similar elements to Iron Sky which stars Andy Garcia as the main villain so that’s going to be a lot of fun too!
Iron Sky: The Coming Race is out now on VOD, DVD & Blu-Ray.