Horror film funded by former IU Danny Chan

An accidental double-booking at a rental already sounds like a nightmare, but for one young woman, it’s just the start of a terrifying and horrifying stay with another house guest.

That’s the premise of “Barbarian,” a new horror movie starring Bill Skarsgård, Georgina Campbell, and Justin Long. In the film, a woman (Campbell) rents a house while in town for a job interview, only to find that a strange visitor (Skarsgård) is also staying there. Against her better judgment, she decides to stay the night, which unfolds in a tense and unpredictable series of events.

Free screening of ‘Barbarian’ at IU

The film will be released in theaters on September 9 by Regency Enterprises and The Walt Disney Company’s 20th Century Studios. Ahead of its official release, Indiana University is one of the few venues to host a free, exclusive screening this Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Whittenberger Auditorium — all thanks to a dedicated alumnus.

About a year and a half ago, in the early hours of the morning, film financier and producer Danny Chan read the script for “Barbarian” in his basement while his family slept peacefully upstairs.

“I’ve watched a lot of horror movies, but when I read this it was so different. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Chan said. “I had chills reading it.”

Chan serves as the film’s co-financier and executive producer and CEO of its associated production company.

“Disney’s distribution (of a film) is very rare for an independent producer (and) financier,” Chan said. “It’s like unprecedented.”

Although his team at Almost Never Films has produced over 20 feature films, Chan is a relatively new kid on the block. He launched his production company six years ago when he was in his late 30s after a career in finance researching stem cells overseas.

“One of my biggest personal memories is that my dad took me to see double films when I was a kid. Movies have always been my favorite thing, my favorite pastime,” Chan said. “But I never thought in a million years I could do anything around this because I never watched movies and thought, ‘You know, I could do this or that.

An IU Alumnus’ Unconventional Journey From College Campus To Hollywood Film Set

Chan broke into the film industry by pure chance. After a successful career in finance in China, he returned to his hometown of Indianapolis, where he received a call from a friend about someone in the film industry who needed his help.

During the production of the film “Pali Road”, a Chinese actress expressed her desire to leave in the middle of filming. Because he had lived in China and is fluent in the language, Chan spoke with the actress’ agent and ironed out the cultural misunderstanding on set. To ensure the production’s success, Chan briefly moved to Hawaii during filming, where he took a real liking to the industry.

Shortly after, he founded Almost Never Films. He noted that finance came naturally to him, so it was not difficult to direct his expertise into this new area.

“I mainly receive scripts. People ask me to help finance the film, and I provide capital. You help structure the financing because it’s not someone who comes in and says, “Hey, I’m going to do the check for the whole movie,” Chan said. “A lot of the movies that I deal with, there’s complex financing involved, and so I help with that.

For example, he considers which state is best to shoot the feature based on tax incentives and finds different ways to raise funds for production costs.

When he started working on films, Chan noticed that he had a different approach than his peers.

“A lot of movie financiers don’t read the scripts. I mean, I read the scripts of all the things I finance, even though you’re really supposed to look at the financials of it,” Chan said.

Although “Barbarian” doesn’t have the biggest budget, it’s the most high-profile and riskiest venture for Chan.

“It’s the first film I’ve done this kind of financing. Usually the funding I do is very, very conservative. This is just regular capital, which means you could lose millions of dollars (or) you could win millions of dollars. It’s extremely risky,” Chan said, adding that while it has caused him some anxiety, it’s also “the most fun” to work with.

Bill Skarsgård stars as Keith in 20th Century Studios' Barbarian.

It is also a personal triumph. Over the summer, Chan toured Disney World with his family, visiting his AMC theater for the new “Minions” movie.

“I saw the ‘Barbarian’ poster inside the theater and freaked out, like I ran there. My daughter, who is 8, was like, ‘Oh, dad , I see your name,’” Chan said.

‘Barbarian’ Promises Unforgettable Theatrical Experience For IU: ‘Jump In Their Seats’

When Chan attended the film’s initial screen test in Long Beach, he heard attendees describe the film with all the right words – “original”, “unique”, and “scary”.

“I think they might relate to this kind of situation where they go to a city, they get an Airbnb, and it doesn’t turn out to be what it’s supposed to be,” Chan said.

Movie stars Skarsgård and Campbell are no strangers to the horror genre. Skarsgård rose to national prominence with his performance in the 2017 film franchise of Stephen King’s “It” while Campbell received critical acclaim for his work in an unforgettable episode (“Hang the DJ”) of “Black Mirror”. , a Netflix television series that often mixes science fiction and speculative horror.

Georgina Campbell stars as Tess in 20th Century Studios "Barbaric."

“I think college audiences really like horror movies. That’s where the push toward college kids is,” Chan said. “I hope at IU that when this thing shows up, people jump in their seats and have a good time.”

After the screening, Chan will host a Q&A segment about his breakthrough experience in the film industry as a foreigner.

“It’s the industry of a lot of noise and failures that are temporary until you get something done. But I think a lot of people don’t understand that because you’re going to get discouraged, which I get , but you have to really, really power through it,” Chan said. “I don’t think it’s like a lesson from the film industry. It’s just kind of a life lesson – don’t give up and keep going. For all the very successful people I have met in the film industry, all had the same experience, which is failure, failure, failure (in the beginning).

The screening is free for all attendees and seats will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. IU students can RSVP at https://bit.ly/3wxky9o, where their access to seats will be prioritized. Near the start of the show, IU staff will allow non-students and students without an RSVP to fill open seats.

Contact Rachel Smith at [email protected] or on Twitter @RachelSmithNews.