Oscar nominee Sam Elliott (A Star is Born, The Big Lebowski) and award-winning TV heartthrob Aidan Turner (Poldark, The Hobbit Trilogy) are The Man Who Killed Hitler And Then The Bigfoot in a unique new, genre-bending, rip-roaring adventure that sees a legendary American war hero as a young man and in his twilight years, taking on two very different adversaries.

Decades after serving in WWII and assassinating Adolf Hitler, Calvin Barr (Elliott) is enlisted as the only man for the job: to hunt down the fabled Bigfoot. Living a peaceful life in New England and reflecting on his lost love Maxine, the war veteran is contacted by the FBI and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to lead the charge to capture the elusive beast that is carrying a deadly plague. Can he find the dangerous creature deep inside the Canadian wilderness before it’s too late?

The film is from the mind of writer/director Robert D. Krzykowski and is just as unique, bold and mind-bendingly curious as it sounds. After watching the film for myself, I sat down with him to discuss the film, his inspirations, and the importance of the movie theatre.

M: What attracted to you to naming the film with such a long title?

RDK: I love the title The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and lots of others with that 60s/70s feel to them. To name the movie like that felt like a way of letting the audience into the sensibility of a film like this, and to hopefully subvert their expectations.

M: Talking of subverting expectations, one of the main elements in this film is killing Hitler, but that obviously didn’t happen, though I wouldn’t call this film fanciful or anything like that. What drew you to that idea and tone in the first place?

RDK: I’m not even sure that the movie is even about the two things in the title. I think it’s more about the man and the fact that we aren’t necessarily defined by the big things that everybody else perceives as being important about us, but we are much more defined by the smaller and more private things that we know about us. I was trying to explore a hero that doesn’t seem to be defined by the incredible things that he can do, but much more affected by the smaller and quieter moments of his life that no one gets to see.

M: What inspired the story and your directorial vision?

RDK: I think it was just an opportunity to explore a hero that’s defined by these big, incredible events and then dive into the more private details of his life. The insanity of the title was one of the earliest notions that came to me, but the hero evolved as I wrote it. So as I was writing it, this idea of killing Hitler came to me in the same way that you might start a James Bond or a Mission Impossible movie, and then there didn’t seem to be much of a place to go with the story from there, so I started to think about Hitler as a real-life monster. Maybe the character can meet another monster later in the story then – a real one; Hitler is a monster that carries negative ideas, and then the Bigfoot is this literal monster that has come along to plague humanity. All through the movie are these rhymes that take place in the present and the past and it’s all about tying these together for this character study.

M: Can you imagine anyone else performing and encapsulating these roles like Sam Elliott and Aidan Turner do? When you wrote it, was anyone in mind? How much of the part is Sam and how much are your words?

RDK: I had a character very much in mind and you can see that from a lot of early conceptual designs that I had done of the character. The person that I was drawing looked exactly like Sam and I always saw him as this Norman Rockwell (tall, lank and iconic-looking) character. And more importantly, when Sam came in, he had this persona that really matched the character that was on the page. And it didn’t change from script to screen hardly at all. Sam really wanted to protect what was on the page and he didn’t want it to be affected by any outside sources. He wanted to speak the words on the page and be able to say that emotionally. It’s very much in the spirit of trust and respect that the movie exists in the way that it does.

Sam Elliott in The Man Who Killed Hitler And Then Bigfoot

Sam Elliott in The Man Who Killed Hitler And Then Bigfoot

M: One of my favourite sequences in the film is the shaving scene at the beginning with Aidan Turner; all of the movie-making elements come together in perfect synergy. Do you have a favourite moment of the film?

RDK: I have a few favourite sequences. One that isn’t necessarily a favourite, but we really wanted to pull off: when Sam is brought into the bio-hazard dome, we really wanted to shave him bald, but when the razor nears his moustache, he stops them. And that scene was written into the screenplay long before Sam was cast, and we thought it would just be a lot of fun to have that moment in there. But it was a matter of scheduling in each direction and there was absolutely no way of figuring out this one-day difference where, if we shaved Sam’s head, we would be able to keep up continuity for when we need him.

M: What’s an element of the film that wasn’t done by you that you are most proud of?

RDK: Well, I think that Andrew’s sound work is equivalent to some of the early sound work that Ben Burt did when he began doing sound work, or even some of my favourite movies like The Conversation. I think Andrew is one of the most talented people on our crew and he did all of the sound personally, even booming the movie. It has this old Hollywood text to it, as well as all these gorgeous new techniques. Joe Cramer’s score came to life even better than I exceeded, too; I’d always admired Joe’s work, but you never really know how these things will turn out until they’re done. What I think that Joe wrote is a completely listenable symphony all to itself. At this point, I don’t want to single anyone out. Everyone was delivering what would’ve been a much bigger movie, but on a small budget.

M: What do you hope the audience leaves the film thinking and feeling?

RDK: These are cynical, borderline-hopeless times. But this isn’t a cynical movie. I want people to leave the movie with hopefulness – and this might seem hip – but we want everyone to leave the movie feeling like they’ve seen something that is a bit like a cinematic hug. I know it’s not necessarily the movie that people expect going into it, but I hope they enjoy it.

M: One of the reasons why we are talking is because the film is being released for home video. The film is being released digitally, but it’s also being released on disc. What do you think is important about keeping physical media alive? What do you think is important about keeping the cinema alive when it comes to theatrical releases?

RDK: In the States, RLJ (RLJ Entertainment) fought hard to give this film a good theatrical release before DVD and that was important to me because we wanted people to have a chance to see a film that was shot in Cinemascope be seen in the theatre with great sound and an audience, going on a journey and making you have a visceral reaction. I think there’s something very experiential about going to see a movie at the movie theatre that can’t be replicated at home. But then there’s the comfort of being at home that can’t be replicated in the movie theatre. But this was designed to be in the theatre, so it’s in select theatres in the UK and Ireland as well. The most important thing for me is that people are supporting independent film. As long as they are hunting films and finding them and sharing them, that’s what’s important.

The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot is available on digital now and will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray from May 6.