Writers put a bit of themselves in every story. In the case of Martin McDonagh and his "Seven Psychopaths," you will see a lot of the writer/director in the feature film.
His dark comedy is about a writer (Colin Farrell) who has a great name for a new book and has a few ideas for stories, but he has little more.
"Just like Colin's character, I had a title and a short story about a Quaker psycho. I also had a vague dog kidnapping scene. Because I never write with a treatment or any structure in mind, the script just grew naturally," McDonagh says.
McDonagh created a script that features an odd assortment of characters and events that appear random in nature but, in the end, fit snugly together. His own fights with creating the story are reflected through Farrell's role.
The comedy features some of Hollywood's best actors when it comes to playing psychos: Farrell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell.
The psycho badge of honor has been well-earned by Rockwell, who has played slightly off characters in such films as "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" and "Iron Man 2." Rockwell was attracted to playing the writer's best buddy and dognapper in "Seven Psychopaths" because nothing in the film is what it seems.
"I like this movie because it's always trying to fool the audience. It looks like I am the comic relief, but there could be a little more to him," Rockwell says. "Doing this film was a no-brainer. It's like when Ron Howard calls you up and asks you to be in 'Frost/Nixon.' You just show up."
Rockwell approached the "Seven Psychopaths" role as he's done in roles from "Galaxy Quest" to "Moon." He treats every role like he's making a stew: He "throws all of the ingredients into a pot" to see if what turns out is something that keeps him from facing the scariest part of acting.
"Everything I do comes from a fear of sucking," Rockwell says.
The less linear structure of "Seven Psychopaths" allowed McDonagh to go in any and all directions.
One of those directions takes the characters played by Farrell, Walken and Rockwell to the desert, where they sit around and talk for about 15 minutes while waiting for a killer to show up. Rockwell said he had to pinch himself at being able to work with Walken and Farrell.
"Chris is a hero of mine. There's a scene where he grabs my face that was just amazing," Rockwell says. "Working with him is like taking a master class in acting."
TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, email@example.com or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.