Why was ‘Interceptor’ the #1 movie on Netflix? “I’m as confused as everyone else,” says director Matthew Reilly


First Time Director Matthew Reilly admits he never expected his debut feature ‘Interceptor’ to do as well as it has since it was released on netflix earlier this month. The film, which follows a captain in the US Army (Elsa Pataki) which is to prevent a nuclear missile attack forged by domestic terrorists in cahoots with the Russians, climbed to No. 1 on the top 10 streamers list with approximately 50 million hours watched.

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“It blew my mind,” Reilly told me Friday morning when I caught up with Zoom. “I was hoping to sneak into the top 10 on Netflix, but get to number one everywhere?”

“I don’t think anyone expected him to take the world by storm,” he continued before laughing. “I’m as confused as everyone else.”

Produced by Pataky’s husband Chris HemsworthReilly co-wrote the screenplay with Stuart Beattie (“Obi Wan Kenobi”).

“Interceptor” takes place in one place – a floating military base in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, equipped with a defense system capable of intercepting nuclear missiles. The film tackles a variety of burning issues, including #MeToo (Pataky’s character’s military career is stalled when a five-star general is removed from his post after accusing him of sexual misconduct), Russian assault , xenophobia and right-wing conspiracy theories. The dialogue is peppered with unforgettable lines, including a soldier (Meyen Mehta) joking at the bad guy (Luc Bracey), “I saw you in the shower. I could understand why you’re obsessed with missiles.

Another doozie has a henchman from Bracey (Aaron Glenane) justifying his acts of terrorism by proclaiming: “I am not a murderer, I am a fucking patriot”.

The copious bloodshed ranges from Pataky fatally stabbing an assailant in the eye with a gun to another villain being beheaded by barbed wire.

“I’m very aware of what film is,” says Reilly, 47, who was born and raised in Australia before moving to Los Angeles a few years ago.

Yes, he has read some of the film’s brutal reviews on social media. “If you don’t like my movie, say you don’t like my movie. I don’t mind,” Reilly says. “But somewhere in the last few years we’ve come to this extreme low and people saying, ‘I don’t like your movie, so I hate you, so you should die a painful, miserable death and never again make movies.

He doesn’t let hate get to him. So much so that he has already written an “Interceptor” sequel. “Netflix likes it,” Reilly says.

Luke Bracey and Elsa Pataky in

Luke Bracey and Elsa Pataky in “Interceptor”. – Credit: Brook Rushton/Netflix

Brook Rushton/Netflix

Before landing in the director’s chair, Reilly was a successful action-thriller novelist.

“I’ve been writing fast-paced action novels for 25 years,” says Reilly. “It’s very well known that I sold them all to studios in Hollywood but they’re too big. They’re $120-150 million movies. I always wanted to direct, so ‘Interceptor’ was made to be shot inexpensively in one location. But what I would do is give it that energy, that enthusiasm, that crazy pace.

Reilly said Netflix banned him from revealing his budget. “If they let me do the sequel, then I’ll do my ‘T2’ or I’ll do my ‘Road Warrior’,” he said, referring to the ‘Terminator’ and ‘Mad Max’ sequels.

Hemsworth makes a cameo in the film as a stoner employee of an electronics store. “Netflix said they wanted to work with Elsa and Chris said he would be involved as an EP,” Reilly says. “Naturally someone at Netflix says, ‘Hey, Chris, you might want to be in the movie.’ I had Chris right on the set of ‘Thor’. I have to run it for two hours. He’s not kidding. He is focused on the laser.

Does Hemsworth’s character make an appearance in the sequel?

“I don’t want to speak for him, but I think ‘Interceptor’ was unique,” says Reilly, “But let’s just say the sequel is about 10 times bigger. If he wants to be in it, I’m pretty sure we can put it somewhere.

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