‘Star Wars’ Alum Victoria Mahoney Lands First Major Studio Gig with Paramount Action Movie
Victoria Mahoney, who served as the second unit director on J.J. Abrams‘ Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, is in negotiations to land her first major studio directing gig with Paramount’s action movie Kill Them All.
Mahoney will direct from a script by James Coyne, based on the Oni Press graphic novel of the same name by Kyle Starks. Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol) will produce the movie, which sounds a bit like The Raid with a female lead.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news, describing Kill Them All as “a love letter to 1990s action movies.” The story follows a betrayed murderess who wants revenge and a hard-drinking former cop who wants his job back. They team up to take down a vicious Miami crime lord, but in order to reach his swanky penthouse hideout, they’re going to have to fight their way through fifteen flights of criminals, assassins, drug lords, murderers, and yes, even accountants, and you guessed it — kill them all.
Mahoney made her feature directorial debut with the semi-autobiographical indie movie Yelling to the Sky, which starred Zoe Kravitz and Jason Clarke. The film was released in 2012, but I recall seeing it a year earlier at the New Orleans Film Festival during my sole experience as a festival juror, and I remember thinking it showed real promise.
Yelling to the Sky led to Mahoney directing unscripted series like The Conversation and Exhale, the latter of which saw her work with Issa Rae. In 2016, Mahoney began directing scripted series such as Survivor’s Remorse, Grey’s Anatomy and Queen Sugar. It was the latter show that paired her with executive producer Ava DuVernay, who recommended Mahoney to director J.J. Abrams when he was seeking a second unit director to join him on the ninth Star Wars movie.
As legend has it, Abrams wanted to hire outside of the usual suspects, and asked DuVernay for a list of possibilities. She declined, offering him just one name instead — Mahoney’s. Mahoney told THR last year that it had been “no secret to my peer group [that] I’d been trying to break into the studio-franchise realm for 10 years. Begging to simply get a meeting. Nada. Zilch. Nunca.” Following a three-hour meeting at his office, Abrams told Mahoney she had the job. “No one else took a risk on an outlier like me,” she said, crediting Abrams for having the courage to think outside the box and invite her along on such an amazing filmmaking journey.
With The Rise of Skywalker, Mahoney became the first woman and the first person of color to call “Action!” on a Star Wars movie. While Mahoney was surely grateful for the opportunity, it wasn’t lost on her how her hiring gave hope to the next generation of filmmakers of color trying to break into the world of big-budget franchises. To Mahoney, if Abrams hired her and she can exist in that realm, a young person will grow up thinking, “so can I.” And that’s what made all the blood, sweat, tears and rejection worth it over the years.
Since directing second unit on Star Wars, Mahoney has directed an episode of Abrams’ upcoming HBO series Lovecraft Country, and she also teamed with DuVernay to adapt Octavia E. Butler‘s sci-fi novel Dawn as an Amazon series. Mahoney earned this Paramount gig the hard way, and I can’t wait to see the cast she pulls together for her first studio movie. I have no idea if Mahoney already has a second unit director in mind, but if you’re a filmmaker of color trying to break into studio movies, you might as well shoot your shot, as I can’t imagine anyone being more receptive to new talent or fresh voices behind the camera. For more on Dawn, click here.
Source : Jeff Sneider Link