I caught up with director and musician Kimble Rendall to chat film-making, music, adventure, horror, and sci-fi, along with his new film, 7 Guardians of the Tomb, in select theaters, VOD, and Digital HD now.

Guardians functions pretty well as a adventure flick ala Indiana Jones, with plenty of (scientifically possible) thrills – it further plants its flag in an area that hasn't really been explored by the genre in western cinema: Chinese archeology.

An innocent discovery of a well-preserved mummified emperor from 200 BC China unearths a 2000-year-old nightmare – a secret that should have remained buried.

7 Guardians of the Tomb stars Golden Globe ® and Emmy ® winner Kelsey Grammer (Boss, The Last Tycoon), Kellan Lutz (The Legend of Hercules, Twilight) and multi-award-winning Chinese actress and singer Bingbing Li. As a team of scientists who lose a colleague in an ancient labyrinth, the motley crew must work together to recover him while trying to make the discovery of a century. In their quest they find themselves underground, battling ancient, terrifying Chinese magic and making their way through a swarm of deadly, man-eating spiders – only to uncover the secret behind the insects' power and intelligence.

As a fan of the adventure-archeology flick, I give this one my full nod in saying check it out in theaters, VOD, or Digital HD. It's a great way to spend about an hour and a half and will certainly leave you entertained as it did me.

Hello Kimble.

Hi Wess. How are you?

Oh, Just wonderful. How are you?

Great. I'm just looking at your file. It's really cool. It's great. It's like such a mixture of stuff, culture’s a lot of music and film. That's some marketing too.

Thanks. Yeah it is.

Getting right into it, I usually like to ask everybody a couple of the same questions to sort of see what different answers there are. I'm curious about favorite films and directors. Which ones would you consider as influential on you?

I like most of Hitchcock's films. He would be the number one influence but then it just jumps out, John Schlesinger, Wes Craven, a lot of American directors. You know, Ridley Scott. I mean, who knows? They're not specific to horror, obviously. All of Scorsese's stuff. I like John Cassavetes, other early stuff, those are very eclectic.

Coppola, I like the directors today, Wes Anderson but in terms of, you know, if you get talking specifically the genres are murkier, I guess. John Carpenter of course, and then in the action side, the earlier, The French Connection in films, that sort of was a big influence.

(L-R) Bingbing Li as Jia, Jason Chong as Chen, Kellan Lutz as Ridley, and Kelsey Grammer as Mason in the action, adventure film “7 GUARDIANS OF THE TOMB” a Gravitas Ventures release. Photo courtesy of Gravitas Ventures.

That series, love those films and the direction ... you know because a lot of that was all in camera before visual effects so like you know ...

…in terms of Australian, we have an Australian gig so that will be like Peter Weir is also one of my friends and George Miller, you know him in Mad Max.

He did some horror in the early days, but he does quite a range, he did The Truman Show. He did a lot of work in America as well, but he's one of my favorite Australians.

Now, if I look at the list, I can just go on forever. In American culture, music and film was largely my main influences.

Certainly.

I can't just listen to that music, but I'm thinking that music is sort of my passion. I came out of the first band and was influenced by a lot of the New York Dolls and played on that side of the country. The Ramones and the whole MC5 sort of thing.

There's quite a lot, from Springsteen and others that are favorites. It's a lot to go back to Sinatra and Nat King Cole. It's really eclectic taste, but you know when I'm on the set playing music, I play all that sort of stuff.

There ya go. Absolutely. That sort of eclectic array of influences is a great thing: I find the most gifted and most honest artists are that way. What makes a great film?

A great story I think. A well-made story, it has to be well-made which is a strange description, I guess, but yeah, it has to be a great story.

Certainly.

Did you see Guardians?

Yeah, yeah. I did.

What did you think?

(L-R) Bingbing Li as Jia and Kellan Lutz as Ridley in the action, adventure film “7 GUARDIANS OF THE TOMB” a Gravitas Ventures release. Photo courtesy of Gravitas Ventures.

I really liked it, it was getting into that with the next question. I was just curious what the inspiration was for it.

That was Gary Hamilton from Arclight Films. And we made a film prior to this called Bait 3D, which was a shark movie –  an inspiration for Sharknado, so I was told.

Really?

Yeah, that's what I heard…

Because Bait did that well in China, went to number one, it was a big independent film that came out in China from western film makers, at that time and therefore China directed one of these and another one, he's a guy that sort of came out with it and said "Let's do a spider movie".

And then I'd read about the fact that the Chinese came to Australia before the English discovered Australia. So they came before that and got iconic and original paintings in the caves in the northern territories and actually they discovered the giant red-masted sails and the Chinese ships that came out of there.

They've probably taken spiders back in the process, maybe take a few deadly spiders.

And then I read that at about in 200 B.C. the builder built an underground palace, which is a replica of the palace for the afterlife, so he was too surrounded by Mercury and basically if these facts are facts and true, they haven't found the tomb yet, they are looking for it.

So that's a difficult part to say with the spiders, as it was a real horror-oriented film that had become more action and adventurous the more we worked on it. It sort of mutated into it.

Bingbing Li as Jia in the action, adventure film “7 GUARDIANS OF THE TOMB” a Gravitas Ventures release. Photo courtesy of Gravitas Ventures.

Wow, you actually answered a lot of the next questions I had with that. Which one of them was, what was the research like? Which you answered there.

And with the spiders, it had me thinking through a lot of it, what would Indy do? It kind of did for spiders what Indiana Jones did for snakes.

Yeah, that's a good question. I don't know, I really loved when he pulled the gun out [Laughs]

[Laughs]

 …but yeah, a good question to think about that.

It certainly wouldn't be obvious, that's for sure – with the inventiveness of those films.

It had a lot of water in the script so maybe he could be able to use water.

I hadn't really thought about that, but yeah, it makes sense.

What were some of the challenges like?

Bingbing Li was ill during the production so she went back to China to have treatment so we had to use these doubles.

So we had these doubles, but it sort of worked out okay because of it being mostly action sequences, so it probably worked out best anyway.

Yeah, I can say this is a bit trickier that's why I say I got challenged. At one point I was trying to shoot, using as many doubles as I could.

Actually, we can't do anymore and I actually do need an actor to be on set. We all have different schedules and coming in and out. It's a bit of a pain, but we got through it.

But, the cast themselves are great. We had great fun. It was a really good cast and it turned out great.

I agree. It worked out really well as a adventure flick. I hadn't seen Kelsey Grammar in anything for a while. I always enjoyed his work.

Me too. I had always been a fan of his work on comedy shows. We are all fans of that. In fact, when I met him, we went to this ...

I was just going to say as well that his role in Guardians kind of reminded me of his role in Boss.

Yeah, no that's true. But it goes from like sort of dramatic parts to obviously the comedy.

He can do anything, he's a really good actor – after the shoot, he went straight to Broadway. Two days after the shoot, he was on stage in Broadway.

Wow – demanding certainly, but it doesn't totally surprise me with him – the caliber of actor he is.

(L-R) Stef Dawson as Milly and Eva Liu as Yin in the action, adventure film “7 GUARDIANS OF THE TOMB” a Gravitas Ventures release. Photo courtesy of Gravitas Ventures.

You were talking about a lot of the archeology there being real, you know based on real findings. Another thing I was curious about was the fire storm, around the old mines where much of the story takes place – does that really happen?

It can happen, if it was a conflagration of a number of events. It's technically and scientifically correct. What happens then is that the gas, from where the mines were out there was this sulfur dioxide, you know and the gases were escaping. So the gases were escaping and got hit by a bolt of lightning, there's no reason why fire couldn't be created.

But we all took a bind in the storm itself and those storms really come up quickly and they're out in the area where we filmed in the Gobi desert actually in China, in the sand dunes, it does happen…

Interesting.

…and then the fire and the bolt happened and we obviously put a couple of things together, so we had actual storms and then we obviously dramatically added things like the fireballs from there, you know joined two or three events together.

Technically if it did all happen at once, it's possible. Poetic license pushed it a bit further.

Of course, yeah. I think that realism added some great touches there.

The next question I had was, just what's next for you?

I'm working on a couple of things, a science-fiction film called The Ruum and it's based on a short story by American writer Arthur Porges and that's what they're working on and hopefully they get the finance for that.

And also a monster movie, which we're happy to do another Chinese co-production because they really liked my others… it's sort of dystopian, about a decaying world.

You know, so that's that. And then there's another one that's completely different, which is about, it's a naval film and it's about Australia's longest naval race from the Navy, which is actually an illegal fishing boat. It's quite an interesting story. Totally different.

No, I think the The Ruum is the closest to get going but you never know these things.

Definitely. Can be a lot of volatility in the industry.

I appreciate your time Kimball. It was fun, good conversation.

No, thank you it was an interesting chat and I will check it out, when it comes out.

Definitely, we appreciate it.

Additionally, I made two songs for the films as well so actually doing music and, you know, culture films on your side on the movie. Actually, I'm a musician, so I do all the soundtracks as well. I did the "Itsy Bitsy Spider" at the film's end. The punk version, which it reflects back on, which I told you about, inspired by the punk out of America.

So, that's my two roles.

Well, there you go, it's always the best kind, I think with our, you know, multi-talented artists like yourself.

Thank you! Great talk!

Great talk, indeed.