On the inspiration:
It definitely is a ‘deal with the devil’ film, I didn’t know that going into it. I was curious about the economic crash that was turning the world upside down. I knew it was coming from the housing market so I started researching the housing market, the epicenters were four states. One was Florida, so I went to Florida and I thought I was just going to make it like my other films, a social-human drama, but when I got down there it became obvious to me that it was a thriller suddenly.
Everyone carried a gun, it was very dangerous, there were so many scams and corruption. I think it was in the first trip that I saw a structure of, what you see in the film, a man getting kicked out of his home who begins to work for the very man who kicked him out and has to kick other people out of their homes and becomes this continuous web of corruption very specific to the housing industry which was very new, we hadn’t seen that world before. We hadn’t seen it in detail.
I had been reading for years about evictions and people losing their homes and the statistics of it, but kind of what was behind those statistics, what did it mean actually to get evicted from your home. I became very interested in studying that.
On the Rick Carver:
Michael Shannon: Well it’s hard to say, I think Rick is very conflicted. On one hand, I don’t think he thinks that he’s doing anything wrong and on the other hand, he’s haunted by the pain he’s a part of in people’s lives so he’s constantly trying to teeter back-and-forth. I think his response to what happens at the end could be different on what day it is. I think Rick is very confused, that in theory, there’s not really anything really wrong with what he’s doing and yet he knows he’s contributing to the suffering of other people and I think that really screws him up.
On past work experiences:
Shannon: I mean, work’s not bad. The problem is when you can’t get a job, that’s when you’re really screwed.
Bahrani: I liked my jobs, I’ve never worked in the film industry by choice. I wanted to work so I drove a truck, I managed a bed-and-breakfast, was a bartender. I did telemarketing, I learned ABC (always be closing). I learned when someone wants to buy something you shut up and take their credit card, and these were very useful tools to raise money in making a film. I liked all my jobs, I always learned something about life and people.
99 Homes is slated for release on September 25.