Linkin Park’s Joe Hahn makes his feature film directorial debut

October 16, 2014
Linkin Park's Joe Hahn directed Mall, a film revolving around five characters who are unexpectedly linked in a mall shooting. (Courtesy of Kymm Britton)

Linkin Park’s Joe Hahn directed “Mall”, a film revolving around five characters who are unexpectedly linked in a mall shooting. (Photo credit: Ryan Cox)

By Brian Han

Joe Hahn, DJ for Grammy Award-winning band Linkin Park, is making his feature-length directorial debut with his latest film adaptation of the Eric Bogosian novel “Mall” — a melancholy commentary on American suburbia that follows five very different characters on a fateful day.

“I tend to be drawn to the darkness,” Hahn said with a slight laugh. “The story makes a statement on society, but I’m definitely not preaching through it. I hope that it will spark discussion and at that point I’ll have done my job.”

Despite his music pedigree, Hahn is no stranger to creative expression through visual mediums. He has directed dozens of music videos over the past 15 years — many of them for singles off of Linkin Park’s several multi-platinum selling albums — but admits that working in the feature format is a unique challenge in and of itself.

“For a full-length, you have to plan all your moves and coordinate them to achieve your vision,” Hahn said. ”Film is one of the ultimate entertainment experiences. I can express emotions through drama, use visual effects to enhance the narrative and use music to further reinforce the soulfulness of what’s going on.”

Cameron Monaghan plays the films protagonist, Jeff.

Cameron Monaghan, perhaps most well known for his work in the Showtime series Shameless, plays the films protagonist, Jeff. (still photo from “Mall”)

In a feature, the film score traditionally plays the role of subconsciously urging audiences towards a particular feeling or atmosphere. Hahn took this opportunity to adapt his skills to unfamiliar territory.

He wrote new material while also elaborating on existing musical ideas with bandmates Chester Bennington, Mike Shinoda and Dave Farrell in addition to Alec Puro, the drummer for industrial rock band Deadsy.

“The experience was very different, it was like a puzzle to be figured out,” Hahn said. “Different songs spoke to different characters. There are moments when the music really stands out, but it’s always to move the story forward.”

Mike Shinoda, co-lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist for Linkin Park, expanded upon the method upon which they composed the score.

“The process on this was unique in the sense that Joe showed us demos and asked us to help him finish some of it up,” Shinoda said. “Alec [Puro] was an asset to us. He did a lot of heavy lifting when it came to adapting the music to fit the format.”

The aesthetic approach was quite different from what some of the musicians involved were used to as well.

“These were raw, almost stream of consciousness products. We didn’t overthink them… It was nothing like I’ve ever done,” Shinoda said.

In addition to writing the screenplay and producing the film, Vincent D'Onofrio also co-stars in the film.

In addition to writing the screenplay and producing the film, Vincent D’Onofrio (Full Metal Jacket, Men In Black) also co-stars in the film.

As for the visual components of the film, the special effects add a unique modern touch by artfully employing digital noise and artifacts, a quality that is typically avoided at all costs by traditionalist standards.

“My work definitely has a style, but I don’t strive to necessarily be unique. I’m more concerned with using styles that support the story,” Hahn said. “Whether it’s music or film, I don’t want to feel like I’m stuck in a container so it’s important to explore different possibilities.”

Although Hahn is still busy promoting “Mall” and touring around the world with Linkin Park, he has his sights set on pursuing this avenue further.

“I’d love to do more feature films. I just want to create whether it’s more films, music videos or commercials. Each experience helps me grow as an artist and a technician. I just take it day by day,” he said.

“Mall” makes its North American debut on Oct. 17 at select theaters. Along with co-writing the screenplay adaptation and co-producing the film, Vincent D’Onofrio also co-stars in the film with Hollywood up-and-comers Cameron Monaghan and James Frecheville.

2 Comments

  1. Lizz Hahn

    October 26, 2014 at 10:49 PM

    I’m a huge LinkinPark fan I’m so hoping that “Mall ” is in theatre by
    me .. I was lucky enuff to see them live in concert this part summer ..
    they were .. AMAZING .. if I could Watch them play every day live .. I sure would .. Joe Hahn & I share the same last name ..so funny .. anyway
    Hoping they come back to so Fla ASAP .. I B first to buy tix

  2. Pingback: Weekly Round Up: Oct. 26 – Nov. 01 - Mike Shinoda Clan

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