Simon Hatt's Hammer Down

I love short films. They are a storytelling form that allows for interesting twists and turns on the familiar, giving filmmakers a place to hone their craft. Short films are where I first discovered filmmakers like Jason Reitman before they started making features. As the owner of a film website, I get sent a lot of short films and I’ll be quite honest: most of them are bad. But today, I want to bring your attention to a great new short directed by (full disclosure) my friend Simon Hatt.

You might reccognize Simon’s name as he is a producer on the Guardians of the Galaxy sequels, The Suicide Squad, and Brightburn. He started out as a director’s assistant on Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class, and worked his way up to become James Gunn’s right-hand man. This short was filmed during Squad‘s Christmas break and edited on the weekends during the pandemic.

Hammer Down is a very confident directorial debut, telling the story of a young girl (Abigail Dylan Harrison) traveling with her truck-driving father (This is Us star Chris Sullivan, who yes, was Taserface in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) while he smuggles a mysterious cargo. This trucker western is The Professional by way of Indiana Jones, with maybe shades of Spielberg’s Duel – which is a weird mix for sure. The short has been making its festival run and it just played at the San Jose International Short Film Festival, where The Hollywood Reporter called it a “trucker movie with superhero spirit.”

With the pandemic in full effect, Hatt has graciously allowed us to exclusively premiere the short film online. You can watch it below, and read my interview with Simon Hatt right below that.

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james gunn on the set of guardians of the galaxy vol 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hits theaters in the US this week, after making it’s international debut last week. I sat down with writer/director James Gunn to talk about the challenges of the sequel, including the incredible one-take opening sequence, how he filmed Kraglin and Rocket in the same scene when they are played by the same actor on set, why he decided to return for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, how he got snuck more racey adult jokes into a Disney movie, and how he came up with the ideas for those five scenes.

All this and more, in our James Gunn interview.

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