Gina Gershon, Matthew McConaughey, Tracy Letts and William Friedkin. Photo by Julie Cunnah.

This past Tuesday night, the audience at a packed Walter Reade Theater was treated to a special Film Comment Selects sneak preview of the latest film by William Friedkin, director of American classics like The Exorcist and The French Connection. An extremely dark comedy, Killer Joe is a film that elicits visceral reactions from its audiences. Many times throughout the screening there were audible gasps and uproarious laughter. During the more sexually explicit scenes, in particular one scene involving a piece of Kentucky Fried Chicken, the tension and discomfort in the theater was palpable. Killer Joe, which opens today in New York and in dozens of other cities in the coming weeks, is a hilarious and disturbing portrait of people who live without remorse, romping through northern Texas and leaving a trail of destruction and desparation behind them.  

Following the screening, Friedkin was joined on stage by screenwriter Tracy Letts and stars Matthew McConaughey and Gina Gershon for a Q&A moderated by Film Comment Editor Gavin Smith and Film Society Associate Director of Programming Scott Foundas. 

Watch full video of the Q&A to hear about their creative process and initial responses to the screenplay: