Your new movie Eternal
Damn Nation - in a few words, what is it about?
The battle of
good vs. evil.
What were your inspirations when writing Eternal
Damn Nation? And since the film is deeply rooted in mythology, how
much research went into this aspect of your story?
inspired by observing the world around me. Good is constantly
battling evil, all over the world, all throughout history. I studied
mythology extensively in college, but I wanted to come up with a
completely new story. Although the devil, demons and angels are
hardly original characters, I wanted to motivate them in a new direction,
give them new goals. Eternal
Damn Nation is a new take
on an old story.
also play one of the leads in Eternal
Damn Nation - so have you written your character with yourself in
mind, what did you draw upon to bring him to life, and how much of Alan
Del Tufo can we find in Rian?
did write the character knowing that I would eventually play him on
screen. However, the part changed greatly over the course of rewrites.
It was a much smaller part in the beginning but grew over time and
became more important to the plot. That was difficult for me
because I wanted to spend all of my time behind the camera. It was
an extremely challenging role, Rian doesn't show much on the surface, so
the audience never quite knows how to take him. There
is very little of myself in Rian, he is all business and very serious, I
am more about having fun and pranking people. The only similarity is
that I was an amateur boxer when I was younger, so we have the same
What can you tell us about
the rest of your key cast, and why exactly these people?
lead character of Eileen was played by Jade Elysan. I liked her
because she was very sincere and relatable to the audience, she is also
the most well prepared actress I've ever worked with. Her
athleticism was important to me as well. She had a physically
challenging role, and she handled it without breaking a sweat. But
in order to have a great hero, you must have great villains and
that's where Carson Dougherty, Wyatt Kuether, Seth Ruffer and Joe Carney
came in. I had worked with Seth, Joe and Wyatt before, Carson this
was my first time. They were all fantastic and fearless.
And my fight sequences took place with Wyatt and Joe, so I knew they weren't
going to hurt me too bad.
would you describe your film's specific look and feel?
say it's a heightened reality... dark and ominous. There are plenty
of twists and turns in the plot, so I think the story keeps the audience
on their toes.
Damn Nation features quite a few quite accomplished fight scenes -
so you just have to talk about those for a bit, and how were they
They were my
favorite parts to film actually. I worked with fight choreographer
Wyatt Kuether. I gave him a basic outline of what I was looking
for and then just let him do his thing. He was amazing AND nobody
got hurt. Editing though was also crucial in making the scenes look
legit. I worked closely with Producer Brett Freitag on the editing
of all the action scenes to make them look as genuine as possible. Rich
McDonald, one of the producers on the film, is also a police officer.
He provided hands on training to the actors who played the
detectives. His weapons training and insight was extremely valuable
to the cast.
What can you tell us about the shoot as such,
and the on-set atmosphere?
atmosphere was wonderful, it was a tight knit group which is important
when you are working on a very limited budget. Many of us had worked
together on other projects since I use much of the same cast and
crew over and over again. That's very important to me. It's
a team effort and any drama that arises off-camera can cost you time &
money. Having people on set such as Stefanie Cupac and Richard
Tomicic, who both wore so many hats, not only made my job easier but made
A few words about audience
and critical reception of your movie so far?
has been very good. Across the board the script has been praised.
People realize that the film was made on a significantly low
budget, but appreciation it's ambition and entertainment value.
you've created such a rich world for Eternal
Damn Nation - will there ever be a part 2 (however tentatively),
and any other future projects you'd like to share?
would love to make a sequel. I feel there is much more of the story
still to be told. I have a draft completed actually, it's just a
matter now of finding the right pieces to get it into production. It's tentatively
titled "The Narrow Gate".
got you into filmmaking to begin with, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
grew up right outside of Manhattan and a long time friend of mine went to
film school after we graduated high school. It was really the
turning point in my life as I didn't know what I wanted to do with
myself. I studied acting so I could be in his movies and then later communications
and film production.
What can you tell us about your
filmwork prior to Eternal
As an actor I was in the NBC
mini-series Witness to the Mob. It was the story of
mobster turned informant Sammy "the bull" Gravano and produced
by Robert DeNiro. I played Sammy's best friend at age 16. That
part really got me started in the business.
As a director I had a
short film run in the festival circuit in 2012 titled Opening
Fright. It was a horror/comedy and it was the project that set
me up for my first feature Eternal
Damn Nation. Opening
Fright is centered around a really bad community theater troupe that's
attacked by a demon on the night of their opening performance. The
demon is bitter because he auditioned and wasn't cast in their show... and
to make matters worse the role he auditioned for was that of a demon.
It's really more comedy than horror. It's available online if
anyone would like to check it out.
How would you describe yourself as
a director, how as an actor?
a director I think I expect a lot out of my cast & crew. I
feel a good director is someone that can bring the best out of each member
of the team. I had some experienced cast/crew members and some
people who had never stepped on a film set before. Doesn't matter to
me, I get the most out of everyone. I keep everyone in a positive
state of mind...
and no excuses, they are not allowed on my set. As
an actor I feel I'm easy to work with because I understand the challenges
that exist on the other side of the lens. I am a true director's
Actors, filmmakers, whoever
else who inspire you?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Scorsese, just a brilliant director, such a distinct style. You can
watch any scene he's ever done and know right away that it was his
work. Danny Boyle is another favorite of mine along with when
Tarantino and Robert Rodgriguez team up.
Your favourite movies?
Trainspotting, The Devil's Rejects, Office Space.
and of course, films you really deplore?
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
for the interview!
My pleasure. Thank you for watching.