Your movie All
American Zombie Drugs - in a few words, what is it about?
It's about two guys starting a
business doing the only thing they think they were ever good at: drugs.
Underneath though, it's about a guy's
journey off drugs.
what were your inspirations when writing All
American Zombie Drugs? And is any of this based on personal
Alex - I had friends that were fun
as a kid, who would do the wildest things; pranks to make us laugh. I was
hoping to capture that silliness in the film. The heart part of the film
comes from growing up with addicts; in my family as well as some friends
that went down the road of no return. I wanted to explore what would have
to happen for someone to make the decision to go to rehab and make it out
on the positive side of things. Unfortunately, statistically, the chances
of beating a drug addiction are hard. I also believe people do drugs for
different reasons. Some do it to escape life, while others really enjoy
them. I was hoping to show those contrasts.
Ballar, Beau Nelson
How much improvisation was there involved
when bringing All
American Zombie Drugs to the screen, or were you following the
script to the letter?
Alex - I come from a theater background, so
we did rehearsals before shooting. We shot the film in 10 days, so there
wasn't much time for extra takes or improvisation, unfortunately. There
were some moments, but for the most part, the improvisation would happen
within the lines.
Since with some justification,
All American Zombie Drugs
can be described as a stoner comedy - is
that a genre you can at all relate to?
I can only speak for me, but yeah. I
like anything funny and stoners can be hysterical. They're usually
non-violent too. One of my favorite film series was Cheech and
can still recall scenes from those movies and bust out laughing.
Beau - The interesting thing about this genre is that itís
very relatable to everyone. I
think everyone has been impacted in one way or another by the stoner
mentality; either they have been a stoner themselves or know someone
personally who has. The genre
seems to make people feel something, and while we know the stoner
mentality isnít everyoneís cup of tea, we hope that they can still
enjoy the film without feeling as if drugs are being thrown down their
take on drugs and the drug business?
I don't do drugs. I actually live
very healthy. My true gripe is with the pharmaceutical drug business.
Other than that I believe people should be able to do what they want, if
they aren't hurting others. That's why I wanted both leads to have
completely different roads. Sebastian and Kara love drugs. Vinny and
Mellisa is using them to mask pain. He's meant for a different road.
Beau - Iím with Alex. I
donít do drugs and mind my own business unless itís affecting me or
someone I love. Iím not
necessarily against medicinal purposeful drugs if itís legal, but Iím
not a huge fan of the pharmaceutical business either.
It never ceases to amaze me how many new products come to market
where the side-effects section of the commercial is longer than the actual
treatment of what it is theyíre promoting.
Beau, what did you
draw upon to bring your character to life, and how much of Beau Nelson is
Beau - Surprisingly,
a lot of Sebastian is a lot of me. Sebastian
has a pretty confident, free-speaking, I-donít-care-what-anyone-thinks
type of perception of life. He
strives to be a leader and be the best he can at his endeavors by taking
them to the next level. The
main difference is Iím not really a drug dealer, but weíre still both
in our own industries for the same reason.
The trick for me to get into Sebastianís world was behavior.
I did a lot of research, watched films and documentaries to get a
feel of what the mannerisms were. And
then I started playing them out at home under normal situations, which I
can only imagine sounds extremely odd.
Alex worked with me quite a bit to fine-tune those behaviors before
we put it in front of the camera. And
then I just went for it.
You of course also have to talk about the
rest of the cast for a bit!
Natalie Irby, Susan Graham, Beau Nelson, Alex
Ballar, Wolfgang Weber
The rest of the cast was wonderful
and completely professional. They had to be to get through a movie in 10
days. We were very lucky. I would love to work with almost anyone of them
again when the circumstances align.
Alex is right, we were pretty lucky
to be surrounded with such dedicated and talented folks.
Not even just the cast, but the set designers and makeup artists
and wardrobe stylists. Itís was such a great feeling to be surrounded
with such amazing people.
How did the project come
together in the first place, and how did you two first hook up to begin
Alex - I was originally supposed to
make All American Zombie Drugs on a way larger budget and the money fell through, as often
happens in this business. I was helping produce/write another project that
Beau was cast in. I knew Beau was super talented, instantly. With the
right circumstances, I believe, he'll be a big star. He's fearless as an
actor and a person. I believe Sebastian doesn't even do him justice, he
has amazing natural instincts. He'll try anything. So I pursued a meeting
with him, not knowing how any of this would work out. Then, as most movies
usually have happened in my experience, we just decided to make it, even
if that meant shooting it on a cell phone. Luckily, we didn't have to do
that though. LOL. Things just started falling together fast. Friends and
talents came on board. In particular, Alexander Berezovsky who we couldn't
have made this movie without. He's a workhorse of a producer.
What can you tell us about the actual shoot and
the on-set atmosphere?
For the most part, I remember a lot
of laughing. It made me feel we were on the right track. It was stressful
at times because of the time constraints, but it definitely, was an
amazing experience. I learned a lot. I hope others did too.
Beau - There was a lot of laughing.
I think we all enjoyed being there, and that usually sets the stage
for how a film turns out. We
worked really long days and many times it was at night, even though many
of the scenes inside the house take place during the day.
Our lighting crew was amazing to make that happen seamlessly.
Our zombie section, in particular when Sebastian gets eaten, was
actually shot on the 4th of July.
We kept popping the breakers on the house, so we ended up firing up
a generator. It was a
challenge to find 500ft of extension cords from the house to the spot
where we wanted to film.
Let's go back to the beginnings
of both of your careers: What got you into the filmworld in the first
place, did you have any kind of formal training on the subject, and what
can you tell us about your early days?
I originally was in college to be a
physical therapist and received a random audition for Bronx Tale with
Robert De Niro. I got really close, and my competitive side took over. I
then searched out the teachers of the greats and began studying with
Actor's Studio teachers. I got close on a few big projects and then
decided to move to California to pursue a music career. I found my way
back into film raising venture capital for others projects and selling
Beau - I actually didnít have much formal training at all.
I hated drama class in high-school, but after 5 years of software
development, I really needed a creative release.
Since I didnít have anything to lose, I made the move to LA.
When I first got here, I did everything I could to get more
experience and build a resume to be taken more seriously.
Please do talk
about your filmwork prior to All
American Zombie Drugs for a bit!
I was fortunate to be in a few SyFy
channel originals thanks to my good friend and one of the executive producers of All American Zombie Drugs: Michael Worth. I
also started my career in a movie called: I Love You, I Love You Not with
a bunch of new actors at the time such as Jude Law, Julia Stiles and James
Van Der Beek.
to All American Zombie Drugs, I had the opportunity to work with Michael Madsen in
off with America, where I played young Bernie Madoff.
I also worked with Jeremy London in Q For Death.
The Adventures of Roman and Jorge was a comedic episodic that got a
little run on a Christian TV Network.
projects you'd like to share?
Yes, we are both in the upcoming
Bring Me The Head Of Lance Henriksen. It's a mokumentary about ageism in
Hollywood and stars and feature actors such as Lance, Tim Thomerson, John
Saxon [John Saxon bio - click
here], Adrienne Barbeau, Cerina Vincent, John Witherspoon, Martin Cove and
I also produced and acted in a new
Michael Worth movie: Seeking Dolly Parton. It stars the beautiful and
talented Kacey Barnfield and Anya Monzikova trying to have a baby.
Beau and I have an untitled psychological alien movie
in the works. We hope to shoot it this year.
How would you describe
yourselves as actor and director, respectively?
Alex - This is a
tough one for me. I would say
sensitively intense as a director, because I know what I want but don't
want to bull doze my way through people. I prefer to make allies and am
open to others creativity. I believe making a movie is a team effort. I
also bring a producer attitude, so I am comfortable dealing with the
restrictions and not letting my creative side throw tantrums. As an actor,
I feel my best work is ahead of me. I haven't been able to truly stretch
that muscle yet in film as I have on stage and hope to one day. Acting is
therapeutic for me. I love being in the moment and there's nothing better
than working with actors who aren't afraid to go there with you.
Essentially, it's my drug :-)
and filmmakers who inspire you?
Alex - Too
many to list. Off the top of my head, directors: John Hughes, Steven
Speilberg, Darren Aronofsky, Martin Scorsese. Actors: Heath Ledger, River
and Joaquin Phoenix, Ryan Gosling, Meryl Streep, Charlize Theron. These
lists can go on and on. Mostly, for me, it's people who serve the story,
take chances and create new paths.
Beau - I agree
with Alex. Once youíve been
in this business, you learn to respect everyone for their dedication.
This is not an easy business to succeed in and because of that, I
have a hard time not liking any movie or actor.
Mostly because I know how much work goes into making a production.
But, since you asked, Johnny Depp was my main inspiration for
coming to LA. If I had the
opportunity to base my career off of anyone, he would be it.
It would be a dream to play those types of characters.
Your favourite movies?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Alex - True Romance, Frailty, Pulp Fiction,
The Perks Of Being a Wallflower. I watch a lot of movies, too many
probably, so this list could go on forever too. lol
Beau - I could
list all day long as far back as The Gremlins and The Goonies to more
recent films like Hugo. One of
my all time favorites has to be Shawshank Redemption.
and of course, films you really deplored?
I don't have any in particular. I
think getting any movie completed is a huge task, regardless of the
intention. But any of the cookie cutter movies drive me nuts sometimes.
The ones that have nothing to say.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
than thanks so much for the opportunity, no.
for the interview!