Your new movie Hawk
and Rev: Vampire Slayers - in a few words, what is it about, and what
can you tell us about your character in it?
I would describe it as Scooby Doo meets Lost Boys with a
bit of Napoleon Dynamite. And a sprinkle of The Notebook - which I
have yet to see but I hear great things.
What did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how
much Ari Schneider can we find in Rev?
Sure. Thereís definitely more than I would care to admit of Ari in Rev. I
think what I like most about that character is heís kind of an enigma.
Heís supposed to be the mild-mannered more zen, pacifist side of the duo,
but as the plot thickens, if you will, heís just as manic if not more than
his agresssive buddy Hawk. I would say thatís somewhat true for me, maybe
not the enigma part, although it is fun for people to think thereís more
going on behind those eyes than there really is. I like to come off,
especially when I used to date, as this really confident cool and laid back
dude and, as much as I aspire to be that fictional guy, those who get to know
me see Iím a pretty anxious and nerdy goof - which is equally if not more
lovable and I think the meddling of those two is what makes Rev fun. Thereís
definitely no cool about him just from the get-go, the glasses alone which I
could barely see out of, but he does think of himself as a peaceful warrior.
Because heís a complete almost cartoon-like goof and creepy and sweet and
innocent and itís fun to just heighten the heck out of those parts of
myself. It often feels like Ryan and I are trying to top each other with how
creepy the other one is.
How did you get
involved with the project in the first place, and how did you end up being
a producer on Hawk
and Rev: Vampire Slayers as well?
interview - click here] and I have
worked together for almost 10 years on specs, sketches, and this is our
second collaborative feature so we go pretty far back. I was studying at
the Guildford School of Acting in England when he met my sister and
they got married, so thatís how we met, and apparently you become brothers
when that happens, by law, and then we decided letís play and itís
nice that your bro-in-law is one of your best buds.
To what extent
could you identify with Hawk
and Rev: Vampire Slayers' approach to both horror and comedy?
Comedy is my comfort zone whether Iím being funny or I think Iím
being funny. I fall back a lot on improv when thereís an opportunity or
if there are moments of banter. Ryanís definitely more the horror
aficionado. I do enjoy horror films way more than I did probably 10 years
ago where I had a harder time appreciating them beyond the scares or even
just allowing myself to be that vulnerable and get scared, but it wasnít
until I saw how you could really do a lot of fun things with that genre
besides jump scares. And then of course you have films like Tucker and Dale
vs Evil and Cabin in the
Woods, and I love pulling from different genres and
playing with that. I think the bar has been set high for horror in the
past decade or so, especially in the indie market so itís fun to play
what ďis considered horrorĒ and spin it into something really silly
and hopefully quirky.
were the challenges of bringing Hawk
and Rev: Vampire Slayers to life from a producer's point of view?
man, where to start. I mean weíre running a crew of less than 10 on set,
most time as little as 5 max, in terms of camera, make up, etcm so everybody
has to be doing something pro-active at anytime, that usually means juggling
multiple tasks. When I wasnít on camera as Rev, there was a multitude of
logistical things to be done just in making sure weíve got taillights by
whatever time weíre out of a location, or ferrying props, crafty. The real
fun of producing came afterwards where the creative side gets to shine in
regards to the score, post-production, coming up with fun ideas for the
credits and taglines, poster, etc.
also co-responsible for Hawk
and Rev: Vampire Slayers' score - so do talk about making the
music for the movie for a bit!
Yes. That was a blast. My
very good friend Robby Elfman who co-composed all the original themes like
the opening 80s kill themes, all the original vocal ballads, the western
chantsÖ he is a musical force to be reckoned with and probably the most
talented arranger I know. Weíve been friends since childhood and heís
just the type of dude who can pick up what seems like any instrument and
follow along whatever idea youíre toying with or just take what youíre
trying to do and make it sound coherent and better. We have a fun marriage
in that respect since weíve jammed since we were kids whether it be
comedy songs, or short form sketches and commercial specs, and heís
scored our features before. This was the first we worked on a feature as
actual songwriters and composing the soundtrack together as opposed to me
ďoverseeing itĒ, and that certainly is my happy place. Weíve worked
on other projects together as well and he just never ceases to amaze me.
What can you tell us
and Rev: Vampire Slayers's director Ryan Barton-Grimley [Ryan
Barton-Grimley interview - click here], and what
was your collaboration like?
This is was our second feature as both producers and I think we definitely
learned where to kind of let the other person shine and stay out of the way.
Ryanís the director, so the buck stops with him, but with Hawk
and Rev: Vampire Slayers he pretty
much deferred to me in regards to finalizing a lot post decisions or at least
being receptive to other ideas where some directors, especially being the
writer as well, will have such tunnel vision of what they want, thereís no
room for creative input which I think in a project like this is impossible, and
Ryan and I I think know where our strengths and weaknesses are, so that was fun
to be able to play very much out of the box or have a certain level of free
reign whether in regards to the music and music design, or even character
choices. I have to give Ryan a lot of props for ďsurrenderingĒ creative in
certain parts to allow that input which is not something a lot of people get
to experience and so I certainly took him up on that and just went to town ,and
I was happily surprised on how many ďyes andsĒ I got from him, just to be
an improv nerd.
and Rev: Vampire Slayers wasn't the first time you've worked with
Ryan Barton Grimley - so what can you tell us about your previous
collaborations, and how did the two of you first meet even?
shot some really fun commercial specs in Portland years ago which was a
blast, and silly little web sketches that actually come to think of it fall
in line with some of the humor in Hawk
and Rev: Vampire Slayers. We even had a two man improv team for a
while. So, ya know, I think at the time I had finished acting school and was
doing Second City and then Ryan was doing improv as well so we had a lot
in common in regards to what made us laugh or what we thought would be fun
thing to write or shoot.
and Rev: Vampire Slayers - what can you tell us about the shoot as
such, and the on-set atmosphere?
Itís like Olive Garden.
When youíre here youíre family. We def have a very safe and fun
environment just from the fact that we all mainly really like each other
as people and thereís no real tool. I think with that comes a risk of
that level of too much comfortability at times so that when you butt heads,
which, to my memory, didnít happen often, but can feel like more than
just creative differences. It can be hard to remind yourself that even
though itís indie and we all love each other and we have each others
back, this is a passion project and everybody here is giving a 110% so at
the end of the day whatever creative squabbles might pop up, weíre still
making a movie and not just hanging out though for fun, even though when
weíre at our best it does feel like weíre just hanging out. At the end
of the day weíre very dedicated, come rain or come shine, and the
differences are mainly for the sake of the project. We give everything we
have to it. I missed my own bachelor party because of exhaustion and the
flu from our last pick-ups in Malibu, which I donít blame Ryan for but he
Any future projects
you'd like to share?
In regards to Ryan and I, Ryan wrote a
little David Lynchian psychological horror film that we shot last year and
looking forward to wrapping that up. The post should be fun. Iím
currently collaborating with some awesome people in my life on some bucket
list projects because why not, things are kinda slow right now, lol. One of
them is a musical series thatís always something I wanted to try and
pitch, and itís kind of got a life of its own right now so Iím grateful
to be engulfed in the music joy of that. My wife writes so Iíve been
collaborating with her a bit.
What got you into acting in the
first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
a great question. I did receive formal training in the UK at the Guildford
School of Acting (BA-HONS) which was like boot camp for actors, and
definitely kicks you into shape cause they donít mess around over there.
And then did what a normal Shakespeare thespian does when he returns to
the states and joined the Second City improv theatre so Iím all over the
place but I think itís just something that I naturally felt comfortable
with, that was kind of part of the storytelling. Doing justice to a story.
Playing. I mean I just like playing with other people. The endorphins
rush of being vulnerable and transparent and being able to listen. Cause I
struggle with listening and patience in real life, and it all just slows
down in front of the camera. Thatís the most eloquent way I could
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Hawk
and Rev: Vampire Slayers?
Full length feature-wise,
aside from our previous feature Elijahís Ashes, which was
something completely different, played an introverted adman whoís
boyfriend breaks up with him in very beginning of the film, dealing with
the death of his father and his sexuality, and his homophobic idiot
brother, beautifully played by Ryan - most recently, I had a small but
featured role in Sebastian Lellioís Gloria Bell alongside
Julianne Moore and Rita Wilson, and that was a trip and you know meeting
your heroes and them being cooler than you thought. Did some fun TV stuff
this past year beforeÖ everything, so this has been a busy past couple
years, I became a father a year and half ago and booked some awesome gigs
and collaborated with great peeps, so yeah.
How would you describe
yourself as an actor?
Willing to shave. I would love to do
a western. Iím adaptable.
Actors (and indeed actresses) who
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Kathy Bates, Denzel Washington, Jeffrey Wright, David Thewlis, Viggo
Mortensen, Alan Rickman. I mean it always, Gary Oldman in Leon, that
made horrible look fun. Charlize Theron.
Your favourite movies?
Jaws, Dr. Strangelove
or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, The Abyss,
This is Spinal Tap, Coming to America, Tommy Boy.
and of course, films you really deplore?
I canít help it,
Titanic. But I did say The Abyss.
social media, whatever else?
I tweet - @thearischneider.
You can IMDb me, also there's the Clumsy Tiger Productions Facebook
Anything else you're dying
to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
I got my
nose broken in clown class but Iím not sure how you would know to ask
for the interview!