Austin with Abby Murphy
Your new movie The Dooms Chapel Horror
- in a few words, what
is it about, and what can you tell us about your character in it?
From my perspective, The Dooms Chapel Horror
is completely about
the devastating power of revenge and hate.
did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how much of
yourself can we find in Kyle?
Everyone has their own
stories, their own tragedies, events that define certain decisions in
their lives; it's also not hard to imagine the struggles of growing up
with the idea that you don't quite fit in with the personality of a small
town community that you live in. I did my best to bring my personal
experiences to Kyle's emotionally isolated character, and at the same time
give him the tenacity that it would take to make some of the decisions
he's made. I tried to keep track of every single note I got from Jason
Turner, the writer. He was so into this, so in-tune with the experiences
of the characters and the vision that John Holt [John
Holt interview - click here] had over the whole thing --
they and Josh Robinson (the casting director) [Joshua
Mark Robinson interview - click here] were tremendously helpful.
How did you get hooked up
with the project in the first place, and to what extent could you identify
with the film's horror theme?
I got a late-notice phone
call from an actor friend of mine who told me that Josh had been on the
news announcing a casting call for a movie that would take place the
following morning. I took a look at the Facebook page, printed off the
audition sides, and showed up to the casting call with a couple of roles
in mind to audition for. Josh and John were both very encouraging during
that process and, once I'd been cast, we had tons of enjoyable nights
going over some of our favorite scenes, tossing ideas around, and talking
about the themes of the film as a whole. Those sessions really gave me my
foundation of understanding for the film as a horror-genre project. My
experience with the genre had been pretty slim up to that point, but
John's focus on the small-town theme, the idea of a character-based story
that focused on the experiences rather than the scares, really held my
attention. John has a great grasp of what it takes to make a horror
picture and had some really original ideas about how the audience would
What can you tell us about
your director John Holt [John Holt
interview - click here], and what was your collaboration like?
think of John as one of my best friends now, personally and
professionally. As a director, he's so open to the ideas of others and
that was a huge help to me with The Dooms Chapel Horror
being my first feature;
there's never any doubt of his control of the shoot, but when he speaks to
you, it's not as the director but as a peer. By the end of the shoot, we
were running a pretty tight workflow talking to each other about shots,
discussing alternate approaches to setups, and encouraging each others'
ideas. He's infinitely patient and meticulous with details -- the latter
of which I can readily identify with, so for me there was never not a fun
day when we were working together.
Joshua Mark Robinson, Austin Madding
talk about the shoot as such for a bit, and the on-set atmosphere!
have a real respect for the way Chris Bower [Christopher
Bower interview - click here] organized the shoots every
day. For me it set the bar for how the on-set experience should be.
Everyone was given whatever they needed, any problems were quarantined and
quickly solved without it affecting the attitude or productivity of anyone
on set. Not that it would have mattered much -- everyone was too busy
having fun making the thing. There were long nights of working till we
spotted daylight the next day, long days in the heat, and some long nights
in the cold of winter, and through all of it there was not a single day
that I wasn't having the time of my life or, at times, laughing until I
couldn't breathe. I know I'm gushing here, but I can't talk about the set
atmosphere without mentioning the small amount of time that we had Bill
Oberst Jr. [Bill Oberst jr
interview - click here] on with us. I honestly wasn't sure how I'd need to adapt to
Bill being around, I wasn't sure what he'd need from me. But as an actor,
you can't get a better experience than what I got those few days working
opposite him. From my end, I did my best to hold up my side of those
scenes and try to give him new things to work with as we went. It was an
amazing experience. And at the end of every scene, the guy walks over to
you, shakes your hand, and thanks you. He never left set without letting
each and every single person know what a great job they were doing.
future projects you'd like to share?
I'm really lucky to
have been just sort of initiated into the crew with everyone else. We're
always working on new things now. We just premiered a short that I
wrote/directed called The Gunmen of Soldier Creek which we'll be
looking to flesh out to the feature film version that I have already
written. But that's just one of the many new ideas that we already have up
for discussion on what the next big project will be.
What got you into
acting to begin with, and did you receive any formal education on the
I studied acting
heavily in high school and competed in the Kentucky High School Speech
League doing competitive acting, storytelling, and improv. It was after
high school that I turned that energy toward film.
What can you tell us about your filmwork prior
to The Dooms Chapel Horror?
Once I got to college, I
moved from acting into directing/writing and made several attempts at many
over-ambitious short films. When the 48 Hour Film Project came to Paducah,
I started regularly writing new ideas and scripts and using the
competition to learn from many of the more-experienced filmmakers from the
How would you
describe yourself as an actor, and some of your techniques to bring your
characters to life?
For me, it's all about the silence.
What's going on in between your lines and the lines of others. Film is a
visual medium. What are you telling the audience when you're not opening
your mouth? If the scene had no lines, would the audience still comprehend
the decision you're making?
Actors (and indeed actresses) who
My favorite actor I think is Gary Oldman. All
the little subtleties of his performance in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
make it one of my favorite performances of all time. I'm also a big Tommy
Lee Jones fan and my favorite of the old guard is Steve McQueen.
Your favourite movies?
only have a Number One favorite and it is No Country for Old Men.
After that, they all change in order from time to time. The Social
Network (I'm a big Fincher fan), Stagecoach, Thief,
Chinatown, and Brick.
and of course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
If I come out of a
film without having at least seen something I want to try, then I didn't
get much from it.
Facebook, whatever else?
Our Dooms Chapel Horror
page can be found here:
Anything else you are dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Thank you so
much for taking the time to help us reach people!