Your new movie How to Kill
a Zombie - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you
tell us about your character in it?
How to Kill a Zombie
is a comedic take on the traditional "zombie horror" film genre.
It's about a father and son trying to find some middle ground during a
zombie apocalypse. My character Mack Stone is a hard-headed, hard-hitting, militant type who wants his son to be a real man.
What did you draw upon to bring your character to life - and being
a father yourself, playing a father to your real-life son in How
to Kill a Zombie, how much of your own experience is actually
reflected in Mack?
told anyone yet where I drew from to give this character life, so here
is a scoop for you sir - I used a lot of memories from my (now deceased)
father to bring Mack to life. In fact - all of my dad's friends
used to call him Mack.
Jesse's dad was easy - I definitely used some real world things that I
have done with my son Ben to make it flow. If you watch us in many
of the scenes, you will notice that we are very much in sync with
each other. Drawing the guns at the same time, shooting at the
same time, etc. That part of it was so much easier because we
understand how each other thinks and moves in real life.
ex-military, I served for 4 years and got out shortly after Operation Desert Storm, so I used a lot of that experience
to bring Mack to life.
Is the zombie genre something at all
dear to you, and some of your genre favourites?
is definitely a favorite genre of mine, although I enjoy other genres as
well. My fav's would have to be Shaun of the Dead,
Fido, and the Living Dead
with Ben McLean
to Kill a Zombie was pretty much a family affair - so how did it
come about in the first place, was it any kind of strain for you as a
family to work with one another in your respective roles in front of and
behind the camera, and how did all of you as a family emerge from the
My son Ben
came up with the idea. I told him to write it and he asked me to
help. Shortly after that my wife Tiffany [Tiffany
McLean interview - click here] got involved because she thought
it was funny.
with them was terrible. I had to murder them all on just the
second day of filming and replace Ben with a look-alike. I emerged
victorious and they emerged 6 feet under.
kidding - we actually had a BLAST filming this movie together. More
fun than we had had as a family in quite some time. We got closer
because of it and emerged a tighter group.
What were the main challenges when making How
to Kill a Zombie on the production side of things?
toughest part was scheduling and set building. Wrangling 175
zombie extras for a couple of days was quite a job, luckily we had an
amazing Assistant Director in Seth Roberts (of PSR Images) who handled
them all quite nicely. The DVD has special features of behind the
scenes interviews with Seth and the zombies.
had to schedule the main cast, and there were a couple of scheduling
conflicts that we had to work around, but that is the life of indie film
We had to
build the entire interior set of the "laboratory building".
We put it all up every Friday night in a large garage owned by
Mountain Road RV, to then tear it all down every Sunday night so the
company could do their normal work all week. We shot the film over
10 weekends. Myself, Seth, Tiff and Ben were the ones putting the
set up mostly, but we had some help from other crew people too. We
had a 16 man crew for the entire shoot. Not bad for an indie film
with little to no budget.
can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
run the set like they do a Hollywood set - I have worked on a few
Hollywood films and I paid attention to detail whenever I did. But I
also like to have fun acting and film making - so I keep things light and
happy but professional. I truly believe everyone involved had a
blast on the set. You can see it on their faces in the behind the
scenes interviews too.
future projects you'd like to share?
Yes sir! Thank you for asking - I recently signed a contract with
Shadowhawke Films in Dublin, Ireland. My script titled The Cloning has been optioned by them and they plan to shoot
the film in 2016. They were kind enough to allow me a lead role in
the film as well. I am very much looking forward to flying across
the pond to shoot this film! It will be the largest budget I have
ever seen compared to indie films I have worked on. The director
is Kevin DiBacco of DiBacco Films, but the rest of the cast
and crew will be selected by Shadowhawke. So keep your
eyes peeled for the casting call!
Also, Bad Kid will be coming out in 2016 as well. I have a
lead role in the film, and Seth Roberts directed it. It is in
final edit as we speak and they are now adding the score and then color
correction. This is a dark drama thriller.
One more film coming in 2016 is Wendigo Rising, I have a small
supporting role but my son Ben got the lead role. That project was
shot by Killatainment Films, also based in Maine. We
really have been blessed these past few years. This is a straight
up horror action flick and it is currently in the editing phase. Produced
by Alan Dillingham, directed by Seth Roberts.
What got you into
acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the
stumbled into it in 1989. My friends and I made a ridiculous
farcical comedy called Search for the Holy Grill. A few years
later the same friend asked me to come try out for an extras role in a
feature film called The Fight, so I went down there and they
came out, picked me out of a crowd of over 200 people and walked me up to
the director who promptly gave me a speaking role as a ringside referee. That led to other films and I never looked back. My training
is comprised of 20+ years of film experience and watching other actors do
their thing. I now employ some techniques from Meisner and others
Over the years, you've also stepped behind the
camera on numerous occasions - what prompted that move?
in indie films brought on that necessity. I can do whatever behind
the camera - but I am far more at home in front of it. I like being
on both sides as it helps me work with other actors more easily by being
able to understand what the director wants and helping to get that message
across if an actor needs any help. I just love film so I do whatever
it takes to get onto as many sets as possible so I can learn more.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to How
to Kill a Zombie (in whatever position)?
have worked with Mel Gibson, Blair Underwood, Ray Winstone, Robert Miano,
James Russo, and Danny Moder (he's married to Julia Roberts). I had
a great time on the set of Edge of Darkness with Mel and Ray,
but I have had much more fun on indie sets. From Hollywood to
backwoods - I have had an excellent time doing this ;) You can see
my film credits on the IMDb here:
Search for the Holy Grill
would you describe yourself as an actor, and some of your techniques to
bring your characters to life?
am comfortable with action and comedy. I have been told that I am
adept at drama as well. I listen to the director and try very hard
to give them what they want on film. I also try to put some of
myself into every character I play - but I don't NEED to do that. Mostly
I just try to have fun and make people around me be at ease and have fun
too. Really, I just want to entertain.
whoever else who inspire you?
am a big fan of Sean Connery, Ray Winstone, Clint Eastwood and John Wayne.
I love to watch indie films because they often have better stories -
not just a bunch of explosions and SFX. I am inspired by my friends
Your favourite movies?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Jaws, Monty Python and the Holy
Grail, and Godzilla films.
and of course, films you really deplore?
really don't care for artsy-fartsy type films.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
You can buy our film on Amazon or
for the UK.
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
for your time and this awesome interview, sir ;)
for the interview!