Your new movie Mad Santa
- in a few words, what is it about?
Julliard-trained actor loses his shit after being passed over for a Mall
From what I know, Mad
Santa is your first film as a writer/director - so what made you
choose exactly this topic to take position behind the camera? And what
made you take that step to begin with?
of all, Mad
Santa was written, shot, scored and edited, all in 48 hours,
for the Vancouver Blood'n'Guts 48 Hour Film Competition. I had
participated the year before as an actor, thought it was fun, so thought
no time like the present to do my own thing. I had an idea about an actor
getting revenge on a casting director, but then they threw “must be holiday themed” at us as the surprise element. The rest just happened.
Santa being a Christmas-themed movie (duh!), your personal
thoughts about the holiday, and some of your worst Christmas-experiences -
and have any of it made it into the film?
I said, the holiday theme was thrust upon us, so no real axe to grind or
anything. I like Christmas... it's nice to visit family when I can. It
usually involves copious amounts of alcohol and bugging neighbours in a
mob of drunken carolling idiots.
sources of inspiration when writing Mad
a chance to vent.
for me, Mad Santa is
What can you tell us about Mad
Santa's approach to the thriller genre?
just wanted it super intense. Bonnie Hay (The Mall Manager) really needs
to take credit for how the day played out. First of all... it's already a
ridiculous thing to make a movie in 48 hours, so the underlying tension is
already there. But we shot that “monologue” scene first, and Bonnie,
off camera for 45 minutes, looked terrified, crying her eyes out... it
REALLY raised the levels from the get-go. From there, there was nowhere
else to go but up. In this case, my approach was to feed off Bonnie... and
just let rip from there.
humourous - would you at all agree, and if so, could you talk
about your movie's brand of comedy for a bit?
100%. Most people find my sense of humour a wee bit dark. I'm really not
the sort to self-censor much either. A lot of the funnier lines were
improvised... the exchange for example, with Carrie Anne Fleming (Mrs. Mad
Santa) was completely improvised. Luckily, she's just as twisted as I am.
The funny bits weren't done for you all, they were done because we found
them funny. I don't know if that answers your question or not.
about your directorial approach to your story at hand!
people you trust taking care of their jobs, Jeffery Lando as DP, Valentine
Moulias as 1st AD...let them do their jobs...the rest comes easy. But first
and foremost, spend time being very clear and concise about the look and
feel you are going for. I spent a few hours discussing with Jeffery, and
he turned around and nailed it. What we ended up with was like a snapshot
also play the titular lead in Mad
Santa - so what did you draw upon to bring your character to life,
and did you write him with yourself in mind from the get-go?
had me in mind. I think I answer most of this above... for me, just letting
go of any worries or concerns about what it looked like to the other cast
and crew and trusting that if I truly just let go, the camera will capture
it. I think it worked.
can you tell us about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
and Carrie Anne have been friends of mine for quite some time. David Bloom
(The Husband) was a Facebook friend... and he seemed keen.
Chloe Cruz (The Daughter) was actually supposed to just be a PA, but when we decided we
need another actor, she stepped in, or sat down as it were. She was awesome.
Ashley Fetters (The Secretary) is a young lady I met in an acting class
some years ago. I asked her because very much admire her hard work and
dedication to her craft. Why these people? You go through the list of
people in your mind, and some people just stick. I asked, they said yes.
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
super intense, very fast paced. I knew half the team, met the other half
for the first time that morning. The team were fantastic. I really didn't have
to do much after giving initial instructions. They all just got to work.
And... boy howdie it was fun. I think everyone knew were making a decent
$64 question of course, where can Mad
Santa be seen?
have a bunch of other stuff on there too.
Anything you can tell us about
audience and critical reception of Mad
and watching the film with an audience is great fun. Hearing them laugh
uncomfortably at the “flashlight” scene is stupendous. I'm really
pleased with how the film did outside Vancouver too... we won an award at
the Los Angeles Short Film Festival, and had three writers write some
pretty awesome reviews. Was it you that wrote “powerhouse
performance”? That felt nice.
From what I've heard, you're about to
shoot Mad Santa 2 - anything you can tell us about that one yet,
and any other future projects you'd like to share?
Santa and The Queen of the Zombies is now in the can. It was done for this
year's 48 Hour Blood'n'Guts. Other projects: Things a little slow up here
for my demographic these days. Hoping for return visit to Riverdale
for my 5th episode.
got you into acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal
education on the subject?
story. While living in Bangkok, a friend called me up and asked if I
wanted to be an extra in a movie about the Thai Soccer team going to the
World Cup. I did that, had fun. Did more, had more fun. Started
auditioning for commercials, booked them, had fun, and then is 2010, I
found myself opposite Eric Roberts for two days in The Mark (he's a really
nice guy) and then 10 days later, down in Phuket, opposite Ewan McGregor
in The Impossible! (he too, is a really nice guy). Soon after all that, 22
days in Malaysia as Bernard: Killer of Women and Children in Vikingdom
sealed the deal. The rest, as they say, is history.
What can you tell us about
your film and TV work prior to Mad
a long answer. Let me put it this way: When I arrived here from Bangkok, I
had 8 credits on IMDb. I now have 68.
You seem to have done it all, mainstream
and indie movies as well as your fair share of TV - so how do all these
sets compare, and what do you enjoy the most, actually, and why?
don't really have a preference. Getting the opportunity to “play” is
all I care about really. Shoot my character Pyotr Roslov on Arrow
because the director pretty much just let me do whatever I wanted. A very
fun and relaxing day. And then last weekend, I worked on another short
film (Dakota Vegh)... it was another entry in the same 48 Hour competition
(yes, I did my movie, and then acted on his)... anyway, I basically sat
there for 4 hours insulting the other characters. Very cathartic day.
would you describe yourself as an actor, and some of your techniques to
bring your characters to life?
my first line? That's the question for me that decides everything else.
Once I figure how and why I say my first line, I allow everything to flow
out as organically as possible. I'm part character, part method actor. A
lot of the roles actors like me book up here are largely expository, so
not a lot of character development, but I still try and give everything I
can, no matter how small the role.
whoever else who inspire you?
Dave Bautista has me impressed these days. This big mountain of a WWE has
obviously been doing a lot of work off camera on his acting. That thing
they did, the short, about his character in Blade Runner 2049 was awesome.
I'd pay good money to watch Denis
Villeneuve shoot the phone book.
Your favourite movies?
many. Too many.
and of course, films you really deplore?
CGI superhero movies are really getting on my nerves. And I hated Black
Panther... watched it twice to make sure.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
think covered pretty good ground there.
you're a Riverdale fan, tweeting #MoreVicPlease at the
would be fun :)
Santa will screen at the
on Oct 26th in Squamish BC. This will likely be the last public screening.
for the interview!
always a pleasure to spend time talking about my favourite subject.