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An Interview with Chris Levine, Writer and Star of No Way Out

by Mike Haberfelner

December 2020

Chris Levine on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie No Way Out - in a few words, what is it about?

 

No Way Out follows 2 couples on a camping trip that turns deadly after they end up getting lost...

 

What were your sources of inspiration when writing No Way Out?

 

It started with the idea of what would be one of my worst fears while camping. Like you are on a fun weekend getaway, no weapons and then something or someone who knows the woods better than you doesnít want you there. Vulnerability was what I was aiming for.

 

What can you tell us about No Way Out's approach to horror?

 

Joe Hamilton (the director) wanted a very minimal ďgoreĒ horror movie, he wanted the scares to be in the chase, in the surprise not the shock factor. I couldíve gone either way but I liked what we ended up going with. It teeters on the edge of a thriller now as well.

 

What were the challenges of bringing No Way Out to the screen from a producer's point of view?

 

It always comes down to creating a great package (script and budget and believers), and once that all lines up funding seems to happen. So all of those things were the challenges, tweaking the script, finding the right people who believed in it and then finding the money to match the budget.

 

You also play one of the leads in No Way Out - so what can you tell us about your character, what did you draw upon to bring him to life, and have you written him with yourself in mind from the get-go?

 

I did write him (the character) with myself in mind, not like the Chris day-to-day but a version of myself that made sense for the movie. We meet him the morning of being forced to go camping which he despises, he knows itís family-related but doesnít remember exactly why. And early on heís really just trying to get through it until weird things start happening. I would say heís a little strange but heís tough and is just doing his best to get through it.

 

Do talk about the rest of your cast, and as a writer/producer, how much of a say did you have in casting the movie?

 

I handled the casting for the 3 main actors out of LA. Johanna Rae who plays my wife, and Christopher McGahan and Jennifer Karraz who play the other couple are now some of my favorite people on the planet! When I began casting I knew it was going to be a tough find - they would have to deal with rough conditions and mediocre food. Very cold nights and no showers. The other couple in the script, while it wasnít written for them, I right away knew it was going to be Chris and Jennifer, they are in real life married and they are so easy going and cool to be around. As far as my wifeís character - Johanna was the first to read the script and get back to me. We talked a bunch about what to expect and she was down for the adventure. 

 

What can you tell us about No Way Out's director Joe Hamilton, and what was your collaboration like?

 

Iíve actually been in correspondence with Joe for many years (trying to make this movie). I knew it was Joeís directorial debut but I wasnít nervous because he lives on those lands and was able to get organized and ďseeĒ the movie before all of us. Itís a visual piece as well as a horror film, thatís why I was set to film it in Alaska from the beginning, with Joe carrying the torch we made that happen.

 

With No Way Out being an outdoors movie, where was it actually filmed, what was it like filming there, and do you consider yourself an outdoorsy kind of guy?

 

It was filmed entirely in Alaska. I figured it would help make the movie stand out and look great on camera. Regardless of its beauty, this was a rough shoot, something I donít know if I would do again. It took a few days for us to get the room heaters working correctly - it was a high of 30 degrees most days and into the 20s at night and Iím from Florida! And the bathroom situation was embarrassingly a bucket for a few days as well. So not that great. And Iím not an outdoorsy guy at all, Iím from South Florida, so no winters and being outdoors means a day-trip to the beach. I like the idea of camping but I never grew up doing it so other than beach days and now a few hikes since here in Los Angeles we have a lot of hiking trails Iím not outdoorsy at all. 

Overall the cast did so well handling the cold and lack of running water. So proud of them!

 


A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?

 

It was fun and stressful at the same time, weather was a factor as we didnít get sunlight some days and shooting on a cinema camera requires a ton of storage and some days we didnít even have power due to generator issues. So youíre constantly changing the schedule due to sunlight and weather patterns and then also worrying about running out of storage in the middle of a forest.

 

It was also tough for me because of our limited crew thereís no assistant director so I had to kind of step up on set to get the cast going and let them know what our day was going to be like. I felt bad being stern like telling them to wake up from a (well deserved) nap because we are ready to shoot again and then get on set and be one of them as just an actor.

 

But ďactingĒ in a desolate place with dangers of having to be airlifted over a twisted ankle and seeing tracks to dangerous wild animals was kind of exciting and it added a lot to our natural personas on camera.

 

The $64-question of course, where can No Way Out be seen?

 

We are starting with Amazon Prime to rent/own. From there weíll expand it to a few major video on demand platforms, Google Play, YouTube and Tubi.

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of No Way Out?

 

We just had a small screening in Alaska and all positive came from it, and now weíve heard from a few critics, the overall consensus is that while thereís a few plotholes, the music, the cinematography (thatís that Alaska backdrop I mentioned), the acting and the overall story are all well done and keeps it from being just an average ďcamping gone wrong movieĒ.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

My next film coming out I didnít produce or write or edit but I did star in and itís called The Handler. I play a mercenary who has to fight for his life while being held up in a safe house. Itís literally 80 minutes of me kicking ass! Itís going to be great! 

 

What got you into the filmworld in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?

 

I actually have a marketing degree and about 8 years ago I was really unhappy with my life. I quit my job and I decided to try modeling. When I quickly realized I wasnít a model I was stuck with expensive photos and was thinking what else can I do... My love for movies, horror movies specifically sparked an idea, so I googled how to be an actor and it kind of took off from there. This was all in Florida at the time, and after about 6 months of Craigslist roles I got up and moved to Los Angeles where Iíve spent the last 7 years acting, studying the craft, writing and producing anything I can put myself in.

 

When it comes to filmmaking, you fill many positions both in front of and behind the camera - so what do you enjoy the most, what could you do without?

 

I love acting. Being able to release emotions you donít normally get to show on a day-to-day basis is an amazing feeling. I sometimes approach acting with an audienceís POV, like if I was watching me what can I do to make sure the audience stays with me, how do they stay engaged with the story Iím telling. I could do without everything else to be honest, I love producing and writing but they were really just things to kick start my acting career. Maybe Iíll get behind the camera again soon but I donít have any plans to right now.

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to No Way Out, in whatever position?

 

My first movie is out now called Anabolic Life. I wrote it, produced it and starred in it! See the pattern here? It was going to be my Rocky, an original story about anabolic steroid abuse due to the pressures of society. I went through 2 body transformations, one down to 130lbs and then another one to get up to 205lbs in it and also won Best Actor at the Orlando Film Festival. There were some direction changes and choices made out of my control which I think reduced the success of it, but itís still a great movie and itís available everywhere online right now.

 


Actors, directors, writers, whoever else who inspire you?

 

My fatherís work ethic inspires me. Heís not an artist at all but he worked 2 jobs while I was growing up to support the family. That alone gives me the drive to be successful. You really canít become an actor/filmmaker without help and without a support team. My parents and brother are my support team.

 

I had a really great acting teacher Will Wallace who kind of helped open my eyes to the world around me as a human and an actor. I also have so many friends who are supportive and that have been there for me along the way too, one in particular is actor/producer Matt OíNeill. He has always been a helping hand and a friend I could trust over these last 7 years in LA.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

Alien and Predator franchises for sure, 80s horror movies, I enjoy most Marvel movies - the last Avengers movie could be the best movie ever made and I love almost anything from Spielberg. I know every line to Jurassic Park and Jaws.

 

... and of course, films you really deplore?

 

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I mean making movies is hard and making good movies is close to impossible so I donít hate many movies but Iíll usually skip Lifetime and SyFy type made-for-TV movies.

 

Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever else?

 

Well you can stalk me on social media - @onlychrislevine -, and you can follow No Way Outís social media at @nowayouthorror

 

Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

I think you covered everything. Thanks for taking the time to check out the movie, Iím sure you get a ton of requests so I appreciate it. To your readers, No Way Out is an isolation horror film that really does a good job making you feel helpless in the Alaskan wilderness, I think youíll enjoy it. And if you do, reviews help indie films a lot so leave one.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD