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An Interview with Jason Richard Miller, Director of Bloodhound

by Mike Haberfelner

January 2020

Films directed by Jason Richard Miller on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie Bloodhound - in a few words, what is it about?

 

Bloodhound is about a private detective named Abel Walker who is on the hunt for a missing woman, but he finds himself caught up in a dangerous game that could end in murder.

 

With Bloodhound being a thriller of the hardboiled detective variety - is that a genre at all dear to you, and some of your genre favourites? And what do you think makes your film stand out of the crowd?

 

Iím a fan of all genres but Iíve always been fascinated with the thriller genre, especially crime thrillers. 8mm and Nightcrawler were big influences on Bloodhound.

 

(Other) sources of inspiration when writing Bloodhound?

 

The main inspiration for a Bloodhound was the character of Abel Walker. Heís this weird but seemingly normal man and underneath the surface thereís something more to him. Youíre not sure if you should buy into his persona or not.

 

Once I came up with that character I took inspiration from Los Angeles at night to craft the story. While I was writing the script I would drive around the streets of downtown LA late at night for inspiration, and thereís so much activity that goes on in the streets of LA at night itís inspiring and scary at the same time.

 

You shot Bloodhound found footage-style - to put it bluntly, why? And what are the advantages and challenges filming that way, both narratively and technically?

 

I donít consider Bloodhound to be a found footage movie. I chose to film it in a documentary style because I felt that it was the best way for me to tell the story within the budget that I had. Also the documentary style plays a key role in the story.

 

On the technical side, shooting documentary style allowed me to film in places that I would normally need a permit, but because we were a two or three man crew, we were able to shoot in places that make the film bigger in scope than it would be if we had a big crew and were shooting a traditional narrative.

 

What can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?

 

On my first movie Unidentified, my directing approach was more on the technical side because my actors were all improv actors and it was a comedy so there wasnít a lot of story direction that had to take place once the actors knew who their characters were. I just let them go for it. That was the style of the that film, but for Bloodhound, I knew that the storytelling and acting specifically needed my direction to keep the story flowing consistently throughout. Thereís a tension in Bloodhound that has to be kept up through the whole movie.

 

Do talk about Bloodhound's key cast, and why exactly these people?

 

There are three key roles that I knew I needed to cast, number one was Abel Walker, and for that character I chose Ed Ackerman. Heís an actor I was very familiar with and a friend, and I always thought he would make a great leading man if given the opportunity so I decided to give him the opportunity and I am really happy with the performance that he provided.

 

The next key role was the character of Jim, the cameraman. I chose Dave Foy, another friend of mine, and an actor that I felt could carry the movie with Ed Ackerman. They were also friends with each other so that helps their chemistry too.

 

And finally I had to cast Maria who is the woman that Abel Walker is looking for throughout the movie. Her role was a small role but itís the most important role. And without giving anything away, her character has to go through a wide range of emotions in a very small period of time. I had worked with Silvia Moore on a movie I produced called Chillerama, and her performance was so amazing that it always stuck in my head and I knew I needed to work with her at some point.

 

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

 

Shooting this movie was very difficult because we had 12 days and because the nature of the documentary style we could only shoot for maybe eight hours at the most per day based on the locations we were at. So that made for a very fast-paced shoot, which can get stressful at times. The most difficult part of this film though was having the actors memorize 10 to 15 pages of dialogue per day. Itís very hard on the actors, and then you throw in something like having them drive a car while theyíre acting, that kind of adds to the difficulty of the scene. I think if I wasnít already friends with these actors before we shot it would have been a lot more difficult to get the performances and the dedication needed to finish the film.

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Bloodhound?

 

Well the movie just released on January 7, but so far the critics seem to really like the film, which Iím very happy to see because I put a lot of effort into finishing this film as the writer, director, producer, editor, and composer.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

Iím in post production on my 3rd feature right now. Itís a sci-fi story staring Brea Grant and Parry Shen. I canít wait for everyone to see it, hopefully later this year!

 

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

 

I went to school in Boston for graphic design but I took a film class and after that I decided I wanted to be a filmmaker. So as soon as I could I moved to Los Angeles and started editing and producing.

 

When it comes to making movies, you've worn many hats over the years - so what are your favourite jobs when making a movie, what could you do without?

 

I definitely prefer directing over everything else, but I really enjoy editing and I really enjoy creating visual effects.

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Bloodhound, in whatever position?

 

Well for the first six years I lived in Los Angeles I worked for a production company called Ariescope Pictures and I produced several feature films including the Hatchet movies, Frozen, and Chillerama. And right now Iím working on visual effects for a movie called Jiu Jitsu which stars Nicolas Cage so thatís been a blast!

 

How would you describe yourself as a director?

 

I donít know if I can answer that question because as a director you have to change the way you work on a minute by minute basis depending on the project, so if anything I would say I am adaptive.

 

Filmmakers who inspire you?

 

Ridley Scott, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Denis Villeneuve, Guillermo Del Toro, Neil Blomkamp. those are the directors and visionaries that I look at for inspiration.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

Alien, Star Wars, Back to the Future, ET, Nightcrawler, Jaws, Big Trouble in Little China, and I could probably name 100 more movies that are my favorite!

 

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

 

I donít hate movies. I think all art is subjective and even the worst movie was worked on by a lot of people that did their best, it just might not have come together in the end.

 

Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?

 

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If youíd like to support Bloodhound please buy or rent the film legally. Indie movies like Bloodhound are made from blood sweat and tears! Support us so we can make more movies! 

You can check out Bloodhound on iTunes right here - https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/blood-hound/id1490059529

 

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

 

Iíll always mention my Mom, Patty Gundersen, if given the opportunity. LOL!

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

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

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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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
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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