Your new movie Valley
of the Sasquatch - in a few words, what is it about, and what can
you tell us about your character in it?
Man vs Sasquatch, the ultimate smack down! LOL, that is the short version but
honestly it is way deeper.
It's like a serious drama about a father and son struggling to keep their
lives together from falling apart at the seems that spins into a heart
pumping run for your life Bigfoot horror flick. I play Roger Crew,
that recently lost his wife and job and is trying to get life back on
track for himself and his son Michael. Only problem is he doesn't have the
greatest track record for parenting skills. He starts off a bit unlikeable
but by the end you see a change for the better.
What did you
draw upon to bring your character to life, and how much of Jason Vail can we find in
actually pulled from my brothers. I'm a single guy, no kids of my own, but
an uncle 9 times over. So I looked to my older brothers
a bit to give this guy some weight, the stern dad in us all that comes out
when needed. But the reality is, like in life it is just a cover for the
real you, they still want to be careless and silly. But dads don't get the
option all the
time. I think if I could go back and do it over, I might try bring more of
me and less of my brothers into it, lol. Roger can be a prick at times,
not that I'm saying my brother's are pricks, lol, not at all, just that
being a dad is a
tough path to stay on, you become this other person a little.
How did you get
involved with the project in the first place, and to what extent could you
relate to Valley
of the Sasquatch's horror theme?
our director John Portanova [John
Portanova interview - click here], I love anything Bigfoot. I grew up in the 1970's,
was all the rage. I still
remember the Six Million Dollar Man episode, In Search Of and a few other
shows that all came out around the same time. So this was a no-brainer, I
was down from the moment Sasquatch passed in front of my eyes.
I met John
via another director friend Elias (Gut)
[Elias interview - click here], he had met one of the producers Matt Medisch from a film
festival years ago for Elias' film Gut
that I acted in. Well.
Matt was in need of his two main characters just weeks away form
shooting. And Matt remembered me from Gut
luckily. He reached
out and Elias threw my name into the ring. The rest is history.
What can you
tell us about your director John Portanova [John
Portanova interview - click here], and what was your
collaboration with him like?
is just a great guy. So darn funny yet serious at the same time. Which
made working with him great. He kept things light even
during the most stressful of times. Not an easy task for any director and
especially it being his first feature. His humor was so dry at times, I
couldn't tell if he was joking or serious, lol. There was quite a bit of
leg pulling going
on, but that's what made it so fun. I was very impressed with John, there
was sooooo much going on all the time and he was non stop, we would shoot
a 12 or 14 hour night shoot and when I was crawling into bed he was
holding crew meetings afterwards talking over everything. I was like,
man, that is passion and dedication to the craft. Most indie directors
would just hit the sack and wing it the next day.
Do talk about the shoot as such, and
the on-set atmosphere!
back, well paced and fun. I don't recall any bad moments at all. We were
like a family by the end. I was quite sad to leave and go back to reality
in Atlanta. Everyone
knew their job, even the PA's in training. Everyone worked hard but
at the end of the day it never felt like work. It was run like the
military as far as what they got done day to day but super laid back like
you were just hanging out with your buds on the weekend sort of thing. Perfect
combination of work and fun.
Any future projects you'd like to
I'm cast in a film called The Rectory. That shoots in
LA/UK. And another horror flick down the
road called Why I Went Into The Woods - both fantastic scripts
and I can't wait.
What got you into acting in the first place, and
did you receive any formal training on the subject?
was a photo major turned actor. I dabbled in high school but didn't get
the bug until 2 years into college. I changed majors finished
out my undergrad degree in acting and then went to a three year graduate
program and got a MFA in acting as well. A lot of acting, maybe too
much when I look back at it all, lol.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Valley
of the Sasquatch?
done about 60 indie films of all shapes and sizes. Most of which I did in
NYC when I lived there for 12 years. It was all no budget stuff, most of the
time I never
got paid or very little, usually lost money at the end of the day all to
build my resume and my chops. It wasn't until Gut
and Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies that things started to break
through a little. They both were
distributed and started to get me noticed as an actor and as a horror
actor especially. I make fun of Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies often, as I cringe at my
performance, but that film has done a great deal for me and I am thankful.
Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies
Feeling lucky ?
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The links below
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You have also been in quite a
few popular daily soaps, right - so how what's it like working on those as
compared to working on a movie?
kick your butt. It is fast and furious. I was never a lead, thank God,
because I don't know how they guys did it? I remember watching the actors constantly
memorizing lines, trying to keep up with the work load. They shot a one
hour episode a day. A DAY! Phew. Tough gig.
Besides movies and TV,
you've also done your fair share of stagework - so what can you tell us
about Jason Vail, the theatre actor, and how does performing on
stage compare to acting in front of a camera? And which do you prefer,
you have done your research. Yeah, I was a theater, wait…theatre guy
(that's how theatre people spell it, lol) for nearly two decades. I
actually did a lot of Shakespeare if you can believe it. I loved acting on the
boards (term for the stage), it was a thrill. Nothing is more exciting and
challenging than a live audience. I've lost count but well over 50 plays,
regional theater, off off and off Broadway. I have a lot of great memories
and part of me
would love to return. But it is a switch and I am good at holding on to
the bad habits. And film and theatre acting don't mix. It is like oil and
water, lol. I don't like one over the other, it is more necessity that I
stick to film and TV
now. Theatre never paid sadly and still doesn't very well and takes up a
ton of time and energy. I just don't have that much to give these days.
How would you describe yourself as an actor, and
some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?
I'm a drama guy. I've never been great at comedy. I do it but I am always
like… wouldn't you rather use a guy from Second
Why me? I was trained in all the techniques, I would type them out but I
can't spell half of them and I don't feel like googling them, lol. I
learned a lot. But at the end of the day, the actor's goal is to put a
in front of an audience and you have to make them (the audience) buy it,
believe your performance. That is what I try and do. Sometimes I fail and
sometimes I knock it out of the park. When people appreciate your work,
then you know you are on the right track. I didn't receive a best actor
nomination for over 20 years, lol. So I admit, I am a slow learner. But
you don't stop. You can't, acting is a life time goal.
(and indeed actresses) who inspire you?
Gary Oldman, Viggo
Mortensen, Sean Penn, Idris Elba. Guys that transform. I love that about
actors. Ones that really go there and don't give a crap.
Blade Runner, Highlander,
State of Grace - oh man, I hate this question because I like fantasy,
escapism. And so the movies I watch are usually not art films, lol.
... and of course, films you really deplore?
I hate films that use the same formula and the same actors over and over.
I don't want to call people out but Vince Vaughn films, Martin Lawrence
films, that type of thing where an
actor gets safe and does the same crap over and over. I just can't
support it. It happens with dramatic actors too, I don't watch Taken 1,
or 3 because of that, and I like Liam Neeson, but seriously - time to do
website, Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you are
dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
have several other films in festivals this year - please try and check them
out. Crow Hand!!! is a crazy little short I did, it's playing in SXSW,
Atlanta Film Festival, Crimson Screen FF and Boston Underground Film Festival as well as
the badass looking Cinedelphia Film Festival. My feature Dorchester's
Revenge is also playing around the country at many venues, so please
them up on Facebook.
for the interview!
Thank You Michael, it was a
real honor and I appreciate you taking the time to reach out to me.
Best, Jason Vail