What can you tell us about your upcoming film The Hospital? And at
what stage of production are you right now?
mixes the paranormal and slasher genres and can best be described
as Saw meets Hostel meets
Paranormal Activity meets Texas Chainsaw
It features John Dugan (Texas Chainsaw
Massacre), Scott Teppeman (Ghost Hunters International), Daniel Emery Taylor
(Return of Swamp Thing), Jason
Crowe (Dead Moon Rising, [Jason
Crowe interview - click here]), myself, and a slew of attractive women (just what
every horror film needs... ha ha ha). The basic synopsis is this: Old St.
Leopold's Hospital has many urban legends surrounding it, but the residents of
Bridgeport all agree on one thing: tortured souls roam its abandoned halls.
The mystery proves too much for a pretty young student who decides to
investigate for her senior class project. Unfortunately, she does not find
ghosts. She, instead, finds Stanley - serial rapist, murderer, and
psychopath. As the young girl becomes Stanley's new pet, a team of young
investigators descend on the hospital to "hunt some ghosts". Stanley
sees nothing but fun and games in his future. But what Stanley does not know
is that the hospital truly is haunted, and the restless spirits there are not
happy with what he has been doing.
The project begins filming in actual
haunted locations this summer in Eastern Tennessee. We are currently in the
pre-production and funding stage, so anyone who would like to get involved can
check out the IndieGoGo campaign and receive some nice perks for their
participation as well as pre-order the DVD at: www.indiegogo.com/thehospital
Old South Pittsburg Hospital
What were your initial inspirations for The Hospital, and
what can you tell us about your co-writer Daniel Emery Taylor? And what
was your collaboration like?
The inspiration for the film
came to Daniel and me one night while we were doing a paranormal
investigation of the Old South Pittsburg Hospital, just outside of
Chattanooga. We thought it would be a fantastic location for a creepy
horror film. While taking a break in the investigation, Daniel and I
started talking and realized that a movie hadnít been made, yet, that
combined the horror films of the 1980ís with the paranormal craze of
today. Both Daniel and I had several ideas, so a few days after we
returned home, Daniel pounded out his ideas into a rough script and sent
it to me. I, then, added my ideas to the script and polished it up some.
We suddenly had a project. Itís been a very smooth and productive
Daniel Emery Taylor will be
co-directing The Hospital with Tommy Golden. What can you tell us
about them, and what makes them the right team for the job?
Daniel Emery Talyor
is also a paranormal investigator who, like Daniel and me, have
investigated the Old South Pittsburg Hospital numerous times. Tommy could
easily visualize what we had in our minds for the story from the start
because we were all speaking from the same point of reference. Tommy is
also a big horror fan, so it was a natural fit. Daniel and Tommy are both very talented guys who are familiar with the horror genre as well as
the paranormal field. They both totally get the material and have the same
vision for this film. Thatís a big plus for co-directors. In addition,
whatís going to make this a great team-up is that Daniel has years and
years of experience working with actors and, as an actor himself, knows
what goes on inside of actors' heads. Tommy has less experience with
actors, but as a graduate of the Nashville Film Institute, has a wealth
of technical knowledge that he brings to the table. So, between Daniel and
Tommy, we have a perfect balance.
can you tell us about your projected cast yet?
mixture of genre vets and newcomers. We had a lot of very talented people
audition and it was difficult finding that balance of acting talent with
the look and attitude we wanted for each character. Unfortunately, we had
to turn a lot of good people down. In addition to Daniel and myself, we
have John Dugan from the original Texas Chainsaw
Massacre), Scott Teppeman (Ghost Hunters International), Jason
Crowe (Dead Moon Rising, [Jason
Crowe interview - click here]), Christina
Schimmel (American Pie), G. Larry Butler (Frankenstein
vs the Creature from Blood Cove), Alicia Clark (Spectres), and many more.
there are quite a few gorehounds among my readers - how far do you intend
to go in terms of violence and gore?
Weíre going way too
far with the violence. There will be a lot of blood. Weíre doing some
things in this film that havenít been done before and the violence will
be brutal and in your face. We will not cut away at the point where most
films would. Thatís not to say that weíre not going to let the
audience use their imagination, though, because the mind can come up with
something far worse than what we can show you, but there will be a lot of
very uncomfortable and bloody moments. We want to make you squirm. Tony
Todd (Candyman) actually said that this script is ďthe sickest s**t
since Rosemary's Baby.Ē
I know it might be
waaaay too early to ask - but any idea when The Hospital will be
released onto the general public?
Ha ha. Youíre right,
itís waaaay too early to say. We hope to have a sneak peek available a
few months after production wraps. As far as when it will become available
to the mass public is hard to tell. We have to find a distributor with the
same twisted mind as ours to release it. I think thatís going to be our
biggest challengeÖ finding a distribution company that doesnít think
we went too far and will take a chance on unleashing it upon the public.
Jim O'Rear in his early days as a magician
Let's go back to the
beginnings of your career: You initially entered the entertainment world
as a stage magician - what can you tell us about that aspect of your
career, and how did you learn your trade in the first place?
I started out many, many years ago touring as The Youngest Professional
Magician. Thatís what I was really interested in. I had no desire to
become an actor, writer, producer, or anything else involved in the film
industry. I was self-taught in the art and developed ways for my small
hands to do the same things the adult magicians were doing. This caught
the attention of several magicians, such as David Copperfield, Harry
Blackstone Jr, and the great Tomsoni and afforded me the opportunity to
work alongside some of the greats.
did you make the transition from magic shows to film, and what attracted
you to the film business in the first place?
It was totally
by accident. As I mentioned before, I had no desire to be involved in the
film industry. However, one night, after a magic performance a television
producer approached me and wanted to hire me for a TV commercial. I was
probably in 5th grade at the time. I turned him down and told
him I wasnít interested in acting, and even if I was, I had no idea how
to do it. He tried to convince me that my entire magic show was
ďactingĒ, but I wasnít seeing the comparison. After a week or two of
him begging me, my parents, and my agent, I finally folded and said Iíd
do the TV commercial. It was shown all over the United States and I was
suddenly known as an ďactorĒ. I did enjoy my time on set though, and
continued to work in more television, films,and live theater until I
finally branched out into other areas, such as stunt work, special effects
makeup, directing, etc.
I might be
totally wrong about this, but according to my information your first
writing assignment was for Gary Whitson's quite amusing Hayride
Slaughter [Gary Whitson interview -
click here], in which you also do an extended magic act. You have
to talk about that film for a bit?
Ha ha ha. No, you are
not wrong. My first screenwriting credit was on Hayride
Slaughter, which I
also starred in opposite Tina Krause [Tina
Krause interview - click here] and Debbie D [Debbie
D interview - click here]. I was writing before that though, for horror magazines and publications, which is where Gary
learned of my writing skills. I canít really say I wrote any of it,
though. Gary knew I was an actor and a magician and he liked my writings
in various publications. He had a script written for Hayride
Slaughter which he wanted to be a little more legitimate that the typical
exploitation films he had made in the past, so he asked me if I would look
it over and give him some suggestions. I read the script and shot him over
several notes about what I would change if I was writing it, and he liked
those suggestions I made, so he re-wrote the script and gave me a
screenwriting credit, as well. It was a good script. Unfortunately - no
disrespect to the actors - when we arrived on the set in New Jersey the
only people who had read the script were me and Gary. So, he ended up
filming a lot of actors just making up lines and edited together a story
out of it. I think thatís part of the reason why he also uses about 20
minutes of me doing magic tricks in the film just to pad out the running
What can you tell us
about Jim O'Rear the writer, and some of the other films you have written?
the most undisciplined writer ever. They say that a writer must write
everyday and that inspiration must come from the writing. Not me. I have
to be inspired to write. I may not write a word for two weeks, but when I
get inspired to do so I can crank out 20 to 30 pages in one sitting.
Itís worked for me, as I have 3 books in the stores with a 4th
one coming out later this year, numerous articles published, and several
screenplays that have been turned into films with several more under
studio options. So, I guess youíd say that Jim OíRear The Writer is
pretty untraditional in his approach. Some of the other films Iíve
written that people may know are The Deepening (featuring Gunnar Hansen
and Debbie Rochon), which is a tribute to the drive-in slasher films of
the 1980ís, Scream Farm, a very different kind of zombie flick, Underground
Entertainment, a crazy comedy featuring Robert Englund [Robert
Englund bio - click here],
Danielle Harris, Tom Savini, Ernie Hudson, Tony Todd, William Forsythe,
and many other genre greats, and Ghosts of Tennessee, a paranormal
documentary based on my first book.
the years, you have also directed a handful of films. Want to talk about
those for a bit?
I put on the director's hat now and then.
Usually itís for my own scripts though, such as The Deepening and
Scream Farm, among others. However, I am currently in negotiations with a
studio in Los Angeles to direct six horror films beginning later this
year - four of them based on my scripts and two of them based on scripts
from other writers. I donít have a lot more to share on that, at the
present time, though. I enjoy directing, but it really does consume you.
When I directed The Deepening and Scream Farm I didnít work on anything
else for several months. You really have to put all other aspects of your
career on hold when you take on a directing job. Robert Englund told me
that he loves to direct but only does so now and then because he knows
that itís going to take a commitment of about two years of his life.
Thatís why I only direct a film about every three years.
And finally, what can you tell us about
Jim O'Rear the actor, and some highlights in your acting resumť?
Tom Savini, Jim O'Rear
on the set of Dead Matter
Iím a character actor. Iím proud of that, too. A lot of actors want to
be the leading man and are frustrated when they are not. I donít find
the leading man interesting at all. What I find joy in are the odd
character roles. The smaller parts that stick with people. I was told by
one of my acting teachers in New York (while I was attending the American
Academy Of Dramatic Arts) that ďYou will never be the leading man. You
will always be the character actor.Ē A lot of students thought that was
a pretty harsh statement, but I said, ďThatís great because those are
the roles I find most interesting.Ē So, in my career Iíve played a lot
of crazy characters - monsters, killers, drug addicts, crossdressers,
psychologically disturbed people, things like that - in a wide variety of
projects ranging from The Dead Matter to Star Trek 4 to Bloody
Poetry to Stephen King's The Boogeyman and more. It means more to me for someone
to recognize me from a small character role than from a leading role. For
example, I appear in only three scenes in The Dead Matter opposite Andrew
Divoff and Tom Savini. However, I always have people approach me and tell
me how much they enjoyed my performance in that film. That means a lot to
me because it tells me that I was able to create a memorable character
that stuck in peopleís minds, even though they had only seen me in three
scenes of the movie. Thatís the joy in character acting.
film career never seems to stray too far from the horror genre. A genre at
all dear to you, and why?
I didnít set out to make my
mark in horror, it just kinda fell into placeÖ as have many things in my
life. My background is actually musical comedy. I love musicals and
performed in a wide variety of comedies before stepping into horror. I
enjoyed the horror genre for years and years but never saw myself working
in it. By chance, I fell into a couple of small roles in horror films
while I was in college that people really enjoyed, which brought me into
the publicís eye and caused me to be typecast as a ďhorror guyĒ.
Iíve continued to work in the genre because thatís what makes up the
majority of projects Iím approached with by directors. If someone was to
come to me with a great comedy or a romantic drama, Iíd love to jump
into that, but people really like to see me perform in horror roles and
production companies tend to want to give the public what they want - so,
the same actors get hired quite a bit in the same genres. Itís a good
thing that I also enjoy horror and am a horror fan.
Writers, actors, filmmakers,
maybe even magicians who inspire you?
Thereís a lot,
actually. I like all genres and all aspects of the arts, so itís very
hard to pick just a few influences. I think, as far as filmmakers are
concerned, I was heavily inspired by the early works of George Romero and
John Carpenter. Current filmmakers I enjoy are Chris Columbus, Zack
Snyder, Timur Bekmambetov, Bryan Singer, Peter Jackson, Tim Burton, and
Guillermo del Toro. Many of these filmmakers also write their own
material, so I guess they fall into the writer category, too. Other
writers I enjoy are Richard Matheson and early Stephen King (I donít
care much for his new stuff). ActorsÖ Iíd have to say some of my
favorites are Martin Sheen, Johnny Depp, John Cusack, Kevin Bacon (I think
heís highly underrated as an actor), Steve Buscemi, and Robert
EnglundÖ but there are waaaay too many favorites to list. My magician
influences were Harry Blackstone jr, Houdini, Shimada, Mark Wilson, David
Copperfield, Siegfried And Roy, The Pendragons, and Lance Burton.
Feeling lucky ?
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The links below
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AgainÖ hard for me to pin down. There are so many
for a variety of different reason. Off the top of my head I would say Stand
by Me, the original Halloween,
Star Wars, the original Phantasm, the
original Night of
the Living Dead, The Notebook, and Shaun
of the Dead, just to name a few. Howís that for an odd mixture?
... and of course, films you really deplore?
already deleted those titles out of my memory! Ha ha ha!
movie's website, Facebook, indiegogo, whatever else?
Readers can keep up with all of my projects through my website, www.JimORear.com,
which also includes a link to my Facebook page and Twitter account.
People wanting to keep up with all of the progress on The Hospital
ďLikeĒ the Facebook page here: www.Facebook.com/SIBpresentsThehospital
Of course, weíd LOVE for everyone to stop by The Hospital campaign
page and participate in any way possible at: www.indiegogo.com/thehospital.
Time on this is quickly running out and you can get some really cool
stuff for very little (including pre-ordering the DVD).
for the interview!
Thank you for asking me. Hopefully we can do it again in
the near future!