Your film George's
A Zombie Intervention - in a few words, what is it about?
The short answer is that it's about an intervention for a zombie. The
little bit longer answer is, George is a zombie and all of his friends
have gathered to try and convince George to stop eating people and to
enter zombie rehab. But through the course of the night the intervention
doesn't go as planned and there are some... eatings.
Where did the initial idea for George's
Intervention come from, and what can you tell us about the writing
process and about your cowriter Brad Hodson?
Brad and I wanted to start a production company. But as we started the
process of writing business proposals, we realized that while we had some
solid scripts, we didn't have any product (to show potential investors
that we can actually make a movie). So we brainstormed, "What could
we do on a super low budget that would be fun and interesting?" Thus,
George's Intervention was born.
As for the writing of the script, Brad and I divvied up the characters (he
wrote for some and I wrote for others). We wrote several scenes
separately, emailing drafts back and forth. While some of the bigger
scenes we wrote together.
Your approach to zombies differs considerably from the genre
conventions set up by George A.Romero. Would you like to elaborate?
We wanted to do something different with the zombie sub-genre. Ever since Night
Of The Living Dead, there have been hundreds of micro-budget zombie
movies about a group of bickering characters holed up in a
house/cabin/bar/school/etc fending off zombies. Why make another one? Why
not take the zombie convention and turn it on its ear and do something we
hadn't seen a hundred times? Of course, there are some "zombie
purists" who are angry that we "pissed all over George A.
Romero". But contrary to popular belief, Romero didn't invent the
zombie. The first zombie film was White
Zombie in 1932.
Intervention being a zombie movie, is that a genre at all dear to
you, and your genre favourites?
I do love a good zombie
flick. Unfortunately, there are sooooo many bad zombie movies out there.
Dredging the bottom of the barrel in the hopes of finding a gem can be -
well - a little discouraging to say the least. But my favorite horror
genre is supernatural. I love the unexplainable. I think that's why I love
the writings of H.P. Lovecraft so much. Supernatural. Unexplainable. And
How did the whole
intervention-idea get into the zombie-mix, and do you have any personal
experiences with interventions?
Either myself or my
co-writer Brad had stumbled upon the A&E series Intervention.
There was one episode about a guy addicted to gambling that was hilarious.
Now, don't get me wrong, there's nothing hilarious about gambling
addiction. It's very destructive. But this guy in the episode - his
"character" if you will - was so over the top and the things he
said were so outrageous, it was ripe for parody. I personally do not have
any experience with interventions. So Brad and I had to do some research.
You just have to talk
about genre veteran Lynn Lowry and her wonderful performance as klutzy
interventionist for a bit?
I love Lynn to pieces! Honestly,
I think Lynn should do more comedy. She's VERY funny in the film. She has
a fantastic comedic timing. The only other true comedy that she's done was
Radley Metzger's Score (1974).
Lynn totally understood the character of "Barbara" and brought
some great ideas to the table. She's a fantastic actress and approaches
all her roles with great professionalism. She needs to work more. So
all of you budding filmmakers out there - hire Lynn Lowry! :-)
A few words about the rest of
We had a great cast. That's one of the things that the reviews have
talked about the most - how strong the cast was. I had previously worked
with Peter Stickles on Psychosomatika,
which I co-wrote. So I always had Peter in mind for "Ben".
Michelle Tomlinson [Michelle
Tomlinson interview - click here] was an actress I knew prior to George's
Intervention, but we had never worked together. It was great to
finally get that chance. Brad knew Carlos Larkin, who was quite the scene
stealer as the title character, "George". Shannon Neil, Vincent
Cusimano and Adam Fox also come to the project via Brad. We actually cast
the film BEFORE we wrote it, so Brad and I were writing for
people/characters that we already knew. It was a great approach and helped
us complete the script very quickly.
How would you describe the directorial
approach to your subject, and how easy/hard was it to balance the gory and
the funny aspects of the story at hand?
Intervention as a comedy first and a horror film
second. There are two types of character comedies: One in which the
characters are "in" on the joke (and wink at the camera) and the
other in which the characters are completely oblivious to the joke (and
take the situations seriously). I chose the latter. I think comedy is
funnier when played with a straight face. Take Leslie Nielsen for example.
In Airplane, Leslie Nielsen
played his character very seriously. And it was hilarious. By the time he
made 2001: A Space Travesty his
performance WAS a travesty. Self aware. Very silly. And not funny.
How would you
Intervention's brand of humour?
One review called our film "part drawing room farce and part
murder mystery". Farces and British humor were major influences on
the script. I would also say that the film is more of a word comedy than a
slap-stick. It could probably translate very well into a stage play.
Hmmm... Now there's an idea. :-)
And for all the
gorehounds out there, would you mind to go into the special and gore
effects of George's
Intervention for a bit?
The gore and makeup effects
were created by Tom Devlin of
I met Tom years ago when I posted an
ad on Craigslist for a makeup artist for a horror trailer that I was
shooting. The idea was to shoot a trailer in order to raise money for a
feature. Well, that didn't happen. But it did introduce me to Tom. And
Eric Dean, who played "Steve" in the film. Eric was in that
failed trailer. Tom Devlin has gone on to great things, including season
one of SyFy's Face Off.
Let's go back to the
beginning of your career: What got you into filmmaking in the first place,
and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
always loved movies. When I was a kid, I used to lock myself in my room
for hours and make stop-motion films (using my dad's super8 movie camera)
starring my Star Wars action figures. The
Empire Strikes Out was one of my greatest epics. I made live action
horror adventures starring the neighborhood kids. Then my dad bought a
video camera. One of the first. We're talking old school, in which there
was a camera and a separate VHS deck that you had to sling over your
shoulder. It was bulky. And very heavy. That video camera became my new
"toy". All of these super8 and video films helped prepare me for
film school. Eventually, I attended California Institute of the Arts and
received my Masters in Film Direction.
Intervention, you directed quite a few shorts. Why don't you talk
about those for a bit?
Short films are a great way to cut
your teeth. The first short film that I made that got a bit of recognition
was Nightshadows. It made the
film festival rounds in 2004-2005, winning several awards. It actually
still plays. It screened at a couple of film festivals last year! It found
it's way onto a horror shorts compilation DVD in France. But never quite
made it to DVD here. But it is up on the IMDb - if anyone's interested. :-)
Intervention, you have gone back to shorts with Divination,
starring once again Lynn Lowry. A few words about that one?
Divination was kind of an afterthought. A happy accident. I already had a trip
to Alabama and New Orleans planned. My friend - and producer of Divination
Ryan Blake George said, "Hey, since you're coming, why don't we
make a movie?" And so we did. I whipped up a script. Asked Lynn if
she was interested in taking a little vacation to Alabama. We flew her out
and shot the film in two days. Since then, Divination
has screened in over a dozen film festivals (with more screenings in 2012)
and won seven awards to date (hopefully many more).
future projects you'd like to talk about?
I just finished
writing a feature film script that Lynn Lowry commissioned me to write
(for her). I have a short film called The
Thing From Beyond The Threshold that I'd like to shoot this year.
Plus two other feature scripts that I'm currently working on - including a
feature version of Divination.
My favorite directors are actually not horror
directors. Joel and Ethan Coen. Steven Soderberg. These are filmmakers who
make what they want, regardless of what others (i.e. the studios) want or
think. They cross genres and take chances. Most of their risks pay off,
but they aren't afraid to fall on their faces. My favorite genre directors
are: David Cronenberg. Peter Jackson. Guillermo del Toro. Again, these are
filmmakers who take risks and try different things. They have interesting
and challenging ideas. And a beautiful visual flair.
Your favourite movies?
Jaws, The Exorcist, The Shining, Carrie, The Thing, Close Encounters of the
Third Kind, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Pan's Labyrinth, Out of Sight, The Big Lebowski.
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and of course, films you really deplore?
Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you are dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Actually, yes! I co-started and co-run a horror film festival with my
friend and business partner, Ryan Blake George - The NEW ORLEANS HORROR
Last year was our inaugural year. And it was a huge
success. We received almost 300 submissions (pretty damn good for a first
year festival). We had many of the filmmakers in attendance and they had a
great time (who wouldn't have a great time in New Orleans, on Bourbon
Street, on Halloween weekend?). This year we're partnering up with a
couple of other great horror film festivals. And 2012 is going to be
bigger and better. The NOHFF takes place on October 25th - 28th, 2012.
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