Your new film Ninjas
vs Vampires - in a few words, what is it about (apart from the
It's part horror film and part superhero origin story. It's the story of
a regular guy who unwittingly finds himself caught up in a war between
Ninjas and Vampires. He'd just as well stay out of it, but when the girl
he loves (who, BTW, has totally rejected him) becomes a target, he decides
to "man up" and become a Ninja himself.
What were your main inspirations for writing Ninjas
Buffy the Vampire
Slayer, Clerks, The Karate Kid, X-Men-comics, and the
classic 80's slasher films.
Why did you choose vampires as your
ninjas' opponents this time around? And your favourite vampire movies,
books, comicbooks, etc?
Honestly it came out of the story of Ninjas vs Zombies. Ironically,
this film doesn't require NVZ first (I actually like it better showing
folks NVV first, then
NVZ as a prequel). Plus I like Vampires as bad guys
(not as sparkling emo teenage romantic leads. That's right, I'm looking at
you Edward freaking Cullen). Buffy and
Angel (I am NOT contradicting
myself! I didn't like them as a couple... but separately they worked REALLY
well) are my fave Vamp mythology, although I really like some of what
Underworld does and I think True
Blood has some interesting ideas.
For a low budget indie movie,
your film features quite a few pretty accomplished action sequences. How
did you manage to bring these to life?
Credit where its due: For the fighting, PJ Megaw and Daniel Mascarello
did our choreography and training. Our actors trained for weeks
beforehand, and I think it shows. FX wise, Brian Anderson of ADF Studios
and Michael Mead made most of the gunplay, magic, and even some blood and
weapons. I was able to come onto set and have 75% of it done for me.
Your ninjas all
have very distinct personalities. Who do you identify with the most?
Well, in NVZ they were all me. I had wanted to be an
actor/musician/artist and it never really came to pass ... so I put a LOT of
myself in there. In NVV, they have grown beyond just being reflections of
my own insecurities, and probably I relate to Kyle the most. Cole is the
one I would look up to most and Aaron is my superhero wish fulfillment ...
but Kyle, for all his idiosynchrasies is the most like me.
few words about your main cast?
Only a few? Mostly theatre actors, attractive, talented ... I'm pretty
lucky as a low budget filmmaker to find people who can pull off action
and comedy and be pretty to look at and have extensive performance
resumes and pull off some heartbreaking stuff and ... you get the idea ...
oh, and they are troopers - cuz everyone gets worked to death a bit. I
consider them all to be like family and most of us still hang out - last
week I did a poker night with "Kyle" and "Aaron" and
"Alex" and our producer Brian and our compose .r.. then 2 days
later I hung out with "Cole" and "Kyle" again while
"Lily" hung out with my wife. "Manson"'s family
(heh) and mine went to a concert last month, etc, etc - and most of
these folks weren't really close friends before the movie.
You also make a quite
hilarious cameo in your movie as Reefer. What can you tell us about that
character - and why did you have to kill him?
you! Reefer is the interesting exposition guy - inspired partly by Will
Ferrell in Wedding Crashers and Gary Oldman in True Romance ... with a bit
of Jason Mewes thrown in - although there was a cut part about him smoking
bark that was inspired by a high school friend. That scene was shot by a
friend of ours, Gary Ugarek (Director of the Deadlands-films), because I
wasn't able to adequately direct myself. So that was fun. Why did he have
to die? Its a horror movie - some folks die, especially the pot smokers ...
plus he knew too much (and I died in NVZ too ... I might have to die again
in the next one ... TRIFECTA!).
ways, your film seems like a comicbook come to life. Is this a comment you
can at all live with, and is there a truth to the rumours that your ninjas
are presently actually being turned into a comicbook?
live with that. I LOVE that. I am a huge comicbook fan ... both movies have
significant scenes in a comic book store, and yes, Ninjas vs Zombies
1 is already on newsstands and on the ipad as part of the Cloud9 comix
ninjas originally appeared in Ninjas vs Zombies. Did you know back
then that you wanted to turn the concept into a series? And a few words
about Ninjas vs Zombies of course?
MOST of the actors were in NVZ (Bishop was Eric, Manson was Fitz) - as
well as the returning characters. It was important for me to have this one
pay off the first, to remain in continuity (even the one HUGE change, the
character of Ann, is referenced in the final scene of NVZ as having the
"Mystical Wiggins", indicating that she was now using magic) -
but I also wanted it to work completely alone ... so one could watch it and
NEVER know it was a sequel. I think in both cases we succeeded. As for a
series - we always have in mind what the next one could be ... but we would
never leave it on a true cliffhanger - the story wraps up nicely and then
we tease at a possible next one. So we could end at any time, but if not,
you know where we would go.
How would you
say have you grown as a director from Ninjas vs Zombies (which was
also your debut feature) to Ninjas
vs Vampires? And are there aspects about the first movie you would
want to change from today's point of view?
Oh my. Yes, as
a writer and a director I feel I have learned a lot. I LOVE Ninjas vs
Zombies, its my firstborn.. but Vampires is clearly a better made film.
Zombies might be more charming in its naivete, but Vampires is slicker,
brisker, more exciting. Specifically, in Zombies, I wish I has shortened
the first act and had a more central character ... but - it's like Clerks vs
Dogma. Which is better? Clerks is fresher, more raw, charming BECAUSE it
is imperfect. Dogma is MUCH more polished, and is my preferred film of the
two. Some disagree. That's how I feel about the two films so far. I love
them both for different reasons, but I could never go back and make
Any plans for
a third Ninjas
Yup. As long as we feel people will
watch (by buying the ones before) - we will make more. Meantime, the comic
series will break new ground, and we are looking into videogame
A very basic question: Why ninjas?
And your favourite ninja movies, books, comicbooks, etc?
To quote the book in NVZ: Its kind of obvious. Ninjas are AWESOME. When
I was a kid I would take rope and metal and make a hook and try to climb
stuff like Batman. Who doesn't want to be a Ninja? Favorite Ninja stuff?
Well i LOVE the ninja influence on Batman
and Wolverine. I LOVE Hong Kong
films (Drunken Master 2 or Legend of Drunken Master is my all
it true that you actually started out as an actor before moving into
Yup. I did a lot of theatre and a few indie flicks. I guess before Ninjas
I was best known as (SPOILER ALERT) the killer in Timewarp Films'
Dead Hunt. I also wrote music for some movies as well.
What made you take the director's chair, and
did you recieve any formal education on the subject?
I always wanted to. In high school I used to create videos and in
College I directed 40 min films. I have a degree in theatre and a
semester in video production. I was also a trained portrait
photographer. So ... going in I had 2 films finished, experience and
education designing and building sets, makeup design, costume design,
actor direction, etc. Still ... it's not my success as much as the success
of the folks around me. Cory Okouchi is a project manager who helps me
plan, Brian oversees effects, Daniel Ross handles PR, Daniel Mascarello
does a little of everything, he and PJ do the fights, Michael Mead made
the costumes from my designs, Kelly Timpane (my wife) handles the
business end, Tuomas Easton is a great composer ... we got a lot new help
and a lot of folks who are as experienced as me or sometimes more! So
really, the successes we make is from a great team.
who inspire you?
Kevin Smith, Joss Whedon, James Cameron (most of his work), Alex Proyas,
Quentin Tarantino, Matthew Vaughn, David Fincher, Wes Craven, Tim Burton
- I feel like these are boring answers - everyone likes these guys ...
umm ... Sam Raimi ... kind of the usual suspects ... which reminds me, Bryan
Singer (hee hee).
Your favourite movies?
Horror: Nightmare on
Elm Street 3 or Scream. Martial Arts: Drunken Master 2. Comedy:
or Fight Club (yup, its a satire). Drama: Moulin Rouge, Good Will
The Abyss (special edition). Sci Fi: Empire Strikes Back or Serenity.
Comic book: X2 or Kick-Ass (possibly
The Crow). All time? Tie between
Empire Strikes Back and Serenity (possibly Army of
and of course, movies you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Wow ... Twilight,
Freddy's Dead, Attack of the Clones (yet I love it too), X3,
Mortal Kombat Annihilation, Batman and Robin, The War of the Worlds-remake. There are a
lot ... most of them are ones where I had some expectation. Except Twilight.
Facebook, whatever else?
www.nvzmovie.com, www.endlightentertainment.com,//www.endlightentertainment.com/" target="_blank">www.endlightentertainment.com,
- you can Facebook-like us from a LOT of those pages.
Anything else you are dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
We have HOURS
of podcasts! I and folks form the movies host 5 shows on the Endlight
Podcast Network - its all kind of NSFW - some cursing and
stuff ... but it's
pretty hilarious stuff ... we have a Trek podcast and a Pop Culture one and an
Entertainment show, and a comedy one called the Suckcast - go to www.endlightpodcast.com