Your upcoming movie The Laughing Mask - in a few words, what
is it about?
The Laughing Mask
is about revenge plain and simple. Both Jake
Johnson and Detective Kate O’Malley have reasons to hunt him down.
What were your inspirations when writing The Laughing Mask?
I love everything pulp. From the
atmosphere to the characters, I’d say The Laughing Mask
has a lot of
pulp elements into it along with old school horror films. There is a nice
nod to The Shadow in there as well but you will have to see it.
The Laughing Mask
feature strong slasher elements - a genre at all dear to you?
before it got generalized and diluted of course. The original Friday the
13th, Halloween and others have a pure horror quality to it
that I love.
The Laughing Mask's story suggests quite a bit of blood and guts - so what
can you tell us about that aspect of your film, and anything you can tell
us about your gore effects?
I wanted the effects to be
practical wherever possible. When I watch movies like 300: Rise of an
example, the amount of CGI blood used is ridiculous and it takes away from
the experience in my opinion. We owe a lot to Daniel Mazikowski’s
demented mind in coming up with the more practical ways to make our vision
come to life, no matter how disgusting or crazy (sometimes with no
preparation time as our previous FX person quit a few days before the
shoot), and boy he didn’t disappoint.
Do talk about the film's
style and feel for a bit, and what can you tell us about your approach to
The Laughing Mask
is an old school horror
movie. And by that I mean bare bones, no CGI, good story, great scares. It's expected nowadays from “slasher” films to be thin in story and
overcompensate on blood and gore, I think the fans want more than that.
It’s easy to throw naked girls in swamp with a maniac running after them
and call it a movie. I wanted to give the genre fans more.
What can you tell us about your key cast, and
why exactly these people?
Jeff Jenkins, the actor who plays
The Laughing Mask, is a tremendous performer and the movie owes him all the
character’s mannerisms. He brings The Laughing Mask to life in a way I
couldn’t see anyone else doing it, in masked killer type movies you see
lots of people wearing the mask in different parts of the production, in
ours it was impossible because nobody could match Jeff’s portrayal. John
Hardy as Jake Johnson brings intensity and preparation. John got the part
as soon as he walked into the audition, even before he said anything we
said “yup that’s Jake”. On set nothing but professionalism and when
we envisioned Jake physically as a character we wanted someone exactly
like John. Sheyenne Rivers was the inspiration FOR Kate before there was
even a script. I contacted her about being a part o the film long before
there was a finished first draft and Kate O’Malley,
looks and attitude
are all Sheyenne. She is a rare talent, a sweetheart to work with and a
trooper, we put this poor girl through a LOT in this film, she is kinda
like our John McClane.
Do talk about the shoot as
such for a bit, and the on-set atmosphere?
Our set was
always light and fun (for most parts), the most important part for me,
after funding was in place, was to get the best crew around and for that I
went to the very best with DP William Schweikert. Talk about a
professional, no matter what crazy shot we had in mind, Bill was always on
point and ready to go even on long 18 hour days. My AD Kyle Fritsche kept
the shoot on schedule for the entire 28 days, something unheard of, and
without script supervisor Christine Hitt we would’ve been lost
entirely. Having a superb crew makes it for quality product in my opinion.
$64-question of course, when and where will the film be released onto the
general public, however tentatively?
We’re aiming for a
limited theatrical release by Halloween.
Masked killers tend
to return onto the screen again and again - so will there ever be a The
Laughing Mask 2? And any (other) future projects you'd like to talk
It’s entirely up to the reception we got.
Bravestarr Films is definitely invested into making more, but as with
everything else it depends on reception. We have a great story for a
sequel that we believe people would love!
What got you into filmmaking in the first place,
and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
wanted to make the movies I wanted to watch. I went to the FIRST school in
Orlando to get the basics and my background was mostly in writing, but I
took the advice I read from Joss Whedon when he was trying to get Buffy
off the ground and created the project and hired myself to direct.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to The Laughing Mask?
was really proud to do a small webseries called The Quest Chronicles with
David Lopez. It was something fun, loose, with not a lot of pressure behind
it, something we did for fun and got quite the following including a
packed crowd watching the first episode at Megacon a few years back. After
that the original Laughing Mask
trailer started getting a lot of attention
and I concentrated on my script and getting this project off the ground.
far as I know before going into films, you wrote a novel and worked on
several comicbooks - so what can you tell us about these aspects of your
career, and how did they prepare you for your filmwork?
novels and comics is kinda like directing a movie without the restraints
of budget, so it really helped me developing my creativity but in some
ways was also detrimental, when I wrote the first draft of The Laughing Mask, I had the same frame of mind and ended up with a film that
would’ve cost about 10 million Dollars to make. My book The Chronicles
of Percyval is still a dream project.
would you describe yourself as a director?
I just want
everyone to have fun and do the best project we can possibly do. I'm very
who inspire you?
Alan Parker, Wes Craven, John Boorman. From
the newer crop, James Wan is amazing, Alexander Aja.
Your favourite movies?
Angel Heart, I really like the classics. The newer ones I'd
say Conjuring was fantastically done.
and of course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Oh so many - I try
my best to find redeeming quality on all films, some the story might be
bad but the acting is good so on, but when I see movies like Paul Blart
Mall Cop breaking box office records, a part of me dies inside.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
you are dying to tell us and I have merely forgotten to ask?
a big Thanks to Ana Aguiar for making the original mask, and Kevin at Wolfram
Creative LLC for doing a superb job with the mask.
for the interview!