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An Interview with Rene Perez, Director of Once Upon a Time in Deadwood

by Mike Haberfelner

September 2019

Films directed by Rene Perez on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie Once Upon a Time in Deadwood - in a few words, what is it about?


A gunman is poisoned and wonít be given the antidote until he completes an seemingly impossible mission. 


With Once Upon a Time in Deadwood being a western, is that a genre at all dear to you, and some of your genre favourites?


Yes. I love making westerns. Iíve made several of them now but itís always exciting. I like how raw westerns can be. Itís a uniquely American genre.


Itís rumored that you are a crew of one? Is that true? If so, how it is possible on a movie like Once Upon a Time in Deadwood?


Yes. Iím almost always a crew of one. Itís just my actors and I. Iím used to it now. And the actors help when they can.


Once Upon a Time in Deadwood has its fair share of fights and shoot-outs - so do talk about the action scenes in your movie for a bit, and how were they achieved?


It was all done for real, the shoot outs, the fist fights, the chases, the horse stunts and even the hanging. No visual effects. Itís all old fashioned action movie making. Down and dirty. The actors just rocked it all out and I tried my best to keep up with them with my camera.


What were the specific challenges of bringing a western to the screen?


A western is one thing, but this one is an epic. We go from the desert to the snow and everything in-between. Out of all of those locations Iíd have to say the snow was the most difficult part of filming. By far.


Do talk about your directorial approach to your story at hand!


My only intent was to make an old style western with modern day action sequences. I usually make 80s style movies. In this case I went all the way back to the 60s. Itís the style I went for. I think the 60s was a sort of golden age for western movies. So I thought Iíd go for that style with my little B movie.


What can you tell us about your key cast, and why exactly these people?


Well both I and the producer Jeff Miller were interested in doing a western specifically for Bronzi. Who wouldnít? Karin Brauns is a great young actress that Iíve worked with many times. Sheís a trusted friend and she will climb the highest peak to get a great shot. Sheís got an excellent work ethic and sheís talented. We were also lucky enough to get Michael Parť to be our main bad guy. Itís great to have an A list actor in our little B movie.


You of course also have to talk about your locations, and what were the advantages but maybe also challenges filming there?


The location of note was in Almeria Spain. It was the same exact set used for Once Upon a Time in the West. The producer Jeff Miller allowed me to film out there for a couple of days. It was amazing. Very inspiring to be in a place where one of the greatest westerns was filmed.


A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


Well Bronzi and I had a great time in Spain. We met some great actors and actresses. Good memories. Karin and I had a fun time filming with Michael Parť here in the USA. The weather was difficult but we had fun during filming. Lots of getting stuck in the storms and snow but we made it through with smiles.


The $64-question of course, where can your movie be seen?


It will be on digital October 1st and then on DVD in November in the USA. International dates will be different.


Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Once Upon a Time in Deadwood yet?


The few critics have been kind. But the movie isnít out just yet. At the time of this interview weíre still weeks away from release.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


I just finished a horror/action movie called Cabal. Very happy with that one. I also did a movie called Cry Havoc that is coming out soon. Probably my scariest movie yet.


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Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD