Your new movie Don't
Blink - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us
about your character in it?
Blink is a Hitchcock-style Twilight Zone suspense thriller with
touches of Tarantino madness. It's 10 little Indians in a quantum
universe. My character, Alex, is a real person. He responds to the world
around him and adjusts with nihilistic honesty.
What did you draw upon to
bring your character to life, and how much of yourself did you find in
I was spoiled in
this script because the writer, Travis Oates, is a personal friend and
wrote the role for me. So, it was pretty much an honest description of how
I'd deal with that situation. So... let's not go camping ;)
How did you get involved with the project in the
first place, and how did you end up on the production side of things as
I was as a
producer from inception. I had worked for years to raise capital to make a
movie with no success, just a bunch of lying D-bags wanting to waste time
and pretend to be in "Hollywood" while having drinks with Scut
Farkus. It was heart-breakingly annoying. Fortunately my producing
partners, Carl Lucas and Alan Trevor introduced me to a real investor and
we moved forward. The writer/director, Travis Oates [Travis
Oates interview - click here], was already a
close friend of mine who had sold many scripts to the studios so it was
great opportunity to bring another talented friend into the fold.
with Fiona Gubelmann
What were the main challenges of Don't
many! It snowed 19 inches over night in the middle of shooting and
completely boned us. We had to use flame throwers, salt water machines,
hair dryers, whatever we could to clear portions of the set so we could
shoot. After you watch the movie, look at some of the earlier scenes and
notice if my face is turning blue. IT WAS THAT COLD! And I'm a red head so
it's not a sexy look on me. Travis rolled with the punches, putting the
snow into the movie to raise the stakes as if it was part of the
"happening" at the cabin. Indie film = roll with the punches or
get knocked out.
What can you tell us
about your director Travis Oates [Travis
Oates interview - click here], and that was your collaboration like?
had been directing the ACME Comedy Theater for a number of years, so he
already had an ease on set with talent and could give short, poignant
direction without wasting time which was perfect. It worked out great,
everyone having each other's back.
talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
It was awesome! We found this
amazing place in New Mexico where we could have carte blanche over an
entire mountain top high end housing development. So we shot and housed
the director/DP & LP in the main cabin while using it's 5 car garage
as our production office, make up room, camera & sound equipment
storage and wardrobe room. The male actors stayed in another beautiful
house 2 minutes away and their garage was used as the breakfast and
lunch room for the cast/crew. The ladies were in a different luxurious
house with their garage used for prop building and storage.
Even though it was low budget it
felt classy because of the accommodations and camaraderie.
I stayed in a shitty cabin with Carl
and Alan so we would be able to work through the night and not
bother the cast.
And the cast was AWESOME! Mena Suvari and
Brian Austin Green are amazing actors and fantastic people, truly leading by example
to inspire everyone else to do top level work. I am so grateful to both
can you tell us about audience and critical reception of Don't
Blink so far?
far everyone really likes it. Our lowest rating has been 7 out of 10 and
our highest is 9.5 out of 10. Honestly, I'm just so grateful people see
the same thing I do.
Any future projects you'd like to
Nothing I can
talk about at the moment. But I'm raising money for the next slate of
pictures and it's going great. So if anyone out there wants to make
movies, hit me up on Facebook :)
What got you into acting in the first place, and
what can you tell us about your training as an actor?
mother, Pam Hyatt, has been an actress for 50 odd years and was quite
famous in the Canadian pantheon of talent, even likened to a
"Canadian Carol Burnett" back in the day. I grew up on sets and
stages watching and learning. It inspired me to try my hand and well, here
I am still trying 35 years later. Training-wise my mom was the central
figure, as she had studied at RADA and LAMDA (Royal Academy of Dramatic
Acting, London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts,both in England).
you still remember your first time in front of a movie or TV camera, and
what was that experience like?
first shot was a Jello commercial where I ate Jello and made a silly face.
NAILED IT! No brilliant moment, just doing what you're told. It was fun. I
wasn't intimidated as I'd spent so much time on set by the time I was 10.
BTW, that commercial is still on YouTube.
You've probably long
grown tired of this, but I wouldn't be doing my job right if I didn't ask
you to talk about your breakthrough movie A Christmas Story for a
A Christmas Story
Not at all. I'm
blessed to be part of an iconic film that the world loves and honestly,
the people I meet and stories they tell me every Christmas is my
favorite part of the holidays.
Other films/TV shows of yours you'd like to talk
about, your career highlights?
hmmm: Titus was amazing. I learned so much about comedy and live
performance. Wish it could have gone on forever.
Got to do my own stunts and have Mike Bay call me names. That's one for
the bucket list.
Cameron Crowe is so talented and kind, a true pleasure to work with and
for. Pure class
Resident Evil: Apocalypse: Who doesn't want to train with Spaznotz and kill zombie ass?
Joss Whedon and his team are amazing to work with and his scripts are a
Especially of late, you
have stepped behind the camera more and more - care to elaborate?
has so many avenues, there's no reason not to explore them all.
the years, you have been on big studio movies, indie films and TV shows -
so how do these sets differ from one another, and which do you prefer,
completely different experiences. Studio films allow you to focus soley on
your process wheras indie requires a more group effort dynamic. Both are
fun and frustrating.
One can't help but notice that in recent years
you've been in more and more horror movies (including Don't
Blink, apparently). Pure coincidence, or is horror a genre
especially dear to you,and why (not)?
love horror. It's true human drama, especially when it elevates the genre.
How would you
describe yourself as an actor, and some of your techniques to bring your
characters to life?
a character actor. I love to fit into the role, emotionally and
physically. To become that other person that is just an extension of
oneself. Process wise, I like to write a back story for the character,
create an underlying inner conversation beneath the dialog so that the
nuance is not expected. Even by me.
Actors (and indeed actresses) who
McAvoy, Jessica Lange, Jeff Bridges, etc. Way too many.
Your favourite movies?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Saving Private Ryan, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the
World, many more.
and of course, films you really deplore?
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
@TotalZackWard and @DontBlinkmovie
you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Yes. RENT THE MOVIE ON PPV!!
We are the epitome of indie film
and we DIE without your support. That would be a horror show that nobody
Thank you so much for your
support ,and please hit me up and tell me your thoughts. Good or bad, I
wanna hear 'em.
for the interview!