Your new movie Ash and
Bone - in a few words, what's it about?
is a rebelling teen and with a new stepmom it escalates and her father
Lucas decides to take her and his new wife Sarah out of the city for
some bonding and quality time together. What they find instead is the
McKinleys, an urban legend more true and terrifying than their worst
did the project come into being in the first place?
a big horror fan Iíve always wanted to give some nods to some
filmmakers and movies that inspired me along the way. When we made
Agramonís Gate I wanted to give a nod to the mysterious daemonic
horror films such as The Exorcist and even
Poltergeist etc. With Ash and
I wanted to give a nod to some of the early 2000ís
backyards violent tales like Wrong
Turn, Texas Chainsaw Massacre etc. So
we created a upper Michigan folklore in the McKinleys and gave the
Vanderbilts reason to go there.
can you tell us about Ash
and Bone's writer Bret Miller, and what was your collaboration
collaboration is always fantastic, we have done this now on a few scripts
and I feel like he really understands my style and how I like to tell
stories because he also is much more about the storytelling and the
characters, the intricacies beyond the simple stuff on the surface, and I
Do talk about Ash
and Bone's approach to horror?
I really like about it is to go back to the impressions Iíve had over
the years my Hitchcock impression has been very strong. I love
suspense, I love wonder, I love drama and I love to relax the audience
before I re-tighten the grip and thatís what I try to do, create a
rollercoaster for the audience to go on a journey.
What can you tell
us about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?
think one of the fun things was how when everybody read the first draft
of the script they assumed the McKinleys to be ďsouthernĒ because
thatís what they are in so many films, but we wanted to keep this one
in Michigan and go after UP accents! I also wanted the characters
clearly defined pulling in different directions because thatís how
disruption occurs. Especially within each unit itself.
also appear in front of the camera in Ash
and Bone - so what can you tell us about your charcter, and what
did you draw upon to bring him to life?
is definitely a character I havenít played before, he is an enabler,
indecisive and passive, and that costs him at every turn. He
becomes a victim of his own circumstances and we still canít see him
growing a spine, and communicating could have saved him but he deals with
grief very differently than myself.
Do talk about
the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
secret ingredient to this cast was that the best auditions got the roles
(although Jimmy Doom was an inspiration for the actual and eventual
Clete). The cast found its way through sorting the best auditions for
the most part. Although we toyed with very different options early
on with Sean Whalen as Clete, with Yan Birch as the Sheriff and Scout
Taylor-Compton was actually hired to play Anna when a schedule conflict
changed things. But I knew Jamie Bernadette [Jamie
Bernadette interview - click here] would be a great fit and deliver a
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
had a great experience, although we were tired when we wrapped as mostly
we filmed overnights and slept during the day. It became extra
special when we were out in the country as we stayed at the cabin and in
trailers, and there wasnít anything but nature pretty much around.
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Ash
I always try to go to festivals and when possible sneak in and sit in the
back with a hat and see how people like it not knowing Iím there - so I
had a good idea people would like it but itís been a bit overwhelming
the first week or so! Feedback has for the very most part been great!!
Any future projects you'd like to
I have a film that I am ready to sign and probably will be signing at
AFM this November called Beneath Us All. It is a unique spin on a
vampire story that I think people will love! I reunite Sean Whalen
and Yan Birch from The People Under the Stairs and add Maria Olsen
[Maria Olsen interview - click
I Spit on Your Grave: Deja Vu and Percy & The Olympians. With Angelina
Danielle Cama, Kaiti Wallen, Michael Alexander and more so itís got a
Then in post production right now is the true story of Finding
Nicole that was introduced to the world by Chris Cuomoís Inside
Evil. Itís about ďgirl meets boy gone wrongĒ, a domestic
violence awareness type of film Iím very excited about!
Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
The easiest thing to do would probably be to follow Painted Creek
Productions, Kaiti Wallen or Harley Wallen on any of the social media
platforms, weíre pretty accessible with our fans, especially Instagram
and Facebook but also on Twitter & TikTok.
Anything else you're dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
I would like to say thank you for being what I think a film critic
should be and that is somebody who actually watches the film with an
open mind then share their thoughts and feelings on it.
Thanks for the interview!
Thank you Michael, thank you for taking the time!