Your new movie Beneath
Us All - in a few words, what is it about?
Itís two stories colliding, first the Viking vampire whoís soon buried in
Maine and sealed with an Yggdrasil pendant is later unearthed by a late
teen foster kid struggling with her foster parents who arenít the best
people. After her attempt to save a bird with a broken wing backfires she
decides to save ďthe man from the woods in a barnĒ. Itís not long
until the vampire has her whole family in his sight.
did the project fall together in the first place?
Me and Bret Miller have been talking a
lot about wanting to make a vampire movie and wanted to make some thing
that feels a bit like a Stephen King story. When we started having the
conversations about the screenplay we wanted two stories that stood on
their own, ďthe family situationĒ and ďthe creature/vampire storyĒ,
and send those two stories on a collision course.
can you tell us about Beneath
Us All's screenwriter Bret Miller, and what was your collaboration
Bret is such an amazing writer and we work so well
together when it comes to getting a story that has layers and influences,
itís always fun to dig into a new story.
Us All wasn't the first time you've worked with Bret Miller - so
do talk about your previous collaborations, and how did you first meet
The funny thing is many
years ago Bret Miller was my first AD on Eternal Code and we clicked right
away. I didnít even know how talented of a writer he was, but after we
talked some other influences that lead to us making Ash and Bone,
has been a big hit for us giving us reason to work together again and
Back to Beneath
Us All: With the film being somewhat of a Nordic variation of the
vampire myth, is it based on any actual Nordic myths, and are you personally fond of vampire cinema, and some of your genre favourites?
Yes, I wanted to reboot vampires because theyíre suddenly so
far away from the old vampire films that I love such as Bram Stokerís
Dracula, The Lost Boys, Fright Night etc and even newer stories like 30
Days of Night and another Scandinavian film, Let the Right One
can you tell us about Beneath
Us All's approach to horror?
I think what we
really wanted was to blur the lines and make a horror movie that was so
much more than horror. We wanted a story that dramatically felt like it
was worth watching, characters that were compelling and interesting. Not
to mention reset vampires back to mysterious, mischievous and dangerous
and add a creature feel to it all.
A few words about
your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?
I really wanted to go after
the mystery and develop the characters and make sure that eventually the
collision course was locked up between Julie (Angelina Danielle Cama) and
Frey (Yan Birch) and her entire family. I wanted to start by showcasing
these flawed, not very decent people and then later flip the table and ask
ourselves ďWho is the real monster?Ē and even look at ďnature vs
nurtureĒ. Ultimately itís a battle of good and evil, and Iím excited
itís started off doing very well so far!
also appear in front of the camera in Beneath
Us All - so do talk about your character for a bit, what did you
draw upon to bring him to life, and how much Harley Wallen can we actually
find in Donovan?
I actually like Donovan, heís like me in ways
that he will literally lay his life on the line for what he believes is
right, and I like that quality in him. He is an all-in kind of guy! Iíd
say Donovan has more than a little of me in him and after playing Zeb in
The Devilís Left Hand. whoís a tough guy, and Lucas in Ash and Bone,
whoís more passive aggressive. Itís great therapy though, I learn a
lot about myself seeing situations through the eyes of my characters.
What can you tell us about the rest of Beneath
Us All's cast, and why exactly these people?
I canít tell you how excited I was to literally get my
first choices for most of my cast. Sean Whalen and Maria Olsen [Maria
Olsen interview - click here] as foster
parents was a dream come true for me, and they delivered such incredible
performances! I absolutely love their tug-a-war as a couple, they were
simply excellent! Yan Birch as Frey was another I was really excited about
and feel he was perfect! The other character was Stephen (Malachi Myles)
we needed to find and Iím happy to have worked with him on the movie Halt
and I'm glad I did as heís such an important character to the story. Add
to that Kaiti [Kaiti Wallen
interview - click here] has been racking up awards and accolades as the tireless
social worker Rebecca. Casting is such a puzzle but itís so crucial,
especially in the indie world.
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
I think the excitement and dedication to lighting
and shot selection really made the film. Hats off to Alex Gasparetto (who
also was director of photography on Ash and Bone,
Tale of Tails and A
Bennett Song Holiday), his 1st AC Dominic Todero, Andy Westra my gaffer on
Us All went above and beyond all the time with his key grip Kirk
Yoshonis. Some of the sounds you hear in the outdoors are of real coyotes
that were all around set on the outdoor shoots and I guess that added
to the atmosphere!
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Beneath
Iím really excited, so far itís been a
very positive response, we are 100% fresh from critics on Rotten Tomatoes
and the very great majority of critics have been super supportive, and
Deskpop is telling us the film is doing great right out of the gates both
internationally and domestically.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
Itís not horror but Iím in very late negotiations on my latest film
Finding Nicole, a true story about a high impact case of domestic violence
that had Chris Cuomo bringing his Inside Evil-team to Michigan to do a
full episode on her case, and I canít wait for this to come out! We are
also in pre production for a sequel to Ash and Bone that we intend to film
in late winter, and thatís yet another Bret Miller script.
movie's website, social media, whatever else?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Iím Harley Wallen on
Facebook, @TheHarleyWallen on Instagram & TikTok and @Harleytheswede
on Twitter & Snapchat, and also follow your favorite films on Facebook
as well as our production page Painted Creek Productions.
else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
I just want to
say thank you for always giving me the time to talk about my films and for
taking the time to review them, I truly appreciate it!
for the interview!