Q: Why pick a janitor as the subject of a serial killer movie? How did the idea come about?
TJ and I made a 24 Hour Short with our friend Ahren called "The Office is Closed… but Her Legs Are Open"… we had 24 hours to write-shoot-edit the movie. We had an office complex to shoot in at night, an actress who was willing to bare her breasts and the idea of focusing on a crazed Janitor. So that's really how it all came about.
The short went over really well with the festival crowd. And both TJ and I were itching to just go out and create a feature length gore movie. So several months later we took the short and started crafting out an outline for a feature length version.
Q: Both you and T.J. Nordaker produced and directed the movie. How did you decide who was going to do what--and did you ever have any conflicting opinions about any of the direction?
We both went in knowing it was going to be a 50/50 joint effort. I tried really hard to check my ego at the door and let this be our baby. You'll have to ask him if I did okay on that.
Since I was in almost every frame of the movie, I was grateful to have someone there I trusted watching me, and giving me direction. Early on we established the directing plan: While we both would have our hands on the overall tone of the film, we agreed I would focus on the actors, while he'd focus on the frame. At the same time, obviously there were times when he'd shoot out direction to the actors, or I'd make a suggestion about the framing.
Of course there were times we had differences in opinion on the delivery of a certain line or moment, and in those cases because it was on video, we'd just shoot it both ways and see what worked best later.
We're great friends, and I was worried our friendship might get tainted by the experience. Making a movie is an intense process, lots of pressure. I love the challenge, being on set is my favorite part of the process, but I can get pretty intense myself . We definitely rubbed each other the wrong way a few times during filming. But I mean that was expected. We were both trying to create something from each of our minds, and we were with each other constantly.
Overall I think we complimented each other greatly. TJ knew the genre and he was always making sure everything would please the fans. I was coming from a more comedic story-telling background, and I was constantly trying to keep the story and characters in tact to help make THE JANITOR a movie for non-genre fans too. Judging by the reactions we've gotten so far, I think we both succeeded.
I most definitely plan on making movies with TJ again, but I'd like to direct my next project solo.
Q: How long did the movie take to complete?
The writing phase took about 6 months. The casting and pre-production process took about 3 months. The shooting took about two weeks, with a few weekend shoots that followed to add some more gore. It took about three months to have a rough cut of the film to screen in Philadelphia on 12/28/03.
Q: Andy, was Lionel written in mind with you as the actor? Did you find it difficult to be both in front and behind the camera?
I played Lionel in the short, so playing him in the feature was always the plan. I mean if we could have gotten Benicio Del Toro or somebody to play him, I wouldn't have said no. But because Lionel was in so many scenes, and our budget was so tight, I knew it'd be hard to find a decent enough actor to be free as often as we would have needed him. So it just made sense for me to play him myself.
Acting and directing was definitely tough. I look at the film now and wish I had done certain things differently. It's hard to catch everything that's happening when you're playing a character yourself. But at the same time, actually being in the moment as a character, you can sometimes catch certain things that you might not notice as an observer.
I enjoyed playing the character immensely, but I plan on staying behind the camera for my next picture.
Q: Talk about how you cast the other actors. How was Lloyd Kaufman to work with?
We posted numerous ads on websites and trade papers. We auditioned a couple hundred people for the various roles. Some of them came easy, others harder. Mary for example, we had three actresses say yes, then say no right before shooting. Luckily I had met Crystal a while back, got in touch with her, told her about the project and she jumped on board and saved our asses.
I thought Mr. Growbo would be the hardest person to find, but then Bruce walked in on the third of fourth day of casting and started reading his lines about semen, and I knew we had found our man.
We scored Lloyd through TJ who had been in contact with him through e-mail for sometime. Lloyd was planning to be in Los Angeles during our first week of shooting, so we moved the schedule around and wrote in a part for him that we could pepper in throughout the movie. He's a great guy and a very smart businessman. It was an honor and a blast to work with him.
Q: How did you get all those women to be topless?
We were just honest about it from day one. We made it clear that certain roles required nudity, and made sure they were cool with that from the first meeting. Most weren't, and so almost everybody read for Hillary (the only female in the movie who doesn't get naked).
I wanted to be very professional about the nudity issue. I just made sure to explain it's importance (I mean come on, it's a slasher flick!). Once they said they were cool with it, we made sure to ask them to come back for call-back auditions. We knew if they kept showing up, they'd be serious, and show up for shooting.
Q: How do you think The Janitor contributes to the Slasher genre?
I'd like to think it could create a new sub-genre: the slasher comedy. A Slashery perhaps?
While writing, I never saw the film as becoming a scary horror flick. I always wanted it to be a dark, creepy, random comedy filled with blood, guts and cleaning supplies. Oh and boobs too!
Q: Your website/contact information for people who want to get this movie.
www.JANITORMOVIE.com is the place to go for Janitor info. We are selling a FIRST RUN LIMITED EDITION - Unrated cut on there, but only have a few copies left. We're selling this very limited collector's run to serious fans to help spread the word. We're also sending copies out to distributors all over, and hope to make a deal by the end of the year.
To be kept in the loop on our eventual "official release" , people can join the mailing list on our site. We don't spam you with crap, we only send out 2 emails every six months or so.