Q: What is the movie (Fading Of The Cries) about? I just watched the trailer on the website and it has a very mythical feel to it, with the guy with the sword and the monsters.
The film is a fantasy/ action movie about Jacob, a young man who is armed with a deadly sword, who saves Sarah, a teenage girl from an ancient spell caster and struggles to get her home safely as they struggle through fields, churches and other locations while trying to escape hordes of evil creatures that were raised by the spell caster, played by Brad Dourif. At the same time Sarah's mother tries to keep her other daughter safe from the evil that's happening around the small farming community.
Q: Why decide to put it in present day rather than make a period piece, like most "Sword and Sorcery" movies?
I thought it would be an interesting twist to have it in modern day times. Brad Dourif's character is from the 16th Century, who has been resurrected from the dead by Sarah's uncle played by Thomas Ian Nicholas. So he's come back and is raising up the dead. There is so much fantasy in this film, I thought it was an easier way to have the audience relate to the characters and contrast this with the modern day times instead of having the movie be a period piece.
Q: You also wrote the script. When you were writing this, did you have any of the actors specifically in mind for the parts?
I had the idea for this script since I was a young teenager and it's obviously progressed through time but Brad Dourif has been in mind ever since I saw him in EXORCIST 3, in which he plays the Gemini Killer. At the time I thought, "Oh my God, that's my character, he's got it". He's the only actor I felt who could give this character such a stage presence while reciting heavy lines of dialogue. I knew I wanted to do this movie with him right from the start because he's someone who has not only made a name for himself in the field of horror but is also a well respected dramatic actor. He had gotten an Academy Award nomination for ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST which a lot of people seem to forget. He has great intensity and theatrical presence to him.
Q: Elaine Hendrix is also in the movie, as the mother. She's done a bit of horror stuff on TV--I recently saw her as a Medusa in SPECIAL UNIT 2 and she was on Sci-Fi Channel seriesTHE CHRONICLE.
She's dabbled in a variety of things. She worked on THE PARENT TRAP and recently did a horror movie called THE BEACON. She's certainly been open to this type of genre and did a fantastic job for us. She is amazing at being able to play whatever role comes her way with a sense of elegance and is capable of handling very physical demands of the character she had to play in her role.
Q: Why did you decide to do a horror movie for your first feature?
I consider this a combination of a horror/fantasy/action. I've always enjoyed all these genres of films, and thought it would be great to combine all the genres into one movie. I've been a fan of horror since I was a young child. I guess it's something that speaks to me...
Q: What horror movies influenced you the most?
There are so many movies that stick in my mind...THE SHINING is one movie in particular that really stuck out for me, a really phenomenal film. I had a strong connection with George Romero's films at a young age such as DAWN OF THE DEAD, DAY of THE DEAD and MARTIN. The original NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET film was great really great to me because it combined a lot of fantasy with horror as well. FRIGHT NIGHT was a modern twist to the vampire genre when it came out. There are so many films that I could create an entire list but those are some in particular I had a fondness and fascination of. They had a strong story to them. I was never as tremendous a of fan horror movies that had teenagers appear just to kill them off for no reason other than body count and gore.
Q: Ah, your basic 1980's "Slasher" movie.
Q: You studied as an artist and you have many credits as visual effects artist, then you went into directing. I while back I interviewed director Simon Hunter, who did MUTANT CHRONICLES, and he has a similar background. It seems a good fit, especially with a movie that has a lot of special visual effects. He had a lot more control because he knew what he envisioned because he also wrote the script. So did it flow naturally for you, to come from this artistic background and then write and direct?
Back in 1998, after working as an artist, I became a creative director for a number of home entertainment DVD titles, games and interactive projects before moving on to visual effects. It helped me out a lot because I was able to play with camera angles and shots. When I moved onto visual effects, I was able to be on set which allowed me experience they don't teach in school because you can see how directors deal when things go wrong due to time restraints or equipment breaking down. So I feel it's extremely necessary that the more experience you have in formal filmmaking the better. You can also see mistakes made during shooting when working on visual effects because it's your job to clean it up and to change certain things. You see how things could have been done better. Sometimes there are certain sequences that you are working on that are entirely visual effects based, that were never shot, and you're responsible for the entire shot, allowing you to act as director for it when you're moving the camera digitally through backgrounds or landscapes .It just seems that visual effects a natural progression for a lot of people - as long as they have story in mind and don't let the visuals strictly take over.
Q: What is happening with FADING OF THE CRIES now?
Right now we're in post-production. It will be finished in a few months. We've been in post-production for almost a full year, due to the sheer amount of shots that have to be done. We have also signed on two great sales agents that will be looking for a distributor when the film is finished.
Q: Is there anything else you're working on now?
Strangely enough Brad and I got along so well that we discussed doing another project together, so we're in the early development stage for that. And there's a couple other projects that would involve other actors I worked with from this film. I'm putting several projects out there to see what hits first.
Q: That makes sense, the more out there, the more likely something will happen.
Absolutely. This was my first script that I had written back in '98, a long time ago, and after years of trying to get it made, I was moving on to another project that was supposed to be green lit but didn't happen for one reason or another and then this one caught investors' eyes which came as a surprise. You just never know what's going to hit and what investors out there want.
Q: Anything else?
I just want to say that working with the cast was phenomenal as they were really into the project and added a lot of depth and development to their characters. Jordan who plays the lead Jacob was outstanding, especially for this being his first feature and coming from more of a theatre background. Thomas Ian Nicholas had to produce and act at the same time which was very stressful, but he pulled it off amazingly well. Elaine Hendrix was a lot of fun on set but when we called action, she almost had a split personality with the depth she gave her characters. Brad exceeded every expectation, especially for someone I had in mind from the beginning. The same goes with Hallee Hirsh and Mackenzie Rosman who did a great job for us as well. I want to thank them all for going the distance with me on this film and just having faith in what I was trying to tell them. They had to pretend a lot of scenes were the visuals were not yet there for them to see. It just shows how professional they all were. Lastly, I want to thank you for your time as well.