Q: How did you become involved with DEADLY IMPACT? I noticed that the scriptwriter, Alex Vesha, is also from Ohio...
Producer David Greathouse (Easy Money) approached me with the film. He and I had had worked on the Horror Chronicles slate of films and have been friends for a very long time. I was Creature and VIFX producer on the films which shot back to back in NM. One of the three films was Buried Alive which I directed. We have a great working relationship. He watches my back and I watch his. After Buried wrapped I flew back to Ohio to shoot the main portion of The Rage only 2 weeks after wrapping Buried. Eight months later Dave dropped by the final sound mix for The Rage and really liked the energy in the film and suggested I do an action picture next. A few months later he brought me the script for Deadly Impact which he had set up at MGM. I had no idea it was written by fellow Ohioan Alex Vesha until after I was hired, but that was a really cool bonus for me.
Q: You had mentioned earlier that it was shot in under a month. How difficult was that, considering the effects and the scope of the project? What was the most challenging scene to shoot?
Very difficult but Dave put together a great crew in New Mexico, a lot of crew was on Buried Alive as well so most of us had worked together before. And Dave came up with the great Idea to base most of the production close to our main set in Downtown Albuquerque at the old courthouse which is where we shot a majority of our interiors. The plan saved us time by minimizing how many company moves we had to do on such a short period of time. The film was shot in 24 days with about a five week prep so it was nuts and really seemed impossible at times but we really planned things out and tailored the action to put as much on screen as we could. Dave's a great producer and always pushes to give his directors everything he can. My responsibility was to make sure that what I wanted to put on screen fit within his budget parameters. Both our goals were to bring the movie in on budget and schedule.
The most difficult sequences to film were the nightclub and alley shoot out. We had a day and a half for the interiors and day and half for the exterior nightclub exploding building and alley shoot out. We had 75 extras, explosions, stunts, and we had to tie major set pieces together from different locations, one being the sniper position across the street. All this was within a 3 block radius of downtown Albuquerque. We had traffic control, fire dept. and emergency EMT's on set those days. It was also a big day because we had a huge camera crane for the exterior nightclub shots which I only had several hours to utilize as we only rented it for a portion of the night.
Q: What makes it stand out are those disguises that the David Kaplow character comes up with. How much were you involved with creating those?
I was in New Mexico prepping the shoot and I relied heavily on the P13/Creature Corps crew to put all the prosthetics together. Gino Crognale did some rough concept sketches which I approved and he sculpted the make-ups over several weeks. The P13 crew included Sean Rodgers, Brian Demski, Connie Cadwell, Dave Greathouse, Alan Tuskes and my wife Anne Kurtzman was running the office.
Melanie Tooker who was my key applicator and on set person on Bubba Ho Tep and my straight make-up key on Wishmaster handled the applications on set. We did gelatin appliances on Joe Pantoliano and various hair pieces as well. We were very lucky that Joe had a personal wig collection and we were able to utilize several of them throughout the shoot. It was very hot in NM at the time and very difficult to maintain the make-ups on such a short shoot but Mel dealt with the day to day issues like a true pro and everything worked out fine.
Q: The movie has a good sense of humor and strong actors, especially the two leads, Sean Patrick Flanery and Joe Pantoliano. How was it working with them?
Great, we had a very short schedule and they both came to set with their game on. Joe really got the twisted humor and malevolence of the character and ran with it man which played well in contrast to Sean's quilt ridden/tortured man of action on the brink role. Sean was my first choice for the role of Tom Armstrong and Joe came to the project through Producer David Greathouse. I feel very lucky that they both had open schedules and responded to the characters and that the studio signed off on them. I've always dug their work and I'm very happy to have had the experience of working with them and the rest of cast, most of whom were local actors out of NM.
Q: Are actors Carmen Serano, who portrays the love interest, and Greg Serano, who portray the ex-partner, related?
They are husband and wife in real life...The both live in NM.
Q: This is also the first non-horror movie you've directed. Is this a direction you see yourself going?
2nd actually....Demolitionist was more action sci-fi/action picture but Deadly Impact is a straight action/ thriller. I've always loved action pictures as much as I do horror so it was very exciting and challenging having been given the chance to do something different as a director and not have to concentrate on heavy creature FX sequences. I'd really like to continue moving in different directions and not necessarily get typecast as a horror director although I love the genre and would have no problem doing one in the future.
Q: I also saw on the imdb.com that BUMP may be in production? Is that true? I enjoyed the brief comics run of that from FANGO...
We are still working on putting financing together which is the toughest part of the whole business. Unfortunately as often happens our financiers fell through when the economy took a dump and we had to start the whole process from scratch but we hope to have more forward momentum on Bump in the near future.