Johnston, Dietrich (Blood Shot)
Dietrich Johnston has been waiting a long time to make Blood Shot. When he first had the idea of a cop teaming up with a vampire, he made a short film starring Michael Bailey Smith as the vampire. He wrote a feature length script, but Hollywood was full of a lot of empty promises. Now he is finally on the set, shooting a harem scene with Brad Dourif as the villain, Bob. The scene requires a simple reverse shot of Bob observing the carnage to be filmed later, but Dourif already has ideas for things he can be doing in his shots.
Dietrich Johnston: I have my scripts and I have my storyboards, and then there's the reality of the time and budget that I have. Then I have Brad Dourif who's brilliant, who comes in and he wants to rework the scene until it feels good to him, so it ends up being something a little bit different than I imagined.
Crave Online: Why even bother blocking before he gets there?
Dietrich Johnston: No, I blocked before. I had everything storyboarded and planned out before I cast anyone, so I didn't know who I was going to get for Bob. But Brad Dourif is bringing something that I wasn't expecting to Bob. I knew it was going to be brilliant when his name was brought up and he's given me a brilliant performance. Remember in Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers when he cries as he looks onto the amassing army of orcs? Remember that scene? He's bringing that kind of sickness to Bob. It's a psychotic bad guy. So one of his first scenes, he gave a performance where it was so intense that when we finished, everyone who was watching, in unison, at the monitors, went [gasp, sigh] like that. It was awesome.
Crave Online: How does it feel to finally be shooting Blood Shot the feature film?
Dietrich Johnston: It's cool but there are a lot of stresses in this where if we go over budget, I'm the last to get paid. So if we go over budget then I don’t get paid at all.
Crave Online: Wouldn't you do it for free? It's your dream project.
Dietrich Johnston: I would if I didn't have a family to feed and a mortgage to pay, but I got lucky. I can't complain about that. So I'm just trying to do a good job. I'm sleep deprived. I'm getting like two hours a night or something so I'm running on steam right now. So but no, it's fun. I wish I could just enjoy it more. There's too much pressure to really have fun. I am having some fun, little bits of fun but there's just a lot of crap you have to put up with.
Crave Online: Editing will be fun.
Dietrich Johnston: Yeah, but right now I'm at the stage where I'm faced with the reality of the time and the money, the budget, strips away all the dreams of certain shots that I really wanted to get. I don't have time for them. I have to cut them. People are wanting me to cut scenes so I've been cutting action sequences that I've really been wanting to film, so I'm not going to get to film those.
Crave Online: If an investor wanted to give you more financing, what's one action sequence they could buy you?
Dietrich Johnston: There's an action sequence in the second act. It takes place in a warehouse. Vampire ships some body bags to the terrorists in this warehouse in anticipation of going over there and kill them all. It would be a really fun action sequence. This has the potential to be something, I think, really big. It's a really fun concept, fun ride. It just has to be done right, so that's the struggle is trying to not sacrifice the quality of what I have. If I had more, a little would go a long way at this stage. If anyone is interested in investment they can send an e-mail here.
Crave Online: It's an ambitious goal, taking inspiration from things like The Terminator. How will you deliver on your promises?
Dietrich Johnston: I think Michael Bailey Smith delivers that and Dean Jones' makeup team. Michael Bailey Smith's 6'4" and huge, muscular. Dean Jones, they're amazing makeup artists and they made him look like Nosferatu today, so he already looks like a cross between Terminator and Nosferatu. I'm not trying to say it's going to be better than The Terminator or anything like that.
Crave Online: What's changed since you wrote the script four years ago?
Dietrich Johnston: Everything. The only thing that's similar is the relationship between Vampire and the cop. Other than that, there's a demon genie, a harem, a big giant eunuch guard who guards the harem that they have to fight. Lots of little subplots I guess.
Crave Online: What was the inspiration for those additions?
Dietrich Johnston: They were fun ideas. I wanted it to be more fun and also the investor wanted the original ending back from the short, which I won't spoil, which is sort of a semi-tragic ending. Then there's a love story too now, with the cop and his wife. It's really good. I can't say anything about it. It would just spoil it.
Many thanks to Crave Online, interviewer Fred Topel, and the cast and crew of Blood Shot. Keep it right here for more as we get it!