We recently visited the set of Epic Pictures’ latest monster movie (because Epic Pictures monster movie), Day of Reckoning, and we came back with exclusive interviews with stars Jackson Hurst and Nick Gomez as well as director Joel Novoa.
Dread Central: Jackson, you have some rather formidable opponents in Day of Reckoning. What are they exactly? Demons? And do you just act against nothing? We hear they’re all CGI.
Jackson Hurst: Yeah, we have actually, and when we do work with the creatures, I’ve asked that they actually show me images of them so I know what I’m up against, they’re pretty impressive but yeah, we did some pretty good stuff as in crawling through tight spaces, being chased and some bigger, you know down the L.A. River, we were up against some pretty intense stuff so it was pretty cool.
DC: Tell us about whom you play in the film.
JH: You know, he kind of starts out as, I don’t want to say a deadbeat dad, but kind of a chill guy, had a run of bad luck I would say, he ends up as a maintenance man and he’s separated from his wife and loves his son and still loves his wife but just can’t pull it together and when he’s thrust into the craziness of the story, he has to pull it together, and his heroic side needs to come out or he’ll die, everybody will.
Background is, he was an engineer with some fight type of experience, military type experience, but fifteen years ago shit kind of hit the fan when this happened the first time around and things went haywire and he ended up separated from his wife and ended up where he is today.
DC: Does he actually want to be where he is?
JH: Yeah, he was thrust into it, kind of like The Purge, once it happens one year you’ll know what’s going on the next year, it was the same type of thing but this is, you don’t when it’s going to happen so everyone’s always… when a few certain variables start to line up, that’s when the signs start to happen. That’s when you know that it could be coming and in this case yeah, he was in it but it was fifteen years ago, he was young, he was like twenty and now here we are fifteen years later and so he hasn’t quite prepared as much as one might hope and that kind of goes along with his whole personality where he just kind of chills and goes with the flow and then it ends up catching up with him, but yeah The Purge, that’s a good analogy, it has that vibe, like World War Z, they all kind of fall into that vibe.
DC: Sounds like you’re a fan of the genre.
JH: Love it, absolutely love it. You know, when I read the script, I could immediately visualize it. I’m a fan of the genre, I’m a fan of the creature flicks, the disaster flicks, the kind of apocalyptic flicks, it’s got it all.
DC: So you must have jumped at the chance to star in Day of Reckoning.
JH: Yeah, well that’s actually what drew me to the project, was when the opportunity came up, I wanted to watch Joel’s stuff and his style to see if was something that would mix well with mine, and what I liked is that he is very character drive, it’s a lot of hand held so you feel like you’re constantly in the mix of everything but there wasn’t horror or apocalyptic or that type of stuff, it was all character driven. A lot of political pieces but a lot of relationships and that’s what really drew me to this more than anything, was to see how his style would match up to this genre. I think it’s a brilliant mix because sometime in this genre you can lose the relationship of the characters, the passion and you’ll just get caught up in violence, violence, violence. He brings those deeper levels and when we met before shooting, we talked fiver percent about creatures and demons and ninety-five percent about relationships and the arcs of characters, where we’re going to take it, my background, what brought me to where I am, that’s the type of stuff, and I love that, digging deep into a character like that.
DC: Were you the first actor cast?
JH: When the offer came in, they said they had my son cast but I think my wife was still in the works so I think maybe I was the second person to come onboard.
DC: Looks like there’s a lot of physicality to the roles in the movie, just going by what we’ve seen on set today. Seems you’re doing a lot of running and stuff… do you do all your own stunts?
JH: I want to do all my stunts, you know? There aren’t’ a lot of high flying dangerous types of stunts, a lot of this is what you would see in some of the other stuff we were talking about, running, jumping, a lot of that stuff but there’s definitely been a lot of wild driving and so we had a stunt guy come in for some of the stuff. I wanted to do it and asked to do it but they said no, insurance won’t cover that so, but for the most part I’m doing everything but the driving, which I like, I want to do as much as I can.
DC: I know you’re early into the shoot, but what has been, or will be, the most challenging bit for you?
JH: There is a lot of that and it’s hard to say without spoiling but I’ll say this. In about the middle of the script there is a scene that is a huge turning point, it’s kind of a live or die moment, tons of special effects, very intense and we haven’t shot that yet but it’s coming up and I cannot wait.
DC: What’s it like, having to emote to, well, nothing? Acting for CGI-based movies is different, isn’t it?
JH: It’s actually, your right, it is a different level of acting because aside from imagining it, you need to know exactly what you’re doing, what it’s doing, whatever this thing is that you’re imagining but luckily I’ve worked with green screen and I’ve done some special effects but it’s help me to ask to see the composite, whatever you guys have come up with, whatever image they have, if they show me that it helps me a lot but after that you just have to imagine and sometimes it’s even more liberating than working with a person because you can imagine whatever you want, respond to whatever you want, it’s actually in this movie specifically it can be terrifying because you can take it to any level you want in your imagination, it’s pretty cool.
Dread Central: So, Nick… it looks like you’re in a military uniform. Since we haven’t seen you working today yet, can you fill in a few details?
Nick Gomez: I play Garrett Abare and that’s correct, I am in uniform. Homeland Security, ma’am, Homeland Security.
DC: You have so many fans, especially from your work on “The Walking Dead.” So… are you a fan of scary, apocalyptic stories yourself?
NG: Well, I love me a good apocalyptic horror film and, especially with this role, also some of the other actors. I’ve been a huge fan of Ray Barry for a long time, I actually worked with him on a film a decade ago so when I saw he was attached I was in, and then the character itself is just a fun character to play.
DC: I hear he’s not such a nice guy.
NG: I’ve played a lot of ‘bad guys’, and I like playing those guys because it gives me a chance to defend them and understand why they’re the way they are and Garrett is a really interesting guy because he’s a strong guy, a military guy but there’s this sense of being very afraid and so a lot of times when these guys are afraid they act out in very specific, sometimes barbaric ways and my character in this script is a wild card amongst this group.
DC: How so?
NG: Well, when we first meet him he seems like a decent human being, a military guy, and he is, and then when we find him in the bunker there’s a little bit of tension and then we go back and forth, we don’t trust him, we trust him and so we’re kind of walking that fine line with this guy, we’re not sure where he really stands.
DC: Kind of reminds me of the character John Goodman played in 10 Cloverfield Lane. Did you see him in that?
NG: Yes. And exactly, it was really good, it was to taunt and thrilling and all took place in that little bunker and I think that’s the same kind of feel we want to go with this and with this character specifically, with Garrett, because we’re not sure what side he’s on and unfortunately for them, he’s on his side really, that’s the side he’s on and you don’t know how you’re going to react in certain situations, you don’t know how you’re going to react in an apocalypse. That’s why The Walking Dead for instance is so huge, because everybody wants to think about what they would do in that situation and which character they would identify with. Would they be like Rick, would they try and keep their morals, would they be like Shane and say no, every man for himself and so people want to think about who they would be, how they would react and how bad-ass it would be, or not. So Garrett, as much as he wants to be the tough guy, the thing that he’s scared of the most is other people thinking that he’s scared and so to cover that he becomes a bully a little bit.
DC: Have you shot much yet?
NG: Actually, it is in my first day of filming, I actually haven’t memorized a lot of my dialogue yet but I do have a great monologue about what happened on the first day of reckoning and the audience and actually the director don’t even know, because it’s my choice on whether that was real or not, so it will be up to the audience to decide if that’s the real story or not. Keeping it ambiguous, because we’re not sure if that’s the truth or not and we might never find out but that keeps it interesting.
DC: Joel, how’d this movie come about for you – because I know it’s kind of a departure from your previous works.
Joel Novoa: Actually, I found out about this job when I was in Germany. I had finished another film and I found through a mutual contact, they sent me the script without even knowing Patrick they sent me the script and said look, this film is shooting in Los Angeles and take a look at it so I read the script and I was super engaged with it. It was completely different from what I’ve done before. I come from this political thriller, intellectual type of films.
DC: Were you excited about trying your hand at a monster movie?
JN: I’ve been looking for that type of project for a long time and what motivated me was that even if it was entertaining and it’s something that’s fun and something that is fast paced, I think there is a message underneath about our arrogance as human beings and how we keep digging deeper and deeper and how fragile we are when things are out of our control and you know, I kind of found my own voice with it and something that I could put my own stamp on it. It’s a very heavy v effects project so I met with Patrick the first day and I was very honest, I’m not a v effects guy, I’m about characters, I’m about story, I loved the script, I would be glad to do the story but it’s important to know that I would be able to make it into a character piece. It will be bloaty and it will be fun but I want the story to be about character, to have good actors, to take our time and get the best actors. I think they went along with it and that motivated me a lot and they have endorsed every single decision that I have made and I think that’s why we got the level of the cast that we got and I just went for it and now I’m here and I’m giving all my heart and my life to it.
DC: How’d you get all these different kinds of monsters together, not only in your imagination but on the pages of the script and eventually on the screen?
JN: It’s a collective work. I sent about fifty or sixty references for different creatures, animals, demons and human characters, that’s why we created different type of demons. The first thing I did when I got on board was I asked the producers to put me in touch with the writers so I met with Greg, the writer, and I wanted to try and get into his mind and he actually shared with me a little bit about where it came from and everything had a story. For me, the genes are based on the Islamic culture of demons. The [monster] is more of the Japanese culture, every demon is inspired by a different culture so I kind of wanted to have the sound they make, the way they move, how the approach, they move like animals not in a supernatural kind of way, like very fast animals.
DC: What’s your point of reference?
JN: I have Wesley around here in a costume all the time. Sometimes I’m not able to do it because the chart’s so big that it’s not enough, the measurements that I need but usually I do have some sort of reference, that looks kind of funny when you do it but then after that it will look rather scary.
DC: The demons are all different shapes and sizes…
JN: Yeah, we have from very big demons, very muscular shaped demons to very skinny humanoid demons and other very surprising animals.
DC: Sounds like you are kind of touching on lots of genres, here.
JN: Yeah, but it’s a sci-fi/horror. I’m actually into the general world of science fiction because I think it’s the best way to talk about important themes but it is a horror film with lots of moments that are going to make people jump. They were making scenes specifically to make people jump out of their seats, so it’s a mix between that, the sci-fi world we’re creating, some things practical effects, some later on in CGI and lots of characters who are very interesting in their own way and the conflicts they bring, it’s going to be a very fast paced, high adrenaline movie.
Novoa (God’s Slave) directs Day of Reckoning from a script by Gregory Gieras (Big Ass Spider). Hana Hayes, Jay Jay Warren, Raymond Barry, Barbara Crampton, Jackson Hurst, Nick Gomez, and Randy Vasquez star.
Epic Pictures holds worldwide sales and distribution rights to the film.
The story is set in Los Angeles 15 years after the world suffered a horrendous disaster when demon-like creatures invaded Earth and nearly destroyed mankind. Hurst plays mediocre husband and father David Shepperd, who tries to save his family when the demon creatures return to wreak havoc.
Exclusive: This Nails Clip Proves Dingy Hospitals Will Always Be Creepy
Today sees the VOD release of Dark Sky Films’ Nails, the directorial debut of screenwriter and Cinelicious Pics Head of Distribution Dennis Bartok. Following the story of a woman who goes through a near-death car accident only to find herself paralyzed and trapped in her own body. She then becomes convinced that a strange and malevolent entity that she dubs “Nails” is set on destroying her marriage, her family, and, ultimately, her life.
To celebrate the release of the film, we’ve got an exclusive clip that you can watch below. In it, Leah McNamara’s Gemma is walking through the bowels of a hospital when she stumbles across a bed with a working gas mask. When an alarm suddenly goes off, she jumps in surprise, knocking over a nearby tray, spilling sharp instruments across the floor. It’s while she attempts to clean the mess that Nails makes an appearance…
Nails also stars Shauna McDonald, Ross Noble, Steve Wall, and Charlotte Bradley. You can watch the film on iTunes.
Are You Afraid of the Dark? Film Will Be Dark and Scary
I don’t know about you guys, but I am a huge fan of Nickelodeon’s 90’s kid’s horror anthology “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”. I even own the entire series on DVD with some of my favorite episodes being “Laughing the Dark” and “Dead Man’s Float”.
It is with this in mind, we are excited as hell to pass along the news that the classic series will be making it’s way to the big screen in the near future!
Gary Dauberman the screenwriter behind such recent horror hits as IT, Annabelle: Creation and The Nun has been tasked with penning the script for the new feature film.
“The show is about the shared experience of telling stories — especially scary ones,” Dauberman told THR. “We’re going to celebrate that with this movie and honor the darker, scarier tone of the show, which was really groundbreaking for Nickelodeon at the time. I hope the Midnight Society approves.”
The flick will be hitting us via producer Matt Kaplan (The Darkness) and Paramount’s new division Paramount Players. Which is headed by Brian Robbins (Varsity Blues) and will work with Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, and BET to generate projects.
Did you watch “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” as a kid on Snick? What’re your favorite episodes? Make sure to let us know in the comments below or on social media!
We will let you know as soon as we hear more on Are You Afraid of the Dark? so stay tuned! Until then, you can buy the entire series on DVD starting right HERE!
This spooky anthology series for kids recounts ghost stories told by the young members of the Midnight Society as they gather around a campfire. Each episode opens with members of the Midnight Society at their secret spot in the woods, where they prepare their fire and the night’s storyteller announces the title of his or her offering. However, the cameras soon leave the storyteller and switch to the tale being told.
The Rampage Trailer Is a Bit More Serious Than I Was Expecting
Video game adaptations are no stranger to Hollywood. From movies like Super Mario Bros. to Street Fighter to the Resident Evil franchise, Hollywood has long had its eye on popular video game titles, seeing them as fodder for big screen adaptations. Some of these make total sense, like Silent Hill or Assassin’s Creed.
Regardless of whether or not they’re good movies (something that’s purely subjective), titles like the ones I just mentioned are story-driven, which lends itself to the possibility of a wonderful on-screen narrative. However, there are titles that make absolutely zero sense, and Rampage is one of them.
The game is nothing more than players picking one of three giant monsters (a gorilla, wolf, or lizard) and then proceeding to beat the everliving crap out of cities until only rubble remains. It’s 100% fine that there’s basically nothing of substance behind such a game. Hell, loads of titles are there simply to promote having a good time over getting invested in some grand, sweeping story! But it certainly begs the question, “Why this game?”
Obviously Hollywood can make a spectacle of it, especially with the big budget VFX destruction sequences we’ve been seeing over the years. Plus, the Planet of the Apes films prove that animal CGI has come a long, long way in just a few years. So why is it that when I watch the Rampage trailer that I feel like Hollywood may once again have forgotten what made the game so great in the first place?
Look, I’m absolutely aware that first trailers usually don’t give a clear idea of what the final product will be. We’ve all been through that, and I’m perfectly happy to give Rampage the benefit of the doubt. But whoever made this trailer really wanted it to feel like something serious and gritty.
I guess we’ll know exactly what kind of movie Rampage really is when it hits theaters on April 20, 2018.
Rampage was directed by Brad Peyton and stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Naomie Harris, Malin Akerman, Jake Lacy, Joe Manganiello, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
Primatologist Davis Okoye (Johnson), a man who keeps people at a distance, shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent silverback gorilla who has been in his care since birth. But a rogue genetic experiment gone awry transforms this gentle ape into a raging monster. To make matters worse, it’s soon discovered there are other similarly altered alpha predators.
As these newly created monsters tear across North America, destroying everything in their path, Okoye teams with a discredited genetic engineer to secure an antidote, fighting his way through an ever-changing battlefield, not only to halt a global catastrophe but to save the fearsome creature that was once his friend.
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