While speaking with 1313FX’s Tom Devlin earlier this week, the makeup artist (who will appear in an upcoming episode of Syfy’s reality show “Face Off” and who is currently prepping FX for Chad Ferrin’s Dances with Werewolves) tipped us off to the creature work he recently finished for the Opie Cooper-directed feature flick Big Bad.
“It was an awesome shoot!” Devlin told us of the Canton, Mississippi-filmed production, which was written by director Cooper, Danny Dauphin and Beth Kander and produced by Rick Moore of Eyevox Entertainment. Starring Cameron Deane Stewart (In My Shoes), Ainsley Bailey, Hannah Bryan (Rites of Spring), Clint Carmichael, Madeline Thelton, creature actor Brad Bishop and co-writer Dauphin, Big Bad revolves around (according to producer Moore) “three kids, each with their own agenda, who agree to participate in an eccentric biology teacher’s fundraiser, which is hosted in an old abandoned jailhouse with a shady past. Locked in overnight during a full moon, the kids soon find themselves stalked by a hairy, horrible beast, and their chaperone is nowhere in sight.”
Shot on the Red Mysterium X camera system over the course of fifteen days, Moore told us of the shoot, “It was wonderful. Mississippi, and the South overall, is filled with professionals who still really enjoy the process and the magic of filmmaking. People get to the set every day thrilled to work on the project, and everybody gets to give input on how to tell the best story possible under the time and budget restraints. We had a very ambitious shooting schedule, which led to a few compromises and multiple ‘tweaks’ to the script. We were literally rewriting the ending up to the day of shooting it to meet with the assets on hand. But from 1313FX’s can-do attitude and the rest of the crew’s ‘whatever it takes’ approach, we never felt like we had to sacrifice.”
As for the film’s players, Moore said, “We cast our young leads from a group of friends who were already very tight so there was an instant chemistry, and the supporting adult roles were all filled with experienced actors who just slipped right into their characters. Most notable in the film, however, will be the incredible locations that we had at our disposal. Each setpiece has a grand, highly art directed feel. A lot of that was already there. We just had to enhance it a bit, add some light, and place the camera in the right location.”
With Devlin having compared Big Bad’s narrative to the cult fave Monster Squad, we chatted with Moore regarding any potential similarity.
“You have to be careful when you compare yourself to movies like Monster Squad and Gremlins,” said the producer. “I think it is safer, and more accurate, to say we were inspired by these films. To the creative team of Big Bad, these and other Amblin-style movies from the 80’s – Explorers and Goonies come to mind – the magic was in those films’ quirky, youthful characters who said what was on their minds and followed wherever the adventure led them, regardless of logic or reason. Like Monster Squad, Big Bad isn’t really a horror movie; it is an action adventure film with humor firmly in the passenger seat and a big, scary monster clutching onto the back of the car, ready to crawl in and eat you. The three kids in Big Bad are very aware that they are in mortal danger and will do anything to stay alive. Still, as they are teenagers, their decisions of where to hide and what to do are heavily influenced by how much they may have a crush on each other or how ridiculous the actions of the people around them may be.”
Currently in post-production with an eye to finish by the end of April, we queried Moore on his approach to the film’s effects, in particular the old ‘practical versus CG’ debate, in order to ascertain his stance on the realization of Big Bad’s titular monster.
“You read a lot about some filmmakers who don’t like CGI and want to do everything old school and also those who swear by the freedom that computer-assisted effects give you. We are actually firmly in the middle. We knew from the beginning we wanted a detailed, scary monster on set – one that could emote and perform everything written in the script. 1313FX and Brad Bishop completely delivered on this front. For some more complex scenes we may duplicate parts of the monster or enhance a set in order to achieve a certain shot that would have been too difficult or expensive under our time and budget restraints.”
Moore plans to commence shopping Big Bad for distribution soon. As for future feature fare, his enthusiasm for delving into other genre pieces remains high.
“Eyevox Entertainment has projects in development that span various genres and ratings,” revealed Moore. “A straight horror film about young campers who discover they are stalked by a masked killer – with a twist of course – and a pet project about a new type of vengeful villain, which also lives in the ‘Monster Squad’ world of action/comedy, are on top of our list.”
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