Jason Connery’s Area 51 – previously titled 51 – is set to debut February 26th on the Syfy Channel as part of the After Dark Originals lineup. We caught up with the actor-turned-director to chat about his contribution to the terrain of cinematic extraterrestrials. Dig it!
Chris Haberman: You shot entirely in Louisiana – How did the shoot go?
Jason Connery: “It was great. It’s obviously slightly strange to shoot a film that’s [set] in the desert in a swamp, but a lot of the work was interior and we shot in a disused mattress factory, which actually had a huge warehouse. So we had an exterior in the back, which looked like a military air base.”
CH: I spoke with [51 actress] Rachel Miner, who was impressed with how much you were able to do and so quickly.
JC: “The thing is, the first film I shot, I had 12 days to shoot it. And for me, it’s all about getting as much coverage as possible. Having been an actor for many years – and I still do act every now and again – I work with the actors quite extensively. But also on this film, I had a little bit longer – I had 14, 15 days…and I managed to get a [inaudible] camera, so I get quite a lot of coverage if I can, possibly, because there’s nothing worse than having cut something that you don’t want to.”
CH: You have an extensive acting career – I would assume that assists quite a bit in your directorial duties.
JC: “Well, I think so. I mean, I really enjoy telling stories. It’s been so, it sounds very obvious, but it’s so exciting to tell the entire story as opposed to the story from one character’s perspective, which obviously one does as an actor. And so I really enjoy that. And I felt like I travelled around America quite a lot teaching acting as well, so the cast that we had with Rachel and Bruce Boxleitner and Jason London and John Shea…they were really lovely actors to work with. They were the kind of people where you gave them some direction and they really ran with it, which was great.”
CH: You’ve worked with Jason London before – I imagine you two have a pretty good chemistry.
JC: “Yeah! He’s a great, nice guy to work with because he comes prepared and he always has ideas and he’s got a very natural delivery, which I always appreciate. You can never imagine him learning a line – they come from him from a place which is very natural. And he was good for the part and I think he does a great job. A funny story is that, in the film he’s a character that goes through a bit of a transition because he started off being in the infantry and when he arrived on the battlefield he was so frightened by what was going on that he actually shot his own toes off. And then of course he ends up being somewhat of a hero in this film, so there’s a bit of an arc for him. But I’m talking on the set with him and I put it to him: ‘Well, we’re gonna obviously CGI out your toes when we do the shot where you’re showing your foot to the camera, or to the Rachel Miner character.’ And he goes ‘Oh actually, that’s fine ‘cause I’ve got the two toes missing.’ And it was it was most extraordinary thing – he took off his shoe and lo and behold, he has no toes, he only had two toes missing on one of his feet! Actually he’s never shown it on camera before, so he’s a little bit shy. You’re gonna see his real foot and hopefully say ‘Wow, that’s really good CGI!’”
CH: What intrigued you about this particular project?
JC: “I think that it’s one of those things where there’s so much conjecture about whether there are in fact aliens, whether the Air Force have any aliens in the facility. I mean, if you go on the Internet, everyday there’s new postings… Everyone I talk to about the story were so excited because, you know, it’s one of those conspiracies – starting way back in 1947 with Roswell and everything. And I think the people…it really plays into imaginations. This film is a very simple set-up: finally the Air Force are allowing the journalists to visit the inside of the facility, and of course, there’s only certain section that they’re showing them, but then it all goes a bit wrong for them. We have quite a few shocks and surprises that happen throughout, and it will definitely play into the imaginations of certainly quite of few different theories that people have.”
CH: Do you have a particular opinion on whether or not there might be “something” out there?
JC: “I think there’s definitely ‘something’ out there. I can’t imagine that the galaxies – especially when you start hearing about the sheer magnitude of space – it seems to me there has to be. Whether or not we’ve been visited, I don’t know – I would suggest that we probably have, as well. But that’s the question, I guess.”
Jason London, Bruce Boxleitner, Rachel Miner, Vanessa Branch, John Shea, Jillian Batherson, Beau Brasso, Nedal Yousef, and J.D. Evermore all star.
Area 51 chronicles what happens after political pressure from the American public forces the Air Force to provide a few well-known reporters with limited access to the most secretive base on the planet: Area 51. When one of the base’s hidden “long term visitors” exploits this unprecedented visit as a chance to liberate himself and his fellow alien captives, Area 51 turns from a secure government base to a horrifying destination of terror. The movie is a production of After Dark Films.
Check out the After Dark Originals website for more!
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