Exclusive Interview: Actor Frank Grillo Discusses The Grey, Complicated Bad Guys, Eating Wolf and More - Dread Central
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Exclusive Interview: Actor Frank Grillo Discusses The Grey, Complicated Bad Guys, Eating Wolf and More

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Exclusive Interview: Actor Frank Grillo Discusses The Grey, Complicated Bad Guys, Eating Wolf and MoreActor Frank Grillo is relishing these past few years of his career. Not only did he recently star opposite Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton and Nick Nolte in the critically acclaimed flick Warrior, but he’s already earning rave reviews for his star-turning performance opposite Liam Neeson in Joe Carnahan’s The Grey, which hits theaters this Friday, January 27th.

Dread Central recently caught up with Grillo on the phone and heard more about how the actor came on board The Grey, his insights into his complicated character, what it was like to eat wolf meat alongside his cast mates and what’s up next for him in 2012.

Grillo, whom some of you may recognize from his previous genre efforts including iMurders, Minority Report, My Soul to Take or Mother’s Day, discussed how he came on board The Grey for a role that the actor saw as both an incredible challenge and an opportunity. “It was a gift to get to play a character like Diaz, who feels so rooted in reality; that usually doesn’t happen a lot these days. I usually get offered roles that are a complete 180 from me so it was great to play a fictional character and incorporate elements of myself into him. I’ve been friends with Joe and I’ve wanted to work with him for a long time now because I really love his style of filmmaking. Thankfully, after Joe saw a cut of Warrior and saw what I did in that film, he asked if I wanted to come on board The Grey to play Diaz.”

“I live in New York right now and I’m not an LA-type actor so I’m always up for a challenge like The Grey, especially since Joe wanted to get all of us out in the middle of nowhere to make it,” added Grillo. “Most directors would have shot on a soundstage and faked everything in post, but it was important to Joe to do this right, and I was completely on board for anything this shoot was going to throw at us over the six weeks we shot. One thing I will say is that it certainly wasn’t hard to ‘act’ cold since most days it was around 36 degrees below zero. In fact, the hardest challenge for me really was being able to dive into this character and serve him justice- the cold didn’t really bother me because I knew in six weeks we’d be wrapped and I’d get warm eventually.”

In The Grey Grillo portrays sociopathic ex-con John Diaz, who is forced to deal with his own inner demons in order to survive the unimaginable when the plane carrying him and a group of his fellow roughnecks goes down in the middle of nowhere in the Arctic. His character acts as the abrasive foil to Neeson’s level-headed character Ottway throughout the film, and while Grillo was happy to be on board the flick in any capacity, he discussed his initial concerns over playing a one-dimensional character that is only around to act as a hearty meal for some bloodthirsty wolves.

Grillo explained, “When I first started reading the script for The Grey, my first thought about Diaz was ‘Here we go again- another tough guy jerk-off character that’s only there to make Liam look better and to get eaten by wolves.’ I mean, to be honest, I’m a working actor so I would have been good with Diaz being just that kind of character, but thankfully, as I kept reading through the script, Joe makes him into so much more and gives him a real arc and I just fell in love with the role. It was so great to be given a real arc for a change- usually these guys are the ones you want to see die, but by the third act you’re rooting for Diaz to make it through this ordeal, too, and that’s something special.”

“John’s definitely the kind of guy who has spent a lot of time in prison so I thought, in order to really get into this guy’s mind, I need to spend a night in jail; so I did. I stayed at Riker’s and it was a pretty intense experience. While I was in there, I talked with quite a few of the inmates and saw how a lot of them managed to just slip through the cracks. Some of them were even really funny and charismatic guys and that made me realize they were far more than just inmates; they weren’t one-dimensional so I worked a lot on making sure Diaz wasn’t one-dimensional either. I think the most telling thing I could say about Diaz is that he’s the kind of guy that believes in God but knows that God doesn’t have any belief in him at all,” added Grillo.

Even though Grillo was able to prepare himself for the bitter cold shooting conditions on The Grey, the one thing he didn’t prepare for was having to consume actual wolf meat while filming Carnahan’s harrowing tale of survival.

“All of us that were on set are huge animal advocates so handling the ‘wolf’ aspect of the story while respecting them was definitely a concern for everyone on The Grey,” said Grillo. “and since our characters have to eat wolf meat at one point in the movie, Joe thought that we should all experience it in real-life so we actually drove about an hour away from set to eat wolf meat. I guess the wolf we ate had gotten too close to a camp and was threatening the residents so he had to be taken out- I don’t think we would have agreed had the wolf been killed for sport. But the one thing I can tell everyone is never eat wolf meat because it is just awful. So gamey and gristly – just a godawful taste – but the experience did bring us all together so that was good, I suppose.”

With The Grey coming out this week, recent rave reviews for his work as Frank Campana in Warrior, which was released this past September, and four features slated to come out this year, we asked Grillo his thoughts on all his recent cinematic success.

“You know, having Warrior and The Grey both come out within a few months of each other has been a great ‘one-two punch’ for my career since I was blessed to get to create two amazing characters in two very wonderful films. I’ve been at this for a while know so I still keep pinching myself over all this- it’s pretty amazing,” expressed Grillo.

Open Road Films will release the highly anticipated, action-packed survival thriller The Grey (review here) in theaters nationwide on January 27th, 2012.

Exclusive Interview: Actor Frank Grillo Discusses The Grey, Complicated Bad Guys, Eating Wolf and More

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The Cured Review – Ellen Page Fights for Her Life

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Starring Ellen Page, Sam Keeley, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Paula Malcomson

Written by David Freyne

Directed by David Freyne


Taking a cue from AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” the new Irish horror film The Cured begins where most zombie stories end. Drawing more comparisons, the themes of mistrust and social upheaval are front and center here as well. We’re the real villains and the infectious disease turning humans into monsters is only there to hold up a mirror to show the worst sides of ourselves. The Cured uses the Zombie mythos as Romero intended as a commentary on culture, with a little cannibalism thrown in for good measure.

Against the backdrop of a military takeover attempting to reintroduce the recently cured back into society, two people try to return to some kind of normalcy in a war torn Ireland that’s been turned upside down by the Zombie menace. Recently widowed, Abbey (Page) allows her now virus free brother-in-law Senan (Keeley) to live with her and her son even though most survivors are forced to live in an army encampment. Under constant surveillance, Senan’s old friend Conor (Vaughan-Lawlor) radicalizes the mistreated survivors of the virus into open rebellion.

The treatment of the survivors isn’t entirely unfair considering that they still have a connection and are not detected by a small percentage of the infected that haven’t responded to the cure. As both sides size each other up, Abbey and Senan are caught in the middle as they try and restore their humanity before the powder keg around them erupts.

Given its far out premise, the story stays firmly grounded in reality focusing on the growing resistance and  its political implications drawing parallels to the protest movements such as the “Black Block” that have dominated some recent news cycles. When the virus divided the population it was easy to know what side you were on; now, the cure has created a new class structure where the lower class is maligned until they cross the line and overthrow the uninfected. Clearly still affected and haunted by the heinous acts they committed when they were infected, the cannibalistic rage they still carry reflects the rage felt by the mistreated masses hellbent on overthrowing the powers that be.

Whether for budget reasons or simply a style choice, the eating frenzies that occurred before the cure are never fully shown so any gore and graphic images that could’ve been showcases for effects are left to the imagination. Maybe they weren’t shown because these acts were so unspeakable that they are too horrific to see and too painful to fully be remembered by the survivors. The top-notch sound design ratchets up instead and roars to life to the point where just hearing the carnage is enough to make you turn away.

Page’s performance is the emotional core of the film as she goes from understanding to fear to dealing with the ultimate betrayal. It’s important for a slow-developing story like this to have an actress with some star power, and director David Freyne and his team were fortunate to have a high caliber actress ready to deliver in some of the film’s quieter, more intense moments. Freyne directs these smaller character moments with care and also delivers once things open up to show the inevitable anarchy brimming under the surface.

The Cured may feel too closed off at times to allow its bigger ideas to fully breathe but it never pretends to encompass a more epic scope that would be more in the vein of something like World War Z. Without ever addressing it directly, Freyne, as an Irishman, seems well aware of the history of the country and he and cinematographer Piers McGrail inject their film with a pathos that makes Dublin come to life inside the world of the undead.

  • The Cured
3.5

Summary

The Cured is a gritty take on the genre that fits nicely into the new type of storytelling that these stories need to embrace in a post-Romero world.

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Director Brian Taylor Introduces Us to Mom & Dad

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Director Brian Taylor was more than kind enough to sit down with us for a few minutes to discuss his latest film, Mom & Dad starring Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair. This parental-units gone mad flick has already had it’s share of buzz during its release back on January 19th, and with a DVD and Blu-ray street date of February 20th, this is sure to be one film that will define the term “smothering parenting.” Read on and enjoy this little dive into paternal and maternal madness!

DC: Brian – let’s start off by having you give us a brief synopsis of the film, as well as where in the deep recesses of your mind did you manage to come up with an idea such as this?

BT: Well, the germination of the idea is pretty straightforward – I am a parent, so I think it’s something we can all relate to, and I will say that when I told my son about the idea of what the film was about, he looked at me as if I was insane. The movie is like one of those “one fine day” films…One fine day, in the world, the birds are singing and the sprinklers are happily watering away on millions of lawns, some phenomenon happens, and it’s never explained why or how, but it’s just a thing that everyone needs to react to. Simultaneously, all across the country – maybe all across the world, all the parents turn on their own children in a homicidal rage, and they don’t attack anyone else’s children – only their own. In the movie we follow two kids who have to survive 24 hours in the house they grew up in to avoid killing (or being killed) by the two people they love most in the world, and are supposed to love them the most in the world.

DC: Without giving away any spoilers, is this something that could have a continuation piece attached to it in the future?

BT: Well the way it works is if people love this story, we’re more than happy to give it to them, so let’s see how it goes (laughs).

DC: With you having worked with Nicolas Cage in the past, and knowing of his capabilities, was this an instance of you saying “here you go, have at it,” or was there a bit more direction in the process?

BT: Directing Nicolas is understanding that he’s not like other actors – first of all, he’s one of the most professional actors that you will ever encounter. This is a guy that may seem to be unhinged, over-the-top and crazy when you watch some of the stuff he’s done, but I assure you that he’s an actor of incredible precision and everything he does is under control and well thought-out, to a level that I think would surprise a lot of people. We did a table read for the film the day before we started shooting, and this is usually a time when the actors break out their pencils and make notes and try different things – he walked in and did the entire movie off-book with full-intensity in front of a packed room – nobody does that. The other actors were in awe, so he’s the real deal, and he’s capable of doing things that other actors wouldn’t even begin to try. It’s like being the visor for Cyclops in X-Men – if the visor comes off, he’s able to shred buildings, so that’s it – you’re basically the visor and the funnel for all that energy that’s potentially destructive.

DC: I’m sure this answer will be somewhat of a foregone conclusion, but I’ll ask anyway – Nicolas was your first choice for this role, correct?

BT: Oh yeah, and you never know how people are going to react to material like this because it’s pretty unorthodox, but I kind of knew that he’d get it. I sent him the script and he got back to me a day later and said “I’m in.” He got the humor and satire and most of all he personalized it on a level that the angst of the lost-soul parents is something he can relate to.

DC: After the release of Mom & Dad, what’s going to be keeping you busy for work?

BT: Right now I’m doing the TV show on SyFy called “Happy” which is based on the Grant Morrison comic book, and it’s completely bananas. I’ve got a few more episodes to finish up the first season, and if we’re picked up for a second season I’ll most likely dive straight into that.

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Fight Zombies and Aliens in Rainbow Six Siege’s Outbreak Mode

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Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege is about to enter sci-fi horror territory with the launch of the new Outbreak cooperative game mode, which will run from March 6-April 3.

Originally released by Ubisoft back in 2015, most of Rainbow Six Siege’s game modes up until this point had you fighting terrorists, although during the Outbreak event you’ll be facing off against everything from zombies to hulking alien monstrosities. The premise of Outbreak is fairly simple: A spacecraft crashes in the town of Truth or Consequences in New Mexico, unleashing a parasite which mutates the local populace. As a member of the elite Rainbow Six task force, your job is to eliminate the mutated creatures and contain the parasite before it spreads.

If you’re one of the 25 million people who already plays Rainbow Six Siege, you can learn more about the Outbreak event ahead of its launch on the game’s official website.

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege: Outbreak Synopsis:
A few days ago, a mysterious space capsule crashed near Truth or Consequences in New Mexico. It turned out to be carrying an exotic parasite, the Apex, which infected the area and turned the town’s populace into monsters. The Quarantine Zone is the only thing keeping it contained, but it will not last for long. If the parasite gets out, it would be a disaster of global proportions. Millions would die. Rainbow’s mission is to enter the devastated town and destroy the parasite’s roots before this happens.

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