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With filmmaker Sean Cain having recently wrapped his “sorority girls vs. dinosaurs” flick Jurassic Block, we sat down to chat with the affable writer and director regarding the project. Read on for more, including several stills and a look behind the scenes!
Written and directed by Cain (whose previous genre features include Silent Night, Zombie Night and Breath of Hate), Jurassic Block is produced by Anthony Fankhuaser and J.J. Kim, with FX by Joseph Lawson. It stars Ray Wise (Jeepers Creepers 2), Kevin Gage (Heat), Robert LaSardo (Death Race), Vernon Wells (The Road Warrior), Dana Melanie, Kayla Carlyle, Jack Forcinito (Silent Night, Zombie Night), Sofia Mattsson, Monique Parent, Timothy Muskatell, Vanessa Johnston and Bill Millsap (“Hatfields & McCoys”).
“Originally it was a much different concept,” Cain told us of the beginnings of Jurassic Block. “I had pitched the producers initially with my idea of basically combining [the premises of] Attack the Block with The Raid Redemption. It was supposed to be a bunch of teenaged ghetto kids who end up in this big high-rise building kicking ass. The producers liked the idea but came back to me and said, ‘Can you make the location a prison, and can you make the lead characters three sorority girls?’ So of course I said, ‘Yes.’ I mean, pretty girls and dinosaurs? That’s a combination we can sell.”
Written over the course of a month and a half, “There were about nine different drafts,” said the filmmaker of the script. “I kept having to change things based on budget or this or that, so I was pretty much writing up until a few days before we started shooting.”
Filmed in and around the Los Angeles area over the course of twelve days on the Red camera, the majority of Jurassic Block was lensed at the Sybil Brand Institute for Women, an abandoned prison in Monterey Park, CA.
“This is the first time that I haven’t produced a movie that I’ve directed, so I was kept out of the process quite a bit while I was re-writing the script,” offered Cain (pictured below) of the pre-production. “It was a lot less pressure on me, not having to produce the film. When I’ve done stuff in the past, it felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders because I had do every single thing, but being able to delegate more and more with each project has been nice. So they pretty much hired the crew. I was in for the casting process, though, so I was able to bring some of my old familiar faces to the table and also go out to some new ones. All in all, it was a good experience.”
With regard to directing such a VFX-heavy project, “I worked previously as an editor and as the director on the Los Angeles reshoots for Rise of the Dinosaurs (aka Jurassic Attack),” Cain stated. “It was a good ‘jumping off’ point for me to prep for something similar. It was a good learning curve. A lot of the post will be working with the effects guy on how to make the dinosaurs react to the human performances, and we’ll come up with something pretty cool. I’ve just started editing it. I’m giving myself about six weeks to deliver a rough, finished picture.”
“The game plan is to have Syfy release it,” he said of distribution. “Because of that, we were very conscientious about crafting the film for television. So there’s no swearing. They have strict guidelines at Syfy about what you can and can’t do. They are very interesting. For example, you can have a lot of ‘creature on man’ violence, but ‘man on man’ is bad. So that was some of the re-writing I had to do. I mean, there are still people fighting each other, and it still has a lot of gory stuff, but it’s mainly with dinosaurs chomping humans, rather than humans shooting or stabbing each other.”
Pertaining to the gore, things apparently rush out of the gate in the opening moments of Jurassic Block.
“Bill Millsap was great,” stated Cain of the actor, who appears as a lone guard who meets an untimely demise in the opening. He also had a bit part in Cain’s previous feature Silent Night, Zombie Night.
“He was a trooper,” he continued. “He’s in the first scene, and he dies bloodily. He’s the Drew Barrymore of Jurassic Block. I don’t think the audience will have any illusions that he’ll survive. I think once he comes on screen, people will know that this guy is going to get it first, and I think it’s a fun opening.”
Stated Millsap of working with Cain, “Sean is a blast to work with. He is supremely focused on set, but with a casual attitude and disarming sense of humor that instantly makes you want to give him your best. As for the dino I’m up against, I have yet to see what it looks like, but I know it thinks I’m pretty tasty.”
On the look of the dinos in Jurassic Block, “We are going old-school Spielberg,” Cain revealed. “They gave us a bunch of different looks for the Velociraptors, and some of them had more feathers than others, but we are going for the look of the original Velociraptors in Jurassic Park, other than the ones they did later in that series. That feather stuff is kind of ridiculous.”
As for what’s next, “We are looking to do many more creature features in the future,” concluded Cain.
A trio of sorority girls are tossed in the drunk tank after a wild party gone wrong. They have to team up with some nasty characters to survive the night after a pack of Velociraptors get loose when a secret convoy is diverted from their original destination to the bowels of the jail.
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