Nick Principe has been a busy guy lately. He starred in the new release Nobody Can Cool and also Army of the Damned, which premieres in October. Then the hulking filmmaker spent some time behind the camera with his directorial debut, Stockholm.
Principe recently pulled himself out of the Stockholm editing chair and sat down with Dread Central to talk about all his current projects.
Nobody Can Cool was released on August 20 and has been getting a nice response from viewers. “It was one of those auditions that you don’t think you’re going to get at all,” Principe said. “I read for another part and they offered me the lead. It was cool because it was a pretty gritty movie and I wanted the chance to act and they ended up giving me the chance.”
Principe describes the film as a dark thriller. “This story is about two criminals hiding out waiting for their connect to come. They’re in a cabin; then this yuppie couple, also from the city, come along, thinking they’ve rented the cabin for the weekend. We capture them at first; then there’s a power role reversal that goes back and forth. And then it all explodes in a bloody mess at the end.”
Playing the role of ‘bad guy’ Len (standing 6’7″ with a shaved head and covered in tattoos, Nick often finds himself in the role of the antagonist), Principe feels there is a side to Len that audiences can commiserate with. “Yeah, he’s a bad guy, but I’d like to think that people with a dash of street smarts or anyone who’s remotely sympathetic would feel for this person who’s in a forced situation,” Principe said. “He doesn’t want to hurt anyone, but he will if he has to. He just wants to get his pregnant chick and get his money and get the hell out. He knows he put himself in a horrible situation and just wants to get out of it.”
And apparently those who have seen the movie agree. “I got this Amazon review, and let me tell you, some of those people on there are pretty goddamn articulate,” Principe said. “One guy said, for whatever it’s worth, ‘Principe reminded me of a combination of Robert Mitchum and Robert De Niro from Cape Fear thrown in with the element of a nagged boyfriend.’ That was like the best, craziest, weirdest compliment ever!”
Principe thinks horror fans will be cheering for Len once they meet some of the other characters. “I find the two people who are in peril, the two “good guys, are just as annoying as shit. They’re yuppies forced into this situation and they’re like ‘Oh…my…god!’ I mean, I guess you’re supposed to root for them, but I think a horror fan watching it will be like, ‘Kill them off, please.'”
Nobody Can Cool is currently on Amazon, DVD and Empire. It did, however, have a bit of a rough time getting distribution because of some controversial content. “There’s some violence with a pregnant woman, which apparently is a big issue,” Principe said. “But it’s nothing compared to Inside. Because of the pregnancy thing there’s a delay with Netflix or something, but it’s supposed to be on Netflix streaming in like a month. There’s a screening in LA in November and at Rock and Shock in Worcester, MA, in October.”
For more info be sure to “like” Nobody Can Cool on Facebook.
In addition to Nobody Can Cool, Principe also just completed his directorial debut with the film Stockholm. He’s worked as a stunt and fight coordinator before and knows what looks good on screen. “I’m always quick to point out what I think will work best on camera,” Principe said. “But in situations where I’m not technically the stunt coordinator or fight coordinator, I don’t want to overstep my bounds. I can suggest stuff to the director but they get the final call. Something I’ve always kinda wanted to do is direct and this was literally just thrown into my lap.”
Principe gave us a brief synopsis of Stockholm: “It stars James Duva,l who abducts this 22-year-old girl and keeps her in his basement, and along the way she falls in love with him,” Principe said. “And basically, the day they admit they’re in love, he kicks her out and you don’t know why.”
He began the project as a member of the cast and through a unique chain of events found himself the co-director. “This guy I met named James Mogart was producing this movie and he asked me to be in it,” Principe said. “I didn’t actually see the script until three days before shooting and some of the script was just storyboards, like it wasn’t completely finished, and I was like, ‘What the fuck is up with this?’ It was a total friend project so I didn’t question it much. Then I started seeing it and thought it could be really, really cool, but if they do it like they’re planning, it’s going to be half-assed and just a very forgettable, no-budget, just fucking whatever. So I call my roommate, James Duval, and say to the filmmaker, ‘Give Duval a couple bucks and cast him as the lead.'”
Principe continued, “So here we are and now I’m a producer on this movie because I’ve brought the main talent. So the original director had all the passion in the world and all the drive, but just not much experience at all doing this. The first day, right out of the gate, I completely directed these little fight scenes. There’s like a big reveal and I directed all those sequences and a lot of stalking sequences.” Principe continued this work and ended up being named co-director on the project.
In addition to landing Duval, Principe also brought in an actor he had previously worked with and been impressed by, wrestling legend Tommy Dreamer. “He’s fucking awesome!” Principe said. “He’s a really good actor and I wanted to utilize him as much as possible. He’s playing a detective and he’s already got that husky guy look with the goatee and the cropped haircut so I thought he’d make a perfect detective.”
Describing his experiences on the set, Principe was very complimentary of his cast. “If you can do something and feel really comfortable about it, that comfort brings confidence, but you’re only as good as the people you work with. And if you’re getting along with them and you have an idea and you can verbally describe that idea to them and they give you that tenfold, then it’s like, ‘Maybe I could keep doing this.’ I’d love to develop a project from the ground up, but we’ll see how this movie does. In the meantime I’m just trying to act, work, keep my head above water and keep going in this business.”
As far as dealing with and working with others, Principe has a great philosophy. “I always humble myself because I get fanboyed out too, seeing these actors, working with these guys. But you’ve gotta put that in check, out of the way and move forward,” Principe said. “And I try to always treat everybody the same. I don’t care if you’re a P.A. or an executive producer. I treat people how I want to be treated. You can’t get respect unless you give it, and I try to be as kind and sweet as possible to everybody.”
Finally, Principe discussed another project in which he acted and served as the stunt coordinator, Army of the Damned, which will be having its premiere in October. “I saw a cut of Army of the Damned and it’s a really fast moving, fun flick,” Principe said. “I really think horror fans are gonna dig it. If you like movies like Demon Knight and slashers and throw in like a dash of action movie elements because there’s a lot of gunplay in it, it’s just like a fun midnight movie. It’s something I picture seeing when I was like 16 and worshiping.”
He continued, “We definitely put a lot into it. We’ve got some great actors, some great F/X by Ben Bornstein. Tom DeNucci (director) wrote a really fun script. He let me have fun with my lines. He knows how to write a good three-act film. You can’t fucking deny that.”
Big thanks to Nick for his time. Dig some early stills from Stockholm below.
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