It’s a sunny day in Southern California. That’s not unusual. An independent movie is being shot in a quiet residential neighborhood. That’s the norm. There are a few horror icons sprinkled throughout the cast. Typical.
What’s not so usual is that The Divine Tragedies isn’t your basic stab and slab. It’s a layered family drama which just happens to have some blood and gore. At the center of this dangerous dynamic is a cop who’s hunting a team of killer brothers – but he’s got an advantage because he’s psychic. That, and he’s played by the great Ken Foree.
We caught up with Ken on set (and some of the other cast… stay tuned for more interviews) and asked him what it’s been like to play the eccentric detective.
Dread Central: I know a little bit about it, that you get to play a psychic cop. Is that what made you want to take the plunge?
Ken Foree: I thought the script was interesting. Certainly a new take on psychotic horror. It’s based loosely on [real-life killers] Leopold and Loeb. Give me a true crime story from that era, or any kind of mass murder, and I am right there. Very fascinating. I had a meeting with Jose and we talked and he was open for collaboration and I am always looking for that. It’s always a good starting point for an actor and a director. So we worked together on a few things, and it came out real well. I thought, ‘Okay, let’s do this. It sounds wonderful.’
DC: He told me he did jigger the script to make it a little more humorous for you. Was that one of your requests, or was that his idea?
KF: I think we both came to the conclusion that we wanted it to have a little more color. More colors in the character. Certainly there are some lines there that could use a little humor so we added it and it worked. The important thing is that it works and it did. We had a meeting about a few things, we worked on a few things, he got back to me on a few things like rewrites. And I was like, ‘This is great; we really have something going with this character so let’s run with it. Let’s do this.’
DC: I think it’s great that you have the editor on set.
KF: Yeah, it’s a good thing. It is different. I have had the opportunity to work with the director and the editor on set at the same time. It doesn’t happen often, but it is nice when it does. I think it’s great for Jose, and it’s great for the film because he gets a different view instead of getting it somewhere else and then getting it prepackaged. He gets to make a suggestion here and there for cutting purposes and putting it together.
DC: So, how is the psychic detective gift manifested? Do we see visions or just him emoting like, ‘I see something’?
KF: No, you see visions. You will see the actual… I don’t know how much I can give away here! [laughter] Homer is a psychic and he does touch someone, feel them, or just sense them and he sees what is going to happen.
DC: Does everyone around him know that he is psychic, or is it something he keeps to himself?
KF: No, most of the police department knows that he is a special cop. They consider him special because he has this talent of course. He is a little unnerving because most psychics, if you have ever watched them or seen them interviewed or just watched them on a show, you will find that they don’t do it very long. It’s very draining. Very, very draining psychologically and emotionally for them. I watched John Edwards for a while, and in the beginning of the shows, he was very fresh and energetic and engaging, but then after 8 to 10 shows you could see he looked a little haggard. So it does take a lot out of him.
DC: Do you take that into account when you play Homer?
KF: I did. But this is happening within two days. I hope it reads well; I think it will. There are some great moments that we captured.
DC: Who are most of your scenes with? The brothers, or do you have any with Barbara Crampton coming up?
KF: I don’t have any scenes with her. She shoots me in the back, and we just shot that. And someone else would be standing there later when she comes on set. So I don’t have any scenes with Barbara. I think it was [similar with] Sid Haig for one of the crazy films we did, Brotherhood of Blood… who would have a film with Ken Foree and Sid Haig and not have scenes together, right? And I kind of thought about it and was like, ‘Barbara and I are in the same film, and we don’t have any scenes together?’ I think it works for this. It would be nice to have a scene with Barbara, but this time around it’s just not going to happen.
DC: How does Homer find out about these criminals?
KF: The bodies lead me to the suspects. And I pick up on these two characters immediately… they become my number one suspects. I begin to poke around and eventually find out they are the ones.
DC: I heard you had kind of an intense scene with Graham [Denman] and Jon [Kondelik] in the Jumpcut Café the other day. What’s the story on that one?
KF: It was a good scene. It was my interrogation scene. It worked well. That is where I get my first indication that these guys… actually it’s not an indication; I am almost certain at that point that these are the guys. The woman was murdered… she takes me back to the crime, to the scene in the morgue. There’s another moment we are shooting tomorrow where you will see me go back and talk to her. Through her I am able to see who-done-it.
Based loosely on the famous Leopold and Loeb murder case, the film tells the tale of Charles Brubaker (Graham Denman, The Haunting of Whaley House) and his half-brother, Thomas Lo Bianco (Jon Kondelik, Airplane vs. Volcano), who concoct a deadly game to test their superior intelligence against the dimwitted masses. This game will eventually lead to murder, and when Genevieve, a beautiful single mother, enters their lives, they finally find the perfect girl for their first kill. But problems arise when they quickly discover that Detective Homer Gaul (Ken Foree), a cop with a very special gift, is hot on their trail.
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