Set Visit Coverage: Tobias Jelinek Talks Fire City: The Interpreter of Signs - Dread Central
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Set Visit Coverage: Tobias Jelinek Talks Fire City: The Interpreter of Signs

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Set Visit Coverage: Tobias Jelinek Talks Fire City: The Interpreter of SignsDirected by Academy Award-winning special effects makeup artist Tom Woodruff, Jr., Fire City is a movie we’ve been watching very closely from its inception as a short film, during its successful Kickstarter campaign, and right on up to the filming on-set…

Which is where we got all kinds of exclusives on this “hellish fantasy,” which is set against the noir backdrop of Fire City — where demons secretly live among humans.

When we caught up with lead actor Tobias Jelinek, he was in full-on demon garb as his character, Atum Vine. Right down to his pointy fangs!

Tobias Jelinek: Hi, let me take my teeth out… here.

Dread Central: The writer-producers Michael and Brian were telling me that they had seen 80 people for your role; you must feel really privileged to have been selected.

TJ: I am certainly thrilled. Just from the get go, when I read the description of this character, it’s a dream character. It’s so much fun with this role.

DC: It seems that you have a lot to plan in that you get to play a human version of Atum Vine, and you get to play a demonic one. You get to play the protector of a child (even though you’re not really happy about it…).

TJ: The story is one that I love because there are several different storylines in it… I really like the story with the girl and what becomes kind of a love story, assuming the role of protector. It’s fun… just getting to be this kind of badass where you’ve got the gun, you get to fly, you’re having demon sex. And then you get to save the kid as well. It had everything.

DC: You’re halfway through shooting, about a little more than halfway?

TJ: We’re a little more; we only have two more days after this. So yeah, we’ve going strong here. It’s been six days a week, twelve-hour days, and fifteen of those days is with the makeup… it’s amazing to work with someone like David Elsey (special effects makeup).

DC: He seems to be so down to earth and doesn’t seem to have an attitude, like, “I am an Academy Award winner!” (laughter)

TJ: No, not at all… it’s been great… we’ve been listening to some books on tape while we are doing the makeup, and it’s really fun talking to him about how he originally got interested in monsters, ever since he was a young child, where he’s come from. It was nice. I’ve never done a mask like this before so I was stepping into another world.

DC: Can you talk a little bit about how it feels from the inside of all that makeup and prosthetics?

TJ: I’ll say that there is something so helpful about actually having the makeup and the contact lenses and the teeth… [especially] nowadays when so much is done with CG. I didn’t find the voice for the character until it was day one and we were going. Actually getting to see everything come together really helped give me a sense of who this character was… I’m trying to think what else I’ll say about the process for this cause it’s unlike anything I’ve done. There’s a good deal of discomfort just dealing with the actual head gear and it really helped me… It helped me stay focused on this world. It’s interesting. You don’t think about it when it’s just you and your physical form, but then having this additional appendage… it’s a whole different thing. With the walk changes, too, I think most actors would appreciate what it does to have the physical transformation rather than a handful of dots standing in front of a green screen.

DC: Exactly! And Michael is a big fan of film noir, and that’s what part of the characterization is. [In our interview here on set] he talked about Fred MacMurray, Humphrey Bogart, actors like that. Are you familiar with that world as a fan yourself?

TJ: I’m a big Humphrey Bogart fan. Yeah, I really have enjoyed all his characters and also just how he was able to do so much with so little and I loved his simplicity. I also do have to say that Danny, who is the DP here, has worked very close with Tom. They’ve done an exceptional job with the lighting and creating the mood; it’s phenomenal. A lot of the time I feel like I’m stepping into [a different] world… The vision that they had behind creating a noir. I didn’t think that it was going to go this far. I mean, I understood the idea of demon-noir, but with the budget we are dealing with, I think a lot of favors were called in and people were ready to create a passion project.

DC: Brian was saying that one of the things they were toying with was the sci-fi noir like Blade Runner; there’s a voiceover in there. And they kind of were like, ‘We love noir, but we’re not going to do that’. So how were you sort of given something to hold onto to make your character feel like one of those flawed heroes?

TJ: Well, for me it again came to what originally attracted me to this project, which was the script. They shaped it with the anti-hero in mind. It really is that fallen hero… it’s funny cause even though these characters are demons, you’ve got the femme fatale; you have these iconic archetypes that are now living in a world of demons, which is phenomenal. And then of course having the split where we’re seen as humans when another human is present, it makes things so rich, it’s so full to have that transition, and on a dime the world is suddenly seen through another filter. And often that’s one of the great things of noir: Things are not as they seem.

And a lot of it is picking up those clues, and that’s what my character is doing. It’s wonderful because this is the world of demons, yes, but what you’re stepping into is a paradigm shift. I’m someone… I’m a drug dealer who’s a demon and I deal in misery, but that’s the status quo and things are about to go through a major transformation and I of course am at the center of it. And then you’ve got all these colorful characters that would fit… it’s noir, but it’s splashed with this rather different light because it’s in the world of demons. I think that people try to do noir today and it’s tricky not to make it feel dated, you know. It’s like ‘noir had its day,’ but that’s why it’s been very interesting because this works. It’s really working, like the mood is really working, the story is holding up, in this noir context.

DC: Have you been allowed to see some of it being cut together yet?

TJ: You know, they came in and I chose not to watch.

DC: I know some actors love it, some don’t.

TJ: Yeah, people were really excited. They came in and showed a seven-minute section and I’m choosing to wait. I’m looking forward to seeing everything put together.

DC: Some actors say that if they see their performance, then they’ll alter things.

TJ: It’s a part of it… Brett is the editor and Taylor is the assistant editor, and they’re a great team. I think it’s my job to put this character in this circumstance and make it believable and I certainly trust everyone involved to find the moments, come up with options and allow them to do their job as well…

DC: Working with Tom Woodruff as your director… Can you tell us a little bit about how he directs you as the demon and as the human? Is it different?

TJ: There are a handful of really great qualities that Tom has. He’s an actors’ director. We’ve been on a very fast schedule here; we’re trying to do a lot. It’s very ambitious to do this film in eighteen days, and you know this is his first major feature… one of the things he’s done which has been so wonderful is he always tries to give us a chance to rehearse a couple of times before we launch into the scene. It’s really helped get everybody in the room and on the same page, and I think that also just his experience with doing this type of work… I had no idea what to expect… it’s like a shamanic journey almost. Like you’re going into another world. And it’s wonderful to work with somebody that of course has been there so many times and understands it… he knows what these creatures are capable of and so I’m certainly going to trust what he is pushing so that we can get there… It’s been a lot of fun.

Another thing that I want to say regarding the project overall is it’s very interesting because Tom Woodruff has worked in effects for years on some of the biggest, most iconic films we know, and it’s such a joy to get to see him and his team get to make films the way they know they can be made when it’s not happening as much today. Getting to see all these practical effects and also just knowing how to make things look real and how to entertain people with creatures… he’s going to do what he wants to do and what he does so well. It’s not being held back by certain restrictions of the studio, of them saying we only want you to create this certain type of creature. It’s like they’re bringing out so many punches, pulling out creatures that were cut from film but had been developed.


The film centers around a fragile balance that exists between humankind and the demons who secretly live among them and the crisis for all when this balance is broken.

Harry Shum, Jr., plays an abusive alcoholic boyfriend who suddenly transforms into a caring and loving person, along with the rest of the humans in his seedy tenement building. Dependent on human misery for survival, the demons in the building begin to starve.

Writer-producers Brian Lubocki and Michael Hayes successfully funded a Kickstarter campaign for the film in August 2013. For more info visit the official Fire City website, “like” Fire City on Facebook, and follow Fire City on Twitter (@interpreterfilm).

Fire City Behind The Scenes Image Gallery

Fire City Behind The Scenes Image Gallery

Fire City Behind The Scenes Image Gallery

Fire City Behind The Scenes Image Gallery

Fire City Behind The Scenes Image Gallery

Fire City Behind The Scenes Image Gallery

Fire City Behind The Scenes Image Gallery

Fire City Behind The Scenes Image Gallery

Fire City Behind The Scenes Image Gallery

Fire City Behind The Scenes Image Gallery



Fire City Behind The Scenes Image Gallery

Fire City Behind The Scenes Image Gallery

Fire City Behind The Scenes Image Gallery

Fire City Behind The Scenes Image Gallery

Fire City Behind The Scenes Image Gallery

Fire City Behind The Scenes Image Gallery

Fire City Behind The Scenes Image Gallery

Fire City Behind The Scenes Image Gallery

Fire City Behind The Scenes Image Gallery

Fire City Behind The Scenes Image Gallery

Fire City

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The Strangers: Prey at Night Official Site is Live and Waiting

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It was just last week that we shared the all-new trailer and poster for the upcoming sequel to writer-director Bryan Bertino’s home-invasion thriller The Strangers.

If that trailer for The Strangers: Prey at Night wasn’t interactive enough for you then you’re in luck – the film’s official site has just gone live.

The site starts off playing the film’s trailer but you can click that shite off asap and get to the other goodies.

From there the site tells you that “They’re only Strangers until you tell them your name” and then asks you for your name, your email address, and your phone number.

Yeah. Right.

That’s how they get you.

Truthfully, I’m not brave enough to put my info on the site. Not that I’m scared of, you know, a knock at the door late at night or anything… Just… I don’t feel like it is all.

If you are brave enough to give the site your info, make sure to hit us up and let us know how it goes in the comments below or on social media! If you can… Moo-haha.

Visit the site HERE.

The Stranger: Prey at Night is directed by Johannes Roberts (47 Meters Down) from a script by Bryan Bertino and Ben Ketai. It stars Martin Henderson, Christina Hendricks, Bailee Madison, and Lewis Pullman.

The film hits March 9, 2018.

Synopsis:
A family’s road trip takes a dangerous turn when they arrive at a secluded mobile home park to stay with some relatives and find it mysteriously deserted. Under the cover of darkness, three masked psychopaths pay them a visit to test the family’s every limit as they struggle to survive. Johannes Roberts directs this horror film inspired by the 2008 smash hit THE STRANGERS.

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Exclusive: Patrick Brice on Creep 2

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Patrick Brice blipped onto our radar a couple of years back with his audacious horror film debut, Creep. He directed the film, plus he cowrote and co-starred in it with Mark Duplass (interview) (Baghead, Manson Family Vacation). Creep introduced Aaron, an affable serial killer who lures people to his remote cabin by placing ads promising a fun filmmaking experience… while you could see where the story was going in terms of plot, what made it so striking was the way in which it was written and directed. There’s a massive amount of dread throughout.

Brice is back for Creep 2 (review), and we caught up with him to ask about it.

Dread Central: It must have been hard to try to top Creep. Or did you already have a sequel in mind?

Patrick Brice: It’s funny, but when we made the first movie, we had no idea we would eventually be making a sequel. So we didn’t necessarily set ourselves up for an easy road that way. It ended up being something we had to reverse engineer a bit. And we had actually came up with maybe three or four other ideas for Creep 2 before we landed on the one that we ended up shooting. Including a feature length screenplay that I had written but I shelved because it didn’t feel right. And so, it was a combination of things in that we didn’t want to make a sequel until we knew there was an audience for it. Once we realized the first Creep had caught on in the way it did, that was when the idea of making one did started to come up a little bit. Then it wasn’t until we landed on the idea we landed on, sort of the approach we ended up taking, that things started to feel right and it started to make sense with going forward to making one.

DC: Is you audience mainly horror fans? Because it seems serial killer stories are mainstream now, what with “Hannibal” having been on network TV and now we have “Mindhunter” on Netflix.

PB: I’d say a lot of horror fans, and, I think people with masochistic tendencies as well. I think it’s a pretty dark endeavour for an audience to be brought into with that movie. I think because of the sort of minimalist approach, when you’re watching it, especially when you’re watching it alone, it demands a different kind of attention than a normal movie. Because the Creep is only two characters, if you’re an audience member, you essentially become the third character in the movie, bearing witness to it. So I’m grateful that people are willing to engage with this type of material in that way. I’m also just surprised by it because I think it’s a challenging film on some level. I think it’s a rewarding film. And I think if you’re willing to give in to the conceit of it and willing to take the ride, it is a rewarding experience, but I also completely understand anyone who’s not willing to do that, just because it is such a specific thing. And so going into a sequel, there was a certain amount of confidence that we had associated with a lot of the decisions we were making that would have felt strange and odd with the traditional movie being make in a traditional way, but because we were doing it this way and kind of replicating at least the production style of how we made the first one, we were willing to take that leap a little bit more than we would normally do.

DC: Would you consider dropping the found footage format if you do another Creep movie?

BP: Completely. I think that down the road that would be a nice surprise and a nice way to inject sort of a new form into the story telling. One of the things that’s been fun with Creep 2 and thinking about other Creep movies is giving in to that sort of style completely and letting that be something that informs the character. A huge thing with cracking the second movie was creating the character of Sara that Desiree Akhavan (interview) plays and giving her her own specific needs and motivations for being there, which then hopefully justifies the camera being on. That is the big challenge with found footage movies. It’s something that Jason Blum says that all the time, ‘don’t make a found footage movie unless the story dictates it.’ And so we knew we wanted to do it this way and so it was really delving into character and sort of the more emotional side of things to justify that.

DC: One of the intriguing things about Aaron is that he has no backstory. But it seems eventually audiences demand origin stories and prequels. Will you reveal how Aaron got started someday?

PB: It’s something that’s emerging, having made the second one. We have him tell two long monologues. And it’s detailed, it’s very specific, it makes sense as far as the character goes, but there is still this layer of knowing that this guy is a pathological liar and none of this could be true. And so the hope with that was to have this be a story that convinces Sara, the other character in the film, that it’s true but the audience once again, existing on this other level where they know what this guy’s capable of, they also know he’s a total liar and it may or may not be real.

DC: Do you see yourself ramping up the horror if there are more Creep sequels?

PB: I still think there’s a lot of places to go in terms of the horror aspect of it. I think we only scratched the surface with the second one. I think it made sense we sort of upped the blood and gore with the second movie but also, like you said, kept things pretty much in the space of just uncomfortable tension for eighty minutes. I think that’s something that always going to be our ultimate goal with these movies and that’s sort of the trademark of these movies. What’s nice about knowing that there’s other places things can go whether it be, further into the slasher genre, further into the supernatural, we’ve got some options and we’ve left a lot of doors open in terms of having other avenues to explore.

DC: Any horror stories on the horizon apart from Creep 2?

PB: Yes, actually. I’m going to be directing a few episodes of “Room 104” on HBO and at least two of them are horror based. I’m really excited about that, because I get a chance to delve into more pure classical horror than I’ve been able to do with Creep movies.

Written by Patrick Brice and Mark Duplass with Brice directing, Creep 2 stars Duplass, who reprises his role from the first film, and Desiree Akhavan.

Synopsis:
CREEP 2 stars Desiree Akhavan as Sara, a video artist whose primary focus is creating intimacy with lonely men. After finding an ad online for “video work,” she thinks she may have found the subject of her dreams. She drives to a remote house in the forest and meets a man claiming to be a serial killer (Mark Duplass). Unable to resist the chance to create a truly shocking piece of art, she agrees to spend the day with him. However, as the day goes on, she discovers she may have dug herself into a hole she can’t escape.

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Exclusive: Director Dennis Bartok and Lead Shauna MacDonald Talk Nails

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With writer and director Dennis Bartok’s feature film Nails having bowed Friday on VOD via Dark Sky Films, here’s a bit of our interview with the flick’s filmmaker, Cinelicious Pics Head of Distribution and General Manager of the American Cinematheque Bartok (he wears many hats), as well as the film’s star, Shauna MacDonald (of The Descent series).

Nails revolves around “…track star Dana Milgrom (MacDonald), who, having survived a near-death car accident, finds herself almost completely paralyzed and trapped inside her own body, and while recovering, she becomes convinced that some evil presence exists inside her hospital room and is intent on killing her,” and was executive produced by Joseph Kaufman (Assault on Precinct 13) and produced by Brendan McCarthy (Cherry Tree, The Hallow).

Bartok, who previously wrote and produced the 2006 feature anthology film Trapped Ashes, said of his approach to the narrative of Nails, “It’s very ‘anti-flight.’ Most horror movies are built around the idea that you are running away from something. The Halloween and Friday the 13th movies, there’s a mysterious creature that’s trying to track you down, or conversely you are walking into some horrible haunted house that nobody in their right mind would ever go into, for example, The Woman in Black, which is a really terrifying film. But from the very first moment Daniel Radcliffe’s character goes up to the front of that house, the audience says, ‘Turn around! Get the hell out of there! You are going to die!’ And of course he walks in. So I was really fascinated by a narrative in which the lead character was physically trapped in one space, and actually trapped in her own body. So I thought a lot about narratives like The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The Sea Inside and Hitchcock’s Rear Window, where the protagonist is physically handicapped and forced to confront that, so both as a writer and as a filmmaker and for Shauna it was a huge challenge, in that how do you make that (type of story) kinetic and compelling, and how do you build suspense when the lead character is trapped in the bed for eighty percent of the story?”

MacDonald said of the script’s appeal, which is a departure in ways from the action-packed The Descent films for which she’s most known, “Oddly, I don’t want to be labeled a horror girl, although the older I get, the cooler I think that sounds. Certainly in the UK they like to fit you in the box of low-budget horror films, and every year after The Descent (films) I get scripts to read, and some of them would say, ‘OK, the lead actress is tied to a stained mattress in her underwear,’ and I would be like, ‘Next!’ and for me, I knew it would be a massive acting challenge to play the lead (as it was written) in Nails, someone who is bed-ridden and paranoid and can’t speak. Her physical journey and her emotional journey is what attracted me to the role.”

“I think it’s important also that she has self-doubt,” MacDonald continues of her role, “and that she thinks she may be having a mental breakdown. No one else is seeing the things she is seeing or experiencing what she is experiencing, so I thought upon that a lot, and also I thought, as a mother of three girls myself, that the character’s connection with her daughter in the script was really heart-wrenching, and I love mother/daughter stories.”

Filmmaker Bartok added, “I thought very much about the bond between a mother and her daughter while writing it, and the sacrifice a parent would make in order to protect their child, and that was one of the main themes from the very beginning. When I set out to make the film I knew that there were two things that I needed to make it work. One was that I needed to make it scary, and to really unnerve people, and to build that suspense and a rising tension throughout, and the second thing was, that I’d really need someone amazing to play the character of Dana, because she’s in nearly every scene of the film, and we experience the story entirely through her perception. And if we hadn’t cast someone with Shauna’s acting gifts, the film would have fallen flat.”

In regards to casting the film’s antagonist, the gaunt, towering and ghostly figure of ‘Nails,’ Bartok states of actor British Richard Foster-King, of which he’d been introduced to via an audition tape for an entirely different movie, “Richard had done these beautiful movements (in that tape), as if he was swimming in the air and elongating his arms, and I think he had even crawled along the floor at one point. And as soon as I saw that tape, I said, ‘That’s it. That’s Eric Nillson. That’s Nails!’ And the producers, because they wanted to keep the budget as low as possible, had wanted to hire local actors out of Dublin, and I would look at those tapes, and they were OK, but I felt we really needed to get Richard. So bit by bit I kept saying, ‘No,’ to these other suggestions, and finally I was able to convince them to bring Richard in from London.”

As for the evolution of the character, which itself possesses some of the nuanced tragedy of Universal’s classic monsters, Bartok stated, “It was really fascinating because we had reached out to several gothic, surreal artists who had been recommended to me by various friends, and asked them to submit concept designs, and the one that we liked the best, and they were all actually excellent, was by a French photographic artist named Nihil, who takes photographs and then manipulates them digitally. So Nihil did an amazingly creepy concept, which provided the blueprint as to how we approached the character’s design. There were several steps in getting it onto the screen, though. Maybe seventy-five percent of it came from Richard’s physicality and his on screen presence, and the rest could only be achieved digitally, and we brought in an incredibly gifted visual effects artist named Eli Dorsey, who had worked on Ted Geoghegan’s film We Are Still Here. And Eli created the milky white eyes, and the dentures which kind of sit outside the palate, and the ghostly pallor. But primarily, I think its Richard’s performance which makes the character, an evil tormenting character who is also tormented, so very haunting.”

Nails also stars Ross Noble, Steve Wall, and Charlotte Bradley. You can watch the film on iTunes.

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