Exclusive: BC Furtney Talks Do Not Disturb
BC Furtney’s film noir horror film Do Not Disturb (review), starring Stephen Geoffreys (Fright Night, 976-Evil), Tiffany Shepis (Cyrus), and Corey Haim (The Lost Boys), finally gets dusted off on August 6 after beginning its long journey to distribution a few years back.
Obviously, it’s certainly not a tentpole film with a lot of buzz surrounding it, but it is one of Haim’s last performances and features solid work from Geoffreys. I spoke with Furtney, the director of the film, on a lengthy phone interview as the filmmaker did press from the city of Dallas in the great state of Texas.
DC: So, help me out here. Did New Terminal Hotel become Do Not Disturb, and is that the same cut of the film with a different title?
BCF: It is a different cut of the same film. It started its life as New Terminal Hotel and, you know, through a long twisting road we ended up with Ruthless Pictures and a producer there, Jesse Baget, and we got to talking about it. Our production company did a soft release on New Terminal. Its road to distribution is winding to say the least. I think the cut that we have now is actually… I’m a fan of it. I was hesitant to cut it down before. It’s probably about 15 minutes leaner than what New Terminal was and I think that’s a good thing. It’s been a blast working with them and seeing it in a new incarnation, for sure.
DC: What actually got cut? I’m guessing it wasn’t more murders or anything like that. Was it just more exposition and dialogue, mostly?
BCF: Yeah, we didn’t start off trying to do a hack and slash kind of piece. It was always kind of intended to be film noir. I knew with the cast that we assembled, it was going to really speak to the horror crowd and maybe because of some things I had done in the past it would come out and be pushed under that banner. And it was fine because, you know, when you have Tiffany Shepis and Steve [Stephen Geoffreys], who’s still largely known for Fright Night and a lot of people know Corey Haim primarily from Lost Boys. There’s a strong horror thing there. We had Ezra [Buzzington] who, at the time, was really making a run at the remake thing. He did The Hills Have Eyes remake, the Halloween remake, and he was really close to being the new Freddy Krueger when we were shooting this. So, he was looking like horror remake guy. But I realized when we were doing it that, gee, we’re not really making a horror film for people who might want to see machetes and pitchforks and stalk ‘n slash screaming and, you know, blood spraying. We’ve got a little bit of that but it was always about the characters. It’s sort of a throwback to the old detective pulps of the ‘50s and ‘60s. I wanted to make a film that felt like it was an old paperback novel you pulled out of a pair of old pants in the basement.
DC: Yeah, it kind of reminded me of some of the ‘80s New York movies in some sequences like Maniac. There are some cues, along with the mask that Geoffrey wears and the wig - it kind of gave it a seedy ‘80s quality that gave it a New York vibe. Of course, I see that because I live in New York. But the city, whether it’s L.A. or New York, is usually depicted as being very dangerous and underground. The darkness of the city kind of justifies the killer going nuts. But that kind of seediness doesn’t really exist in the way it did in L.A. noir films or old New York anymore, does it?
BCF: Well, that’s one thing in L.A. noir that I think a lot of films particularly miss. I’ve lived in L.A. for almost 14 years right there around Hollywood. There was always an inherent darkness to Los Angeles for me. One of the reasons the film is the way it is, it’s because the setting was southern California, downtown Los Angeles, but we were shooting in western Pennsylvania. We had a historic hotel, the George Washington, in Washington, Pennsylvania and so, obviously, that limited what we could do as far as going outside. In a lot of ways, I think it was a happy accident that we got to stay in there like that and operate within the confines of those walls. We had two burned out floors because there had been a fire a few months earlier. The fourth floor was completely gutted, it looked like Escape From New York. I think being stuck in there like that … it felt to me like I captured what you feel when you maybe drive down Skid Row down seventh street in Los Angeles at night … and the feeling you get down there and the vibe.
DC: If we could talk about the characters a little bit, was it Corey Haim’s idea to play British and how was he on set and his relationship with Stephen? Their scenes are all together. It’s also kind of surprising to have a film released years after an actor’s death like this. Also, who came up with the name Jasper Crash? My favorite name in film is probably Furious Styles from Boyz N The Hood but Jasper Crash is a good one, too.b
BCF: (Laughs) Thanks man. Uh, Jasper Crash is actually a concoction of both Corey’s and mine, equally. I’ll tell you the story behind Corey. He was engaged to Tiffany at the time, I think everyone knows that.
DC: Right. Did they come on to the film together? Were they cast around the same time?
BCF: No, she was signed on because I had worked with her a couple times previously and we talked about it. And then when she signed on and we were in pre-production, we were talking on the phone one day and she mentioned the idea of bringing Corey because at the time he was staying with her in Tucson. You know, he just wanted to come and hang. Ordinarily, you wouldn’t begrudge anybody bringing their fiance along but here the fiance was Corey Haim. She said if there’s a little something that he can do, if you have a little spot where you can stick him in for a cameo, he’s totally down. So I said hell, put him on the phone! So we talked for a little bit and he was cool as hell. We kind of had a half-assed idea of a cameo where something's going on in a hallway and a resident pokes his head out like, ‘What the fuck is going on?’ and, ‘Look! It’s Corey Haim!’ We knew we would do something but we didn’t pin it down to what. And then when he got there… you know, everybody asks me what it was like working with him because I think, at the time, there was some press circulating around, and the people who write that kind of shit are usually the people who haven’t met the guy. But he was awesome. I picked him up myself from the airport and by the time we got out of the terminal it felt like you’d known the guy for years. He was telling old stories from the Schumacher set and things like that and it was like, ‘This guy’s cool.’ And we got to talking one day and we had already been shooting at this point, and he was with us for a week. We looked around and I said we’ve got this bar downstairs and it’s abandoned and just sitting there. Like you said, it felt very ‘80s at the time. We started riffing on it, and he came up with… he actually told me that he’d always wanted to play a character named Jasper and he never got to do it. I said, ‘How about an old has-been rock star?’ So he gets tanked in this bar in this dead end hotel and he just tells stories about the glory days and everyone knows him as Jasper. He had just done Crank 2 with Jason Statham and he would do this Jason Statham impression on set because he got a kick out of Statham. We were just laughing, and we said let’s just make this the comic relief in an otherwise really brooding and oppressive, kind of intense film. His British impression wasn’t bad; it was more of an imitation of Jason Statham.
DC: That’s great. I love how it was actually a little bit of a Jason Statham stab. Just mentioning Stephen, he’s really been steadily working in horror since maybe Sick Girl. Was it difficult to convince him to do a starring role and how did you first get connected with him? It was really easy to watch him onscreen again.
BCF: Yeah, thank you. It was nice to bring him back at maybe the level he deserves to be at. Our casting director had just done a horror convention and met Stephen and said he was a really cool guy and deeper than what you’d expect. Everyone thinks Evil Ed or ‘Brewster!’. I think our second or third day … [Stephen] pulled me aside on set and said, ‘This is territory I’ve never navigated before. I’ve never played a leading man, I’ve never played an adult. I’ve always been a high-schooler and I’ve never had a love scene.’ He was kind of nervous about it. And I thought, yeah, I hadn’t ever seen Stephen Geoffreys as a leading man, as a serious leading man, as an adult. He told me later that that was one of the reasons he took it - because it was so un-Stephen Geoffreys. That was one of the main things that drew him to it when we started talking.
Do Not Disturb is available on DVD/Blu-ray, iTunes and Amazon Instant NOW.
Directed by BC Furtney (New Terminal Hotel), this horror film stars Stephen Geoffreys (Friday Night), Tiffany Shepis (Cyrus), Ezra Buzzington (Fight Club), and Corey Haim (The Lost Boys) in his final screen appearance.
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Holed up in a seedy hotel, Hollywood screenwriter Don Malek (Geoffreys) is scripting a diabolical plan for revenge. But instead of writing about a bloodthirsty serial killer, Don is doing the dirty work with his own hands. In this gritty, jolting thriller no one is safe… and checkout time is sooner than you think.
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