"The Road Killer"
I recently got a chance to meet up with a couple of my good young LA movie friends Maria Olsen, actress & producer most famous for her role in "Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief" and Jon Craig actor, writer & director in a high class restaurant.
And before we got too stuck into our Mcflurrys and after dinner drinks I decided to interview them for my website.
Luckily this is before they started slurring their words and I even got some sensible answers out of them all about their new feature film project The Road Killer
I would love people to help fund this independent film: to do so, please go to:
KG: "Maria dear girl, thank you for giving me some of your valuable time; you are the definition of perpetual motion, single handily being more productive than Greece!" Now you are the Executive Producer to the feature film The Road Killer what drew you to the project and I'm sure the burning question your legion of fans would like to know are you acting in the film?
Two factors drew me to the project: the quality of the script and the production values that are evident in the film’s trailer, which can be seen on http://www.indiegogo.com/roadkiller
MO: Jon and his production team are also willing to make any sacrifice to get their movie made, and I truly admire such tenacity in the face of what many people may think of insurmountable odds.
And, yes: I am acting in the film. I play Lilith Meyers, wife to Lieutenant Meyers who is charged with investigating the string of vicious road killings. Originally I was just going to be active behind the scenes as part of the production team, but, after I had read the script and learned more about the role, I quickly changed my mind. I think I was on page 30 of the script – Lillith’s first big scene – when I Facebook messaged Jon and said “I’m in!”.
As for playing both in front of and behind the camera: you do know I’m called The Energizer Bunny, right? =)
(Kensington footnote: she is dear viewer and just as cute!)
KG: Jon, The Road Killer doesn't sound like it's a Disney family film? I'm considered to be somewhat of a "cult" on Twitter - think that's what people call me. Tell me no more than 140 characters what the film is all about?
JC: It's not a Disney family film; it's about a serial killer who would probably enjoy running over a family that just watched a Disney film. The film’s about Lieutenant Henry Meyers, whose sanity slowly breaks down as the police effort to find and stop the mysterious killer becomes increasingly futile. A group of a college kids become increasingly targeted, and the whole town becomes increasingly frustrated with the police efforts after every killing. Yes, everything increases... News reports narrate the stories that unfold due to the killings, and everyone's week goes really sour. After all the hit and runs and catastrophe that take place in a few days, the road killer simply thinks "It's a nice day for a Sunday drive."
Ok, that might have been more than 140 characters, but I'll keep my drink bill under 140 dollars...
KG: Ha, you best because I've already drank twice that value!!
Guys, I liked to use at least 5-6 buckets of blood in a normal movie, mind it did look out of place in that romantic comedy I did, what's the blood bucket count for The Road Killer?
MO: Oh at least 506…lol…
JC: Well, hit and runs actually don't cause too much excessive blood; of course they cause people to bleed, but they won't explode like Zombies or the suicidal guy in "Scanners". I like the idea of severe bruising and internal bleeding being the main cause of death rather than loss of blood. A severe loss of blood would cause a blackout where as internal bleeding and bones breaking may be a much more painful and slow way to die. I was planning on opening the movie with a man's intestines getting ripped out by the road killer and having him get dragged along the road by his intestines but then I found out "Machete" wasn't really medically accurate at all. Damn you Rodriguez!
KG: And you're acting in the film too Jon? Do you find it hard to direct yourself? Or do you wear two hats, if so what are those hats?
JC: Well, my character in the film is only in 3 scenes: it's the typical Tarantino type of cameo. It was hard to do those scenes, though. For one of my scenes, my character was supposed to get punched. The first take we did, I actually got punched, and the actor playing opposite me then took it on himself to make sure I acted well...or I would be punched. I think it worked out alright, because he didn't punch me again...
KG: Tarantino? Taught him everything he knows. As an English gentleman I feel somewhat naked without my bowler hat on. Mind I keep having this recurring dream I am naked all except for my bowler hat & I'm about to get knighted by the Queen . She keeps telling me to take my hat off but when I use it cover my "family jewels" as Madge calls them. Rather than knighting me with that sword she cuts my hat in twain; funny thing is I'm not even Jewish!
Maria, you are wearing two hats in this movie too, do both hats fit comfortably and do you ever have strange dreams when you are naked with or without hats?
MO: Seriously, yes the hats fit comfortably. I love both producing and acting – for quite different reasons – and I’m equally at home sending production emails as ducking the boom mic on set…
But no…no naked dreams with or without hats as far as I can recall…sorry…
KG: On a more serious note, serial killers? Maria you have a great interest in them I hear; when did that start and how did it develop?
MO: I have always had an interest in psychology – I actually have a degree in Psych – and I have always enjoyed learning more about the workings of the serial killer’s mind. I think film is probably one of the best mediums through which to explore themes like this, and the relative scarcity of road killers as such is another of the things that drew me to the project.
KG: Have you two worked together before? If so who tells the dirtier jokes on set? I worked with the legends Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and Keanu Reeves. Peter was famously a very quiet man that loved nothing more than bird watching, the feathered kind I might add but he could tell jokes about nuns and root vegetables that would make a docker blush?
MO: Nope, we haven’t worked together so I’m looking forward to hearing all the jokes…
JC: This will be our first time working together. Our writer and co-director, Chris Ryves, has a very odd and vulgar sense of humor though. He often makes some off the wall remarks that would probably get him fired from any profession besides working on a black comedy or horror movie.
MO: Hmmm...I’m looking forward to this all the more after hearing about Chris...
KG: In my day of the studio system things like funding were always set up and almost taken for granted how does an independent film maker raise funds for projects and what advice would you give to any young film makers wanting to start out?
JC: The only way for an indie film maker to really raise any funds requires a lot of punishing and bruising sexual favors that I'd rather not talk about. I can't watch the end of Requiem for a Dream anymore, and I wasn't even on drugs, I just wanted to make a good film. Just kidding...no really... I'd advise any film makers wanting to start out to save their money and buy a nice camera, then learn how to edit really well and make some shorts. Money doesn't matter as much as James Cameron would like to think...Paranormal Activity was made for under 20k and Avatar was made for over 200 million...and maybe it's just me but when watched on TV, I'd rather see some ghosts haunt people than some bad Disney PS2 game try and tell me how history repeats itself and that the Pocahontas story is eventually going to take place on another planet where the natives are considered not human for being tall and blue. In fact James Cameron kind of suggests that society will be more racist in the future if you think about it; I think he's less optimistic about life than Gaspar Noe. He's kind of making fun of everyone who buys his movie, and having a big laugh in his 4 million dollar real 4d yacht. Paranormal Activity is just as realistic and compelling as Avatar is, if not more. If you put a ton of time, effort, and research into your project and create something that becomes your lifestyle instead of a hobby, you can impact people regardless of budget. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't, because they just want you to buy their blue people movies instead of you paying to make one that's better.
KG: You have a good strong cast for The Road Killer did you have any problems casting for the movie?
JC: The hardest roles to cast were Lt. Meyers and his wife, Lilith. Both have some really intense and emotional scenes in the film, and I'm really excited about Jack and Maria together. Jack is a veteran actor who's done a lot of Shakespearean type of plays, and Maria's appeared in more movies over 3 years than a lot of actors have over 30 years. Being that it's a low budget and grassroots project, we know that Natalie Portman and Christian Bale won't be showing up at the auditions, but honestly I don't think that they could do it any better than Jack and Maria could, with all due respect. Jack and Maria really fit these characters and we couldn't be happier about having the chance to work with them. We also cast Julie Ufema, who specializes in “dying” roles. She's also a director and producer, and I worked with her on her upcoming feature "Caveat." She really has a knack for not only giving realistic performances but also for getting them out of actors. We have a really awesome cast, and they all deserve some serious props.
KG: Maria, I read in an interview you did somewhere, I'm not sure where might have been Playboy (Note: at this point Maria would like to make clear she has never appeared in Playboy) that's where I like to keep abreast of things these days, you like to do independent movies as much if not more than big budget films. Is that because they instill a feeling of family and togetherness? In this film who are the key members of the family for you?
MO: One of the key factors of making indie films is indeed the feeling of family, and knowing that a small group of super-talented people got together and, against all odds, made a wonderful piece of cinema can be extremely inspiring. At the moment, Jon is the head of “my” Road Killer family, but I’m sure looking forward to meeting all of my other relatives...
KG: And if we ever work together Maria I hope you see me as the naughty Uncle that can tell you bedtime stories and tuck you in of an evening?(at this point Jon suggested we "get a room!" and Maria threatened to slap the both of us)
MO: Oh totally the naughty Uncle…and I love bedtime stories!! =)
KG: Jon, dear boy your resume on IMDB says you have webbed toes on one foot. Are you secretly the "The Man from Atlantis"?
JC: Before I got into movie making, I was trying to be a swimmer. They actually disqualified me because they thought my toes were on steroids. Good thing movies don't have such ignorant rules, otherwise any film being shot on a Red One would be illegal because its resolution is on steroids.
KG: I myself can breathe through my ears, makes me very popular with the ladies, do you have any similar aquiline skills? Strong swimmer?
JC: Strong swimmer indeed...just have too many fun Facebook pictures to even consider Olympic try-outs...
KG: Maria what's your favorite stroke? Mine is breast stroke of course.
MO: Oh I think mine is back stroke as it’s always good to be able to back-peddle if you get in over your head…
KG: Jon, Maria thank you for your time, wish you best of luck getting funding and making The Road Killer sounds like my kind of movie and looking forward to seeing it. Last most important question: who’s picking up the bill?
All photos on this page used by kind permision of Maria Olsen & Jon Craig.