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Horror Business: An Interview With Fright-Rags’ Creator Ben Scrivens!

Horror Business: An Interview With Fright-Rags’ Creator Ben Scrivens!

What do you get when the worlds of clothing and horror collide?  The answer is Fright-Rags, purveyors of kick ass horror shirts since 2003.  You may also be asking yourself, who is the Doctor Frankenstein responsible for creating this monster?  His name is Ben Scrivens, a die hard horror fan from upstate New York who took an idea and shaped it into one of the most successful businesses of its kind.  Steve Johnson of Icon vs. Icon recently caught up with Ben to talk about the genesis of his very unique business, how a single design is brought to life, his work with the talented Jeff Zornow, and what the amazingly creative team at Fright-Rags have up their sleeve for the future!

First off, give us a little background on yourself.  Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Rochester, NY about two-and-a-half miles from where I live currently. We used to live downtown, but moved to a suburb when I was 6-years-old. I’ve traveled all over the world, but I ended up living in the same place I grew up, go figure. But I love this town and all of my family is here, so it makes sense to stay especially now that I have kids of my own.

Have you always been a fan of horror films?

Yeah, I got into horror films at a very young age. I saw “Halloween” when I was 4-years-old and have been hooked ever since.

Do you have a favorite horror film?

“Halloween” is my all-time favorite film. It was the first horror film I had ever seen and to this day remains the one I love the most.

Ben Scrivens and the design that started it all...

What inspired you to bring the horror genre to the realm of clothing?

It happened by accident, really. I was trying to let off some creative steam in my free time, and knew I wanted to do something with horror. As a graphic designer, I tended to draw or create images on the computer more often so I just began tinkering with ideas. That’s when I came up with the idea for “What Would Jason Do?” as a parody of the “What Would Jesus Do?” marketing campaign that was everywhere at the time. The image was so simple, yet effective and at that time (in 2003) no one had done it before. I just looked at it and thought that it would look cool on a shirt. That was the beginning.

Starting your own business can be difficult.  How did you get the business off the ground?

I’ll be honest, the very fact that I got anything off the ground still amazes me. I’ve always had ideas for various things — businesses, scripts, comics, films, etc. — but had never really taken any real steps beyond initial conception. With the shirts, I had some positive feedback from people on a horror forum at the time, which I feel gave me that boost to move forward. People were clearly interested in my work, and wanted to buy it. So, I just gave them the ability to do just that.

I created the name, basic logo, and website over Labor Day weekend in 2003. By that Tuesday, I was ready to take orders. When they started coming in, I realized that I may be onto something. After that, it was just about the fun of coming up with new ideas and seeing how people responded to them. It wasn’t until a few months into it that I really started trying to figure out all the legal stuff that comes along with owning a business. While that may not have been the best way to go about things, I do feel everything happened the way it was supposed to and in a very organic way. It was truly built out of a love for horror and an idea. The business end was something I had to learn along the way … and I still am learning every day. But if I had not jumped in headfirst, I might not have ever jumped in at all.

How do you feel Fright-Rags evolved since it started out?

Well, in terms of designs, we are light years ahead of where I was when I started over eight years go. The artwork and quality of printing have reached levels that I never dreamed of back when I was doing one or two colors. These days we can capture incredible amounts of detail and replicate full color in our prints. Granted, a one color design can still have great impact (i.e. Obey, WWJD?, All Hallow’s Eve), but I really enjoy the freedom we have to explore — and push — the boundaries of what you can put on a shirt.

But honestly, I am most proud of how much we’ve grown and evolved into a premium brand. There are a lot of crappy companies out there (not just shirt companies) either putting out sub-par products or have shoddy service, or both. I’m proud that we’ve been able to maintain a high level of both, by constantly pushing ourselves to do better in all areas of the business. Better quality, better service. That is the lifeblood of our company.

How well is the business doing today?

It’s going great! 2011 saw us taking on more licenses than I thought we would ever have. And in some instances, companies have come to us specifically to work with them. It’s amazing. We’re growing steadily every year, and while we are adding new customers all the time, the majority of our business is repeat customers. And as anyone in business knows, that a good spot to be in.

Fright-Rags' Ben Scrivens

You seem to be the ones to beat when it comes to kickass horror shirts.  Have you guys had any problems with bootlegs or cheap ripoffs?

Yes, unfortunately. We’ve had more than a few people steal our designs and reproduce them exactly to sell on their own. It happens overseas or on eBay usually, but I do see some other people putting them on their site for sale. We keep a close eye on those types of things as much as we can, and notify site owners when we catch a ripoff. In this case, imitation is not flattery, it’s a headache.

You guys have some absolutely amazing shirts.  Do you have a favorite design?

Thanks! That’s a tough question. I think many of my favorite designs are ones that we’re working on at the time because they are the freshest ones and most exciting to me. But  looking back, a few stand out to me. WWJD? is one of my favorites because it started it all. Zombie Vs. Shark is also one that I really like. And, of the current line up, Hobo With A Shotgun is definitely up there for me because I love the movie so much.

Speaking of designs, tell us a little about how a design is brought to life?

It usually starts with an idea I have, or that we as a team have come up with. It could be a complete design idea, or just a broad concept. I then look at who we’ve worked with as artists and try and match up what style I think it should be in, and then contact that person. Or sometimes an artist will come to me with a concept or design and we go from there. Once the design is in the drawing stages, I like to look in on various stages so I can be involved in the details. However, sometimes I just let the person run with it.

You frequently work with the extremely talented Jeff Zornow.  How did you bring him into the fold and what has it been like working alongside him?

Zornow must be destroyed! Jeff is one hell of a talent and has been synonymous with Fright-Rags since 2007. I met him through a mutual friend (Kevin Miller who runs House of Mysterious Secrets) who had him do a shirt design that we were printing for Kevin’s store. I loved it and — to be honest — was incredibly jealous. So, I asked Kevin if I could work with him and he was cool with it. From then on, I just fed him work non-stop and Kevin got out of the horror shirt thing for awhile. So then I just kept giving him more work. He’s one of those guys I can just let loose on almost any project. But even still, I enjoy the times we collaborate together as I think those designs come out the best because they’ve been pushed beyond the original concept. He’s a gifted artist and a great friend.

Ben Scrivens - Check out www.fright-rags.com!

Tell us a little about the other artists you worked with over the years.

We’ve worked with quite a few and continue to work with more as I find artists that fit a style I’m looking for. One of the coolest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with was the late, great Chas Balun. He’s obviously known for his amazing articles in “Fangoria” and “Gorezone” and his numerous books on horror. He was also an accomplished artist and worked for years with Rotten Cotton on many of their shirts. When he approached me to do artwork for us, it was an honor. We worked together for a few years and all the way up until his death in 2009. He was a great guy and I’m blessed to have had a chance to work with him.

Another artist I’ve been grateful to work with is William Stout. When I approached him about using the Tarman character for a T-shirt, he asked if he could create an original Tarman drawing for the design as opposed to using the film as reference. As the father of Tarman, how could I resist? The result was an amazing pop art take on the popular zombie, and we decided to produce it as a limited edition T-shirt and signed serigraph (screen-printed poster). Both sold out in just a few hours at the time of their release. It was incredible.

You released several special edition shirts. (Trick ‘r Treat, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Ladies of Evil Dead, Friday the 13th, etc.)  Can we expect another special edition soon and can you give us a hint at what it may be?

Oh yeah, we’ve got a list of ideas we’re currently working on for limited editions. The next one is set to debut on November 4, and will be another pre-order shirt (like Trick ‘r Treat). While I can’t give away all the details, I will say we’re doing this in time for Christmas as the theme is perfect for the holiday. Not an all out horror film necessarily, but a favorite among horror fans for sure. Let’s just say you won’t want to get this shirt wet, expose it to bring light, or feed it after midnight …

You recently re-release your “We Belong Alive” design.  For our readers who are unfamiliar with the design, explain why it was created and if you can, please give us an update on Leisha’s condition.

"We Belong Alive"

Last September (2010), I was lurking around on Facebook and noticed a post about a good friend of mine from high school, Leisha, and something about her having cancer. I had not talked to her in a while, so I hopped onto her page and sure enough, she had posted about having breast cancer. However, since her husband had lost his job, they did not have any insurance so no doctor would give her treatment at the time. She was finally able to get assistance and the treatment she needed, but by that time the cancer had metastasized and spread. This type of cancer is extremely hard to treat and she has had to undergo weekly chemo and radiation treatments. To compound the issue, they also have twin boys that just started school.

When I read all that, my heart sank. I couldn’t believe it. I went out for a long bike ride and just cranked my music … something I tend to do whenever I’m working out a problem or need inspiration. I kept thinking that I needed to do something. And then it hit me, what if I could use Fright-Rags as a way to help raise money for her? At that moment, the idea came to me. We’ll do a limited edition shirt and donate 100% of the proceeds to her. As for the shirt idea, I knew it had to be boob related, but I didn’t want it to be gratuitous or graphic. Then I thought of the Rolling Stone cover with Janet Jackson and thought, hmm, what about doing that with the Bride of Frankenstein? When I got home I contacted a designer (Jared Moratis) who I thought would be perfect and we were off to the races.

Two months later I showed up to Leisha’s house with a check for over $7,000. It warmed my heart to know that we were able to make a difference in her life, even if only a little bit. To think that so many people, bound by their common love of horror, jumped at the chance to help support someone in need is something I will always cherish. Not only that, but I saw first hand how many others had been affected by this disease, as they bought shirts to help celebrate the survival of their loved ones, or pay homage to their memory. That is why we decided to bring it back this year.As for Leisha, she is doing well and still receiving treatments. She has told me that the  doctors see the treatments continuing through March or April 2012, at which point they hope she will be in remission. Her spirits are high and her courage is an inspiration.

We hear the proceeds for the re-issue will be going to a charity.  Any decision on which charity you will contribute to?

We’ve decided to donate 60% of the proceeds from this year’s shirt to METAvivor  (www.metavivor.org). They focus primarily on metastatic breast cancer, as research for that is severely underfunded. Plus, they are volunteer-based, which means more of the money that gets donated actually goes to the cause.

That design is amazing and I admire you and your customers for supporting such a great cause.

Thanks so much! I really appreciate it and the ability to give back, all while creating a kick ass horror shirt, is just a great combination.

Fright-Rags: Kick-Ass Horror Shirts

We often run into you guys at horror cons selling your merchandise.  Do you enjoy getting out to conventions and meeting fans of your work?

I love going to shows and meeting our customers. I personally don’t get out to too many these days, as I have two small children at home. However, I will always get out to the Monster Mania shows in Cherry Hill, NJ (in March and August) as they have become a home away from home. We do a few more shows throughout the year, but Kristy (who does customer service) handles those.

So many times we only know customers by their names on orders. And since we do a great deal of repeat business, many of the same names keep popping up. Then, when I’m at a show and a person approaches me and I recognize the name from one of those orders, it’s almost like meeting a celebrity because I’ve been seeing their names for months or years. The horror community is so tightly-knit, and I truly view our customers as an extended family.

We know you run into stars of the films you feature on your shirts at these conventions. Do you usually present them with a shirt related to the film they starred in?

Definitely. It’s the best way to break the ice. Especially for me, as I have a hard time trying to figure out what to say to people when they’ve heard it all. But giving them a shirt offers me a chance to describe what we do, and it usually leads on to further conversation.

Have you had any interesting interactions between yourselves and any of the stars?

Ben and Horror Legend George A. Romero

I’ve had some amazing experiences throughout the years. One that stands out in particular was at a show in 2006. We had done some shirts for George Romero a few months prior to the show, and he was there as the main guest. I had only worked with his manager, and never met George himself. However, on Saturday night, I received a call from his manager telling me to head up to George’s room. When I got there, it was full of people and practically every celebrity at the show. When I walked in, I saw George’s manager, Chris, and he motioned to come see him. At that point, I saw George in the corner surrounded by people as he sat there drinking scotch and smoking a cigarette. Chris started leading me to him and I said, “I don’t want to bother him with all those people around.” Chris just said, “Nonsense, he wants to meet you.”

We pushed through a wall of people and there he was, the man himself. Chris said, “George, this is the guy responsible for making your shirts!” George looked up and just made a motion as if to bow to me. I said, “Screw that, I bow to YOU!” and got down on my knees. He laughed, shook my hand and said, “Have a seat.” And so I did, right next to him, and we talked for two hours. That’s a night I will never forget!

You hosted a two-night film festival featuring Tom Atkins and Fred Dekker.  Tell us a little about how you arranged that and how successful it was.

While Rochester is not known for being a booming metropolis, we are known for one thing, film. Eastman Kodak was the world’s primary manufacturer of motion picture film for the last 100+ years, and was started by George Eastman. His house is now a museum and an archive of film itself. The archives hold over 70,000 reels and are also where Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, and other prominent directors keep their private collections. They also have a theater on the premises that shows movies nightly, and they show everything from the earliest silent films, all the way up to more recent movies.

Jason, Ben and Jason

I’ve had the pleasure to attend many screenings there, movies I wouldn’t normally have had the chance to see in the theater such as “Friday the 13th” in 3D, the original “Halloween,” “The Evil Dead,” and others. So, I got to thinking, what if we could team up with them to show a film and bring an actor out to screen it with us. The program director had planned on showing “Halloween 3,” and I said we could get Tom Atkins here because he and I had been talking for a while as he buys the Thrill Me shirts from us to sell at the shows. He was interested in coming out, and then we got to thinking about showing “Night of the Creeps” since he was in that as well. Then we thought, how cool would it be to have Fred Dekker here too? We contacted him and he was interested as well. So it ended up being two nights, both with double features. One night was all Atkins and we showed “Halloween 3” and “The Fog.” The next night was Dekker night where we showed “Night of the Creeps” and “The Monster Squad.”

Both films each night were followed by Q&A’s with Atkins and Dekker and they also took time to meet people in the lobby, sign autographs, and take pictures. People came from all over the tri-state area and it was just an amazing experience. Not only did I get to hang out with my friends and customers, but I got to spend a great deal of time with Atkins and Dekker, two people I have admired and watched since childhood. It was truly a magical weekend and one that made me realize how lucky I am to be doing what I do.

Do you intend on holding another event like this in the future?

I’d love to hold another event like that in the future. We’ve been talking about it but it’s been difficult to coordinate the right event. I want to make sure that, when we do something like this, it’s special. So yes, there is a possibility of it happening again.

An Instant Classic...

What does the future hold for Fright-Rags?

We’ve always got something up our sleeve (pun intended). At the moment, we’re planning a new section of the website called the Graveyard which will show all of our old and out of print designs. It will also give people a chance to vote on what will come back. With lots of new designs in the works, we don’t reprint as many of the older ones as much, so this will give people a chance to get their voice heard as to what they want to see on the site.

We’re also gearing up to launch another website that will host all of our vintage shirts that used to be on our main Fright-Rags site. These are the custom made shirts that feature full color poster art reproductions and can be ordered in a variety of styles and colors. We were having some delays with our previous vendor, so I’ve decided it would be best to change to a vendor that could handle printing and fulfillment. So we decided to separate these shirts from our main line of tees and create a new website altogether. The benefit is that they will ship much more quickly (3-5 days as opposed to 4-5 weeks), and we will be able to release more shirts on a regular basis. We’re still in the planning stages, but hopefully we’ll be ready to launch by the New Year or shortly after.Other than that, we’ve already got a busy 2012 planned with lots of new ideas and limited editions. The list is long, and we plan on pumping out some great stuff next year.

What is the best piece of advice someone has given you concerning your business?

It’s not something that was said to me personally (nor is it specifically advice), but one thing that has always stood out to me is a saying by Seth Godin that goes “It takes five years to become an overnight success.” Only in hindsight do I realize how true that is. People are starting new businesses every day because they feel they have some hot new gizmo or idea. This is especially rampant in the T-shirt industry. However, many of these companies (and I use the term loosely) fizzle out after a few months or a year because the creator has moved on to something else, got bored, or simply wasn’t successful. What they don’t realize is that the companies they admire that have any sort of success have been working at it for years, and are just now getting noticed. It takes time before all of the hard work pays off.

I can remember when one of our shirts was on “30 Rock” a couple of years ago, and how much attention that brought to Fright-Rags. We were on the local news, in several different papers, and word spread online. It’s almost as if that one moment put us on the map. However, what people didn’t see were the years I spent staying up late, getting up early, and working my ass to the bone just to keep the company going, all without drawing a dime from it for myself until the company was stable enough to do so. A tremendous amount of blood, sweat, and tears goes into doing this and it did not happen overnight. Those who think otherwise are delusional.

That being said, do you have any advice for someone who would like to get involved in starting their own business?

www.fright-rags.com

My main piece of advice is to really think why you’re going into business. Is it just to make money? Or is it something you’re so passionate about you’ll sacrifice sleep and all your free time to make it happen? If it’s the former, then get ready for a wake-up call. You need to love what you’re doing so you’ll be willing to put in the time it takes to create and grow your company. While it’s incredibly satisfying, it’s also the hardest you’ll ever work, period.

On a personal note, thanks for finally giving “Silver Bullet” some love.

Hell yeah, that film is one of my all-time favorites. I won’t say it’s the best film ever made (it’s no “Citizen Kane”), but it has a special place in my heart and I will not let an October go by where I don’t watch at least once.

Do you have anything you would like to say to our readers before we let you go?

I’d just like to say thank you for your support over the years. Fright-Rags started out as simply an idea, and I never imagined it would become what it is today. However, none of that would have been possible were it not for the people who stuck by us and supported us all this time. It’s something I think about often and will never take for granted. And it’s the reason we put 110% into everything we do … because without you, there is no us!

To get the latest news, updates and new kick-ass designs on our friends at Fright-Rags, visit their official site at www.fright-rags.com!

Be sure to sign up for their newsletter, which aside from being an interesting read, is were you will be alerted to all of their exclusives!

 

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Director Adam Green Talks ‘Frozen’, ‘Hatchet 2’ and Much More!

Director Adam Green Talks ‘Frozen’, ‘Hatchet 2’ and Much More!

feature_adam-green

Stay away from that cabin or hatchet face will get you. Those were the words that a young Adam Green heard during his stay at Camp Avoda in Middleboro, Massachusetts. While Green’s stay at “Camp Work” wasn’t the experience he was hoping for, a seed had been planted in his mind that would push him toward his destiny of becoming a creative force in the entertainment industry. It is hard to believe that Green’s 2006 film ‘Hatchet’, a bloody ode to old school American horror, had such innocent beginnings.Building off the success of the critically acclaimed ‘Hatchet’, Green quickly transformed himself from a relatively unknown horror director to an award winning filmmaker and producer at his company ArieScope Pictures. His upcoming films ‘Frozen’ and the recently announced ‘Hatchet 2’ are highly anticipated and will be a breath of fresh air in a genre that is bloated with big budget remakes and unoriginal ideas. It is clear to see that Adam Green shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon and trust us, that is a good thing. The horror genre is a better place with Green’s uncanny ability to tell a story and expertise behind the camera. Steve Johnson of Icon vs. Icon sat down with Adam to discuss his past, his experiences while on the set of ‘Hatchet’, what it was like to produce Paul Solet’s critically acclaimed ‘Grace’, the state of modern horror, the fact that he really is a softy and not some raging psychopath, and his upcoming films ‘Frozen’ and ‘Hatchet 2’.


adam_green9Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a town called Holliston, Massachusetts. It’s a little town about forty five minutes outside of Boston. We had farms there and cows and chickens. Not my family, but it was a very small town.

When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in the entertainment industry?

It all sort of happened when I was eight years old. Every event that made me want to do this happened sort of that summer. A big thing was seeing ‘E.T.’ for the first time and realizing that a movie was controlling my emotions and I couldn’t. And somehow understanding that somebody wrote this and that alien isn’t real, it’s a rubber doll, yet I’m crying like an infant right now. That was the movie that really made me want to pursue film making and understand it more. It was also the same summer that my parents sent me to this terrible summer camp called Camp Avoda. I found out years later that Avoda means work. So technically my parents sent me to fucking Camp Work. [laughs] Other kids, they go to camps and they make out with girls and they play sports. I was cleaning toilets and scrubbing floors. [laughs] While I was there the counselors had told me to stay away from this one cabin or else ‘hatchet face’ would get me. That was where ‘Hatchet’ all came from. So I think when I was eight it all just sort of clicked.

Did you have any influences, be it other directors or otherwise?

Well growing up I think Steven Spielberg was a huge influence. Chris Columbus, as a writer at the time. I think ‘The Goonies’ and ‘Gremlins’ were probably two of my favorite movies ever when I was growing up. John Landis has always been an inspiration, just in the fact that if you look at his career in the eighties when I was growing up he had the top grossing comedy, one of the top grossing horrors. He was just doing everything. Ultimately that’s what I would like to do. A lot of my inspiration has also come from music. Bands like Twisted Sister and Metallica and the messages that they had and the things that those guys stood for. Especially Twisted Sister above all else because their whole message was to sort of fight authority. So for every teacher and every person in my life who was telling me, “No, it’s probably not going to happen. Your dad’s a gym teacher, you don’t have connections in Hollywood.” I’d look at those guys and see that anything is actually possible.

You are a director, writer, editor, and producer. Is there one aspect of film making that you prefer over the others?

It’s really hard. I think writing is probably the aspect that you have the most control over. It’s the most personal, but it’s also one of the hardest. Directing is where I’m usually happiest. I like being on set, I like the crews that I work with. I usually work with the same people on everything. That’s probably the one that I like the most, but it’s a lot of pressure. Especially the budgets that I’ve had for most of my films. It’s an uphill battle all the way. I can’t even imagine being handed one hundred million dollars to make a movie with. What’s your excuse then for why your movie isn’t good? [laughs] For myself, you go to the table with all of this vision and all of these things you want to do, then unfortunately the budget dictates that you can’t really do that.

What is your typical screenwriting process like?

adam_green8My screenwriting process is really a bad one. I’ve been asked to speak at screenwriting panels and stuff. I’m probably one of the worse people for aspiring screenwriters to listen to. Let’s see… if I am going to write something that’s an original thing that I came up with, I don’t know when it’s going to hit, it just does. Sometimes I’ll pound out an entire script in three days, I just won’t sleep and I’ll do nothing except drink Snapple and eat bags and bags of Skittles. It’s not really the healthy and the right way to do it. If I’m doing a studio project and I have a deadline, it’s a little more structured. You have to go through the steps for them. You have to outline it, you have to do a treatment, you have to do a first draft. I hate that process. I feel like the writer should just write the thing and then if there are producers and other people involved and they want to give you input and suggestions, that’s great. When you have that happening all through the process, that’s how you end up with these bad studio movies. You have thirty people who have to say something because they have to justify their paycheck and show why they are an executive there. So everyone of them will say something. You’ll see in the meetings, sometimes they’ll fight to go first because they want to get their note out first in case somebody else has it. Some of the notes that I have gotten over the years, they’re just great stories. For instance, I wrote the animated ‘Aquaman’ movie for Warner Brothers. One of the notes that I got from Warner Premiere was that water is very expensive to animate and they would appreciate it if I would take the scenes with water out of ‘Aquaman’. You think it’s a joke, but it’s not. In the meetings I would just laugh. The executives laughed too because they understood how ridiculous it is. For the public who sees these movies and stuff, you can’t even imagine the absurdity that goes on, which is why I really like independent cinema. I do have producers and stuff, but they’re producers that I pick and they’re producers who are trying to make the same movie I’m making. I just think it works out better that way.

Remaking classic movies is the current rage in Hollywood. As a writer and director what are your feelings on this latest trend?

I blame the fans one hundred percent. I know they always get bitchy when they hear me say that, but Hollywood makes movies that people will pay to see. The fans have put us in a position where the only movies that they support are remakes. As much as they like to get on message boards online and go on their tirades and say, “This one is raping a franchise, and this one is destroying my childhood and blah…blah…blah…” They’re the first ones in line to see it. If you look at the box office numbers for the remake of ‘Friday the 13th’ and ‘Halloween’ and all of those remakes, they’re huge. Then you look at movies like ‘Behind the Mask’, where was everybody? ‘Drag Me To Hell’, which was Sam Raimi, our savior came back to us and made us a horror movie. Where the fuck were the fans? They were nowhere. That’s the problem. Hollywood would make Holocaust comedies if people would pay to see them. They don’t care what the product is, they just need to defend their jobs. The remake thing is like the perfect storm. To their bosses they can say, “It’s a pre-existing title that everybody already recognizes. This is how much money the first one made. We’re going to get this director who made this music video, or this thing, or that. We’re going to put this WB TV star in it. He we go, now we have our package.” The movie sucks and they know it, but the fans are the first ones in line and they’ll go see it twice and then they’ll buy the DVD. That’s why we are in this position. So for everybody who is sick of it, just stop going and it will stop! They don’t listen! They keep complaining about the lack of original horror, yet they don’t support original horror when it’s right in front of them.

Have you always been a fan of horror films and do you have a favorite?

Yeah. Again, since I was eight. I had an older brother who had shown me ‘Friday the 13th Part 2’. I think that was the very first horror film I ever saw. I love all of them. There are so many. ‘The Exorcist’ is probably one of the only ones that still really scares me. ‘American Werewolf in London’ was probably always my favorite because it was just massively entertaining. That’s the type of horror I like. I’m not really into the stuff that punishes the audience, the stuff that the only thing it has going for it is how disturbing it is. I have enough problems in my own life, I don’t need to sit through that. I like to be entertained. Stuff like ‘American Werewolf’, ‘Evil Dead’, ‘Slither’, that stuff I just think is great.

You had a six year downtime between ‘Coffee & Donuts’ and ‘Hatchet’. Why such a long hiatus and because of that hiatus, did you face any challenges while writing the script for ‘Hatchet’?

adam_green2Well ‘Coffee and Donuts’ is not even a real movie. When I got out of college I had a job directing cable commercials at Time Warner Cable in Boston. Another guy up there, Will Barratt, who’s been my D.P. for twelve years now, he and I started stealing the equipment. We made ‘Coffee and Donuts’ for four hundred dollars. Because it’s listed on IMDB, everybody always takes that seriously as my first film. It was a four hundred dollar video. It did wind up getting picked up by Disney. It won a film festival. It was developed as a TV show for UPN, but unfortunately it was the same year that UPN merged with the WB, so all of the development went away. In the time from graduating college I had done a couple years directing commercials, which is where I made ‘Coffee and Donuts’. Then I moved out to LA. I was an assistant, I was a DJ, I was an extra in a J. Lo video at one point. I just did everything I could to meet people. While I was doing that, I was writing sitcoms the whole time. I sold a couple of pilots. I think it was 2004 when I sold ‘Coffee and Donuts’ as the TV show. I was waiting to get notes back from UPN, which were like, “Take the water out of ‘Aquaman’.” [laughs] That was when I wrote ‘Hatchet’. I wrote ‘Hatchet’ in three days. It’s funny because a lot of people say, “Oh! There’s a six year hiatus between movies. Did it take you that long to write ‘Hatchet’?” I wrote ‘Hatchet’ in a weekend, which I hate admitting because it cheapens the movie a bit. [laughs] I mean you can kind of look at it and tell in a lot of different ways. [laughs] Yeah…that’s, that.

I was just watching the behind the scenes stuff and it seemed like you had it planned out to a tee.

Yeah, I wrote ‘Hatchet’ in 2004. When I showed it to my agents they liked it and they said, “You sort of either have to take the gore out of this or you have to take the jokes out of it, but you can’t do both.” I said, “Why? This is the type of stuff I grew up on. This was like the old way of doing it when horror was still fun.” They sent it out and the first rejection letter we got from a major studio said, “The writing is brilliant, however this movie will not get made because it’s not a remake, it’s not a sequel, and it’s not based on a Japanese one.” You might remember when we did festivals, that was the slogan on the poster, the rejection letter. I had it for like two years, sitting there and wondering, “What I am going to do with this thing.” Then Sarah Elbert, one of the producers, had just done the ‘Friday the 13th’ box set. She was like, “Let me show this to John Buechler and he might be able to help you.” With John’s help we made a mock trailer for ‘Hatchet’ that made it seem like the movie had already been made. There was a lot of time to really prepare to make that movie. We had no money to make it with and really even less time than we had money. We just did everything wrong. We shot it at the wrong time of year. It was all night for night outdoors. Because we shot in the summer, the sun would go down at nine and then it would come up at quarter of five. We were shooting so far away from where catering was that it would take an hour and a half to get the whole crew through lunch. So we were shooting like six hour nights. So on a twenty two day shoot, that’s like a twelve or fourteen day shoot when you have fire, make up effects, under water shots, alligators, and kids. It was ridiculous. Hopefully this time out, with ‘Hatchet 2’, we do better with the timing of things. [laughs]

You worked with several genre vets on the film. (Robert Englund, Kane Hodder, and Tony Todd) What was it like working with those guys?

It was just amazing. As a fan it was obviously cool. By the time you get to the set you are already friends with them and a little bit of the fanboyism goes away. I remember the first night that Robert Englund was on set and Kane came out of his trailer in the Victor Crowley makeup. I’m watching the two of them sit there and talk about the Victor Crowley character. Robert’s telling Kane, “This could be the next big thing. Look at this. The makeup is so great.” I’m standing in between Freddy and Jason with the biggest erection I think I’ve ever had, just thinking, “I can’t believe this is happening right now!” Tony Todd, if you look at his resume, the guy never stops working. It’s because he’s such a pleasure to work with and he’s just so damn good at everything he does. He was on set for a few hours for his little cameo in the first one. He walked onto that set and he introduced himself to everybody who was there. Every P.A., every grip, whoever was nearby, he introduced himself. He did his stuff and if I recall, he actually bowed when he was done. He said, “Thank you. Good Evening.” and he left. Everybody was just like, “Oh my God! This guy’s amazing!” So in the sequel for Hatchet, he’s the main character. That’s one of the things I’m most looking forward to, what I’m going to learn from him as an actor. He’s a very smart and very talented man.

Did you ever expect ‘Hatchet’ to have the success that it did?

adam_green1Nobody did. You know… I shouldn’t say that. We obviously believed in it and we certainly fought for it. Every sale that we made was like a word of mouth, begging somebody to give the movie a chance. Nobody believed in us. When the movie was finished I showed my agents. I was reped at a place called United Talent Agency at the time, which is one of the top five and they passed on repping the film. Technically you can’t pass on repping the film if you rep the filmmaker. How do you do that? I was like, “Are you kidding?” They just said, ‘This is a straight to video Syfy Channel movie. It’s not going to go anywhere. We rep film festival movies, so we don’t want to be part of this.” Then three weeks later The New York Times, L.A. Times, and Variety are all reporting that one of the biggest hits of the Tribeca Film Festival is ‘Hatchet.’ Then of course U.T.A. is like, “OK! We’ve got a franchise here. There’s going to be a sequel.” So I promptly fired them and went with somebody else. Nobody gave us any credit the whole way. Once we finally got people to realize that the movie deserved a theatrical chance, we ended up going with a place that had never done a theatrical movie before, which was Anchor Bay. At the time they were basically a DVD catalog company of old titles. This was going to be their first thing. They didn’t really know how to release a movie theatrically then. If you look at where they’ve come since ‘Hatchet’, now they have major players in that organization from New Line and Fox Atomic. It’s like a big studio now. ‘Hatchet’ sort of paved the way. I would rather be with the underdog who has something to prove, then with a place that wouldn’t care. Then of course right when we finally got our theatrical, The M.P.A.A. came down on the movie like it was the fucking Antichrist. They butchered it. When it came out into theaters it almost hurt us. People had been hearing about the movie from the festival circuit for two years and reading these reviews and the hype was just so big. We were terrified on opening weekend. We were like, “There’s no way we’re going to live up to this. People are expecting the second coming of Christ and it’s just ‘Hatchet’.” Then of course with all of the gore cut out of the movie people were like, “What was so great about that?” That was rough.

You recently went into pre-production for ‘Hatchet 2’. What can fans of the original film expect from the sequel and will it be as bloody as the first film?

It’s going to be twice as bloody as the first one. All us sort of feel like we have a chip on our shoulder about what happened with the M.P.A.A. the first time. So I don’t know what’s going to happen in terms of the theatrical release for it. We might have to alter the movie again. What I am asking Anchor Bay to do is to not do a full theatrical release for the film and instead do midnight screenings in cities that have theaters that are willing to play the unrated version of it. Remember, it’s not overtly sexual. There’s nothing offensive in the movie, but because it’s an independent the M.P.A.A. has such a huge problem with it. Going back to what I was saying before, why is it ok to have torture films and movies with all kinds of sex and drug use? The day that I lost my trial with the M.P.A.A. was the day that ‘Hostel 2’ opened. I went to see ‘Hostel 2’. There’s that whole thing with Heather being hung upside down and ritualistically bled while there’s a naked woman masturbating in her blood. The dude’s dick gets cut off and fed to a dog, but my swamp monster with a gas powered belt sander was too offensive for theaters? Are you serious? It was a joke. So fans can expect double to body count, double the amount of gore, a much better looking Victor Crowley, and a big surprise that we’re going to be announcing hopefully the end of this week, if not the beginning of next week for who is going to be replacing Tamara Feldman in the role of Marybeth.

How far along are you on the film right now?

We are about thirty three days away from shooting. The sets are going to start being built next week. The movie is fully cast and we’re just waiting for some paperwork to close so we can start telling everybody who’s in it.

When can we expect to see it released?

It’s going to move really fast. I think in our contract we’re required to deliver it in like June or something. I know the plan is to have it out for Halloween season. If I could have my way, the world premiere would be at Fright Fest in London. That’s my favorite of the horror genre film festivals. That would be at the end of August. If they do what I’m ask them to of the midnight screenings, theatrical would be September or October, with the DVD just a couple weeks behind it.

You produced the controversial, but critically acclaimed ‘Grace’. What attracted you to the film?

adam_green_12Essentially the fact that it was the type of script that you read and you say this is controversial and it’s going to be critically acclaimed. [laughs]What really attracted me to ‘Grace’ was actually the director. When I was promoting ‘Hatchet’ I was at the horror conventions and I’m doing my thing and signing autographs at a booth, and some of my friends walked by and they said, “There’s this movie playing called ‘Grace’. This short film. We’re going to go in and watch it. Do you want to go see it?” I was like, “No!,” because the whole time everybody is handing me their short films and I’m like, “There’s nothing I can do for you.” Then another friend walked by and he said, “Are you going to come in and watch ‘Grace’?” I said, “No. I can’t do it right now. I’m busy.” Then I saw this kid with a dead baby in a Baby Bjorn with blood all over it walking around with a dude from ‘90210’. I’m like, “Who the hell is that?” They’re like, “That’s the ‘Grace’ guy!” I’m like, “Alright! I’m going to go see that!” I loved it. I just thought it was really smart, it was definitely scary. The short film for ‘Grace’ was four minutes, it was essentially the first act of the movie condensed into four minutes. It was just upsetting to watch a woman holding a dead baby and begging it to stay and then it comes back to life. That was the end. A few months later at another convention on the east coast, there’s the kid with the dead baby and the Baby Bjorn again. I told my D.P., “Go watch this short.” He’s like, “I don’t want to see it.” I’m like, “Dude, trust me! You’re going to like it.” He loved it. Then again in I think Chicago or something, he was out there and he was doing it. He was whoring out his short film. He was passing out these little cards to everybody. He put it in festivals and it was winning awards. So when I was finally asked to read his script, I took it much more seriously than the normal scripts that I get sent. Everybody is always trying to send me their horror script hoping that my company will make their movie because I think we’re one of the only ones who are still making original fucking horror movies right now. We just don’t really have time and we don’t really do that for the most part, but ‘Grace’ was so special and Paul Solet was so special that we took the gamble on it. It really worked because ‘Hatchet’ had just become the all-time biggest success for Anchor Bay, so they were very anxious to do another project with us. I said, “How about this one? This kid is going to direct, but you need to trust me on this. I will stand over his shoulder every day on set and I will make sure this movie is great.” We all made it together. Obviously it’s Paul’s film, he wrote and directed it, but on set we had seventeen days to shoot the movie, so he had me there to hand me a camera and say, “I need these forty two shots today. Can you get them?” I’d say, “Yep!” and I’d go get them. Everybody pitched in. When the movie got into Sundance, that was amazing. To get to sit there in the theater as the producer and not have to get up and speak and not be the center of attention, but to get to sort of be anonymous was such a great and unique feeling. You could sit back and be like, “I did this, but I don’t have to do anything for it. I can just stay back here and watch this guy have his moment.” It was amazing.

What was it like for you watching Paul Solet work behind the lens?

adam_green_11It was a lot easier than I thought. I really thought it was going to be hard in that I was going to sit there wanting to grab the camera all of the time from him and make suggestions. He had that movie so planned out. When we first sat down he already had the entire movie storyboarded. We re-wrote the script a bunch of times with all of us giving input. There were no surprises when we shot it, I knew everything he was already going to do and I agreed with it. If anything, I was just impressed watching him as a first time director not making the mistakes of a first time director. Most people their first time out have a hard time communicating with everybody else and getting everyone on the same page for what they want to do. There’s usually a problem where the crew has a little bit of a learning curve sort of, like a lack of respect for the first week. Whenever you’re on a film set and you’re the director, everybody else on that crew can do your job better than you and doesn’t understand why you’re the guy in charge. Especially when you’re young. You have fifty year old men on your crew looking at you like, “Who are you?” Paul handled just himself perfectly, even when things would go wrong. He never lost his temper. He never lost his cool. It was like he had been in training for years waiting for that moment and he delivered. He had to deal with a lot of political bullshit behind the scenes. There were people involved financially who just did not like that movie and didn’t believe in it, they were financing it for all of the wrong reasons. In a lot of ways it could have bit him in the ass and he maneuvered it well.

Are you happy with it’s success in the festival circuit and now on DVD/Blu-Ray?

Yeah! It’s selling great, which is wonderful. On the festival circuit, the fact that we had a combined total of four faintings was awesome. That was almost like a comeuppance for me. Whenever I’ve heard that from other films…When they’re like, “There was a screening and somebody fainted!” I always call bullshit on that. I’m like, “Who the fuck faints at a movie?” At Sundance two dudes dropped! We didn’t see it happen. We saw them walk out. One guy got up and left early on. We were already really frazzled at Sundance because we were like, “This is a really sick, disturbing movie and everyone’s laughing!” I’m in a fetal position. I’m like, “Why are they laughing?” I didn’t realize until the movie was over that they were laughing because they were so uncomfortable and they needed to laugh. Then when the movie was over and we were doing to Q&A, the guy from the Egyptian Theater, whoever owns it, comes running in and he’s like, “I just want you to know that two different men fainted and the ambulance came twice.” We didn’t even know what to say. It was amazing. In L.A. at USC we did a screening and a guy passed out in a bathroom and broke his finger. In Spain a woman passed out. I think it’s just the baby thing. It just does that to people. For myself as a producer and for myself as the guy who started ArieScope Pictures, that’s the type of thing that we want to do. I’m just damn proud of it. I hope other people are seeing that there is an audience for this type of stuff and that they’ll take chances on original movies too. I think ‘Grace’ is one of the most original scripts that I’ve read in my time out here. I’m happy that my company was the place to make it.

You just finished work on ‘Frozen’. What can you tell us about that film?

adam_green10It was just announced two hours ago that ‘Frozen’ is an official selection for Sundance. This will be two years in a row at Sundance, which is huge. It will be in theaters February 5th all across America. I don’t know exactly how many screens yet. I don’t know what their plan is yet, if they’re going to start huge right away or if they’re going to work their way up. ‘Frozen’ is definitely by far and away the best movie that I have done yet. t’s a suspense-thriller and probably leans towards more of a drama at times. In fact, I would almost dare say it’s probably one of the best acted genre movies that people will see. The whole movie is about the acting. It’s basically three people in a chair. We’ve done a lot of screenings of it now. People are just white knuckling their arm rests in the theater. People are crying. People are holding their breath and panicking. It’s great. It’s a different type of horror. ‘Hatchet’ was splatter-comedy-horror. ‘Grace’ was disturbing. ‘Sprial’ was psychological. This could really happen. It preys on all kinds of real fears: the fear of heights, the fear of isolation, the fear of the cold. There’s nobody that this movie will miss. There’s nobody that will be like, “I don’t get that.” It works sort of on a very primal level, which I think is great. It ended up being the most personal movie that I’ve written yet. Even more so than things like ‘Coffee and Donuts’, which were based on my life. ‘Frozen’ was much more personal. The first draft wasn’t like that, but the producers encouraged me to keep injecting myself into it. So all three of the characters are different aspects of myself, which is kind of weird I guess. The main interesting point of the movie that I know they are going to use to sell it is that everything you see in the movie is real. There’s no soundstage, there’s no green screen, there’s no Hollywood movie magic. The actors really went through everything you see. It’s terrifying and I don’t know if I would ever have the courage to do it again. I’m not a very tough guy, I would much rather stay at home in front of my X-Box than go outside. I don’t even go for walks, [laughs] I just like to stay home. To be on the side of a mountain at ten thousand feet, dangling fifty feet in the air trying to get these shots, I don’t even know who I was last winter. I would never do it again. [laughs]

You were doing a lot more than I would!

[laughs]

Were the temperatures and the conditions the biggest challenges on the film?

adam_green7The temperature was what it was. We had the right clothing, we were very well prepared for that. The biggest challenge was just the actual logistics of shooting it. I don’t know if you ski at all? We basically were trying to create a mountain that felt like this place called Wachusett in Massachusetts, which is kind of a shittier mountain. It’s just small and the lifts are a little old, at least when I used to ski there years ago. These lifts don’t move backward, they only move forward. We had to pick the spot where the cast gets stuck and we had to drag cranes for our lights and condors and all that stuff up the side of a mountain where there’s no road. It’s just snow and straight up a mountain. So my production team was for weeks battling, trying to get these things up there through blizzards so that we could light it. The chair had to be in a very specific spot for the cast to be in in the correct light. The chairs don’t stop on a dime, so we’d have to inch them there. It would take an hour to get them into position. If we overshot it, then they’d have to go all of the way up to the top of the mountain and around again and we’d have to wait forty five minutes to try again. It was really hard. Then the fact that the camera was seeing three hundred and sixty degrees. It was swiveling all around them. There was nowhere to have video village or anything for producers to be in. There was no tent for people to get warm in. Everybody had to be right below the chair out of the shot. Some of the hardest things were when the chair was moving and the cast was having conversations. At the time when I wrote it I was like, “Ok put a hostess tray off to the side and we’ll shoot our three shot and we’ll shoot from the chair in front of them.” Well you can’t hang a hundred pound camera on that chair with three people in it because it will fall. You can’t shoot the whole movie from one focal length in the chair in front of them. The only solution was to hang myself and my D.P. hung himself from the cable and we basically dangled with cameras in our hands. I did the close up shots and he shot the wider shots because the camera department refused to do it. They just looked at the rig that we built and they just said, “Nope! Sorry!” [laughs] I’m afraid of heights, which is why I wrote the movie. So I’m literally dangling in front of the cast in a harness in this little metal work bucket thing. As long as I was looking through the lens it was like I was watching a movie and I could handle it, but when I’d have to slate the camera or change my lens I thought I was going to piss myself. I was so scared. Once you get up to the top of the mountain there are sixty mile per hour winds, it’s like minus thirty, and we’re being blown sideways. It shows in the movie. I don’t think anybody is going to walk out of it not feeling what we went through, which I am happy about. I was so scared when we started editing. I’m like, if I get one comment where somebody says, “How hard could this have been? It’s three people on a stage!” I was going to hurt myself. There’s no denying it. Even the weather in the movie, it’s all real.

The film has an excellent cast. What was the vibe like on the set?

They were great. That was my biggest thing in casting. There’s a lot of good actors who can deliver dramatic material. It was more…, which is sort of the way I always cast everything, feeling out who the people are. Kevin Zegers was already sort of a friend. He had been dating somebody years ago who was a friend of mine. We had gone out a few times, so I knew him. He was actually the first one to suggest Shawn Ashmore, who I had never actually read for anything before. The two of them had been best friends since they were little kids. So right there their comradery was just evident, and perfect, and pure, and real. So that worked. Emma Bell was the very first person to audition for the film. She was the very first person to walk through the door. She sat down, she read, and I looked at the producers and I said, “I’m good!” They were laughing. They said, “You can cast the first girl who walks in.” After four weeks of casting that’s who we went with, which is a great story. That never happens, ever! You never cast the first person because it can’t be the first person to walk in the door, but it was. They were troopers and they hung in there. I think the thing that helped them was that they understood that as bad as they had it, the crew had it a lot worse. The crew was out there twice as long as they were out there. When all is said and done the crew gets two seconds with their name in little fine white print in a scroll that nobody looks at, where as they get all the glory for it. I think as professionals they really appreciated what the crew went through and they never complained, not once. They couldn’t go to the bathroom. They couldn’t eat. They couldn’t drink. hey couldn’t do anything when they were shooting up in that chair. My deal with them was that if they couldn’t eat or drink or go to the bathroom, I wouldn’t. I would always stand where they could see me. When catering would come around with hot soup for everybody, and coffee, and things, I wouldn’t take it. I would stand there and suffer with them. I think that they respected that as well.

Do you have any other film projects that we should be on the look out for?

Jesus. I don’t know if it would be possible to have anymore! [laughs] No, I think that’s it for right now. I’ve got ‘Frozen’ coming out and ‘Hatchet 2’ starts shooting in a couple of weeks. I don’t know what I’m doing yet after that. I’m circling a couple of things that are like studio sized movies that I am considering. I’ve got a couple of things in the pipeline, but nothing worth really mentioning yet. Anything can still happen. I would assume by the time ‘Hatchet 2’ is out I’ll definitely know for sure what my next thing is going to be.

What do you consider the defining moment of your career so far?

adam_green5That’s a really good question. The answer is so stupid. I went to see ’28 Weeks Later’ at Mann’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, which is the huge theater with the hand prints of the celebrities in front of it. It’s the coolest place to go see a movie. I had no idea that they were going to show the trailer for ‘Hatchet’ before it. I’m sitting there with my friends watching the trailers and all of a sudden the Anchor Bay logo comes up and you hear the little girl’s voice. I literally had a seizure in my seat. I’m grabbing my friends and I’m like, “Oh my God!” For the first time it was a real movie. It was in the biggest theater in the United States, packed on opening night for a movie. When the trailer finished and all of the laurels of the film festivals came up and the little girl whispered, “Stay out of the swamp,” the whole theater just went nuts cheering. I was shaking. I had to leave. I had to call my mom, I had to call my girlfriend. There’s a million people I had to call to tell them this minute long trailer just played. The average person doesn’t even watch the trailers, they talk through them. Out here it’s a little bit different. People pay very close attention to them. I think that was the first time I realized I made a real movie. I dunno… I wish I could explain it further. That feeling was the most exciting part. More so than the film festivals, than the awards, than in terms of being recognized in random places. You go out and random people come up to you and they know who you are. That’s all fine and dandy, but seeing that trailer in a real theater was life changing.

I definitely would have crapped my pants too! I can tell you that!

Yeah! It was crazy! [laughs]

What is the biggest misconception about yourself?

You look at the movies, you look at ‘Hatchet’ and it’s violence. You look at ‘Grace’ and how fucked up it is. I’m just not that guy in real life. I love the stuff. I collect the toys and the whole thing. I live and breathe horror, but I’m a huge softy. I cry at ‘My Dog Skip’, I love ‘E.T.’ I first started my career writing romantic comedy type stuff. I do have something in the pipeline that Chris Columbus is producing. It’s called ‘God Only Knows’. God only knows when it’s going to actually fucking shoot. It’s been in development for years at this point. I think that’s really going to surprise people because nobody thinks of me as that guy. I’m really more of a goofball and a comedian, which I’ve kind of shown in the short films that I’m always doing just for fun. That’s another thing that I think is very important as a filmmaker. You can’t just worry about the big features because if you do that you can become jaded fast. Its so hard to do those and it’s such a different thing. When you get to just go do a short film in one day with your friends and it doesn’t matter really if it’s any good, you just want to do it, it’s a great feeling. The following that the shorts have online is just ridiculous. I think that’s also kept me in touch with the fans. They don’t have to wait so long to hear from me. There’s always something new out there.

What is the best piece of advice that someone has given you along the way in your career?

adam_green4

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Let’s see…there’s probably three things. The first one was from my Steadicam operator whose name is BJ McDonnell. On the set of ‘Hatchet’ I wasn’t feeling well and he said, “Once it’s past 2:00 am and craft service comes around, never drink the coffee, always drink the tea.” I never forgot that and I always pass it on to other people, it really does make a difference. It’s weird. Another one is from my friend Dee Snider from Twisted Sister whose big motto was always, “Never let the bastards wear you down.” As much as that might sound like a cliche thing, in this industry even if you’re someone who’s having success and you’re getting movies made, that’s one time that you’re hearing good news the whole year. The rest of the time everyone’s telling you no, they’re saying it’s not going to happen, or they’re lying to you and you think it’s going to happen and then it falls apart. You have critics. You get stalkers online that stalk message boards to say awful things about you and your family. Some guy was wishing I would get cancer or something. I was like, “Jesus Christ! Did I fuck your sister or something?!” It’s a very good motto. Never let the bastards wear you down. The other good advice is…I’m not sure…I think John Landis might have said it to me. He said, “Just keep shooting.” That’s what I do with the short films and stuff, I don’t just wait for the next feature. A lot of my associates in the genre who are directors who make very good movies. Right now it’s the worse time to try to make an original movie because the fans only like remakes and the economy is in the shitter. Nobody has money to spend. Everybody’s assets are frozen, it’s really hard to get a movie going. Some of these guys are looking at half a decade now without shooting anything. Nothing can stop you from remembering what it’s like when you were growing up and grabbing a DV camera and going and making something. Even though ‘Hatchet 2’ is my fifth feature film in four years, I’ve also made thirty-something short films in that time as well. It’s helped keep me relevant, it’s helped keep my name out there. It’s been fun. I think that was really good advice.

That being said, do you have an advice for anyone who would like to get involved in the entertainment industry?

adam_green6My best advice would be that you need to make your own way. You can’t look at what anybody else did and then just try to emulate that. I started making shitty cable commercials. The only reason I took that job was because I realized after hours I could steal their equipment and make my own stuff. If you want to be a director, my advice, and people can take it or leave it, is that you need to be a writer first. You need material to direct. Nobody can just direct nothing, you need the material. Most writers want to direct their own stuff. First and foremost, write something that you own and that’s really good. Because then if somebody actually does want to make it, now you have a leg to stand on for why you should direct it. Just keep making short films no matter what the budget is. You’re always going to learn something and they’re always going to keep getting better. Now with things like YouTube and Funny or Die, there is a way to reach an audience. Of course it’s hit or miss. You look at stuff like ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’. It has eight million hits. Then there’s like brilliant short films on YouTube with like ten hits. You don’t know what’s going to hit and what’s not, but there is an audience. There’s no excuse not to be creating stuff.

Do you have any last words for fans or critics?

Just thank you, I guess. I feel like I’ve had a pretty charmed couple of years so far. People have been very supportive and rallied behind me and supported the work. Even critics, so far I love them. They’ve been nothing but fair, the good and the bad. I’m a pretty happy person. [laughs]

Thanks for your time, Adam!

I really appreciate you covering my stuff. It’s people like you that are getting the word out, so thank you.

– –

Check out Adam Green’s official site at www.ariescope.com and follow him on Twitter at @AdamFnGreen

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Danielle Harris Talks ‘Halloween II’, ‘Fear Clinic’ and HorrorGal.com

Danielle Harris Talks ‘Halloween II’, ‘Fear Clinic’ and HorrorGal.com

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Danielle Harris’ career in television and film has spanned an amazing twenty two years. Not too shabby for a thirty two year old actress who idolized Brooke Shields as a young girl. Danielle is most easily recognizable as Jamie Lloyd from ‘Halloween 4’ and ‘Halloween 5’ and more recently as Annie Brackett in Rob Zombie’s re-imagining of John Carpenter’s classic film, ‘Halloween’. While she may be an icon in the world of horror, she is also an accomplished voice over actress and aspiring director. Armed with a great personality and stunning looks, Danielle has recently set her sights on a new venture. What is that venture you ask? It’s HorrorGal.com and it will be making it’s way to the web just in time for Halloween. Steve Johnson of Icon Vs. Icon recently sat down with Danielle to discuss her career as a child star, her love of the horror genre and it’s fans, her upcoming book and of course her experiences on the sets of ‘Fear Clinic’ and ‘Halloween II’. Stay tuned for the Barbara Walters of the horror genre. Confused? I guess you will have to read on then…

Where did you grow up?

I was born in New York. I lived there until I was two. I moved to Florida from two to seven. Back to New York from seven to just about thirteen. Then California from thirteen to thirty two. I’ve kind of been all over the place.

When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in film?

That’s a tricky question. As a kid, I just wanted to be on TV. I really liked it and it was really fun for me. I got to get out of school. I got to hang out with a bunch of adults. I got to stay up really late. That kind of stuff. When I was seven, it was kind of my break into TV and film. I was on a soap opera and all that jazz. I think when I really was like, “this is what I wanna do with my life,” I was probably thirteen or fourteen. I was like, “wow, this is what I want to be when I grow up. I really want to keep doing this.”

Did you have any influences, be it other actors or otherwise?

I used to have this saying when I was a little girl, when I used to do beauty pageants. I always used to say, “I want to be bigger and better than Brooke Shields.” I just loved her. I grew up watching ‘The Blue Lagoon’ and ‘The Honeymooners.’ Audrey Meadows and Brooke Shields were my idols. I loved Debra Winger and ‘Terms of Endearment.’ Those were my three influences.

You were a child star and we all have heard countless stories of child stars going bad. How did you turn out so “normal?”

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Normal? It depends on what you consider normal. [laughs] I was this child star in this crazy adult horror genre, which not many kids really have that. It was kind of this weird little thing. It’s different because I would go out and I was drinking when I was much too young. I was doing things that you were not supposed to do, which everybody does. No one waits until they are twenty one to have a drink. I was partying and hanging out with my friends and doing all of the stuff college kids do, but we weren’t in college. We were working actors. All of my friends were other working actors. Our college days were spent with each other on other people’s sets, or going and visiting them on location when they were shooting movies, or hanging out at everyone’s home because they were eighteen. Most of my friends were just buying their first home. By the time I turned twenty one, I was so over partying and going out. When I was legally allowed to do it, I just didn’t want to do it anymore. I think there was no chance for me to ever get in trouble because I was over it. Even now, going out last night. My boyfriend’s in a band. It’s this great band called Analog Smith. They were playing at the Thompson Hotel in Beverly Hills. They were going on at ten and we were driving over there at nine and I was yawning. I was like, “god, this is so lame. I used to be so cool.” What happened to that girl when I was fifteen?” First of all, “A,” the paparazzi didn’t really exist. Whatever was going on, people really weren’t chasing you everywhere. So you really didn’t see it. The fans and the general public didn’t have privy into everyone’s life as they do now. Unfortunately, these poor kids can’t even grow up without having everything video taped. So it’s all that stuff. I had a good group of friends, and I was anti-drugs, and stayed away from anyone that really partied. I just sort of hung out with my little group.

You’ve had roles in motion pictures and on television series. Which format do you prefer?

What I love about movies is that there’s nothing like making a movie. There really isn’t. Going to the theater, and seeing it in a theater, and the whole process, and being on location. Weather it is a million dollar budget movie or a hundred million dollar budget movie. I have done both. I think that it’s an amazing experience. The family that you create in a short period of time and everyone’s there because they love what they do. So that’s really fun. I love making movies, but there’s something really nice about a TV show. The consistency. The steady work, which is something that most actors don’t have any idea of. Being able to know that I have eight months of a job. I get to play this character with the same people that I love and I’m going to have a job for eight months. If you’re not on a TV show, that’s unheard of. Even if I do big movies, sometimes there’s been a two year gap in between. Sometimes there’s been a month. Sometimes there’s eight months. You just never know when the next job is coming and right after one movie is done, you have to start all over again. That’s the only bad part. A girlfriend of mine was on a show called ‘Women’s Murder Club’ for ABC. The show ran for a season and then it got canceled. After that, they put her on a show called ‘Defying Gravity,’ another ABC show. You build those relationships with the networks and then it’s a little bit easier to go from one to the other. With movies, unless you become a movie star, it’s right back to the auditions, which is kind of frustrating.

You have done a lot of voice over work for numerous animated series and films. Is that something you enjoy?

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That’s the best job in the world. Voice overs are the best job in the world. I actually just auditioned for one today. “A,” it great to be able to fit with kids. I love saying to kids, “do you ever watch ‘The Wild Thornberry’s?'” They’re like, “yeah!” I’ll say, “do you know Debbie Thornberry? What do you think of her?” They’re like, “she’s mean!” I’ll say, “close your eyes, I want you to hear something.” I’ll have them close their eyes and I’ll do my Debbie Thornberry voice. When they open up their eyes, the smile on their face is so awesome. Doing as many horror movies as I do, I don’t really have that. I’ve got the kids stuff and the horror stuff. Mostly it’s the horror stuff the kids can’t see, so it’s something that I really enjoy doing. It takes about an hour to do an episode. You can go in your pajamas. Once a week if you’re on a series. I did the series for like six years I think. You just get to go in, and play, and be a goofball. I did this series for NBC and Dreamworks called ‘Father of the Pride’ with Carl Reiner, John Goodman, Cheryl Hines, and myself. Not only was I the voice of a lion, what’s cool about Dreamworks is that when you’re recording in the studio, they setup all of these mini cameras so they record your mannerisms. I didn’t really realize they were doing it. They send it to the animators. So basically I am watching this TV show and I’m a white lion, but the thing looks like me. My eyes, the way my eyebrows move, the way my hands move, my mannerisms. This lion completely resembles the way I, Danielle, function. It’s so weird and so cool at the same time. That’s awesome. On my vision board I’ve got, “I want to be on another animated series.” That’s just the best.

Are there any challenges to that type of work?

The only challenge is if you don’t allow yourself have fun. Aside from the lion, I would do all of these other crazy animal characters. You just really have to let yourself go. You cannot be inhibited. You never know what it’s going to sound like when it comes out of your mouth, when you’re trying other voices. You don’t really practice it, so you go in the room and you never know what it’s going to sound like. It always sounds different. It’s really cool. It’s an awesome job.

danielleharris-1You have become closely associated with the horror genre. Do you feel like you want continue to stay in the realm of horror or would you like to look for more roles outside of the genre?

I am always looking for great roles regardless of the genre. It’s a little bit easier for me to work in the horror genre because I already have a name established, and I love it, and I have fans that love seeing it as well. It’s like the one thing that I know more than anything else. I know the horror genre. It’s fun for me, and it’s cool, and I get to work with the same people all of the time. It’s a whole little world within itself. The fans are incredibly loyal, which I love. The competition is slim. Yeah, I would loved to have done ‘Juno.’ I would have loved to do ‘(500) Days of Summer,’ which is a great movie. I would love to do independent movies, but they just don’t come my way because I am not a movie star in that world and I’m not on a TV show. There’s a whole list of girls they’ll go to before they go to me. In the horror genre, there’s not a lot of girls on the list and I’m usually in the top three, which is something that I love. I didn’t choose this, it chose me. I’m really happy with it. I’m tired of kind of fighting it. For years I kind of fought it and wanted to do other things. I was like, “I want to be seen as something else. I can do other things. It’s not only horror movies that I can do.” It kept coming back, so I just surrendered to it. There’s a quote that I live by, “if you want to make god laugh, tell him your plan.” I am not choosing my destiny, it is totally choosing me. I am happy with it.

Most people associate you with Jamie Lloyd from ‘Halloween 4’ and ‘Halloween 5.’ Did you have any input into the development of the character or was it laid out for you in the script?

No. I was ten. It was as basic as you can get. The script was written and there was an audition for it. A bunch of girls went in. I was in New York City. I went in and I read for the casting director Deedee Bradley. She brought me back to meet with the director and it was me and Melissa Joan Hart for the role. You know, ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch.’ It was down to the two of us. She could have been Jamie Lloyd. [laughs] At that age they just want to make sure that you’re a good kid, and you’re not going to be a brat, and that you can take direction. They wanted to hear me scream and wanted to see if I could cry. That is what got me the job. That was it. I had never been in a movie before, it was my first movie. I ended up being flown to Utah and I’m the star of this movie at ten years old. I never would have expected it to be what it is. Twenty two years later, I never would have thought that we would still be talking about it. It’s kind of nuts to me, but it’s pretty awesome.

You have worked with Rob Zombie on two ‘Halloween’ films now. What has it been like working with Rob and what have you learned from him?

Rob’s an asshole! No, I’m just kidding! Rob’s awesome! [laughs] Rob is great. Rob is the fan of all fans. Who better to direct a movie like this than the fan that is going to give you what you want. He’s someone that really is excited to be a part of it, and let’s you play, and let’s you do your own thing. He hardly ever yells cut. He lets you change stuff. If you were to read the script and then see the movies, they’re completely different. He gives his actors carte blanche and there’s that trust. He knows that we’re going to do the best that we can do with what the situation is. I trust that he’s going to guide me in the right direction and stop me from doing things that aren’t working. It’s a dance. It’s a really awesome dance. He’s just great. He knows his shit, he really does. He really knows what he wants and he’s incredibly creative and very smart. I trust him. It’s really nice to work with someone like him and I can’t wait to do it again. I would like to do it not in a horror movie. That would be really cool. A romantic comedy would be awesome.

A romantic comedy by Rob Zombie? That would be interesting.

Yeah, totally. If you look at all his stories, he really writes for women. All the people in his movies, they’re really strong female characters. He’s got a great relationship with his wife and he’s all about the relationships. The blood and the killing and all of that stuff kind of comes after. It’s really about the characters. He took Halloween… He took Michael Meyers who was what they used to call the Shape because he didn’t really have a personality… There was nothing to him. He created a person out of the Shape. He created a personality, a back story, and emotions. You’ll see it even more in Halloween II. This thing now has something to relate to. There’s pain, suffering, anger, and mental instability. There are all of these things that make up Michael Meyers that Rob Zombie has created. Thirty years, no one did it. Rob came in and gave him life.

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What was the biggest challenge while working on Halloween II?

For me, I always want to work more. In the 2007 Halloween, I was like, “awww, I only get to work three weeks. I really want to work more.” It’s like I want to do so much more. I’m like, “I want to do this, I want to do that.” It’s Halloween. That’s like coming home almost for me. I’m so used to being on set with Michael Meyers, and being in every scene, and working every day, and now I have to sort of pass the torch onto Scout, which is awesome. She is like my sister, so I have no problem doing it. Obviously I could never have done the Laurie character because I am a lot older than her. I wanted to be a part of it every single day. My character didn’t allot for that, so I came and did my job and then it’s like, “ok, bye guys, have fun!” I think that was kind of it. Also worrying about whether or not fans would buy me as somebody else. I didn’t know if people would be ok with having me now become another person. Now after four, I’ve done just as many, if not more than any other character in the ‘Halloween’ series. I’m the only one that has been able to come back as another character. I don’t think that’s really been done very often. I could have made a cameo, but that would have been weird. Originally, nobody wanted me to do the movie. Rob didn’t want me to do the movie. He didn’t want anybody from any of the other ‘Halloween’ movies. I had to audition for it. It was really weird going in, reading, and getting sized for ‘Halloween’ and having to go in and go on tape, and audition for Halloween when that was sort of who I had identified myself with. It was kind of crazy how my career did a little bit of a one eighty there.

Do you have any interesting stories from the set of ‘Halloween II’?

Hummmm…, gosh. Let’s see. There’s so much. [laughs] What do I talk about? I can’t really say too much because I don’t want to give anything away. I can’t say I’m doing this thing. Let me think, let me think. I am going to have to come back to that one.

Some of the cast has been together for two movies now. How is the relationship between you guys?

It’s like family. It’s a real thrill to come back for sequels. The first night we were there, there was a hurricane watch. We were shooting in Georgia and staying in a hotel going, “oh my god, I have no idea what to do right now.” Brad had got there and Brad came and knocked on Scout’s door and said, “I don’t have a car, can I borrow your keys?” He was freaked out and wanted to get out of there because it was right in our path. So here we are, we’re all co-mingling going, “I don’t know what do to” and “oh my god it’s hailing outside, and there’s lightning, and the whole hotel is shaking, and it’s pitch black out, and we’re sitting in our room at the Holiday Inn Express.” Whoever said show business was glamorous has never worked in show business. In a tiny little town. You’ve got a bunch of Californians going, “oh my god! Hurricane what? Do I get in the bathtub? What do I do? I don’t know what to do?” I am sure you can tell me being on the east coast. It’s definitely something new. And getting calls two hours before you’re supposed to be up for your call time, asking you to come downstairs and come to set because Rob has decided that he wanted to write something else. You’re like, “ok, what is he writing?” You get to set and they tell you, “he’ll tell you when he gets here.” When you get there, he comes in the trailer and says, “ok, I have an idea.” I always feel like his scripts are blueprints and then after he sees what we do as actors and after he sees sort of what our relationships are, then he starts writing while we’re shooting. He comes up with stuff. That’s what makes the movie. I’ve been online before and fans are like, “oh, I’ve got a script. I’ve read this…” It’s like, you can read the entire script and then when you see the movie it’s going to be completely different.

You are starring in a web miniseries ‘Fear Clinic.’ What can you tell us about that project and your role in it?

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It’s so cool. Robert Englund and Kane Hodder are both involved as well. It’s two people that I have always wanted to work with. They are buddies of mine from the convention circuit and the horror world. Again, it’s back to that question you asked me earlier. What do I like better, TV or film? This is sort of film-esque, but steady work. So I get to do these little mini-movies in my world that I know and love. I don’t really know any other TV shows like this that exist anymore. There used to be ‘Tales From the Crypt’ and ‘Twilight Zone’ and all of those, but those aren’t around anymore. I get to still do what I love to do for people that know me, in my world that I am very comfortable in, with friends. We’ve done five episodes now and this could very well be something that I get to do for the next five to ten years. Every single episode is basically a different phobia. The plot of the story is there’s Dr. Andover, who Robert Englund plays. I play Susan. I am the resident patient at the hospital. The hospital is a phobia clinic that is to cure people that have extreme phobias. Robert’s character, Dr. Andover, uses experimental drugs and he has a very unorthodox way of treating his patients that seems to work for everyone but me. My parents are gone, so there’s sort of this protagonist/antagonist relationship, this love/hate, father/daughter sort of thing between he and I. He’s become obsessed with curing me, which he can’t. I am scotophobic and scotophobia is a fear of the dark. It’s not the dark that I am afraid of, it’s what’s in the dark. Inside the dark are where my fears manifest and my fears keep changing as I am growing as a person. It’s never a fear of bugs or a fear of claustrophobia. My phobia is to Dr. Andover, completely incurable and it’s making him crazy. It takes place in Mexico. You have Kane Hodder’s character. They prep their whole back story. It’s very fun. FEARnet is a great, great outlet for it. Our director Robert Hall is badass. He’s got an amazing special effects company. It’s called Almost Human. He did ‘Buffy’ for a million years. He’s done huge, huge movies.

Just knowing that FEARnet was involved, it’s sort of something consistent. I get to work with these people every day, hopefully, which would be a dream for me. Watching Robert Hall’s other movies, ‘Laid to Rest’ and ‘Lightning Bug’ and seeing what he could do with the effects, it was like, “oh my god! This is so cool” It’s got great actors, great writing, and cool characters. There is the possibility of years of something consistent, which is great. This is my job? This is a gravy job. I think it’s changing. I’m not a big web series person. I don’t know if you’ve seen the trailer online or not, but it looks unbelievable. This is something that I think is going to just raise the bar for what people think about web series. This is sort of reinventing what everyone thought of. We’re raising the stakes a little bit. I’m really excited. It’s a labor of love. None of us are working for money, that’s for sure. It’s definitely something that we all just really wanted to be a part of.

What can you tell us about your upcoming website HorrorGal.com?

We have a October 31st launch date. Of course! I’m just working really, really hard. I just got tired of feeling like there was nothing for the fans. I spend a lot of time on myspace, a lot of time twittering, a lot of time putting videos on You Tube, a lot of time traveling to conventions, and talking and hanging out. It felt like all of the sites that I’ve seen didn’t… They are a bunch of great people, but a lot of it is text. A lot of it is just written articles and people stealing from other sites. Basically magazines online. It didn’t feel like there was anything interactive. It goes back to why I want to direct stuff. I have been working in the genre and this business for a really long time and I’ve got some great friends that people would really like to know some really cool stuff about. I think within the last two years, doing a ton of interviews online, over the phone, and on camera, I kept feeling like I was getting asked the same questions over and over again. I feel like the fans just want to relate to someone. I think that’s why TMZ is so popular. I read US Weekly and People. There’s a section of magazines where it’s like, “look, stars are just like us. They go get coffee. They fill up their tank with gas. They shop at the supermarket.” I read that stuff and I kind of want to know. I’m like, “oh, that’s cool. They’re buying Diet Coke. I buy Diet Coke.” I’m someone that’s fallen into that trap. I thought there’s nothing like this in the horror genre. There’s nothing like this for them. I want to know what they want to see. So I started doing my research and I thought I could do some really cool interactive stuff. Economies change, people can’t spend two thousand dollars and fly to wherever to go pay for a convention, and put themselves in a hotel, and pay twenty dollars for an autograph, and do all this stuff. They just can’t do it. So how do they gain access to their favorite celebrity? I was like, “you know what, I am going to give that to them. I am going to do all of these cool things that people can’t do.” It may be sixteen year old kids that I get emails from all of the time on my pages saying, “I love you. You’re my favorite and you inspire me. I’m your biggest fan. I can’t wait until I am old enough, and have a job, and can come out and meet you. That would be my dream.” I thought, “wow! What if I have a cool contest?” There are so many people out there that are incredibly creative that never get their work seen. What if I have a contest? Put together a short film, your horror film. The world will see it. The fans will rate it. Then whoever wins, maybe I’ll do a skype. Maybe I’ll sit down and they can meet me and we can skype for a half an hour. That will be their prize. Then I’ll send them something autographed. There’s a way to build those relationships and be a part of their life that’s not just reading about them. I just wanted to give that. I thought that was such a cool idea. I just didn’t see anyone really doing that. I love my fans. I think it’s super cool.

danielleharris-3I don’t know if you have seen, I started doing the random questions section that I’ve put up on my myspace. I’m just sort of grabbing it and starting to get a huge library of my friends basically. I did it with Rob Zombie the other day. I popped it up on myspace the night before last. I really want to know those questions. I don’t care about… No offense, but everybody wants to know what it was like to work with Rob Zombie. It’s like, “he’s great, he’s cool, blah, blah, blah.” I want to know more about Rob Zombie. I want to know what he eats for breakfast. I want to know how many animals he has. Rob has a pug. He has a black pug. I was like, “oh my god! You have a pug?” That something I would never think Rob would have. This little, black, fat, old dog. I was like, “oh my god! Your dog is awesome! What’s your dog’s name?” His name is Dracula. I was like, “that’s the coolest!” It’s those things that I think people want to know. They want to know the real shit. They don’t want to know the shit that they keep reading about. I just want to give them something more. It’s going to be forever changing. Like a day in the life. I want to video tape myself going to premieres, and bring the fans along, and stream it live. I want to have podcasts. I want to bring my cameras on the set where no one else has access to. I want to do interviews that no one else can get. I want to be the Barbara Walters of this genre. It doesn’t exist. People like us don’t get asked those questions. If we do end up on Entertainment Tonight or 20/20, it’s usually a two minute blurb about how ‘Halloween’ is coming out this weekend, blah, blah, blah. We don’t really see that. It’s like this little world outside of the rest of the world. I don’t know? I just wanted to do something different.

I just saw the Rob Zombie interview on your myspace page.

It’s cool isn’t it? It’s stuff that no one really asks. I think that if I didn’t have a relationship with these people, it would be hard for me to come in and ask them some personal questions. I may get deep with some people that I know really well. I may ask them really personal stuff that they’ll feel comfortable talking to me about, that they may not feel comfortable talking to someone that they’ve never met before that they’re having a phone conversation with. I’m going to explore a whole bunch of different things. I am also fascinated by what my friends think. Quentin Tarantino is a good friend of mine. Eli Roth is another good friend of mine. We sit around and shoot the shit about movies. Quentin has turned me on to so many movies. He can talk about movies for days, obviously. He’s a big movie buff. Fans want to know what they would recommend. I just went and saw ‘Funny People’ the other day. I thought it was good, but it was really long and I didn’t know that it wasn’t a comedy. I think fans want to know from their favorite celebrity what they thought of something. It’s like why actors are now the faces of Maybelline and why they are doing Louis Vuitton campaigns. People want what they have. They want to buy what they have. They want to listen to their favorite celebrity versus some person they don’t know, a person they don’t have a connection with, someone that’s writing a review about something. If I get online and say, “oh my god, this movie was dope. You guys have to check it out,” they’ll probably go see it a little bit quicker, especially if it is in our world. Myself , as well as all of my friends are very opinionated because this is what we do for a living. I want to do a review. I want to do it on camera. My site is really geared towards a lot of video content. I’m not a writer. I don’t have any writers working for my site. It is one hundred percent me, with my video camera, and all of my friends. Whatever I can do to make this the coolest thing… It’s completely run by me. I am a one woman show right now. When it gets up and running, then I can have people coming in. If they want to know who’s doing what movie, they can go read Fangoria, they can go read Shock Till You Drop, they can go read Dread Central. They’ve got that base covered. I want to give them something else.

I am going to call your bluff. You were talking about wanting to get personal. What is a question you haven’t been asked in an interview?

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Oh my god. [laughs] I can give you the top ten things that I always get asked and everything else are things that I haven’t been asked. [laughs] No one ever gets personal with me. I am writing a book right now. My writer is a fan. Anytime anybody really sits down with me and has a conversation with me, they are like, “oh my god! I had no idea that this was like this, or that you thought like that, or that this was your childhood.” No one ever has any idea idea. I get asked all of the same stuff. I get asked was I scared growing up. How did I get started? Why do I like doing horror movies so much? What was Donald Pleasence like? What was Rob Zombie like? How tall am I? That’s usually one that’s in person. What did my mom think about me doing these movies? I get it. People do want to know. My stalker comes up every once in a while. Is that still an issue and what that was like? It’s kind of the norm, but what else do you talk about when you don’t know someone. That’s why by me knowing these people, I can ask them stuff that no one else really knows to ask.

What’s the biggest misconception about yourself?

Let’s see. I read my IMDB board, which I probably shouldn’t. I do so I know what people are talking about. For every not so nice fan I’ve got five hundred amazing fans that will go to battle for me any day. One of the things that always comes up that kind of upsets me is people are always like, “isn’t Danielle Harris tired of riding ‘Halloween’s’ coat tails? Can’t she do something else?” Of course I can. I’ve done more movies that are not horror. I’ve done more stuff that’s not in the horror genre than I have that’s in the horror genre. I can count on two hands how many horror projects I have done. I’ve been a working actor for twenty five years. It’s just so happens that this is the stuff that comes to me. I like to work. I keep living, so they keep coming back with ‘Halloween’ sequels. It’s not like I’m begging anyone for a role in ‘Halloween.’ They’re coming to me. They didn’t for Rob’s, but I wanted to work with Rob and I wanted to be a part of it. Not because I needed the money. Not because I needed to work. I work all the time. It’s genuinely what I like to do. I like this world. People are like, “oh, she’s just got to pay the bills or all of that.” There’s a movie I am probably going to get ready to do. It’s a five hundred thousand dollar budget movie. I was just actually talking about it. I’m getting paid nine hundred dollars a week. I don’t sell out in other words. I’m doing the movie because I think it’s a really great script and I would like to work with the actors that are attached. These guys made another movie two years ago that they did for five hundred thousand dollars that I just watched. I think it’s pretty cool. It’s a vampire movie. It’s not a slasher film. That’s something that I have not done yet. I would be pregnant and I would be shooting guns. These are all things that I think about when I’m reading a script. I’m like, “that’s badass! I get to be badass!” I think a role like that would be really fun. I think I want to go do that. So what that it will probably cost me money to go and do it, but it’s not about that for me. I just really like what I do.

You mentioned your book. Can you give us any information about that?

We’re just in the beginning stages right now. We’ve got a title. We kind of started thinking about it over the last couple of days. I’m not going to say what it is yet because it’s not definitely it. I think our goal is to have it out available in paperback probably by Comic-Con 2010, maybe 2011. It’s a big process. We probably have another six to nine months of writing to do before it’s done, then the publishing company will probably take a good six months to get it out. So it’s going to be a minute. It’s to sort of let everybody in on who I am, and what I have been through in my life, and my views and opinions of being a child actor. Like you asked me the same thing about how did I not end up like all of these other kids and my opinions on why they ended up the way they did. I’ve grown up with everybody in the business, so my story is about them and what it’s like to work, as well as a lot of my family stuff, which nobody knows. Really personal stuff. The story is geared towards women. This is a journey. This is someone that’s been through a lot in her life. I’m thirty two, but I’ve been through enough for five thirty two year olds. These are things that nobody knows. I really feel it’s time to shed the Jamie Lloyd child star persona and really let people know who I am and what I am about. I think it’s just kind of about that time.

danielleharris_interviewWhat can you tell us about ‘Prank?’

‘Prank’ started off as a really great idea. The producers said we’re doing an anthology and we know you want to direct and here’s a great opportunity and we would love for you to do this. I made a whole whopping one hundred dollars. Ellie Cornell is going to be doing one and Heather Langenkamp. They’re both my friends. I thought, “oh my god, that’s awesome!” It was chance to work with the Red camera that Sony makes. I’ve wanted to do that for a little while and sort of delve into the directing world. I thought that was the next step for me. I still think that’s probably a big possibility. I am looking to option horror scripts right now because I want to hire all my friends. I want to make it a big party basically. There’s tons of actors that are friends of mine that I’ve never gotten a chance to work with that I’ve always wanted to work with. So I can’t wait to be able to do that. We shot it over five days. I was able to hire some of my friends in the cast that I think are really talented. After we finished ours and it was edited, mixed, color corrected, and scored, they were supposed to start the other two, but they had a bit of an issue with financing. Everything was put on hold. The budget for the other two movies. I don’t really know exactly where they stand now. I keep saying, “hey, let’s just release it. I think ‘Prank’ is pretty good.” ‘Prank’ is just the name of the anthology and then each story is different. My particular ‘Prank’ is called ‘Madison’ because that’s the main character’s name in the movie. I thought, “let’s just do it!” I’ll probably put it out. I’ve been trying to sort of leak it so everyone can see it. I think that they would really like it. I think it really works best as an anthology because there is a through story. Just kind of by itself you’re like, “oh, that was good!” It’s better when the three of them are together. So everything went on hold. They haven’t even shot the other two. I know that they were shopping it around for a TV series. They were shopping it to do three ‘Pranks,’ so there would be nine female genre actresses that are now directing for the first time. That’s sort of the catch, that it’s first time directors that are famous genre actresses. They’re all women based stories. There are really no female directors in this genre. I don’t know of any. What got me excited about doing it was I really kept feeling like I was working on these low budget indie horror films that I thought would be really fun. There were a couple that ended up not being fun. It was mostly one in particular. I won’t say which one it was. It was mostly because I felt like the director just didn’t know what he was doing. The producers didn’t know what they were doing. I kept feeling like I am getting all of these movies, I’m getting hired for all of these two, three, five, six million dollar budget movies, and they’re coming up and asking me what they should do. I am watching them block the stuff, and cut the stuff, and set the stuff, and do all the stuff on set. I am like, “what are you guys doing? Let me help you.” I was able to sort of make those changes with them, which they loved. They’re like, “oh cool! You’ve done a lot of these! Please tell me any suggestions. I am all ears!” I thought, “god, why am I doing this? Why am I waiting for someone else to hire me when I can just do this myself? Why aren’t I directing?” I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’ve worked with some pretty amazing people. So I started directing theater. That was sort of what got me into it. I’ve always been sort of an actor’s director and I love other actor’s directors. I was like, “this is something that I really, really like.” I actually like directing more than I like acting. Believe it or not! I’m kind of a control freak, so that’s probably why I like directing. I am also responsible for the finished product. As an actor there are some movies that I have done that are just crap, but they started off great. The script was great. The cast was cool. I thought everything was going to be great. Then you see it and you’re like, “Oh god! Yikes!” I can only do my job and then after I’m wrapped it is not up to me what that movie comes out like.

Do you have an advice for anyone who would like to get involved in the film industry?

danielleharris-7As an actor I would say if you’re over twenty one, don’t bother. You’ve got a lot of competition. In this genre a lot of people are really creative. I see a lot of kids thirteen to nineteen make their own little short movies. I see a lot of them on You Tube. Really great special effects makeup and all of that. In this world I think you can kind of start at any age. I always say keep doing it. Do it yourself. You never know. You never know who is going to see it. Here you go. Here’s a great example. I am looking to option a horror script to direct, to hire my famous friends to be the actors. I can get financed. I can make your movie. Even if you are eighteen years old, if you’ve got a great idea for a horror script, all you have to do is give me a treatment. You can hire writers to write it. I’m not a writer, so I can’t write it. No matter who you are. You could be living in the middle of nowhere. You could be living in a tiny podunk town. You may have this great idea because you’re a fan and I may make your movie. So you never know. That’s going to be something I am going to offer on my site. Make it short and shoot a trailer. Get your video camera. It doesn’t take much. People have access to do it on their own now. I see stuff on You Tube all of the time. Get your friends, get your camera, go out, take a day, take two days, take a week, take a month. Make this your project. Be creative. Be passionate about something and put it on the internet. There’s your outlet. The internet is such an amazing outlet for creativity for kids and even for adults. People are sitting in their small towns, in their job that they hate, and they feel like they’re never going to get out. All they really wanted to do was live this dream that is totally unfulfilled. Well get off your lazy ass and go make a movie. You can do it. It’s not that difficult. It’s just about motivation. Hopefully people that read this article will listen to me and be motivated to get their ass off the couch and go make a movie because anyone can.

Do you have any last words?

Thanks for being so loyal and stay tuned. There’s a lot more of me to come.

Thanks for your time and best of luck!

Thanks guys! Have a good weekend!

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