Tag Archive | "STAKE LAND"

‘STAKE LAND II’ To Hit Blu-Ray and Digital Platforms This February

‘STAKE LAND II’ To Hit Blu-Ray and Digital Platforms This February

Stake Land set a new standard in vampire apocalypse thrillers in 2011, and now the eagerly awaited sequel arrives to push the story and its characters to the next shocking level. STAKE LAND II, again starring Nick Damici and Connor Paolo, will be available across digital platforms on February 7, 2017.

The film will also be available on Blu-ray and DVD beginning February 14, 2017.

STAKE LAND II, a Dark Sky Films presentation of a Glass Eye Pix production in association with Berserker Entertainment and Last Pictures, is a new adventure set several years after the events in Stake Land, in which mankind must struggle to survive in the wake of a vampire apocalypse. When his home in New Eden is destroyed by a revitalized Brotherhood and its new Vamp leader, Martin finds himself alone in the badlands of America with only the distant memory of his mentor, the legendary vampire hunter Mister, to guide him. Roaming the wilderness of a steadily decaying country, Martin searches for the one man who can help him exact revenge.

Once reunited, Mister and Martin prepare to confront the ravenous Brotherhood and its monstrous overlord. But it’ll take more than the two of them to battle this terrifying new threat, and with the future of humanity hanging in the balance, the stakes are higher than ever before.

Reuniting one of horror cinema’s most memorable heroic teams, STAKE LAND II is an epic exploration of a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by blood-thirsty vamps and social collapse, where only the strongest survive.

The film brings back some of the key cast and creative team behind the post-apocalyptic hit Stake Land. Nick Damici (Hap and Leonard) reprises his role as Mister and is also the screenwriter, while Connor Paolo (Gossip Girl, Revenge) is back as Martin, and director Jim Mickle (We Are What We Are, Cold in July) is back as executive producer. It is the second film from directors Dan Berk and Robert Olsen, following their gripping debut, Body. Also starring in STAKE LAND II are Laura Abramsen (Basic Human Needs), A.C. Peterson (Shooter), Bonnie Dennison (Beneath), Kristina Hughes (Green River) and Steven Williams (TV’s Supernatural).

The original Stake Land received prestigious international festival play and won the Midnight Madness Audience Award at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. It was a commercial and critical success around the world, praised as “The American horror film of the year” (Twitchfilm), “terrific” (New York magazine), “bold and memorable” (San Francisco Chronicle) and “nothing short of epic” (Dread Central).

Praise for STAKE LAND II has been equally enthusiastic since its world premiere at the 49th Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival (2016). Horror Society called it “the perfect sequel, the perfect continuation of the story … the vampiric sequel we’ve all been dying for.” Amy Seidman of Fangoria opined: “Olsen and Berk’s direction is as strong as Matt Mitchell’s cinematography which is beautiful and, at times, reminiscent of Robert Altman’s westerns.”

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THE STAKELANDER: Dark Sky Films And Glass Eye Pix Wrap Production On Surprise ‘Stake Land’ Sequel

THE STAKELANDER: Dark Sky Films And Glass Eye Pix Wrap Production On Surprise ‘Stake Land’ Sequel

stake-land-2016

Dark Sky Films, Glass Eye Pix and Syfy today announced the completion of production on THE STAKELANDER, the eagerly anticipated follow-up to the acclaimed action horror hit Stake Land. The film, based on an original screenplay by Nick Damici, wrapped shooting in Saskatchewan this past week. Damici and co-star Connor Paolo reprise their Stake Land roles in the new film, which was directed by the team of Dan Berk and Robert Olsen of Last Pictures, creators of the 2015 thriller Body

Damici, co-writer and star of We Are What We Are and Cold in July, returns in the role of Mister and Connor Paolo (Mystic River, TV’s Revenge) is back as Martin in a new adventure set a few years after the events in Stake Land, in which mankind must struggle to survive in the wake of a vampire apocalypse. Also starring are Laura Abramsen (Basic Human Needs), AC Peterson (Shooter), Bonnie Dennison (Beneath)Kristina Hughes (Green River) and Steven Williams (TV’s Supernatural).

THE STAKELANDER was produced by Peter Phok and Larry Fessenden of Glass Eye Pix, Greg Newman of Dark Sky Films and co-produced by the Syfy Channel, where the film will premiere as a Syfy Original, as well as Mark Montague of Berkserker Entertainment. Chadd Harbold of Last Pictures supported as Associate Producer. The film marks the latest collaboration between Dark Sky Films and Glass Eye Pix, the production teams that have brought audiences countless successful elevated genre films, including Stake Land, The House of the Devil, The Innkeepers and Late Phases, among others.

When his home of New Eden is destroyed by a revitalized Brotherhood and its new Vamp leader, Martin finds himself alone in the badlands of America with only the distant memory of his mentor and legendary vampire hunter, Mister, to guide him. Roaming the wilderness of a steadily decaying country, Martin goes in search of the one man who can help him get revenge. Once reunited, Mister and Martin prepare to battle a now-ravenous Brotherhood and its monstrous overlord. But it’ll take more than the two of them to take down this terrifying new threat, and with more than just their lives now at risk, the stakes are higher than ever before.

Producer Greg Newman said: “Jim Mickle’s Stake Land has long been an audience favorite.  The film was embraced by fans across the world and we are thrilled to see Nick Damici reprise his role of Mister, the master Vamp hunter.”

Producer Peter Phok said: “It has been so rewarding to bring such energetic and intelligent talents in Dan and Robert to further the story of Martin and Mister in the world of 

Stake Land. Filming this world in Saskatchewan, offered a multitude of breathtaking vast landscapes along with tremendous resources provided through Creative Saskatchewan and the providences’ local union crew who were affable, professional, and incredibly hard working. We also found a number of strong local performers, who we are proud to have cast into The Stakelander.”

Dark Sky Films, the genre division of MPI Media Group, has seen success over the past year with such acclaimed productions as We Are Still Here, Deathgasm, Southbound and the recently announced Mohawk.

Glass Eye Pix (“one of the indie scene’s most productive and longest-running companies” -Filmmaker Magazine) is the fierce independent NYC-based production outfit headed by award-winning art-horror auteur Larry Fessenden (Habit, Wendigo, and The Last Winter) with the mission of supporting individual voices in the arts. Responsible for numerous independent productions in and out of the horror genre including Kelly Reichardt’s

Wendy and Lucy, Rick Alverson’s The Comedy, Ti West’s The House of the Devil and Mickey Keating’s Darling.

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Danielle Harris Dishes On ‘Stake Land’ and Upcoming Projects!

Danielle Harris Dishes On ‘Stake Land’ and Upcoming Projects!

Danielle Harris is a certainly a familiar face to fans of the horror genre. Her role as little Jamie Lloyd from ‘Halloween 4? and ‘Halloween 5? laid the groundwork for what would blossom into one of the most unique careers in Hollywood’s most challenging genre. Never afraid to experiment or to follow her keen instincts when it comes to a role, Danielle continues to surprise her fans with each new project, be it in front of or now behind the camera! Besides her strong work ethic, her “no bullshit” approach to life, coupled with a winning smile and kick-ass personality, make her one of the most approachable and down-to-earth stars that one can encounter. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently sat down with Danielle to discuss her latest film ‘Stake Land,’ discuss the current fate of her highly anticipated autobiography, her upcoming film projects and much more!

You have a habit of selecting some very unique roles and projects that suit you very well. How did you first get involved with ‘Stake Land’?

Danielle HarrisThank you! Ya know, for this project, they kinda signed me. I wish I could say that I could go out and look for these awesome movies but I have been really lucky about having some really rad people contacting about doing these unique projects. It is kind of an interesting story. I was on Fangoria Radio when I was promoting ‘Halloween II’ and the group that was online with me was Larry Fessenden and Jim Mickle. I didn’t know who either one of them were at the time but we were all chit-chatting. I hung up the phone and a few weeks later I got a call from my manager saying that I had an offer for this independent movie called ‘Stake Land’.

They wanted to book me out for five months because there is a big break in the middle and wanted to start in August and not go back until November and then in December. Which was totally taking me out for getting any job for the second half of the year. But when I read it and thought, “Wow! Belle is throughout most of the story but doesn’t really have much to do.” I had three scenes or three lines. I was thinking, “What the hell am I going to do in Upstate New York, freezing my ass off and looking like a fat ass because I am pregnant in the film. Do I really want to do this movie?” [laughs] But I loved the script and I loved the relationships but there was so much that was left unsaid. It was really all about Jim Mickle and Nick Damici and how open they were to creating that as we went. From there, I decided to watch their film ‘Mulberry Street’. I called Jim to see if he was going to use the same DP as he used on that film because what the film looks like was going to play a major part in the story. It was such a big deal because if it didn’t look as beautiful as it does, I mean the film is fantastic, but the look is such a big part of it. He said that he was indeed using the same DP and as I talked to him I just said, “Ya know what? I want to do it! I have never played a character that was so much like me!” In all of the movies that I have done before I play a bad-ass or a sassy girl or a girl who has a real edge to her and, while that may be a part of who I am, I am actually a bit more like “Belle” in real life. I am kinda the mom, the caretaker, the nurturer to everyone. I felt like no one had ever really seen that side of me on film. I felt this film was a great opportunity to showcase those aspects.

I told Jim I would do it and before I knew it I flew off to Philadelphia and I stayed at Jim’s friends guest house and met the rest of the gang. We sort of created the characters as we continued because we kinda shot it in sequence, due to the changes in seasons and the weather changes. We became a family and I think that it shows on screen because you can really see the relationships starting to build as the movie progresses and I think that it has a lot to do with what was really happening behind the scenes as well, in real life. It is really fun for me to watch because I remember all of those days  and having to work fast and furious and freezing our butts off!

It sounds like you had a lot of great experiences in making the film. Any that spring to mind that you can share with us?

Danielle HarrisI remember day one where one of the scenes we are climbing down some mountain and I am afraid of heights! I am also wearing a dress and cowboy boots, I have a big belly and a backpack and a gun! Jim was like, “We’re gonna start here and cross this waterfall and climb way down there!” I looked at him and said, “You are kidding right?!!!” [laughs] And he was like, “No.” So, I was just like ,“Oh shit! Okay!!! Here we go!” [laughs]

My favorite scene in the movie for me is a scene where Belle just can’t go any further. She sits down on a rock and has that moment. “Mister” comes and swoops her up and she says, “My daddy used to carry me like this when I was a little girl.” and says, “I’m not your Daddy, kid” and we have that little hard ass line. I didn’t know how it was going to work. The first time it came out of my mouth, I just got hysterical and started crying. And then Nick started crying. I just thought, “Oh my god! This is magic!” because we had found “it!” Originally, Belle was supposed to be Mister’s love interest. When I got to set, it just didn’t work. It just didn’t feel right. There was something about it that didn’t mesh. We started to nix that and started to figure out the question of: “If she isn’t Mister’s love interest, who is she?” I sorta became the daughter, the mom, the sister, the wife, kinda fitting all of the feminine shoes and I was able to play all of those women in one and show a very soft side as well.

And I have to say that I don’t think that I have ever looked better on film! Not to toot my own horn! [laughs] I just don’t think I have ever looked better! I have never had more dirt and shit and horrible clothes and no makeup and no sleep and freezing my ass off and all of those things that you have to really be OK with yourself as a person to look that way on film! I mean, I am not an actor that gives a crap about that anyway. I mean, you have seen the movies that I have done before! I never get to look glamorous or be pretty in a movie! [laughs] Well, not for long anyway!

So, all those elements helped to show a very vulnerable side of me that I have never been able to do before. I don’t have a dad in real life. He passed away when I was little. I think that if my dad was around he reminded me so much of Nick because my dad was from Brooklyn and kind of a hard, edgy, chain smoker, with a kinda quiet bad guy type edge. I think that it was there from the very beginning, so since I didn’t have a real-life relationship with my dad, that I was able to create that on film with the Mister character and in that scene, you can see it a little bit. It came from love and I think that is why this movie is so close to my heart.

You are regarded as a horror icon at this point in your career. What does your experience with the genre allow you to bring to a project like this?

Ya know, not with Jim. Jim is such a visionary. He is just so smart and talented. He knew exactly what he wanted. Working with Nick for as long as he has and knowing that they are so passionate about it, I didn’t really have to do anything but show up! They were so open with what we wanted to do and letting us create and play. I have been so lucky, having done so many horror movies, that most of the directors are usually, if not always are fan-boys. They have grown up loving this industry and the genre and know it better than I do, even though I have been living it my whole life! They are just so excited to a) be making a movie and b) to have me on set. So, it is rare to have an opportunity like ‘Stake Land.’ It was a great playground! There is definitely nothing that I could teach Jim! We all did these short films that will be online in the coming weeks that tell the back stories of all the characters, because the movie just throws you into the middle and you don’t know where anyone has come from. That is something that I really love. There is no exposition, it just is what it is and where they have come from is not important, it’s about where they are going. We did want to explain a little bit of that.

Seeing that I am trying to direct now and I am trying to get some projects together, mostly in the horror genre because that is where I want to stay for a while, because this is what I know and I love! There are no females that do this and all the leads are female most of the time, which I know because I am the lead most of the time! [laughs] Anyway, they offered me the opportunity to direct one of the back stories for “Lily”. I wrote it, directed it, shot it and loved it! It was amazing but like any other first time director, there were things that I just needed an opinion on. I called Jim and said, “I need you to watch this. Something is just not working and I need your help!” He did and between himself, Larry Fessenden and Graham Reznick, who edited it along with doing the sound design for ‘Stake Land’, who is brilliant, we were able to figure out what the issue was and we fixed it. It is unbelievable now! So, if anything, I learned from these guys! It is the Adam Greens and the Rob Zombies and while I may have worked on more movies than they have, I learn from them!

That is great! It is exciting to hear that you are taking that step to be behind the camera!

Thank you!

When we spoke last year, I know you had been working on an autobiography to chronicle your life in the industry. I wanted to touch base with you on that and find out the status of that project.

Danielle HarrisI had hired a writer and we wrote quite a bit together, because I am not a writer. I am a great storyteller and a great reviser but when telling your own story, it is kind of hard to take yourself out of it. We worked together for a while on it but when I got the outline of what each chapter was going to be about it just didn’t sound like my voice. It was more about who I knew in Hollywood growing up, in the industry and my generation. Ya know, I am kind of in between River Phoenix and Lindsay Lohan, in that little group. In real life, my boyfriend now is Corin Nemec, you know from ‘Parker Lewis’ and ‘Stargate’ and a bunch of genre projects as well. We went to Corey Feldman’s house a couple weeks ago for his house warming! So, as you can see, I live in this weird little world but these are my friends. I think that what was happening was that I wanted to tell the real story about my life and my struggles and me as a person but all that was coming up was these kind of “Hollywood” or “What would sell in a book” for someone that didn’t know anything about the horror series. That isn’t really what I am interested in writing. I think that is why I have had such great success and have fans say that they love reading or hearing what you say and we are fans because “you keep it real!” With me, there is no bullshit! I don’t want to sugar coat my life.

In my life, like I mentioned earlier, I didn’t grow up with a dad because he died when I was a little girl. He was in the mafia. My parents sold drugs. I have this really crazy story that I want to tell because it is really important to me. It just didn’t read well. I thought, “this is just garbage.” I am not going to write a book just because I am trying to sell something. That is not me. So I nixed it, until I can write it myself or find a writer that wants to keep it real. I don’t care if five people buy it but for me to sell 5 million copies it has to be “Hollywood crap” and I just don’t want to do it.

I also read that you had an animated series of sorts based on your life. What can you tell us about that?

That is with the guys at Halo 8! We go back and forth! Poor Matt Pizzolo can never track me down! [laughs] That all started with me being sort of fascinated with animation side and graphic novel side of things which I haven’t really tapped into except for when we worked on ‘Godkiller’. Matt is so creative and I thought it would be so cool to do something else together. I wanted to present the idea of what it is like to grow up in the horror genre and be with all my other little friends in that genre or who grew up on TV shows and show what our real lives are like. I mean, it is kind of funny, I went to New York City for ‘Hatchet II’ and there was this whole big party at Planet Hollywood and I brought a hatchet with me. I was posing on stage with this hatchet and there are about eight people who have come to see me! It is just kind of funny to me! This is so ridiculous that this is going on the wall! My hatchet! It’s kind of like that or the conventions that I do where there are a bunch of has-been ‘80s actors, who are actually very talented, working genre actors, mixed in with porn stars or wrestlers! [laughs] So, I kinda want to incorporate all of that kind of stuff into an animated series for Adult Swim or an adult oriented animated show like that. But I have so much going on that it sometimes takes a back seat.

What’s happening with Horrorgal.com?

I am still trying to get that up and running. I have so much video and footage for that but I just take on too many things at once and nothing ever gets done! [laughs] I am trying to tackle one thing at a time right now.

What other projects are on the horizon for you?

Danielle Harris

I will tell you what I have already finished that will be coming out this year. I have ‘Night of The Living Dead: Origins 3D’ with Bill Moseley (House of 1000 Corpses) and Tony Todd (The Candyman). That is a CGI, 3D animated film for Sony. I play “Barbara” and it is set in current day New York City. From what I have seen, it looks out of this world! Literally, so bad-ass! I also have have ‘The Victim’ with Michael Beihn (Terminator) and Jennifer Blanc. They are two very good friends of mine and you can check out the film at www.grindhousethevictim.com. I play a coke-head stripper which is something that I have not done before! [laughs] So, that was kinda fun, especially since Jennifer is one of my best friends and it was great to be able to work with her. My favorite work as an actor so far is a film that I finished at the end of last year called ‘Shiver’ with John Jarratt, who I adore. Julian Richards directed the film. It is a role that I had a really hard time with emotionally. It is a really dark and horrible, psychological thriller and it is quite fantastic! I have never worked harder in my entire life! That is saying a lot for all the people who have seen what I went through in ‘Hatchet II,’ it literally almost killed me! [laughs] I am really proud of all that work! I am in a movie called ‘The Trouble With The Truth’ with John Shea and Lea Thompson, just the opening scene and it is not a horror movie! I am obsessed with ‘80s movies so I had to work with the two of them! ‘Hatchet III’ has been greenlit and I just signed on to do a movie called ‘Unbroken’ with Tony Todd, who is a buddy of mine. It is a small part in an independent movie but I love the script and really want to be part of it!Thanks for you time, Danielle!

Thank you!

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Be sure to follow Danielle Harris on Twitter at www.twitter.com/halloweengal. Also, check out our exclusive interview with Jim Mickle and Nick Damici about the creation of ‘Stake Land’ at this location. >

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Jim Mickle and Nick Damici Discuss All Things ‘Stake Land’

Jim Mickle and Nick Damici Discuss All Things ‘Stake Land’

One of the most exciting duos in independent film is about to unleash their latest creation on the world of cinema. Jim Mickle and Nick Damici wowed audiences with their first collaboration known as ‘Mulberry Street’ and now they are back to raise the bar once more in independent film, not to mention the horror genre, with their new film ‘Stake Land.”

The film focuses on a young boy named Martin, played by Gossip Girl’s Connor Poulo, who is about to learn how cruel the world can become. Martin was a normal teenager before the country collapsed in an empty pit of disaster. When an epidemic of vampirism strikes, humans find themselves on the run from vicious, feral beasts. Cities are tombs and survivors cling together in rural pockets, fearful of nightfall. When his family is slaughtered, young Martin (Gossip Girl’s Connor Paolo) is taken under the wing of a grizzled, wayward hunter (In the Cut’s Nick Damici) whose new prey are the undead. Simply known as Mister, the vampire stalker takes Martin on a journey through the locked-down towns of America’s heartland, searching for a better place while taking down any bloodsuckers that cross their path. Along the way they recruit fellow travellers, including a nun (Kelly McGillis) who is caught in a crisis of faith when her followers turn into ravenous beasts. Belle (Danielle Harris), a pregnant young woman desperate to reach New Eden with her unborn child. As you can imagine, skirting the undead on a cross country journey is the just the start of this group’s worries. This ragtag family unit cautiously moves north, avoiding major thoroughfares that have been seized by The Brethren, a fundamentalist militia headed by Jebedia Loven (Tony award-winning actor Michael Cerveris) that sees the plague as the Lord’s work.

Icon Vs. Icon’s Jason Price recently caught up with Jim Mickle and Nick Damici to discuss their creation, the process of bringing it from script to screen, the challenges involved and what lies in store for this dynamic duo in the months to come!

Jim Mickle and Nick Damici

We are always told that the entertainment industry is not for the faint of heart. When did you decide to pursue a career in the industry as opposed to going in a different direction?

Jim Mickle: Ya know, I grew up being into a lot of different things, from writing to photography to magic tricks. I grew up wanting to become a special effects artist and I was very interested in doing sound. I liked that film lets you play in every part of the creative process, it lets you make an art out of other art forms.

Nick Damici: Well, I kinda tried a lot of different stuff, but it didn’t work! [laughs] I found myself writing and acting and that is really what I always wanted to do. I worked for UPS for almost nine years before I realized that I didn’t want to do that. I just wanted to be an actor, so since then, that has been my focus!

If you had to cite one person as a professional influence, as you were coming up, who would it be?

Jim Mickle: Originally, it was Sam Raimi. That was who, when I was 13 and saw the ‘Evil Dead’ movies, it was the first time I realized that someone was having fun with it and injecting personality and style and doing it in an interesting way. That sorta fascinated me early on. But growing up, the fun part was evolving and letting that interest leap from one to another. I don’t think there was one overall person but Raimi was the initial spark that started it. There are elements of a lot of people’s careers that I really admire.

Nick Damici: I would honestly have to say Harvey Keitel because he maintains his integrity as an actor. He hasn’t reached the level of super stardom that some of his peers have — he hasn’t sold out, lets put it that way! That moves me more than some of these guys who get too big and start doing boring work because they are more interested in money than the work.

This is your second project together. We wanted to give everyone a little background on your collaboration. How did you two first meet up?

Nick Damici: Jim was working on a student film that I took a part in for a friend of mine, who was a teacher at NYU. I’m going back to 2001. He was helping out as a grip on a one of his buddy’s movies and we just hit it off. We were at a camp, a creepy cabin place up in Connecticut. It was really creepy and the owner kept looking in everyones windows! It just became this kinda, “We should be making this movie!” thing. So we just hit it off there and Jim did his thesis film that year, ‘The Underdogs.’ I took a small part in that and we got more and more friendly as we did that and decided that we wanted to do a movie together. It took us a couple of years but we finally got ‘Mulberry Street’ done and now ‘Stake Land’ is our second effort! It’s been 10 years but we’re getting there! [laughs]

What is the most satisfying part of your collaboration?

Nick Damici: The fact that he is the only person that I have ever teamed up with where we actually get stuff done! [laughs] We have made two movies together and hopefully we will get to make more at this point! So yeah, it is definitely the fact that we get things done. We also really compliment each other. He is a little younger than I am, he is more visual. He is the cinematic guy and I am the literature guy. When we work together, I really feel that our personalities blend and come out in a way that we can appeal to a much broader audience.

Jim Mickle: Seeing it work. Being together for 10 years, it isn’t like we grew up together but we met and had very similar interests and they are both kinda weird! We kinda have the same guilty pleasures when it comes to films, the kinda films that you would be embarrassed to say that you liked, the other guy agreed on! I graduated from school and didn’t know what I was going to do. We spent a lot of time together hanging out at the bar, having a drink and complaining about the sorta movies that were getting made. I think that happens a lot of times to people, but to have the opportunity to put your money where your mouth is and actually do your own thing is rare. I think the first time around we were happy that anyone went out and saw our movie. To see it go out and have a life of its own and have the opportunity to do that a second time and see if the second film can have a bigger life is really cool. We have done things on a small scale so we haven’t had to compromise and have been able to make the kinda movies that we want to make. It is kinda fun to come out the other end of the process and see that if you make something that you really want to see and trust that other people will also want to see it, that actually comes true.

For the uninitiated, what initially sparked the idea for ‘Stake Land’?

Nick Damici: ‘Stake Land’ originally came about because we were down on our luck and not getting anything done after ‘Mulberry Street’ and were waiting for another project to get done, that looked like it wasn’t going to get done. I said, “Look, Jim, we gotta do something!” So I wrote a bunch of web-isodes based on a guy teaching a kid how to kill vampires. I figured it was something cheap that we could do in our genre. I wrote 30 web-isodes and at that point we got them to Larry Fessenden who was in ‘Mulberry Street’. Larry loved them and loved the idea. Then he got a deal with MPI to do a movie. Him and Jim had discussed wanting to work together, so when he saw this he suggested making it a feature. At that point, we had to create a new world because the web-isodes were set in the modern world. We came up with this apocalyptic world. Obama was running for president, so we thought we could include the civil rights angle and have the Klan in there but call it The Brotherhood. With these elements, we were able to let this world create itself … “What would happen if America collapsed?” and at the time the pig flu was coming in from Mexico, so that worked its way into the script. The virus that creates the vampires came from Mexico. We just let this world dictate the journey that these characters had to take and of course, Canada would be the place that you could be safe and runaway to when you are in trouble, like Americans always do.

You assembled a very talented cast. What was the casting process like for the other roles in the film and was it difficult to find the right mix of people to achieve the end product that you were aiming for?

Nick Damici: We were very lucky because we didn’t have much choice on who we were casting. We were looking for any names that we could get, obviously. Connor Paolo came along through the casting director. He has got a steady job on ‘Gossip Girl’ and is a successful young actor. We were like, “Why would he want to do this movie? We aren’t payin’ much!” [laughs] He just loved the script and wanted to come along for the ride! Danielle Harris was the same way. I couldn’t believe that we got her. It was one after another. I was shocked and surprised that these great actors wanted to do the movie. Jim and I were nobody at that point. We had done ‘Mulberry Street’ but that was it. And Kelly McGillis, I was bowled over that she would do our movie.

What did the actors bring to the film that you may not have been expecting?

Jim Mickle

Jim Mickle: Connor’s part, at first when the script was written I thought that it was one of those roles where you find a kid, pluck him out of obscurity, throw him in your movie, pair him up with this sort of hard-ass guy, see what sparks fly and really make an actor out of a no-name kid. That was my original idea for the role. But when the idea of using Connor came up, I sorta rejected it because I wanted someone vulnerable and here is this guy who has played Alexander The Great and is on ‘Gossip Girl’ arguing with adults and holding his own! [laughs] Every time I see him, he is a very confident kid and a terrific actor. He brings all these elements in his own personality that I didn’t think “Martin” was. His ability to breakdown a character and a story and find out how he fits into that while having no ego about it. He really understands the film making process.

It sorta became a triangle with myself, Nick and Connor where we were slowly building the characters very organically. Kelly was great and brought a history to it along with a dramatic weight. That was a very important aspect because we do take a lot off shots at religion in the film. Her character represents all the good things that we thought about religion. I think it was a situation where if you cast that part wrong, the whole house of cards falls apart. We couldn’t have hit it more on the head or have been more truthful with her. Danielle is a working actress and brought a real energy to the film. To be honest, she probably has more experience than anyone else on the film and she still has a love for film making and a real appreciation for it. It was pretty amazing. I sorta love that the cast is a rag-tag bunch of people with different backgrounds and experiences. That was the same thing with the movie, you didn’t have to hide that and could use it to your advantage in showing this little band of family trying to survive.

Nick, what was the biggest challenge for you in either the script-writing phase or as an actor on this project?

Nick Damici: For me it was that I am not a kid anymore, I am over 50! [laughs] It was stamina, ya know! You go in there and there are all these young people and we are shooting three weeks at a clip, I am camping, sleeping on a cot, so that is always tough. It is a physical thing. You either do it or ya don’t. You just have to suck it up. I want to do as much of that as I can now because as I get older, I realize I am not going to have that kinda stamina. For me that was the challenge. The process was a labor of love. I built all of my props. I carved all the stakes that I used, I made my pants, my shoes and a bow and arrow. So that part I really enjoyed, becoming the character by doing things that he would do. The challenges were much more on the production end and on Jim’s end. Orchestrating and getting people together, which fortunately, I didn’t have to do!

What does the future hold for a potential sequel?

Jim Mickle: We have given thought to it. There is plenty of material. We have actually started releasing these prequels online that give you some background on the characters. We had a lot of extra material and we sorta wanted to open up the world. Yeah, we are really just waiting to see how the movie does and if people enjoy it and if it warrants a sequel. I think Nick and I have both said that it would be fun to come back in a few years, give it some breathing time, and she how the actors and characters have changed and the world has changed. It will also be interesting to see how America has changed. This film is very much a commentary on America. I think it is very interesting from the time that we wrote it, to the time that it premiered, to the time that it is opening in theaters that we have evolved in three very different stages … it seems the world is going to be more interesting the longer we wait! [laughs]

Nick Damici

Nick Damici: Yeah, my take on it is that if we did a sequel, I would want enough downtime to have the world and the characters change enough that it would be a different story. I keep telling our main producers that I will do the sequel if they give me flying vampires and lots of money! So we will see what happens! [laughs]

Being a seasoned vet of the film industry. What is the best piece of advice that you would give to young filmmakers and actors?

Jim Mickle: The best advice I can give is to just do it. I think that if you wait for opportunities, they are a one in a million shot. If you just go and do it, you are only going to get better and you are only going to learn from doing things yourself. There are so many people fighting for so few positions that I think you have to carve your own path. I think that if we hadn’t made ‘Mulberry Street’ that I would still be editing or in the back of the grip truck talking about how one day I am going to make a movie, waiting on someone to give me a million dollars and say, “Go do it!” So, do something of your own and put your stamp on it.

Nick Damici: Do anything else you can but become an actor! [laughs] The bottom line is that it is a long haul. Ya know, I’m not rollin’ in bucks. It is a hard life. It is not a life that you can support a family on unless you are super successful. I don’t have kids, so I can do what I want to do but if I had kids, I would be working a job like everybody else. I don’t think it is something that you should pursue unless you can’t do anything else. That would be my advice. I remember David Niven said in his autobiography that “an actor should always have another job.” That is so true because the work is few and far between unless you get very lucky. I think that if you are tenacious enough, and I think that is the case with me, I have stuck in there and I got a few breaks finally after many years and we will see what happens with that, but I could easily have not gotten those breaks and could be a waiter right now. I don’t think it is something that you should encourage people to do unless they absolutely don’t want to do anything else. I think too many people try to become actors because they like the romance of it. It’s like becoming a brain surgeon because of the money. I don’t think you should do that unless you are really into being a brain surgeon, ya know! [laughs]

Is there a particular type of film or genre that you are anxious to tackle in the future that you may not have been able to take on yet?

Nick Damici: That is an interesting question. Yeah. In this one, we kinda did a western. Jim and I have always wanted to do a western and we kinda consider ‘Stake Land’ our western. I’d like to do a real western one day but I would also like to do a period piece, 13th century or something like that. Anything different, really. I am not that interested in the modern world, I don’t think it is that interesting of a place. I think it is twittered out and boring at this point. That is why ‘Stake Land’ took place in another world. Contemporary stuff just doesn’t interest me. I would love to do a detective thing set back in the ‘30s, ‘40s or ‘50s. I love those kinda films.

Do you ever take a moment to look back at your work and give thought to how you have evolved as an actor over the years?

Nick Damici: Yeah, it is natural. As you get older, you get more confident. With the more stuff you do, the more confident you get. I think that I have a lot more confidence in what I do and professionalism is obviously experience. I don’t get butterflies anymore, where I used to. I don’t get nervous anymore and I think that brings a realism to the characters that I play, they are behaving and not pretending to behave anymore. I think that is one of my assets as an actor. I am a no bullshit actor. I am not a high brow actor, it’s not rocket science, just do it! [laughs]

What is on the horizon for you two in the coming months?

Jim Mickle: We adapted a book called ‘Cold In July’ by Joe Landsdale who wrote ‘Bubba Hotep’ a few years back. It is sort of a country-noir, sort of a modern western that takes place in 1989 in East Texas. It is a very twisty-turny, small town crime thriller. We adapted that a couple years ago and just last night got the word that it looks like it is actually going to happen. Hopefully, we will be shooting that in the summer time!

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If you want to see more or support the film, be sure to visit the official Facebook page for ‘Stake Land’!

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Jim Mickle’s STAKE LAND: Official Poster and Character Prequels!

Jim Mickle’s STAKE LAND: Official Poster and Character Prequels!

A brand new poster for  IFC Midnight/Dark Sky Film’s upcoming horror film STAKE LAND has been unveiled! The film stars Connor Paolo, Nick Damici, Danielle Harris and Kelly McGillis. Check out the official poster below!

In addition, the first STAKE LAND Character Prequels are now live exclusively on Apple Trailers. These mini-vignettes, detailing the time leading up to the horrific events of the film, each provide a tantalizing glimpse into the lives of the STAKE LAND cast of characters.

To view the first two installments (listed here) in a series to be unveiled over the next two weeks, please visit the link below….THE DAY I TOLD MY BOYFRIEND starring Danielle Harris and directed by Graham Reznick

MARTIN starring Connor Paolo and directed by Glenn McQuaid

Synopsis: America is a lost nation. When an epidemic of vampirism strikes, humans find themselves on the run from vicious, feral beasts. Cities are tombs and survivors cling together in rural pockets, fearful of nightfall. When his family is slaughtered, young Martin (Gossip Girl’s Connor Paolo) is taken under the wing of a grizzled, wayward hunter (In the Cut’s Nick Damici) whose new prey are the undead.

Simply known as Mister, the vampire stalker takes Martin on a journey through the locked-down towns of America’s heartland, searching for a better place while taking down any bloodsuckers that cross their path. Along the way they recruit fellow travellers, including a nun (Kelly McGillis) who is caught in a crisis of faith when her followers turn into ravenous beasts. This ragtag family unit cautiously moves north, avoiding major thoroughfares that have been seized by The Brethren, a fundamentalist militia headed by Jebedia Loven (Tony award-winning actor Michael Cerveris) that interprets the plague as the Lord’s work.

Director Jim Mickle first grabbed the attention of horror film fans with his zombie-rat thriller Mulberry Street, in which Damici also starred and served as co-writer. They have teamed up again to deliver an even darker and bloodier shocker. Drawing on the post-apocalyptic frenzy described by Richard Matheson (author of the novel I Am Legend) and George Romero, Stake Land is a road movie with fangs and a phantasmagoric journey.

Stake Land also stars horror movie icon Danielle Harris (Hatchet II) and was produced by indie horror producer-writer-director Larry Fessenden (The Last Winter).


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