E: I was
in Romania doing pre-production while casting was going on in L.A. so
I watched a lot of videotapes. Except for Peter Coyote, we didn’t
have the budget to go with established stars. But we found some extremely
talented newcomers to play the principal American roles, John Keefe,
Aimee Lynn Chadwick, Jana Kramer, Cory Hardrict, and Jenny Mollen. That
was a pleasure actually, working with unknowns. For the most part, everyone
was just happy to be there and working, and they did a great job. Even
our creature FX guy, John Vulich and his team at Optic Nerve pitched
here and there with bit parts. Thanks John!
I: Now that you’ve worked with these actors,
tell us what they brought to the project.
E: Peter Coyote was a true pro. He really brought something to the role
of Uncle Charles. He had the idea of playing the character like Donald
Rumsfeld, another kind of madman in his eyes I guess. Anyway, he did
a great job, and it’s really comical to watch his performance
when you know the joke.
Also, as I said, each of the young actors did great. John Keefe in particular
was a very fine actor. He took his work very seriously. He’s also
a super nice guy in real life, very wholesome and honest. And I think
that translates well to the screen. When he begins to lose the people
he cares about, you really feel for the guy. Aimee Lynn also stands
out in my mind. She has a lot of courage and enthusiasm as an actor
and a performer.
I: You’ve made your name through some unique horror films, what
attracts you to this genre?
E: It’s just fun. Blood and guts. Blowing things up. And you get
to work with some really interesting and creative people.
I: Return of the Living Dead films are cult classics, how did you go
about making these two new and different while retaining that cult audience.
E: Well, all the classic ROTLD motifs are there, the gore and the campiness,
the cheese factor too. But what really sets these movies apart are the
zombies themselves, the uber zombies, the machine gun zombie and saw
blade zombie, and of course the tar man from the original for Rave.
They all look fantastic. Optic Nerve really came through for us there.
Also, I think the locations really add something to these films, something
dark and ominous. Shooting in Eastern Europe has its challenges, but
you just can’t find locations and production values like this