Your new movie Beasts
of the Field - in a few words, what is it about?
a survival drama about a bunch of folks who go on an expedition to find
evidence of a mythological beast. But they’re ill-prepared (in more ways
than one) and suffer tragic and savage consequences.
did you get involved with the project in the first place, and how did you
end up both lead actor and co-writer on the film?
a long story, actually, but the short version is, the original cast Chase
put together had me in a different role and, when things had to be
shuffled around due to the changing shoot schedule and shifting
availability of various players, Chase asked me if I’d play the lead
instead.I told him I would… if I could rewrite the script to give the
character more layers and make him a better match for my brand. He agreed
and that’s how it came about.
can you tell us about your co-writer Brentt Slabchuck, and what was your
Gregory with Chase Dudley
wrote the original draft and I wrote the shooting script. So we didn’t
actually work together at all. In essence, he crafted the story, the main
plot elements and the characters. Then I finessed all of that: shaping the
plot more to Chase’s liking, giving the characters a little more color,
tweaking dialogue and so on. The character of Lester wasn’t very
likeable in the original and I felt the audience would never care what
happens to him, so that was my main goal for him: to make him charming and
sympathetic enough to make up for his negative qualities.
What were your sources of
inspiration when writing Beasts
of the Field, and since the film is about cryptozoology in a
roundabout way, did you do any research on the subject?
didn’t have to do too much research, because the cryptozoology element
was one of the things Brentt set up nicely in the original.My main focus
was on tightening the action and dialogue, augmenting the characters and
refashioning details to make the story flow in a way that Chase could
capture on film. Those
kinds of things inspire me on their own.
talk about Beasts
of the Field's approach to both humour and horror for a bit!
ties into what I wanted for Lester and what Chase wanted for the film. I
knew that if Lester made people laugh, they’d fall for him enough to
care about him. Comedy, unless it’s cruel, is almost always
endearing. And almost every film benefits from comic relief.I also
noticed everyone whines a lot in the film (with good reason) so I wanted
to give them sarcastic edges to make that more fun and palatable. As for
the horror element, Chase always saw the film with that lens, so I was
mindful to keep the horrific elements peppered throughout—even though
it’s not a traditional horror film.I mean, sure, it gets bloody and
there’s a body count but, despite the humor and the horror, it’s
really a drama about people dealing with extreme circumstances and
also play the lead in Beasts
of the Field - so what can you tell us about your character, and
what did you draw upon to bring him to life? And how much Gregory Blair
can we find in Lester?
think the key to what makes Lester work is that he’s a bit of a goofy,
sad-sack underdog that you just can’t help but root for. And I totally
relate to all that, having often seen myself that way—especially in
adolescence.But, endearing as that is in the film, it’s offset by the
fact that he’s also mired in deception; not just deceiving others, but
deceiving himself as well. Refusing to see how unqualified he is for the
expedition, refusing to see he’s married to a narcissistic psychopath,
and so on. So deception is his tragic flaw…right up to the end, which
makes the final moment of the film so painfully ironic.
that whole “goofy,
sad-sack underdog” element is something I’ve felt at times in my life.
When Lester is at his lowest point and he reveals that he used to go by
“Les”… until he learned people called him “Less Than”… that’s
like the dark place I’ve been when I’m really down. The “I’m not
good enough” place I think we all go to at times. I would say
Lester’s childlike heart is very much a part of me. For good or
Do talk about Beasts
of the Field's director Chase Dudley [Chase
Dudley interview - click here], and what was your collaboration
is fiercely hard-working director. What I admire about him is that he is
the quintessential low-budget indie filmmaker: Doing everything he can to
make the best movie out of the resources he can get. Sometimes magic
happens and sometimes you get less than what you wanted, but Chase always
keeps going and aims to make each film better than the last. He also is
very easy to collaborate with; he’s a great listener and values the
input of the people he surrounds himself with.
A Regular Afternoon in 1967
A few words about the shoot as such, and the
we shot the film in the middle of a passing hurricane, so it wasn’t the
easiest, smoothest shoot (he said with great understatement!) - we got
delayed, waiting for torrential downpours to ease up, we needed special
equipment to get us across resulting marshland one day (another delay) and
so on. So we had less time to shoot everything. And the rain never came
down at the same volume, so we knew sound was going to be a nightmare.It
got very stressful a few times, but overall, everyone was the epitome of
what makes low-budget indie films so memorable: motivated, focused,
determined and glad to be there, making a film. Mother Nature be damned!
We haven't had the chance to sit down for a talk
since you've released Garden
Party Massacre back when [click
here], and you seem to have been pretty busy since - so do talk
about some of the projects you've worked on in the last 4+ years?
to start? Couldn’t possibly mention them all, but Garden
Party Massacre made three "Top Ten" lists and
has won a slew of awards and is now on VOD everywhere. I also helmed two
short films (Attack of the
Capsidians and It
Ain’t All Black and White… Unless It Is).I’m also working on the
10-year anniversary edition of Deadly
Revisions: a brand new cut with new features as well as bonus
interviews for those who get the DVD or Blu-ray.
a writer, Heretiks (based
on my original screenplay) came out last year and my screenplay BEHIND
THE SMILE: The Story of Hattie McDaniel was sold to
Hillionaire Productions and begins filming early next year.
an actor, highlights include an episode of Escape
the Night, two Adam Steigert films (Fang and The
Horrific Evil Monsters), Heroic Age Studios’ Trick
and Treats, Adam Schaudenecker’s A
Regular Afternoon in 1967, Leonardo Corbucci's
interview - click here],
Aaron Mento’s 16
Bits [Aaron Mento
interview - click here] and Romane Simon’s The
Family Man. I’m also slated to appear live, on stage as Roy
Cohn in Angels
in America in Hollywood this coming April/May.
website, social media, whatever else?
for the interview!