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An Interview with Bill Steven McLean, Star and Producer of How To Kill a Zombie

by Mike Haberfelner

October 2015

Films starring Bill Steven McLean on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie How to Kill a Zombie - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about your character in it?


How to Kill a Zombie is a comedic take on the traditional "zombie horror" film genre. It's about a father and son trying to find some middle ground during a zombie apocalypse. My character Mack Stone is a hard-headed, hard-hitting, militant type who wants his son to be a real man.


What did you draw upon to bring your character to life - and being a father yourself, playing a father to your real-life son in How to Kill a Zombie, how much of your own experience is actually reflected in Mack?


I haven't told anyone yet where I drew from to give this character life, so here is a scoop for you sir - I used a lot of memories from my (now deceased) father to bring Mack to life. In fact - all of my dad's friends used to call him Mack.

Being Jesse's dad was easy - I definitely used some real world things that I have done with my son Ben to make it flow. If you watch us in many of the scenes, you will notice that we are very much  in sync with each other. Drawing the guns at the same time, shooting at the same time, etc. That part of it was so much easier because we understand how each other thinks and moves in real life.

I am ex-military, I served for 4 years and got out shortly after Operation Desert Storm, so I used a lot of that experience to bring Mack to life.


Is the zombie genre something at all dear to you, and some of your genre favourites?


It is definitely a favorite genre of mine, although I enjoy other genres as well. My fav's would have to be Shaun of the Dead, Fido, and the Living Dead franchise.


with Ben McLean

How to Kill a Zombie was pretty much a family affair - so how did it come about in the first place, was it any kind of strain for you as a family to work with one another in your respective roles in front of and behind the camera, and how did all of you as a family emerge from the experience?


My son Ben came up with the idea. I told him to write it and he asked me to help. Shortly after that my wife Tiffany [Tiffany McLean interview - click here] got involved because she thought it was funny.

Working with them was terrible. I had to murder them all on just the second day of filming and replace Ben with a look-alike. I emerged victorious and they emerged 6 feet under.

Just kidding - we actually had a BLAST filming this movie together. More fun than we had had as a family in quite some time. We got closer because of it and emerged a tighter group.


What were the main challenges when making How to Kill a Zombie on the production side of things?


The toughest part was scheduling and set building. Wrangling 175 zombie extras for a couple of days was quite a job, luckily we had an amazing Assistant Director in Seth Roberts (of PSR Images) who handled them all quite nicely. The DVD has special features of behind the scenes interviews with Seth and the zombies.

Tiffany had to schedule the main cast, and there were a couple of scheduling conflicts that we had to work around, but that is the life of indie film making.

We had to build the entire interior set of the "laboratory building". We put it all up every Friday night in a large garage owned by Mountain Road RV, to then tear it all down every Sunday night so the company could do their normal work all week. We shot the film over 10 weekends. Myself, Seth, Tiff and Ben were the ones putting the set up mostly, but we had some help from other crew people too. We had a 16 man crew for the entire shoot. Not bad for an indie film with little to no budget.


What can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


I run the set like they do a Hollywood set - I have worked on a few Hollywood films and I paid attention to detail whenever I did. But I also like to have fun acting and film making - so I keep things light and happy but professional. I truly believe everyone involved had a blast on the set. You can see it on their faces in the behind the scenes interviews too.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


Yes sir! Thank you for asking - I recently signed a contract with Shadowhawke Films in Dublin, Ireland. My script titled The Cloning has been optioned by them and they plan to shoot the film in 2016. They were kind enough to allow me a lead role in the film as well. I am very much looking forward to flying across the pond to shoot this film! It will be the largest budget I have ever seen compared to indie films I have worked on. The director is Kevin DiBacco of DiBacco Films, but the rest of the cast and crew will be selected by Shadowhawke. So keep your eyes peeled for the casting call!

Also, Bad Kid will be coming out in 2016 as well. I have a lead role in the film, and Seth Roberts directed it. It is in final edit as we speak and they are now adding the score and then color correction. This is a dark drama thriller.

One more film coming in 2016 is Wendigo Rising, I have a small supporting role but my son Ben got the lead role. That project was shot by Killatainment Films, also based in Maine. We really have been blessed these past few years. This is a straight up horror action flick and it is currently in the editing phase. Produced by Alan Dillingham, directed by Seth Roberts.


What got you into acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?


I stumbled into it in 1989. My friends and I made a ridiculous farcical comedy called Search for the Holy Grill. A few years later the same friend asked me to come try out for an extras role in a feature film called The Fight, so I went down there and they came out, picked me out of a crowd of over 200 people and walked me up to the director who promptly gave me a speaking role as a ringside referee. That led to other films and I never looked back. My training is comprised of 20+ years of film experience and watching other actors do their thing. I now employ some techniques from Meisner and others when needed.


Wendigo Rising

Over the years, you've also stepped behind the camera on numerous occasions - what prompted that move?


Being in indie films brought on that necessity. I can do whatever behind the camera - but I am far more at home in front of it. I like being on both sides as it helps me work with other actors more easily by being able to understand what the director wants and helping to get that message across if an actor needs any help. I just love film so I do whatever it takes to get onto as many sets as possible so I can learn more.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to How to Kill a Zombie (in whatever position)?


I have worked with Mel Gibson, Blair Underwood, Ray Winstone, Robert Miano, James Russo, and Danny Moder (he's married to Julia Roberts). I had a great time on the set of Edge of Darkness with Mel and Ray, but I have had much more fun on indie sets. From Hollywood to backwoods - I have had an excellent time doing this ;)  You can see my film credits on the IMDb here:


Search for the Holy Grill

How would you describe yourself as an actor, and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?


I am comfortable with action and comedy. I have been told that I am adept at drama as well. I listen to the director and try very hard to give them what they want on film. I also try to put some of myself into every character I play - but I don't NEED to do that. Mostly I just try to have fun and make people around me be at ease and have fun too. Really, I just want to entertain.


Actors, filmmakers, whoever else who inspire you?


I am a big fan of Sean Connery, Ray Winstone, Clint Eastwood and John Wayne. I love to watch indie films because they often have better stories - not just a bunch of explosions and SFX. I am inspired by my friends and family.


Your favourite movies?


Feeling lucky ?
Want to
any of my partnershops yourself
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The links below
will take you
just there!!!

Find Bill Steven McLean
at the amazons ...


Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)

Germany (East AND West)

Looking for imports ?
Find Bill Steven McLean here ...

Your shop for all things Thai

Something naughty ?
(Must be over 18 to go there !)

x-rated  find Bill Steven McLean at

Jaws, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and Godzilla films.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


I really don't care for artsy-fartsy type films.


Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?

You can buy our film on Amazon or for the UK.


Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


Thanks for your time and this awesome interview, sir ;)


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
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Thanks for watching !!!



On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner


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