First of all, why don't you introduce yourself to all of those who
don't already know you?
Well... I'd say that I am an Austin, Texas born, New York City-bred actor
who with a long track record of mostly B horror films, who is doing
more writing and producing in order to take things to the next level.
One must take control of his own fate.
What can you tell us about your upcoming horror/sci-fi thriller 15
This is a film that goes back about 22 years or so. When I was a
kid I obviously daydreamed quite a bit. One day - and I remember
this so vividly - I had a thought what if there ARE aliens but instead
of being grotesque creatures or alien greys, what if they are actually
HUMANS... and to top it off, what if - on their planet - the same thing is
happening at the same time to the same people as it is on ours?
Of course, I had no idea that this was almost verbatim the many worlds
theory of quantum mechanics (string theory).
I kept this story and filed it away for many many years and finally
around 2005 or so I developed a vague concept based on it. It was
about a young couple - the male being from a poor upbringing and the
female coming from money. One day the male wakes up to find her
disappeared - he is soon tracked by men in suits throughout the city,
subway system, etc. Finally she shows back up, having been lost in
another world, just like hers, but set fifteen minutes in the future.
By the end of this particular version, time collapses upon itself due
to an imbalance (something about the world's elite snatching loved ones up
from other worlds should they pass away in their world).
15 Till Midnight
When I finally wrote the first draft of the screenplay, I put the
ending aside the ending and decided to focus on the main storyline - the
"love story" I guess you would call it. For awhile I was
going to keep the motif that each world was identical, but decided to sway
from that as the actual many worlds theory is based on probabilities,
essentially different versions of each existence. From that point, I
had the lead character crossover into another world, where he had married
someone else (whom he meets in his "main" world). (This
plot point actually brings us to a later question in the interview...)
I'm sure people are getting a massive headache from reading this by
now. I'll cut to the chase - eventually the men in suits turn out to
be part of a group of individuals referred to as "Knowers" who
are aware of the parallel worlds imbalance and do what they can to keep
everything unknown to the general public. From then on out... well... you will just have to see the film...
You don't only star in that film, you have also produced and written
it. What were your main inspirations?
A lot of the inspiration for the final product came from the Alex
Proyas MASTERPIECE Dark City... as well as bits and pieces from various
literary works from author Phillip K. Dick as well as Fritz Lang's
Metropolis and the Bourne Trilogy. There are also unintentional
references to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Vanilla
My character in it is definitely a Phillip K. Dick-inspired reluctant
with Devanny Pinn in
Song of the Shattered
Apart from 15 Till Midnight, you have also starred
in/written/produced the upcoming Song of the Shattered. A few words
about that movie?
This film came seemingly out of nowhere. It was originally
written as a short dealing with a young woman fighting back against her
abusive and murderous husband that was set to appear as part of an
ill-fated anthology feature. The thing was, it never really fit with
the rest of the film... not from day one. I had a vague idea how to
extend the entire thing and have the short become the first act of a full
film, and at that time I HOPED it would be something I would get to in the
Flash forward a couple of months... the anthology is dead and we are
left with the short and the expenses for a full feature already paid for. A handful of us (Devanny
Pinn [Devanny Pinn interview -
click here], Tara Cardinal [Tara
Cardinal interview - click here], Wolfgang Meyer [Wolfgang
Meyer interview - click here], and myself)
conceptualized the extended version that used the short as a springboard. I was literally writing the script throughout
shooting... not exactly
always an IDEAL way to work, but given the vibe that we all had with each
other and that we were all like minded, it came natural and the energy was
incredible. I'm currently editing it (under a pseudonym) and am in
awe of what we accomplished.
The final storyline continues after Devanny's character kills her
husband (Jess Weber)... after he murders my character's wife (Deneen
Melody [Deneen Melody
interview - click here]) and leaves her and I for dead. A year passes and Devanny's
character is the caregiver for her husband's autistic sister (Tara
Cardinal). By a twist of fate, our characters meet again... develop a
relationship... yet her character is quite delicate psychologically and
numerous factors spin her out of control... and once again... I'll stop
there as not to ruin anything...
Both above films were directed by Wolfgang Meyer, with whom you have
collaborated quite a bit in the past. What can you tell us about the man?
He literally gave up EVERYTHING for filmmaking - much like I have. He lives, breathes, eats, EXISTS for film. It's the kind of passion
I wish more people had. Luckily he is one of the people I see
incredibly eye-to-eye with. Of course, there are times that we
don't, just like any other working relationship, but everything exists to
make the best possible product we can. The budget for 15 Till
Midnight - for instance - isn't anywhere NEAR what one may think. It's kind of a testament to show what you can do with very little and make
something look like it cost 15 million dollars when it... did not...
with Devanny Pinn in
Song of the Shattered
In both 15 Till Midnight and Song of the Shattered,
your costar is Devanny Pinn [Devanny
Pinn interview - click here]. A few words about her?
You hear a lot about girls that are being marketed, either by
themselves or others, as Scream Queens... the problem is... many
of them are in it for all the wrong reasons and they cannot actually ACT. They are either in it for attention or because it seems like something
that would be cool to do for a little while...
Devanny is the COMPLETE antithesis of that. She is an incredibly
gifted actress, has an amazing filmmaking instinct, is quite smart, and is
also a genuinely good person. She is one of the few people with a
matching passion for this craft and I believe the best work from her is
yet to come. Something about her that I hope people begin to notice
fast is she can look like a myriad of different individuals - all in the
same film - whether it is a cosmetic change or something in her body
language or speech patterns. I honestly could go on and on...
You produced Song of the Shattered together with co-star Tara
Cardinal, in whose upcoming Legend of the Red Reaper you are also
featured [Tara Cardinal interview -
click here]. What can you tell us about her and your work on Legend
of the Red Reaper?
Legend of the Red Reaper is an epic passion project. I'm not sure
I can fully vouch for the incredible dedication and passion that she put
into that film. I will just say that I am happy to bear witness to
As mentioned before, on both 15 Till Mindnight and Song of
the Shattered, you perform multiple task, from acting to producing to
writing to whatever else. Why, and what do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy EVERY aspect. I don't know how to fully explain it... but
it all "makes sense" to me in a way. Storytelling is
something in which you have to create rapport and empathy with people...
develop that HUMAN connection that lures in the audience... producing is a complicated task that I can't fully explain
because I just do it, and apparently it works and keeps things moving. I also have been director of photography and camera operator - something
else that just "makes sense".
You have in the past also directed two feature films, Dark
Avengers (2005) and Subject 87 (2007). What can you tell us
about yourself as a director and your two films, and will you ever return
to the director's chair?
Those films were both learning experiences. Dark Avengers is
based on characters that existed in one way or another LONGER than the 15
Till Midnight storyline. In fact aspects of this film are being
remade as The Avenged by some of the people associated with a recent
high-brow horror remake in Texas. Dark Avengers had A LOT of issues
but it is what it is.
Subject 87 isn't properly released on DVD yet, though that may be
coming soon. I need to export a new render on the film before doing
so. On this film I perhaps fully developed my photographic and
editing style, though perhaps bit off a bit more than I could chew at the
In terms of directing... I have a very, VERY specific way of working
with actors. I like to push and put them in the right mindset, and
by NO means will I kiss someone's ass if they have an ego, and I have no
fear of telling someone they are hitting wrong notes. Yet at the
same time I seem to be able to give people what they want and need to feed
off of. Essentially - I give what I would HOPE a director would give
to me as an actor.
In terms of future directing projects... I directed a great deal of Song
of the Shattered, and in the near future - next year - I plan on stepping
behind the camera SOLELY as a writer/director, and not actor for a couple
of projects. There are a couple of ideas out... one more
psychological horror/thriller called The Red and the other
being another dark, mindbending sci-fi film tentatively titled Everyone Sleeps Forever. I know it may seem premature to
go so far as to throw these titles out there, but I tend to get things
There are a few more films of your past, present and future I'd like
to talk about:
What can you tell us about Kim Sønderholm's Little Big Boy: The
Rise and Fall of Jimmy Duncan [Kim
Sønderholm interview - click here]?
I portray an egotistic director essentially telling an interviewer to
go fuck himself, for lack of better words...
This is an interesting one, and I had a great deal of fun shooting it.
I star alongside a great team of people I already knew - Manoush, Debbie
Rochon, Zoe Hunter - as well as some great European talent - Annika
Straub, Nadine Lucia, etc. The director is Marcel Walz, a
Germany-based filmmaker who recently got a healthy buzz with his film La
The film is about a fashion designer - portrayed by Manoush - who is
renowned in the fashion world and is VERY exclusive in terms of what
talent she uses. I portray her photographer, Patrice, who is a bit
of a heroin-sheik sociopath who was discovered "shooting fetish shows
in Los Angeles". I spent the entire film in six-inch red heels,
which I had NEVER worn in my life before obviously and really put my years
upon years of martial arts training and conditioning to the test in terms
of maintaining my balance and footing.
It turns out that Manoush's character's stage shows, which already
appear to be relatively gruesome, involve using actual body parts onstage.
A newly recruited model gets brought into the fold, and all hell breaks
loose from there...
I believe this film may already be seeing release overseas... I'm not
sure about its US debut quite yet...
Jack + Jill?
This is a short film/promo shot by Chris R. Notarile about a duo of
assassins conditioned by the United States Government to become the
ultimate hit persons (to be politically correct). It takes place
after their escape from execution as they infiltrate a television station
in New York in order to broadcast to the nation how the government wronged
This one was actually quite rewarding for me, even though it is short
subject. The JACK character played on a lot of my more eccentric
tendencies combined with creating a genuinely unique and threatening
villain. People can view it for free at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8Oo9v9fNlM
This is one of my personal favorites - which says a lot because I tend
to be openly outspoken and critical of myself in my own films. It
was written and directed by Jimmy Creamer, who goes by the musician
pseudonym "ScreamerClauz", and is essentially a paranoid fantasy
about a man who was part of a government experiment (which seems to be a
running theme with some of my characters) and now has visions of an
alternate dimension, ruled by a deity known as "Shylipis". Warm running water is scarce in this world, as well as the time that one
can spend in the sunlight.
This film makes a lot of satirical social statements while at the same
time being a complete visual acid trip and satisfying the gorehound's
appetite for blood and carnage. Jimmy has a very interesting visual
and storytelling style - perhaps a little bleak for some - but he makes
extremely interesting and creative works. He is currently doing a
series of animated stories and we shot another feature entitled, yes, Dogshit, which is about a monster hunter who wears a pink bunny
suit... which was a lot of fun for me to say the least...
Diary of a Mad Blackman/The Black Facade?
Diary of a Mad Blackman was a short film that Wolfgang Meyer [Wolfgang
Meyer interview - click here] and I were
involved in which followed the exploits of Jackson Blackman, a Jack Black
lookalike who uses his resemblance for his own personal gain. At the
same time he learns a lot of valuable life lessons as it all backfires
once he falls for who he sees as his ideal girl.
The Black Facade is a feature version of the same story. My
character is an unnamed townsperson who in his own way also has assumed
multiple identities depending on what various odd job he occupies, whether
it be video store, theater ticket clerk, concessions clerk, etc. He
is an incidental character essentially, popping up at various times during
the lead's ultimate plight...
Methodic I wrote and produced with Chris R. Notarile, who also
directed. Early in 2007 he handed me an abandoned Halloween
re-imagining script, which I proceeded to rewrite and restructure into
something that was at the same time both an homage to Halloween as well as
something that stood on its own. My character was a bit of a
throwback to the character I was originally cast in Polycarp/Kinky Killers
as (the reluctant young detective).
The storyline follows a boy who murders his parents on his 8th
birthday, apparently possessed by an entity known as the
"Dollman". Flashfoward 20+ years, he escapes from the
mental institution and begins wreaking havoc on his former place of
residence, apparently looking for an outlet to rid himself of this entity
- an new host, if you will...
The film generally has gotten decent reviews and a positive response. A few reviewers have been quoted as saying that unlike many direct-to-DVD
horror films, the performances of the lead actors are actually quite good.
That, of course, was refreshing to hear as more often than not the
reviewers of such films tend to generally either ignore the actors or lump
all of them together and berate each of them for the bad performance of
one, rather than single them out.
This is an interesting one. This film goes back to about 2003. Saw had just premiered at the
Toronto Film Festival and actress Brooke
Lewis was excited about trying to put together a horror thriller to target
that same market. She contacted a producer she had been working with
and over time a rough script dealing with the occult had developed.
The producer had seen a rough cut of Subject 87 and cast me as one of the
male leads - at the time a rough around the edges detective. The
producer also got ahold of the Subject 87 script and was impressed by the
use of psychological themes in it and also hired me to rewrite and extend
I spent a few months on it, rather frustrated at first, but eventually
wrote in what amounted to the first act of the film, and structured the
rest of the film to follow. I was a bit naive and insecure about
doing rewrites at the time, so I sort of stuck to the basics that were
handed to me rather than really expanding upon them and making it
something that I would normally write had I been the initial creator of
the project. Had I been given this film NOW I would have done a MUCH
more drastic rewrite.
I also tried to sway the film away from the overt sexual themes that it
had. Much of it seemed not needed and thrown in for sheer thrill
rather than story purposes. I tried to add in a bit more pathos and
meaning to the sexually-charged scenes, but ultimately I admit I failed,
likely due to my setbacks described above. The film was re-written
by the producer again, and much of what I had added was thrown out beyond
a police interrogation scene and a few random and subtle one-liners here
and there. An element that I had written that remained, was turning
the lead, "hero" male into a musician from an athlete, and I was
soon re-cast in that role. This character was more or less me when I
was around 24.
with Michael Paré in
A number of "name" actors were cast in the film.
Michael Paré (Eddie from Eddie and the Cruisers), soap star Justin Deas,
Kelli McCarty (Passions), Eric Etebari (Witchblade), Charles Durning
(Tootsie, Dog Day Afternoon - who also was something of a mentor for a
short time) and Beverly Lynne, who some may say is a soft-core icon. The film was shot largely in Hoboken, New Jersey (with other scenes shot
in Los Angeles) and I had rather high hopes for it, despite being
generally unhappy with the final script (and wanting, for a long time, to
remove my name from it because I didn't feel it adequately represented my
writing style and so little of what I had written was left in the film).
The film premiered, and was instantly trashed... many people walking
away from it calling it absolute garbage. Yet still, it was picked
up by Universal Pictures (after I handed the film to Uwe Boll) and
released on DVD in 2008 with decent sales numbers, retitled in the United
States as Kinky Killers, yet keeping the original title in the
rest of the world.
The film made its cable debut, on The Movie Channel, in 2009, and has
also been consistently played on Showtime and I believe Cinemax once or
twice as well. All under the title Kinky Killers... not
an title I am very happy with... but at least I know that it's been seen by
a ton of people and continues to be...
This one was shot a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG time ago now... it's more or less
your typical teens on vacation slasher horror film - not really something
I care for, but the film is actually fairly well made. I play
"Henry" - the town drunk who knows more about the actual
backstory of the film than the leads do. Not really my best moment,
but I did get up to around 210/220 pounds for it (I'm normally about
165-170, not bad for 5'10") and grew a beard for two and a half
months prior to shooting, so most people don't really recognize me in the
film. It's another one that's really gotten out there well
internationally, which I am grateful for.
Any other movies of yours you'd like to talk about?
Hmmm...there is also The Super which is coming up in which I portray a
character dubbed "Franny the Tranny", who is actually an
Iraq-War vet who is experiencing severe post traumatic stress which led to
him becoming a cross-dressing drug addict, not-too dissimilar to 80's New
York City street trash - the kind you may find in a Nick Zedd or Lydia
Here is its RED BAND Trailer - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-i_HxdcfaY
I'd also like to plug Gate of the Fallen Angels, which is actually Wolfgang
Meyer's directorial debut [Wolfgang
Meyer interview - click here]. Should all go well in its release, it
should become something of a cult epic.
Any future projects?
A number of them in various stages... a film called Shotgun Kiss,
originally shot in 2008 and had trouble coming to full fruition is being
pushed again finally for a 2011 shoot (which I AM VERY MUCH looking
forward to... the filmmakers went on to do Sinners & Saints with Johnny
Strong, Tom Berenger, and the Mandylor Brothers as well as Hit List with
Cole Hauser and Cuba Gooding Jr.)
As mentioned before, I'm also looking forward to the Dark Avengers re-imagining,
The Avenged. The film got bumped around a bit and took
a big hit during the recession, but looks to be coming around soon.
It centers on a comic book writer who - in a twist of fate - finds his
family murdered and "becomes" his fictional creation. The
script received a number of raves during its initial steps to production
and is being handled by a VERY good team.
There are also a number of other films in-development at one stage of
another - an action film entitled Shake, a 15 Till Midnight sequel
entitled 15 Past Midnight, and Blue Silence - something of a police epic
that Wolfgang Meyer and I wrote after being of like minds and wanting to
do a serious police/mob drama much in the vein of Heat or The
Many of your films are of the horror or science fiction variety. Is
this just coincidence, or do you have a a special fondness for these
A bit of both. I grew up on obscure horror films, and by obscure
I mean this in every sense of the word - harking back to the VHS days when
European horror - which is my preference - was almost impossible to find
stateside and you would spend upwards of fifty to one hundred dollars to
locate an uncut copy of an Argento, Bava [Mario
Bava bio - click here], Fulci [Lucio
Fulci bio - click here], Franco, and etc film. In a way I almost miss those days and the "thrill of a hunt" in
finding a hidden gem. Now everything's available easily on DVD -
which isn't a BAD thing of course, and I have great memories of how
victorious I felt finding a copy of say, Burial Ground, Nekromantic,
I also have a love of Science Fiction... and serious drama and character
studies. My initial intent was to immediately do work such as Romper
Stomper, One Flew Over the Cockoo's Nest, Heat, etc..
.and along the way,
starting with Plasterhead, Am I Evil, and a few others, I started getting
cast in a number of horror films. This led to me being featured in Fangoria,
Scars, and other magazines as well as countless online genre
press sites. Current Fangoria editor Chris Alexander - his first
interview upon joining the magazine was with me in 2007.
After that, I ended up getting booked as a panel guest at conventions,
and so on and so forth. Of course, I want to and I DO other genres,
but horror has been very supportive of me. Science Fiction is
something that has come about more recently, and I would LOVE to continue
to do more of it.
To change pace completely, is it true you also were on Sesame
Hahah... this hasn't been mentioned in awhile, although joblo.com
liked using this as a tidbit a few years ago. Yes, I was in an
episode of Sesame Street about five years ago. It was part of a
mostly animated vignette about the residents of an alphabet town. If
memory serves, my fave ended up on the body of a crippled elderly man...
What can you tell us about your formal education as an actor, and
what is your approach to a role?
I was trained in the Stanislavski "Method" (essentially) by
Laura Hutchings, an AMAZING teacher based in Texas (though she - to my
knowledge - never specifically told me its name). This particular
immersive approach always made the most sense to me instinctually, and I
feel has been refined quite a bit as I've gotten older and I've made into
my own approach. I tend to employ quite a bit of improvisation as
well - basically whatever works in creating the clearest, deepest
character that I can.
I don't let it sit there either... if I pick up something along the way
that can help me and allow me to grow, I embrace it.
How did you get into acting in the first place, and what can you
tell us about your first film experiences?
It's really all that I've ever known in my life. I did perhaps
50+ stage productions in my youth, and as a teenager was brought in to
audition for films such as the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers Movie,
Children of the Corn IV, episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger, and etc.
I didn't take the rejection well back then though, so thankfully I've
Movie roles you'd love to play, no matter how improbable?
I'd love to portray the late INXS frontman Michael Hutchence in either
a straight biography or a film about INXS... actually there are a number of
biographies I would love to attack - one of them also being serial killer
Richard Ramirez. I know that I don't necessarily "look"
like him, but I could MAKE myself look like him with a few alterations to
my general appearance as well as body language and voice. Another
one is Marvel Comics character
Moon Knight. I find the concept of
the character brilliant, from his mythic origins to his "secret
identity" having a multiple personality disorder...
Actors who have inspired you?
Marlon Brando - for changing everything... Montgomery Clift - for
showing a fragility that few EVER have... and James Dean - no explanation
needed. Contemporary actors I admire include Russell Crowe, Denzel
Washington, Val Kilmer, and I also greatly admired, respected and related
to Heath Ledger.
Before you made it into films, you had a career in music, and under
the name zminusx you still work on filmscores time and again. What
can you tell us about the musical side of Brandon Slagle?
I was the frontman of an "industrial metal" band called DIE
SECTION around ten years ago. We had a pretty decent run actually,
opening for bands such as Soulfly, Static-X, Vanilla Ice (yes),
Crossbreed, and countless others. Here is a live video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wr2l-pzAUk
This seems to be almost a completely different life to me now. The "zminusx" name is a pseudonym I use for music supervision as
well as occasional score work. It is supposed to be an abstract
question... Z minus X equals Y... or WHY? I'm sure that's lost on most
I'd love to perform music professionally again...but it has to be the
right time... and speaking of time, there needs to be time, PERIOD...
managing film AS WELL AS music is a difficult thing as consuming
as both fields are.
Any other talents you have I have forgotten to mention?
I actually am quite good at otherwise mundane things such as cooking,
gardening, home repair/remodeling, and the like. Shhh... don't tell
anyone. While most guys were off drinking, I was off learning
Seriously though (actually, the above IS serious) I am adept at
photography as well as drawing. I have a particular stylized
"comic book" way in my sketches.
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Your favourite movies?
Closer (the Clive Owen/Julia Roberts film), On the
Waterfront, Dark City, The Crow, Altered States,
Heat, Alien, True
Romance, Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, Hard
Boiled, The Killer,
Wonderland (the Val
Kilmer-starrer), and far too many to really name. The list could go
on and on...
And of course, films you have really deplored?
Well... I HAVE been rather disappointed with the summer offerings of
2010... they shall not be named...
Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten
This has actually covered far more than I could have hoped for... thank
you very much!
Thanks for the interview!
My pleasure, sir... my pleasure...