Your new movie The
Nain Rouge Murders - in a few words, what is it about?
in a documentary style, our film is about a series of murders in Detroit
that are somehow connected to one of Detroit's most infamous urban
legends, the Nain Rouge ("Red Dwarf").
we go any further, do talk about the Nain Rouge legend, and the annual
parade that eventually sprang from it? And what drew you to the subject to
Our producer Ari Rossen has deep roots in the
Michigan area, and he wanted to tell a story about this rich and
disturbing folklore. Detroit has been through a hell of a lot, a city
decimated by the ghosts of failed capitalism. There is a haunted and
vibrant quality to this place, and a Midwestern can-do spirit among the
people who live there. The Nain Rouge is a flexible metaphor for the evils
that can be inflicted on a good place. I love Detroit, but the most
significant moments in its history is a doom narrative. Will they
recover? Not without
facing their demons.
Now how did the project fall together in the
first place, and who came up with the idea?
were working with a great screenwriter named Joe Fiorillo [Joe
Fiorillo interview - click here] and are several
drafts into a narrative horror feature. But during the pandemic I
was watching quite a few true crime documentaries and pitched the idea of
making one about the Nain Rouge murders. Joe quickly wrote something
scary and rich in metaphor for our troubled times.
What can you
tell us about the The
Nain Rouge Murders's pseudo-documentary approach to its story at
hand, and was this planned from the get-go or has it developed over time?
we knew it would be filmed during the pandemic, we knew it would be in a
documentary format. All of the actors self-taoed at home, and our
superb editor Katie Dillon weaved that material together with documentary
footage Joe shot in Detroit and stock footage. The edit took a while
because Katie created many layers of imagery, but we were able to finish
in time for Halloween 2020.
talk about The Nain
Rouge Murders's screenwriter Joe Fiorillo [Joe
Fiorillo interview - click here], and what was your collaboration
is great to collaborate with. He's complicated and superstitious,
deeply intelligent and not afraid of extremely unsettling subject matter.
I enjoy seeing where he goes with his writing; in this case we presented
him with our idea and he worked hard to find a peak moment of terror that
wasn't a transitional jump scare.
phone call from Melinda to her mother feels personal and terrifying, and
great actress Silvia Dionicio tapped into a palpable fear - the knowledge
that you aren't going to survive and reaching out one last time to a loved
one. On the page and in performance, it gave me chills.
Nain Rouge Murders hasn't been the first time you've worked with
Joe Fiorillo - so what can you tell us about your previous collaborations?
always weird and good. The Minions
and Entanglement started out as
work-for-hire opportunities that he honed into something unique
with his singular voice. Joe liked writing about the complexities of
human relationships, and doesn't shy away from issues of depravity and
control. Our first collaboration, The
Days God Slept, was all about
transgression, violence and Catholic guilt. That usually finds its
way into his writing, and indeed is there in The
Nain Rouge Murders.
what were the challenges of bringing The
Nain Rouge Murders to the screen from a producer's point of view,
especially taking the Corona-restrictions into account?
miss working with actors on set, and everybody made their scenes in
isolation. The editing process was also done remotely. We had to
have the best actors to pull this off, and we had a particularly gifted
ensemble who understood the tone of grounded naturalism and fear.
talk about The Nain
Rouge Murders' cast, and why exactly these people?
brought on some of the best actors we know, like our producer Ari, Silvia
Dionicio and Ashley Noel Jones. They're nuanced, emotionally
available, not afraid to go into a deep dark place. Since Ari knew
the legend so well and could be deeply articulate about it, we cast him as
the historian, and he gives the exact right note of eerie foreboding at
were lucky to get Jim True-Frost from The Wire as our city councilman.
I'd worked with him before and he was open to playing with us again.
Since he's the first actor we see, we knew Jim could set the tone of quiet
dread. He's essentially playing the mayor from Jaws
saying we need
to keep the beaches open, but Jim plays it grounded and real.
a great actor, as is Suzette Gunn as the reporter. She's extremely
picky about the roles she chooses, and The
Nain Rouge Murders allowed her to speak to
our current times of pain and grief. She's the strong center of our
movie, and we're so lucky she said yes.
$64-question of course, where can The
Nain Rouge Murders be seen?
can watch our movie for free on Vimeo by following this link:
Anything you can
tell us about audience and critical reception of The
Nain Rouge Murders yet?
has been deeply gratifying to see critics and audiences embracing the
horror and social statement of our film. The reviews have been very
positive and viewers have immediately gone to Google to see if this was an
actual series of murders, asking how much of our story is documentary and
how much is real.
Any future projects I'd
like to share?
are just wrapping up post production on the feature length version of our
monster movie Slapface starring August Maturo from The Nun, Mike Manning
from The Call, and legendary actor Dan Hedaya from Blood Simple. We
are just starting post on a ghost story Draw Up and Stare starring great
actors Michael O'Keefe, Linda Powell and Acadeny Award winner Melissa Leo.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Your/your movie's website, social media,
Here are links to my Facebook and Instagram:
Thanks for the
for everything, Michael.