You are currently (pre-)producing the film Watch Island. In a
few words, what's the movie about?
Island is a 1980's horror throwback featuring a killer dubbed The
Cameraman. The indie film is a slasher based on a a reality show, FREAKED,
which has gone terribly wrong.
has been described as Big Brother meets Friday
the 13th - please explain!
The reality show in the
movie, FREAKED, takes place in a house fully wired with
cameras, much like Big Brother. Our killer, Fester Huges aka
The Cameraman moves with the same confidence and determination as Jason.
Anything you can
already give away about Watch Island's resident killer, the Cameraman,
and the actor who plays him, Tim Sylvia?
First of all, we
couldn't be more excited about Tim Sylvia, a 5 time UFC Champion, joining
our cast. Tim is a huge man and so is Fester. Fester Huges aka The
Cameraman, will evolve and become stronger throughout the franchise. He
was treated badly as a boy because of his innocent hobby and now, well,
payback is going to be hell for everyone he encounters.
planning to expand Watch Island into a franchise. What do you have
in store for later episodes?
We already have positioned
several actors in the cast for the sequels. Each sequel will all revolve
from/around the original script, written by Brian Pickard. The next one is
close to being ready to go and the third is in active development.
The film seems to be
inspired by slasher movies from the 1980's. Is that a genre especially
dear to you?
Many of us on our team grew up with the 80's
movies like Nightmare on Elm
Street, Friday the
13th, and Halloween. These films captured a time when we
all enjoyed being scared together as a group - we'd like to make
horror/slasher movies fun again.
How was the film originally conceived, and
a few words about your script writer Brian Pickard?
Hvolbeck jr had a house in Watch Hill, RI that inspired him and a
general area (RI/CT) that was supportive of him making a film. He had an
outline that simply didn't work. Brian tossed that aside and started over,
creating a story and killer around the Watch Hill concept that Brad
pitched. That soon became Watch Island. Brian wrote the first
draft in three days and it was amazing. Bradley and our director, Matt
Zettell, were blown away. Brian is truly a talented force to be reckoned
with and his writing will be compared to some of the greats as he
continues to build on his first few projects.
can you tell us about Watch Island's director Matt Zettell?
man can make a horror film for little to no money, create buzz and sell
his ideas/films. He is an immense professional and team player. His
enthusiasm for the project has been contagious. Both Cellar Door and
Resurrection County, two of his other films
found buyers and distribution quickly so we knew he was the perfect
component to make this a reality, Matt and Bradley met working together as
few words about Watch Island's female lead, Gabrielle Stone, and
It's always exciting to discover someone new
but Gabrielle has already been steadily making a name for herself well
beyond her mother being the legendary Dee Wallace. Gabrielle is in an
acting class with Melinda Chilton (Margaret Huges in Watch
Island), and Melinda suggested we take a look at her. We loved her
work, her look and her energy, which is always positive. She really fit
the Jackie Hall-character. We pitched the project and she fell in love
with the script. Gabrielle has a lot of films/projects lensing and she'll
be a household name pretty quickly.
What can you tell us about Craig Lamar
Traylor and his role in Watch Island?
someone quirky and fun to join the cast as Deon, a sensitive/funny/tough
character, and Craig has been creating his own work recently. We felt that
the Malcolm in the Middle-star would also deliver us a great
Kanan and Billy Magnussen, you also have two
soap stars in the cast of Watch Island. A few words about them?
I actually found Sean Kanan through Twitter and started a brief
conversation with him in hopes he would join Proper Manors, a
soap I have in preproduction. When I joined Kevin MacDonald's Slayers
as producer, I mentioned him to a few women and well,
they went wild. I felt like his international appeal from being on the
hits The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the
Restless would deliver us a foreign distributor without any issues.
Not only is Mr. Kanan considered a soap hunk, he is also an accomplished actor and
producer and had a film at the Cannes Film Festival this year.
Billy Magnussen, also in Joel Schumacher's Twelve, was a
discovery I made at this years Sundance Film Festival and he simply blew
me away with his performance. After the screening I told him I expected
him to be the next big film star from As the World Turns. It
was pure serendipity that this role came up and I had seen Billy. He has a
lot of projects lined up so having him involved is a huge win for us. On a
personal note - As the World Turns was a soap I grew up with
that inspired my entertainment career ,and Joel Schumacher's St.
Elmo's Fire is my favorite movie of all time and was a life changing
film for me, so to have all of this come together is quite emotional and
demonstrated to me that I am indeed on the path I was meant to explore.
speaking of soaps, you are currently also developing a soap opera
yourself, Proper Manors. What can you tell us about that project of
The project is loosely based on my own life
growing up in the small town of Plant City, FL as the son of a
mysteriously successful Italian businessman and a well to do Southern
stepmother who ruled with a loving yet iron fist. That same town was full
of scandals and secrets. I relied on a best friend to help me navigate
safely through my teen years into adulthood. Proper Manors is
a fictionalized version of that life and the alternate reality I often
created to survive and understand my role in the world. It is, in the end,
a love note to all I have ever known and all the people who have touched
to Watch Island once more. Anyone else in the cast you want to
Yes, we also have VH1's Scream Queen's Lina So,
teen movie icon Sam Doumit, Leslie Taylor (also
appearing in NBC's
Parks & Recreation), NY theatre actress Marion
Markham and my personal muse, actress Melinda Chilton, who also appears in
the upcoming films Saving Grace B. Jones, Rid of Me, Intimacy,
Expecting Her, and the travel
show Two Days In...
Island is a co-production between your company Alexius Omnimedia
and Bradley Hvolbeck jr's Breaking Waves Entertainment. A few words
about that man and his company?
Bradley is one of
those types of producers that would hire all of his friends and pay them a
million dollars if he could. He has a huge heart and a mind that never
stops coming up with creative ideas. He is a kind soul who has never had
an enemy and because of that packaging this film has been a dream. Bradley
also created a show dedicated to kids health and fitness called Clown Cooking and an award winning documentary
the Red Nose.
64 Dollar question: When and where will Watch Island be out
We are aiming for a 2011 release. I
am in talks with several major distributors. We intend to go theatrical
first, then expand into all the other areas.
and your film's website, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, whatever else?
My Social Media Producer, Alex DiVincenzo, has all that under control.
Here are all the links for the websites. Right now some of them are
limited, but once production starts things will really get going:
Official site: http://watchislandfilm.com -
Currently just a splash page, full site will launch soon.
Twitter: http://twitter.com/watchislandfilm -
Probably the fastest way to stay in touch with the happenings.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Watch-Island/121517664527600 -
Like, the page for updates.
Production blog: http://watchislandfilm.tumblr.com -
Will be completely active when shooting starts with blogs about production
also got another project in development right now, Slayers. A few
words about that one?
Slayers was also
written by Brian Pickard. It will be directed by Kevin MacDonald
(Beg & The Witching Hour) and stars Melinda
Chilton as the vampire queen, Sean Kanan as her love interest and up and
coming horror stars Sarah Nicklin Reed, Michael Reed and Brandon Stumpf as
well as Pickard, making his acting debut.
other upcoming projects you want to talk about?
I just joined Kevin MacDonald's The Witching Hour as
a producer and also have the romantic comedy, Six to Sex, in
development as well as the drama From May to December and a
holiday film, An Old Fashioned Christmas Story."
I am also the creator of an entertainment news magazine talk show
called The Leslie Taylor Show.
in the day, you started your showbiz career as an actor, first on stage,
then also on screen. Why did you pick up acting in the first place and
what can you tell us about your early days?
I was in
community college and not really going anywhere. A friend of mine invited
me to come help him with auditions for a community theatre play. The next
day he offered me a role, which I took to help out. We did a scene from Hamlet and I fell in love with the stage as Hamlet died in my
arms. I would never be here without community theatre so I am forever
grateful to Plant City Entertainment in Plant City, FL for helping me find
my way into this industry. Acting allowed me to travel whenever I wanted
-- which is my number one passion.
you were first and foremost an actor, you did quite a bit of
behind-the-scenes work and eventually started producing. Was this a
constant step you took or just part of an evolutionary process?
really. I am still a actor and star in a web series called Round the
Square on www.shortstream.tv
and acted in at least half a dozen films in the last six months and have
another film coming out produced by National Lampoon. I was one of those
"how can I help you?" people with the PA's and AD's and soon I
was working in agencies and offices and one position led to another. It
was an 18 month stint at Mandalay Sports Entertainment, part of Peter
Guber's Mandalay Pictures, where I learned the most. My bosses there, Jeff
Clanagan and Stevie "Black" Lockett taught me how to be
confident and make it happen. After that I set my goals more clearly and
started moving forward.
thought of trying your hands on directing?
I have directed
a few small plays and will probably try my hand at directing some of Proper
Manors but for now I am addicted to producing and
you see yourself more as an actor or a producer, and what do you enjoy
I am an actor/producer/casting director. I love them
all evenly but make sure when I am wearing one hat I don't slip into
You just have to talk for a bit about one of your
past productions, just because it has such a great title - The Sex Doll
The Sex Doll She-Bitch is a B gorehorror comedy about a blow up sex doll the rest of the world views as
real who is in an abusive relationship. One day her husband, played by Sitara
Falcon, hits her one time too many and she then goes on a killing spree
taking out every man who who tries to victimize her. It's ultimately a
film about a woman fighting back. Writer/director Jaison H. Costley
created the film and it was one of the most fun films I have ever
produced. It is available to the public but not available to rent yet -
working on that.
Any other of your past films you want to
Each film is an experience. I enjoyed Lost
with Dean Cain and Danny Trejo. I was the associate producer and casting director. It was a hard shoot but taught me a lot.
The shorts Women & Menu, Decker and Your
Two O'Clock is Here, all shot in Chicago, are near and dear to my
heart as a producer but unfortunately haven't been made available to the
public. I hope, with a higher profile as a producer, to be able to go back
and introduce many of those films to the general public.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Actors (or indeed actresses) who inspire
I had an unhealthy James Dean addiction for years. I
also love Martin Landau, Brando, Pacino, De Niro, Hoffman and Joseph Gordon
Leavitt. When it comes to the actresses Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis,
Shirley MacLaine, Elizabeth Hubbard and Jeanne Cooper top my list. I also
remain inspired by up and coming talent like Melinda Chilton as well as
the women from my community theatre in Plant City, FL.
Producers who serve as models for your career?
Marshall, Sydney Pollack, Ryan Murphy, Alan Ball and William J. Bell are
some of my models.
Off the top of my head - St.
Elmo's Fire, Mysterious Skin, Donnie
Darko, Motorcycle Diaries, Mambo Italiano, Nightmare on Elm
Street, Porky's, Airplane, Arthur, and Dead Poets
And of course, movies you really deplored?
of the Worlds, Battlefield Earth, Look Who's Talking, &
Deep Impact, to name a few.
Anything else you are dying to mention I have
just forgotten to ask?
I live for world travel, am addicted
to diet coke and love my dog, Oscar.
Thanks for the interview!