Your new movie Mandao
Returns - in a few words, what is it about?
Returns is about a lovable group of outcasts who use astral projection
to travel through time and hopefully save the day. Itís the second
film in the series.
we talk about the film, you have used the title character earlier in the
movie Mandao of the
Dead - could you talk about that movie for a bit, and how closely
are the two films linked, actually?
Mandao of the
Dead is the movie that kicks off the adventures of Jay Mandao and
his friends. It takes place on Halloween and involves time traveling to
save a newly deceased ghost.
Other sources of
inspiration when writing Mandao
a 90ís kid. Born in 87. I have such a sweet spot for movies from both
decades. Some specific inspirations are Poltergeist, Back to the
and Twister believe it or not. Twister has really influenced my desire
to make ensemble movies with characters that are loveable and colorful.
What can you tell us about Mandao
Returns' approach to horror?
liken the horror of Mandao
Returns to the frosting on a sci-fi cake.
Itís there to kind of give an extra oompf. As Sean Liang, who plays
cousin Andy in both movies, has said: ďItís like Goosebumps for
Returns is of course also wickedly funny - so do talk about your
movie's brand of comedy for a bit!
The movie's brand of comedy comes from how the characters relate and react
with each other and the circumstances they are dealing with. Itís kind
of like a horror, sci-fi Napoleon Dynamite.
A few words about
your directorial approach to your story at hand?
wrote both Mandao of the
Dead and Mandao
Returns. When Iím in the
writing stage, I donít stop doing drafts until I feel like the movie
is in good shape on the page and in my head. Then I make sure I
communicate with my director of photography, rehearse with the actors,
and then weíre off to the races. I try to make our sets a fun and
creative place to have fun.
also play the title character in Mandao
Returns - so do talk about Mandao, what did you draw upon to bring
him to life, and did you create him at all with yourself in mind back
Mandao was a slacker with no direction who discovered heís a natural
astral projector. Over the course of two movies, heís really started
to open up to the friends he finds himself surrounded by. Iíve
really enjoyed seeing him grow into someone who actually cares about the
people around him. Heís an unlikely hero and I love that.
I created the character of Jay back in high school, I was trying to see
what it would be like to make a character different from my personality.
The original Jay Mandao was based on the Richard Dreyfuss character in
What About Bob mixed with Tobias from the show Arrested
However, over the course of making the actual movies, Jay has changed
into something more fitting to me.
What can you tell us about the rest of Mandao
Returns' cast, and why exactly these people?
cast is mostly made of people I know and have worked with before. Jenny
Lorenzo, who plays Aura Garcia in Mandao
Returns, was someone I hadnít
worked with before. Her husband, David Gallegos, played Darth in the
first movie. She was a fantastic addition to the
talk about the shoot as such, and he on-set atmosphere!
on-set atmosphere is one of the reasons these movies are so fun to shoot.
Itís like friends getting together and having a party. We all know each
other and can play off one another really well at this point.
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Mandao
reception has been very positive. Weíve made a lot of new fans this
time around and weíre excited to make some new Mandao
content in the
Any future projects you'd like to
the Mandao series, Iím also writing and developing some brand new
stuff that is wholly original. Iím just in the writing phase right
What got you into filmmaking in the first place,
and did you receive any formal education on the subject?
been making movies since I was a kid. Itís always been a love of mine.
I have no formal education in filmmaking. Iíve learned everything
Iíve learned from just doing it.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Mandao
Besides Mandao of the
Dead, my first feature film was Schlep. Itís a coming of
age comedy about reconnecting with your past. We shot that in Joshua
Tree. It was my ďcollegeĒ education and it taught me SO much.
You usually work both in front of and
behind the camera - why is that, and what do you enjoy more, actually?
love both. Itís a question I get a lot. I started making movies
because I wanted to be able to make a vehicle to act in. Auditioning
hasnít ever been my strong-suit. My acting career really started with Disney. I was on a show called
Kickiní It. I learned that I wanted
more control from that experience and thatís why Iím where I am
today. I love acting and hope to continue to grow in that field.
would you describe yourself as a director and how as an actor?
a director I would describe myself as someone who values actor chemistry
a great deal.
an actor Iíd describe myself as naturalistic.
actors, whoever else who inspire you?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
inspired by Robert Zemeckis, Felicia Day, the Duplass bros, John Hughes,
and anyone who pursues their art fully.
two movies I had on repeat when making Mandao
Returns were Back to the
Future and Twister.
... and of course, films you really deplore?
a movie, but I really deplore those things they play before, during, and
after Youtube videos - commercials.
movie's website, social media, whatever else?
@MandaoMovie on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
for the interview!