You have only recently produced The
Frankenstein Syndrome, which is being released these days. In a
few words, what is the film about?
film is Sean Tretta’s [Sean
Tretta interview - click here] modern re-imagining of the classic Mary Shelley
novel The Modern Prometheus most commonly referred to as Frankenstein.
In essence the film follows the same lessons and moral questions raised in
the original Frankenstein, but it has a fresh take for modern times. The
film revolves around a group of underground stem-cell researchers trying
to create a universal healing serum for the group's funder and overseer Dr.
Walton. Through their research they uncover the very serum they’ve been
trying to create, but it comes with a price and the tensions between the
group start to escalate as their research takes a sharp and dark turn and
they find themselves in way over the heads both legally and morally. What
ensues is a tale of ambition, questionable morality and true to life
What did initially draw you to the project?
it was the chance to work with Sean Tretta again. We had just gotten done
filming our first film together The Death Factory Bloodletting, which
turned out really well despite its limited budget and I was itching to
work with Sean again as he really is a brilliant filmmaker. One of our
other producers for the film, the late Noah Todd, had introduced us to
some semi-heavyweight Hollywood executive producers, who after seeing The
Death Factory Bloodletting wanted to work with us. They had a decent
budget they were willing to give us so we jumped at the chance.
Frankenstein Syndrome is not an adaptation of Mary W.Shelley's Frankenstein
as such, it was quite obviously inspired by the novel. What convinced you
the world needed another Frankenstein
film, and how does your approach differ from other Frankenstein-movies?
Sean’s approach was much different that other adaptations done in the
last 100 years. First off we tell the story in modern times with modern
problems. We like to think if Mary Shelley was to write the film in
today’s times, she would use elements and issues that plague our doctors
today, stem cell researching being a great example. I think the film uses
some of the same elements as the original but stands on its own as its own
film was not a parody, it was not another Frankenstein-film, and the film
was not inspired by the Frankenstein “monster” we all think of when
you say the name. It’s an extremely original adaptation of a classic,
yet still its own film in its own right. What I really like about this
film is it is not a monster movie, something that the story has somehow
turned into over the last 100 years. The original Mary Shelley story was
not horror, it was a tale of early science fiction. Over the years through
the theater and plays the film turned into a monster movie, as it was
easier to adapt for the stage, but the original story did not center
around a green monster with bolts in his neck, something we’ve been
accustomed to seeing in recent portrayals of the story. I believe this story
is a closer representation of what Mary Shelley was trying to achieve than
90% of the re-creations out there, and the film isn’t even a
re-creation, it’s Sean’s vision and re-imagining of the classic tale
of early horror and science fiction.
Related to this:
Your favourite Frankenstein-adaptations?
1994 Robert De Niro version is probably my favorite.
film has quite a strong basis in modern medicine. How much research went
into the medical background of The
Frankenstein Syndrome, and your personal thoughts on stem cell
Sean talked to a lot
of doctors and specialists so we had our information correct when
referring to medical treatments and proper terminology. Surprisingly much
of the information in the film related to stem-cell research is dead on
and taken from trusted sources in the medical community. My personal
thoughts on the subject lean considerably left. I do not agree with
stem-cell research bans based on religious moral arguments as to its
validity. Religion and science have always butted heads, but it is getting
to the point where lives can be saved and diseases cured if the political
rhetoric was taken out of the equation.
How was the
collaboration with The
Frankenstein Syndrome's writer/director Sean Tretta, whom
you have worked with before, right?
I have said before, Sean is a brilliant filmmaker. I have never worked
with anyone who is as focused and driven as he is. Every film he has
written has been a success and he did it his way, without much help from
anyone. I am just honored to work with him and help him create his
visions. As far as I’m concerned he is one of the best indie filmmakers
out there, with a resume to prove it.
A few words
about your principal cast:
Tiffany Shepis [Tiffany
Shepis interview - click here]?
Scott Anthony Leet
is the best! She’s a pro bottom-line. We always knew Tiff had chops, but
she blew me away with this role. There was some intricate dialogue in this
film and she nailed it. She brings a wealth of knowledge to any set and
she’s a sweetheart through and through. I am glad she was able to show
what a stellar actress she is with this role and I hope it opens doors to
more substantial roles.
Scott Anthony Leet?
can I say, Scott nailed this role! Scott had a slipped disc in his back
that was killing him throughout the entire shoot, but he fought through
the pain and delivered and solid performance, even if we had to roll him
on set in a wheelchair half the time. Scott’s a talented guy.
Patti is always
amazing. I have known Patti from Sean's 2nd feature Death of a
Ghost Hunter, another role she knocked out of the park. Patti is super
nice and always knew her lines inside and out. She was Victoria, no one
else could have played that role.
rocks! He’s got tons of charisma, he’s funny and charming as hell.
Louis has been doing this for a long time and he brought his A game every
is a walking encyclopedia. In between takes he would tell odd stories and
was a wealth of knowledge about everything from history to politics.
He’s a walking trivial pursuit.
Anyone else I've
forgotten you are dying to mention?
in this film did great in my opinion. Sebastian
Kunnappilly, David C. Hayes [David
C.Hayes interview - click here], Jonathan
Northover, Noah Todd, Kristina Wayborn, there are just too many to list.
can you tell us about The
Frankenstein Syndrome's production company Ominous
Productions, and how did it come into being?
Productions is owned and operated by Sean Tretta. He really is Ominous
has released 4 features to date and is pre-production
on its 5th.
What got you into film-producing in the
first place, and what can you tell us about the movies you have produced
The Death Factory Bloodletting
Well I got my start in
the entertainment industry working for WEA Distribution and Interscope
Records in the early 90’s where I was a A&R rep and distributor rep.
I went to the Art Institute of Seattle and got training in film
production, even though I ended up in music for the first part of my
career. I got into the film business about 8 years ago when I started
working for my friend and boss Darrin Ramage at Maxim Media International
and Brain Damage Films where I worked in acquisitions and most recently in
sales and marketing for Midnight Releasing, a domestic film label mostly
dedicated to horror and sci-fi. I love working in this industry and meeting new
people who share the same passion I do about film and music. I’ve had
the opportunity to make a living in this industry, which is a feet all in
itself and I consider myself blessed to have this job.
Through my job at
Maxim Media, I met Sean
Tretta, whose first film The Great American Snuff Film we distributed.
When an opportunity to produce The Death Factory Bloodletting and work
with Sean came up, I jumped at the chance. The rest is history.
of your work within the film world seems to be somehow horror-related. Is
this a genre especially dear to you, and why?
really. Even though I love horror, it is not the only genre I am into. I
love all genres like I like my music. The reason we have made horror films
is because it is typically easier to make a low budget horror film than it
is to make a war drama or science fiction. Someday I hope to have enough
clout to make a big budget thriller or action monstrosity, but for now we
try to shoot to our means.
Your favourite movies?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results?
The links below
will take you
Romance, Immortal Beloved, The Lord of the Rings-trilogy,
Star Wars, Avatar, Requiem for a Dream, Saving Private Ryan to name a few.
and of course, films you really deplore?
a huge fan of horror comedies, tween films like Twilight or anything with
Your/your film's website, Facebook,
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Frankenstein-Syndrome/153367781371272
Official website which should launch in a few days -
Netflix Queue for TFS - http://movies.netflix.com/Movie/The-Frankenstein-Syndrome/70180185?strkid=2114273298_0_0&
Ominous Productions IMDb - http://www.imdb.com/company/co0156304/
Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely
forgotten to ask?
think that is it. Thanks again for your support and a big thank you from Ominous
Thanks for the interview!