In honor of Thanksgiving (2010), I interviewed the cast from the greatest Thanksgiving-themed horror film ever made: ThanksKilling! Without further ado, here are the people I talked with:
- Ryan Francis, Darren the Nerd
- Lance Predmore, Johnny the Jock
- General Bastard, the Hermit
- Chuck Lamb, Police Chief
GS: How did you get involved with “Thankskilling”?
RF: Well, it’s actually pretty sweet how pre-production started with this film. Jordan Downey and I went to high school together. We filmed a couple horror films using the parents’ camera and whatnot… (laughs) When we graduated high school, Jordan went to Loyola in Los Angeles, while I attended Ohio University. I received a phone call from Jordan one summer during break, asking if I wanted to play a role in this
B-Horror film called “Thankskilling”. We’re both huge fans of the
genre, so I hopped on board. After reading the script, I fell in love and we just sporadically cast as many people as possible from our hometown.
LP: I was looking for auditions (as starving actors always do) and I simply Googled movie auditions in Columbus, Ohio. TK popped up and I was floored by the plot. I replied to the post, but I missed the audition deadline. Director Jordan Downey contaced me after I sent him a headshot and he gave me an audition. I actually auditioned in his garage due to missing the original audition date. I did some cold reading for him and flexed the guns. (laughs) Jordan contacted me that night and told me I landed the role of Johnny.
GB: Ryan called me up and asked if I was interested in doing it. I was actually getting ready to head out on the road to do some shows with my band so it worked out perfect for me to head that way a few days before my first show, which was in Indiana.
CL: I had done a movie with Lance. He gave me a call and said they had an opening that was right up my alley. So after a couple of emails and phone chats I was the new Sheriff Roud.
GS: What is up with Darren constantly wiping his nose?
RF: Ha! Great question. So, I can’t recall the EXACT direction in the script, it was something along the lines of “Darren licks his fingers”. Jordan wanted Darren to not only be nerdy, but to also be a complete weirdo (which isn’t hard to figure out). We agreed to do a weird mouth swipe consistently. To REALLY answer your question, I have no fucking clue.
GS: Bastard, your character has been compared to Ted Nugent. What was your inspiration for the Hermit?
GB: Well, I had very little time to prepare for it so I just tried to be as gruff as possible. If I had more time I probably would have grown some more facial hair. As for the Nugent thing, I have been cursed/blessed depending on how you look at it to look a lot like him. But generally I usually only hear that in Michigan.
GS: Did anyone explain to you why Darren was hanging out with girls and jocks?
RF: Darren’s best friend was Billy. Billy was a redneck football-esque idiot. Darren was merely a tagalong. He was most certainly out of place, which is what made the character diversity awesome. Perfect blend for a cheap, hilariously bad comedy.
LP: (laughs) Yes… Darren was Billy’s friend. We had to have that “nerd character” to round out the stereotypes we wanted to achieve. In the film I thought he was a tool bag at first but after Billy’s death he took off those Coke bottle glasses and stepped up, which turned him cool overnight!
GS: Tell us more about “Hellementary: An Education in Death”.
LP: Hellementary is a horror movie about a group of college students investigating paranormal activity at a abandoned elementary school where urban legends abound. The film was shot in Cleveland, Ohio. I landed the role of Jack, the small town cop who checks out disturbances at the school. The film was aired nationally on the Chiller TV channel via Dish or Direct TV in October 2010.
GS: How likely is it that we will see the Turkey in space?
RF: I’m not at liberty to answer that question at this time. Gobble gobble.
LP: Last I talked to Jordan, there was no time table for a sequel. Although we did talk about a re-make of the original… or even skipping part 2 and going to TK3. To my knowledge the chance is 0% today.
GS: Why was it summer weather on Thanksgiving?
RF: Because we shot the film in the summer time.
GS: Well, yeah, but why in the context of the movie?
GB: Ah, the strange things that happen when an ancient Indian curse and an evil turkey come into play.
LP: I blame it on global warming.
GS: Are we going to see Overated coming through in the near future?
RF: Overated was a band I was involved with from 1999-2008. We had a long run and did many tours. The band will not be getting back together. However, the music is still posted on the Myspace page! (myspace.com/overated) Wisconsin is a place we never had the honor of visiting, though.
GS: Where can people outside of Ohio check out nerdcore rapper Huge Euge?
RF: You can always facebook Huge Euge or check him out on Myspace! The song to listen to is “I Don’t Do This For the Money”. Anthem!
GS: What are your musical inspirations, or what are some favorite bands of yours?
RF: While it’s the cliche thing to say, music is my bread and butter. It’s everything to me. I work with Riot Fest in Chicago every year, stage managing their Congress shows. My favorite bands range from Flogging Molly to Lagwagon, from Celine Dion to Dixie Chicks, from Yellowcard to Sugarcult. I listen to everything. My dream one day (besides acting in Thankskilling 5) is to just tour the US, 60 days on the road, hitting as many major cities that I can.
GS: Bastard, I hear you’re also heavily into music and know some interesting people… perhaps even El Duce. Tell me more about your musical background.
GB: Well, I play all across this great land of ours. I have a new CD getting ready to come out called “You’re Not Special” the first of the year. We are also currently filming video footage for a future DVD Release. One video that we did was for a song called “You Can’t Touch Me” which you can find on YouTube. I am working on this project with Steve Steinmetz, who also worked on Thankskilling. And after the first of the year I will be back out on the road promoting the new CD and coming to a township near you soon! As for El Duce, he was a friend of mine, as are the Mentors, we have toured together before and the history of our debauchery goes way, way back. I was going to fill in for Sickie on a Canadian tour since he can’t get into the country. But we ended up getting detained by the Canadian authorities anyways in British Columbia and deported so we never got to play a show on Canadian soil.
GS: Do you feel that the film needed more gratuitous nudity?
GB: Doesn’t almost every film need more gratuitous nudity?
LP: Yes. The script called for more nudity… the girls weren’t giving it up.
GS: Lance, what experience did you have before the movie in being a jock?
LP: Tons! I was an all-Ohio running back in high school at Benjamin Logan. I was also an all conference wide receiver in college at Urbana University. A D2 private college in Urbana, Ohio. I always dated the hottest girls, too… (laughs)
GS: Chuck, you have been credited many times as the dead body guy… how does someone repeatedly get a job like that?
CL: I had a bet with my wife a few years back that I could be on a TV show or movie credits. That night I had a dream that I was the dead body laying on Law and Order. So, we took some funny pictures of me laying around the house. Sent it out to a couple of people and the way the Internet is now it just caught fire (just like ThanksKilling has) and less than 6 weeks later I was on the front page of the New York Times and doing every talk show in the country. The web site has since had over 50 MILLION hits to date from 155 different countries. Check out www.DeadBodyGuy.com when you get a chance.
GS: Chuck, You appeared as a snuff victim in “Vacancy” — any stories about Luke Wilson or Kate Beckinsale on set?
CL: The part of the movie I was in were just vignettes that were shot way before the main scenes. I actually never got to meet the stars. Same way with ThanksKilling. If you notice, I’m not in any scenes with any of the other main players. My scenes were shot over a 2 night period and none of the main guys had to be there. I did a movie that’s out on shelves now called STIFFS with Danny Aeillo and Leslie Ann Warren. I did get to get everyone related to that movie because they all ad scenes to shoot that day. That’s the bad part about me playing dead bodies. You’re never on the set the full shooting time. I usually fly in, do my scenes and fly out in a 3 or 4 day period. It is nice to be called “The World’s Most Famous Dead Person Still Acting” though. (laughs)
GS: What was the very realistic turd actually made of?
CL: Gavin, in ThanksKilling we didn’t have a budget for props, stand ins or stunt men. As far as I know I bucked up like a trouper and downed the deuce. (laughs) Taking one for team! Also, the scene with me and the Turkey at the table was total improv. They just kept the camera rolling and let me and Jordan talk. The only hard thing was trying to keep a straight face. Boy oh boy, you should see the OUTTAKES!
GS: Is it hard finding film work in Ohio?
CL: Well, kind of. I have kept busy doing some very cool things. I just finished a movie called “The Mitchell Tapes” that should be out in the spring or summer. I actually speak in this one, but of course I’m a goner before the movie’s finished. (as usual). I have an agent also out west that lands me roles. I’ll be doing a movie with Willie Nelson, Woody Harrelson, Johnny Knoxville and others called ‘The Dry Gulch Kid’ This spring or summer. I’m really looking forward to that.
GS: Chuck, you have appeared on multiple news programs… where can people see more of your work or interviews?
CL: Just go by my website I have uploaded some of my favorites from the TODAY Show, CNN, and when I was guest host on STARZ! Comedy Channel. Also, feel free to tell everyone to join me on Facebook and Twitter. I also will send out a cool autographed 8X10 of me and the Killer Turkey sitting chatting at the table to anyone who wants to write me and ask.
GS: Any other acting gigs on the horizon? Has this film opened any doors for you?
RF: While I’ve had quite a few options to be involved with other projects, the film has more or less made me a TON of friends worldwide. It’s really fun to meet fans of the film. I got a call from a guy in the Netherlands the other day! But it’s really sweet. A lot of younger kids add me on Facebook and we chat it up a bit. I make myself very available to answer any questions about the movie. It’s pretty cool.
LP: I have had offers to move to LA and sign with legitimate acting agencies, but the timing has never been right. My life is here in Ohio until James Cameron calls and offers me a part in Avatar 2.
GB: Well, I am getting ready to start work on some soundtrack music for a new series done by Steve Steinmetz. Filming on that should start in either February or March, and it will be a bit dark and twisted. I am real excited about it. Other than that, who knows what else might come my way. But I am always game for new things and adventure.
CL: Yes, you’ll be seeing me on screen soon and often I hope. ThanksKilling and I were made for each other. Jordan and Kevin had a dream, they made a plan and put it into action. They wouldn’t take no for an answer and look how the movie has taken off. NEVER QUIT LIVING YOUR DREAM! I wasn’t going to stop until I reached my goal of being on screen and the guys on this movie were the same way. I thank them for letting me part of it and I have continued to promote it as much as I can. 20 years from now I see ThanksKilling talked about the same way Rocky Horror is today. I know that sounds like high hopes but this movie is so different that I feel it will be a cult classic.