GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Interview with Stake Land director Jim Mickle + prize giveaway! | I Smell Sheep

Monday, April 25, 2011

Interview with Stake Land director Jim Mickle + prize giveaway!

I recently had the chance to sit down and chat with the director of Stake Land, Jim Mickle. We went over a BUNCH of really cool questions, and let me tell you he is the nicest guy in the world. And he's pretty darn cute, but sorry ladies the man's taken. (boooooo) Here's what we talked about, and stay tuned till the end. I will be giving away a SIGNED poster for the movie to one lucky person who leaves a comment. :)

Stake Land Storyline:
Martin (Connor Paolo) was a normal teenage boy before the country collapsed in an empty pit of economic and political disaster. A vampire epidemic has swept across what is left of the nation's abandoned towns and cities, and it's up to a man simply known as Mister (Nick Damici), a death dealing, rogue vampire hunter, to get Martin safely north to Canada, the continent's New Eden. Along the way they recruit fellow travelers, including a nun (Kelly McGillis) who is caught in a crisis of faith when her followers turn into ravenous beasts.

Katie: Hi, I'm Katie from I Smell Sheep! My first questions is, what got you into movies? Was it a childhood dream, what sparked your interest?
Jim: I was very into special effects as a kid, I originally wanted to do magic tricks and I was really into that idea. Then at some point it became monsters and I wanted to do the prosthetics and the animatronics and get all into that. And then I started watching movies to get into all of that. But at the time I was very afraid of horror movies and so it was always a test to see these cool monsters that might pop up. At some point that sorta clicked and I sorta the whole film making side of it, or why they chose to shoot things a certain way. I saw John Carpenters The Thing and The Evil Dead trilogy and those sorta four movies made me realize they had these awesome monsters and really cool stories. And they had these very evening voices, the story tellers, and their having fun with what there doing. So it all started to click. I was 13 years old and I started making movies in my back yard with my sister and neighbor and constantly find ways to kill them. It was always about the effects. Then I went to film school and realized make these great movies out of these monsters.

Katie: So back to what you just talked about, did you make a lot of your own prosthetic parts when you were young?
Jim: Yeah I did a lot when I was young, not now, but back then. Yeah. It's funny my parents are moving now so I am going back to look in the attic, and there's all these little weird monsters with cables that blink. So yeah, as you go along I see the progression from 13 when it was all
about puppet and monster and by the end it's a serious drama about friendship. Yah know? lol

Katie: Why did you choose to write and direct another vampire movie? You like it, basically?
Jim: Yeah, well Mulberry Street, the first vampire movie was low budget. We originally wanted to do a lot so that movie became about restraining yourself and pulling back, because we really just didn't have the money to pull things off. I think it was really gratifying that the movie did well and that there was a movie we were proud of but we still wanted to do more that we didn't get to do the first time. So in some ways this was a little bit of a follow up to that, to say like we have a little bit more money we can get out of this and tell the story broader. We both (Nick the co-writer) liked the idea of bring in the social elements and the ideas about America. Bring in some political allegory, I think it works really well with human creatures.

Katie: These are NOT the sparkly happy, romantic vampires. These are the awful who want to destroy you vampire.
Jim: Right yeah, they want to kill you and eat you. lol. Yeah. They don't want to fall in love with you or go out on a date with you.
Katie: See and that's normally what I like, me myself. But not this kind, this is the kind I want to RUN from!
Jim: Right. Yeah
Katie: So is this kinda how you see vampires? In your mind?
Jim: Yeah I think we just wanted to make then scary again. There are so many different ideas of vampires over culture and history. Nick and I also wanted early on, I think we never actually said "vampires" in the movie. They might not be vamps. It's like ok if all of a sudden the word ended and these things came out and they had teeth and they were drinking your blood we would call them vamps. But I think we would also have to explore that idea too. I mean they could be anything.
Katie: Your vamps reminded me a lot of zombies.
Jim: Yeah. So it is sorta like there are these definite categories they fall into but at what point do you call them Vampires. So we sorta wanted to go with that idea. These are feral things that resorted to their instincts. It was about survival and getting to your next meal and really make them scary and fun again. I think they stop being fun when can relate to the
m as much. Ya know?
Katie: You mean when they are sparkly and eat only animals? lol
Jim: Yeah! I mean I don't know if you ever saw the first Fright Night, they were still scary when they popped up. And it's been a long time since they did that. Daybreakersdid a little bit that was kinda fun in there. I think that movie gets a bad rap for some reason.

Katie: Who did the makeup for the film?
Jim: Brian Spears, he actually plays a nun-vampire and the Santa Claus. He's an awesome special effects guy he's NY based. He's just an awesome kinda "geter done" sorta guy. You go to his house and he's just like got bodies and bodies. He comes out sits in his car, rolls down the window, and just has bodies in the car. Blood all over stuff. lol Exactly what you want to have for a special effects guy. I think the idea was just to say what do you want to do in terms of design for vampires. Don't follow any lines. And kinda go from the scientific angle. Having fun with all those ideas.

Katie: The vampires in your film seem very zombiesh to me, almost feline in there movements.
Jim: We had a vampire choreographer come in, a dance choreographer come in for a day. He brought a lot of his troops so these guys really know how to use their body, they knew how to
tell a story and convey that through their actions. It makes a big difference.

Katie: Aside from Vampires, is there any other undeads you would like to do next?
Jim: Good question. Very good question.
Katie: Oh, has no one asked you that?
Jim: No ones really come out and asked. I love the Frankenstein story. I love the idea of the unfit father, but Larry the producer on this just sent me his Frankenstein script. Which is great, I hope he makes it cause it's sorta all the things I like about that story. So I don't think I could do that. The Wolfman, not go through all the classic monsters but I do like that too. It's all about trying to find a way it hasn't been done before. And also it's the characters. That's the cool thing about working with Nick he writes stuff and comes through the characters. Then happens to like go out to the monsters after that. I think if you care about the people all the stuff gets intensified.

Katie: Did you have a hand in with the casting?
Jim: Yup. All the way through. At some point we had a mandate of "you need to cast some one recognizable" which is fine. We got Danielle (Harris who plays Belle) and Kelly (McGillis who plays the Nun) but also I love both of them I never thought I would get someone like Kelly so it was awesome. We satisfied the need to get a name but they are also incredible and I loved to make a movie with them any time. We didn't have a lot of money, and it was broken over two portions. We shot the movie with a three month break and came back. So many times if you ask an actor to do that there like hell no. That's pilot season I gotta be outta here for this, they don't want to book six months of there life away on a movie that's not paying them anything and there just going to be walking around on a cliffside. lol So it was difficult because it wasn't the most appetizing project to send to people. But it was also kinda good because people who were responding not because they liked the pay check but because they liked the story. Or they liked the idea of going out walking through the elements and hanging out forming a close bond. So we did get to meet with were all just awesome actors who were in it for the right reasons.

Katie: What book are you reading right now?
Jim: Ugh, well I have a stack of scripts I am reading right now. Well that's sorta the disappointing part about getting into movies is you stop reading books. The last thing I read before this was in Richard Matheson novel it's in a series called Noir it's a three part stories. He did all the Twilight Zone stories and I Am Legend. I am reading one now called Shock Value, it's like a history of horror movies. Like during the hight of horror movies during the 60's and 70's.

Katie: Next month is Zombie Awareness month so for that one of the writers on my site, Ben, wanted me to ask you what type of zombie would you rather face? Romero Shamblers or 28 Days Runner?
Jim: Oh I would much rather face the Shamblers. I like the idea that you could build a strategy while they are coming at you and not just have to react on instinct as something comes at you kinda fast.

Katie: With your storyboard background have you ever given thought to doing a comic or graphic novel?
Jim: If I didn't get to make movies I think I would have gone to school for that. I was really into when I was 18-19 years old and unfortunately now the digital age is moving along, and I realized the last time I have drawn was so long ago. It's depressing in some ways. But I would have tried to get into comic books had I not gone into film. We actually have a comic book for this (Stake Land) that will hopefully come out now. The script is written there is an awesome cover for it and ultimately will have a badass thing IF they give the green light for it.

Katie: Where will people be able to find this movie, other then here in San Francisco?
Jim: It will be OnDemand THIS Wednesday. I hope they see it in theaters, a better experience. It hit's LA, Portland, Chicago and I think Boston next weekend. So it will be kinda hitting the bigger cites over the next couple weeks. And it will be on DVD in September.

Katie: On our site we do a Rapid Fire Round of questions, can we do some?
Jim: Yeah! Sure.
Katie: Ok, so answer with the first thing that comes to mind....

Katie: Lucky Charms or Captain Crunch
Jim: Captain Crunch

Katie: Shaun of the Dead or Night of the Living Dead
Jim: Night of the Living Dead

Katie: Coke or Pepsi
Jim: Coke
Katie: Yes! Ha ha! I love you!

Katie: Pepper Pots or Mary Jane
Jim: Mary Jane

Katie: Odd or Rare
Jim: Odd

Katie: Pop Tarts or Toaster Strudels
Jim: Toaster Strudels

Katie: Walther PPK or Desert Eagle
Jim: Walther PPK

Katie: Van Helsing or Blade
Jim: Depends on which Van Helsing...
Katie: Hugh Jackman
Jim: Ok, then Blade!

Stake Land will be opening this Friday at the Roxy in San Francisco. My review is coming up over the next day or so, but I will say this. GO SEE THIS MOVIE! It's really a great story with a ton of bite. ;) Thanks so much to Jim Mickle for sitting down with me. Larsen Associates for setting this great interview up and a big shout out to my buddy Michael over at The Evening Class! *hugs*

And now on to the Prize giveaway. I have a Stake Land poster that was signed by Jim that is going to one lucky person who leaves a comment below. Please make sure to have both things to be automatically entered to win:

1. Your Email Address
2. What type of Vampire do you like? The ones that stalk your nightmares, the lovers from romance book or some other type?

Contest will run until Friday, April 29th at Midnight.
Good Luck!


  1. I agree, shamblers are so much easier to deal with. That slow stumble buys me so much time when I'm reloading!

  2. So true.Shamblers!!!
    Now the question was about the Vamp of choice.The nightmare kind look at humans as food.Not exactly my type.Brooding,self loathing,anti social type make for awesome counterparts,but still nothing holds a candle to our romantic guys with fangs.Hundreds of years that brings no wrinkles and a mass fortune.The orignal bad boys of our Gothic World.Be still my cold heart.
    I wish I lived closer to the theaters listed.Stake Land sounds like a AWESOME movie.
    Thanks for the giveaway.Crossing fingers already.

  3. I must say, you two make a VERY cute couple. *wink* But it sounds like this man is taken...too bad. So close!

    This movie does look good, and one I had no idea about until now. As always I love this blog. You guys get all the great info! Keep it up.

    I will check my local theaters for showtimes.


    I'm definitely one for the more sinister kind of vampire, rather than what we have these days, but lest we forget the creatures of the night have also had a romantic element in them. They're fascinating, complex beings!

    Great interview. Very interesting.



  5. My teenage daughter will disappear for a few hours and show up with a flesh eating virus on her arm or leg. She is actually pretty good with her own special effects make-up . I like Daybreakers! and Blade ROCKS!

  6. I have no interest in a vampire romance, I just want to stake them! Or become one, lol.

  7. I'm a lover, not a stalker. Gimme the ones from the romance novels. Sensuality > Brutality

    skuh28 at gmail dot com

  8. @Sharon Oh yeah Blade is a good one. And it sounds like your daughter should look into some theater arts classes. ;)

    @Shad But what happens if you become a vamp? Wouldn't you then want to fall in love....

    @Stephen Yeah I really could not see you driving a stake through a vamps skull. lol Nope. Lover NOT fighter ;)

  9. I will have to say the 'Near Dark' kind. I grew up with these kill or be killed type. They're straight to the point, no BS, you will die in order for me to survive. And of course making it more bloody & gory than it needs to be. Unlike the immortal, depressing I need to find the love I lost a thousand years before. I guess you can say I'm not the romantic type, but I do appreciate all types of monsters cuz we all end up the victims(^_−)−☆!!

  10. Katie: Congratulations on developing your working relationship with Larsen Associates and, specifically, for your conversation with Jim. Sounds like the two of you had a good time. I'm especially pleased to see you stretch away from your personal interests in romantic vampires to explore Jim's darker vision. Enjoy your credentials!

  11. @Maya I was pretty proud of myself too! lol BUT I do still love me some romantic vamps. ;) Jim and I did have a good time and I am looking forward to working more with Larsen Associates. *big hugs*

  12. Attention dear readers. By good old fashioned random selection the winner of this lovely poster signed by Jim is.....*opens envelope* Stephen! Congratulations! Thanks for the feedback guys!

  13. Sweet! Thanks! Gonna get that baby framed!