iLL Will Interview with Joston Theney
Q: Hey Joston, so tell us a little about your latest movie Axeman at Cutter's Creek.
What inspired you to make it? How long did it take to write? How long did it take to shoot?
Where was it filmed? Have you found distribution for it yet?
A: First, thank you so much for taking the time to sit down with me. It's always awesome when someone takes an active interest in projects I'm working on. AXEMAN was one of those projects that kind of just came together. It was originally a pitch that was going to be set up at a different production company that just didn't get 80s slashers or homages to 80s slashers.
So, by chance I met Christopher Otiko at a medical event and struck up a conversation about film and filmmaking. Turns out he's a huge lover of 80s slashers like myself. Before I knew it, we were in development on AXEMAN and the script came together rather quickly. I think that was due to my genuine love of all things horror and the 80s slashers I grew up on like The Kindred, The Mutilator, Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and many, many others.
We took off to Angelus Oaks, just outside of Big Bear and shot for 10 days braving extreme heat, extreme cold and a plague of deer flies and face flies! And we had distribution in place before the film was a lock. Fans and distributors of horror realized the importance of this entry into the slasher genre and got behind it. There's been a demand for this type of film - a true homage to 80s slashers, a true return to 80s horror. And I think we've supplied what the fans have been demanding.
Q: Having worked with both of them on your first feature film Bleed 4 Me, Axeman was your second time working with legendary scream queens Brinke Stevens and Tiffany Shepis.
What was it like working with these two horror greats?
A: Both are freaking AMAZING!!! I can’t emphasize that enough! Brinke has this uncanny ability to put everyone at ease on set without saying a word. She is Zen. And she makes cast and crew alike step their game up to keep up with her level of talent and professionalism. She's just great. And Tiffany - where do I even begin? I've been friends with her for over 7 years and, above being one of the most respected, professional, talented and beautiful actresses working today, she's probably the sweetest yet hardcore people I know. I've gotten to see the side of her that makes me appreciate knowing her and working with her more and more each time.
Q: Tell us a bit more about your movie Bleed 4 Me.
A: Bleed 4 Me was my first venture into the genre and was a mishmash of horror and action. It was about an aging demon hunter (Brinke Stevens) who is called to duty along with a rebel demon hunter (Tiffany Shepis) to stop the birth of Lucifer in the flesh. The film was made and acquired then shelved as the distributor went into bankruptcy. Might revisit again in the future should I get the opportunity.
Q: And your upcoming movie Adam K, tell us a bit more about that.
A: ADAM K. is a bloody, tragic tale of a lonely, socially awkward insurance claims adjuster begging for a connection to someone in this perfect life that he's building. It's very dark and departure from 80s slasher. Its ventures more into horror/thriller territory with buckets of blood and guts! It stars AXEMAN alumni Brinke Stevens and Arielle Brachfeld, as well as Jessica Cameron, Kristin Wall Wheatley and Sarah Nicklin.
Q: When can we expect to see Adam K? Are you bringing it to any festivals or conventions?
A: Adam K. will hit festival screens later this year, with a select release to screens around December. Then it’s coming to home video in early 2015. Keep up to date on everything via our social media pages on Twitter @AdamKTheMovie and on FB at @AdamKTheMovie.
Q: Judging by your movies it's obvious you’re a fan of slashers, which horror movies did you love growing up and which directors inspired you the most?
A: There are So many and too many to list. But I will say that my favorite was a little film called EVIL DEAD TRAP. It was made at a time when films like this were banned in its home country yet this ballsy director found the money and a team willing to risk their careers to make it. It's gritty, visceral and disturbing. If you get a chance, check it out.
Q: As you're a native of Atlanta Georgia I have to ask, are you a fan of The Walking Dead? Are you a fan of zombie films? Which are your favorites? And would you like to make a zombie movie some day?
A: I would love to make a zombie movie one day!!! I'm a big fan of the Walking Dead series. A friend of mine was on there for about three seasons and enjoyed a ton of success. What I truly love about that series is its use of actual character development and bi-lines to keep the story fresh and moving forward. I think that gets lost in a lot of horror flicks, specifically zombie flicks, where it's easy to devolve into "kill, eat, argue and repeat until cast is depleted." As controversial as this is to say, my favourite zombie flick is SHAUN OF THE DEAD. I know, I know. It's a comedy/horror but the gore was fantastic, the zombies were cool, the story was great and it never lost me. A close second is probably DAWN OF THE DEAD.
Q: As well as directing you also write all your own movies, do you enjoy the writing Process or would you prefer someone else to write for you so you can focus more on directing? Or would you prefer to have a hand in everything and be considered a jack of all trades?
A: I prefer to direct what I've written. I've had the chance to direct something someone else had written - we just did it for fun, but it was a learning experience. And what I've learned is that most writers are insanely married to what they've written and don't like change, even if it's for the best. Heck, I'm guilty of it myself sometimes. So, I like to stick to my own stuff. Plus, I know my tone. I know my own flow and my voice and the points I'm getting across. It makes for a simpler, more consistent and more pure direction.
Q: You've also done a bit of acting in your own movies and other stuff, what was that like and does it help you as a director to see things from the actors perspective?
A: I have the utmost respect for the performance profession and I wouldn't call what I've done acting, by any stretch, lol. I'm usually playing some variation of myself. In AXEMAN, I play Darren - a shy, reserved former athlete trying to finally get the girl he's pined after for so long. Anyone who knows me knows that isn't a stretch! I'm a shy guy, former athlete and usually have unrequited crushes, lol. So, like I said - just playing some variation of myself onscreen in most roles. And having fun doing so.
Q: As you've already worked with Tiffany Shepis, Brinke Stevens and up and coming scream Queen Jessica Cameron to name just a few, what other actors would you like to work with in the future?
A: Ooh, good question. I'm just trying to work with the best actors and actresses out there. I believe that if you work with the best, they bring out the best in you. Jessica has already made me step my game up a bit with her ambition and drive. And as sets can also be stressful, I like to work with people that other directors like working with. It means a lot when another director or producer will refer someone your way just because they loved working with them.
Q: Have you any advice for struggling screen writers and directors out there?
A: Persistence beats resistance every time. Love rejection as if it were acceptance. And keep your wits about you while everyone else is losing theirs.
Q: When you're finished with Adam K have you any other projects on the horizon?
A: Oh yes. Prepping AXEMAN 2: OVERKILL and AXEMAN 3: RETURN TO CUTTER'S CREEK, as well as ADAM K 2: ALIVE IS ALONE and ADAM's final entry into the trilogy, all of which are to be completed by the end of 2015. It Sounds more hectic than it is though, lol.
iLL Will - Thank you so much Joston for giving us the time to answer some questions,
I can't wait to see Axeman At Cutter's Creek and Adam K. Best of luck with
them and any other movies you make in the future.
Joston -Thank you! and anytime. Best wishes and be well.