DirecChat is a brand new set of articles which features interviews from many different directors from a variety of films, The first DirecChat comes from Colin Theys of Banshee.
MG: Thanks for taking the time to do this Colin, I Really Appreciate it
CT: No problem!
MG: What inspired you to become a Director?
CT: Well, I just sort of did my own thing until I realized that I could get paid for it! I’ve always been a movie fan and watched a lot of them growing up with my family. All through school, I would take on creative projects as hobbies. I designed computer games, wrote stories, acted, ran RPGs for my friends, and of course shot videos. I got into animation and acting pretty heavily in high school and in college just sort of realized that those two hobbies combined nicely into directing. It’s a creative job that’s very technical and that’s why I love it.
MG: Can you tell us about some of the other projects that you’ve worked on?
CT: Right now I’m working on finishing up a feature called Dead Souls, which is a supernatural thriller / haunted house movie
based on the novel by Michael Laimo. It’s a really creepy movie, which was a lot of fun to do and will be appearing in the US on the Chiller Network in October. Before this, I did Steve Niles’ Remains for the same network. That was a pretty ambitious zombie movie with a little bit of a summer movie fun side to it. And, of course, after Banshee!!!, I did Alien Opponent, which is perhaps my most insane movie. That was intended to focus on what B movies do well and just be as ridiculous and gleeful as possible. It doesn’t always make sense, but it definitely won’t bore anybody.
Image comes from Colin shooting his latest film, Remains.. Now we know a little bit about you Colin, we can now start to chat about your film, Banshee.
MG: Where did the Idea come for Banshee?
CT: Banshee!!! was conceived by the three partners in Synthetic Cinema (Andrew Gernhard, Rich Lucas, and Bonnie Lucas) almost two years before it was shot. The directors of Werewolf: The Devil’s Hound (Greg Parker and Christian Pindar) wrote the script for Banshee!!! as a comic spoof of kids in the woods monster movies. They were going to shoot it in 2006, but it was too difficult at the time, so they shot Werewolf instead, which I worked on as an intern. John Doolan was hired to rewrite the script into a more serious movie and when I graduated from college the next year, I was hired to direct it.
MG: What is the plot of the Banshee in your own words?
CT: Basically, it’s a kids die in the woods movie with a monster that can make you hallucinate with sound.
MG: Can you tell us the Crew who were on the movie and what where they like to work with?
CT: The crew of Banshee!!! was pretty small. The movie was pretty stressful to shoot because the budget was so small and the time so short, but the crew was a lot of fun to work with. Andrew and I worked together a lot on set, often even operating camera. John Doolan, the writer, recorded a lot of the sound. There were days that the crew was only two people and there were days where we had as many as ten. If you look over the credits, you’ll see a lot of SCI repeats. Jason Criscuolo, for instance, worked on Banshee!!! and then played the Sasquatch in Assault of the Sasquatch the next year.
MG: How did the main cast come about and can you tell us about them?
CT: Well, I don’t know the whole casting story, as a fair amount of casting was done when I signed on. We held auditions at the studio for the remaining roles. I think the most interesting casting story is that Veronica and Kerry were originally reversed. Ashley was playing Kerry and Iris Veronica. A few days into the shoot, we had some scheduling issues come up and switched their parts. We didn’t reshoot anything! We just edited around that detail and changed the character personalities.
Andrew Gernhard also told most of the crew that Dave McCarthy (Rocker) was his half-brother and that his mother had given him up for adoption at birth. Dave played along and Andrew made relentless fun of his adoption throughout the shoot, horrifying most of the crew. The whole thing was made up!
MG: Can you tell us a little about the production of the film and if there was one moment that made it that more special?
CT: We shot Banshee!!! in Moosup, Connecticut, which is a little town on the east coast. It’s tiny, sparsely populated, and pretty far from just about everything else. Our crew was small and the budget was very low, so there was a lot of improvising going on. For example, nobody remembered to bring a guitar to the guitar scene. Haha. I think the funniest story from the movie was about the chair smash. We had one breakaway chair and when we smashed it over the actor’s back, a crew member took a flash photo, ruining the shot. The only solution was to make a new chair and do it again. The guy with the camera became the recipient of the new hit, but the glue on the new chair was too strong and the hit was MUCH harder than intended.
MG: There is some great backing music for Banshee; can you tell us the production of it?
CT: The music was written by Matthew Llewellyn, who I met in college and has composed the score for everything I’ve ever shot. He’s fantastic and easy to work with. At that time, he was just working on his computer. We’d send him clips from the movie and he’d send us music.
MG: The Final Question is, Can we expect any more great movies from you?
CT: I certainly hope so! Working with Chiller has been very rewarding and we’re putting together some more projects with them, now. Beyond that, it’s hard to know. This is an unpredictable business and I’m not a well-known director, which means I pretty much just go with the flow and hope for the best. I’ve been lucky enough to work consistently so far and with a little luck, I’ll keep it up and maybe even get to work on some movies of my own in the future!
Thanks to Colin for taking the time to fill this out and hope to bring you another DirecChat with Cameron McCasland , Director of The Lashman