It was a moment unlike any other, one that will forever be seeped into my memory. Just stepping outside the lavatory door of a flight headed straight for the depth of hell I found myself faced with a conflict of epic proportions. There I was opposite the tension fueled rage of a dangerous villain with a handful of broken mini bottles held against my neck. At this very moment, I singlehandedly stepped in and risked my life to save Superman from being thrown off of a speeding plane… And then the director yelled cut. As I looked back at my unhinged and incredibly professional co-star, Mr. Dean Cain, I mentioned something along the lines of it being a pleasure saving him. He said with a smile that he thinks he could have handled it without me. To that, I agree.
Jon Kondelik and James Kondelik
This was my big scene at The Asylum as part of the cast of their latest action feature AIRPLANE VS. VOLCANO. Yes folks… AIRPLANE VS. VOLCANO! It all began when Jon Kondelik (of the Kondelik Brothers and Dual Visions) approached me about getting an up-close and personal look inside the studio. How could I resist being in a film from the company that gave us SHARKNADO or TRANSMORPHERS! With their offer, I was given the role of “Bob,” a passenger that would ultimately spend a lot of time in the plane bathroom. Once I was sent the script, I memorized my lines – all two of them - and found out exactly how an airplane would possibly be put in a “vs.” situation with a volcano. It didn’t seem like a fair fight at first.
JimmyO and Mr. Dean Cain himself!
The second I arrived on the Asylum sound stage in Burbank California I was shown to the “airplane” where I would be spending much of my time. Considering the budget of this type of feature, I have to say that the set was far more impressive than I had expected. I was quickly shown where I would be sitting as a passenger. There I was, in the very back row just a few seats away from the film’s star, Dean Cain who was already seated reading a book as they were setting up the next shot. I was offered a prop and I chose a pair of large bulky headphones. After all, when I’m on a plane I prefer to listen to music as opposed to talk to the stranger in the seat next to me. Gotta make it real folks… I’m all about “method.”
You think this plane could take on a volcano?!?
Once I was settled in I was able to explore the sound stage for a moment or two and say a quick hello to Mr. Cain. The vibe on the set was incredibly pleasant and it was clear that the Brothers Kondelik as well as the rest of the crew were extremely welcoming. There was a positive vibe that began with both Jon and James Kondelik and continued with DP Alexander Yellen and even my fellow passengers aboard the apocalyptic flight of doom. This included cast members Tamara Goodwin, Anthony Marks, Matt Mercer and so many others – Robin Givens also stars in the film but she was stationed on the ground the first week of shooting so I never had the pleasure. Even the First Assistant Director Glenn Miller – who had no idea I would only be on set for one day which complicated his job a bit – treated this guest respectfully. There was levity in the air along with a sense of urgency as this type of movie has a very limited shooting schedule – fifteen days to be exact.
The Kondelik Brothers and Crew watching a take!
I’ve done a number of “set visits” in the past where we are allowed to watch a scene or two and then do a handful of interviews with the cast. They are usually entertaining, if a little bit monotonous. That was not the case with AIRPLANE VS. VOLCANO. Stepping inside the thick of it and being a part of the cast and crew was a much more satisfying experience. This was a hell of a lot more fun than sitting on the sidelines. If you’ve ever worked on a film you are probably very aware of the amount of waiting around you eventually do, but an Asylum film runs a little differently for most of the cast and crew. Everything had to be handled swiftly and professionally. Even when part of the plane sounded as if it was going to collapse with a group of us adding weight just outside the cockpit. This issue was quickly resolved so we could move on. Talk about an impressively hard working and quick crew.
Jon Kondelik, Alexander Yellen, James Kondelik
At one point during my standoff with a fine gentleman named David Vega who portrays the villainous Creiger, the “lavatory door” that I was supposed to walk out of would not shut. I realize that stepping out of a bathroom into a serious situation sounds hilariously strange but we had to make it work. It is a tad unnerving when you have to fiddle with the damn doorknob so it doesn’t smack into you while having your moment after the director calls “action.” Thankfully, my hero Dean Cain stepped in a couple of times to get that thing shut. In fact, the actor was extremely helpful to not only the actors and the extras, but to the young directors and crew as well. Honestly, he was an absolute pleasure to work with and a consummate professional.
From speaking to the filmmakers and spending time on-set I learned a whole lot about the studio and a little bit about how it operates. With a limited number of effects shots and a terrifyingly short production time, whoever is behind the camera certainly gets a quick education while working on one of these films. It would have been exciting to write a deep and dark expose on the making of an Asylum film, but from my experience, it moved rather swiftly along with the Kondelik Brothers - identical twins who share a deep love of movie making. With a planned VOD release on March 28th, I look forward to the firestorm of fun this crazy little film may bring. I had a blast on this flick and if you can wait until it hits the DVD shelves May 27, you will get more behind-the-scenes tales as I join Jon, Jim and Glenn Miller for a fun and enlightening audio commentary.
We’ll keep you posted on all things AIRPLANE VS. VOLCANO right here on AITH!
Superman in action!
Matt Mercer, Tamara Goodwin and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs attempting a rescue!
"Don't you mess with Superman my friend!"