Writer/Director and musician Todd Langseth is presently in pre production on his horror badboy STINGY JACK (yup about good old Jack o Lantern himself) which stars the great Kane Hodder, Lew Temple, Jason Priestley and Michelle Page. Todd recently barged in the AITH offices guns blazing and after we managed to subdue him with a couple of beers and well trained hookers, he gave us some juice as to his impending feature. Here we go!
TODD LANGSETH INTERVIEW
What gave you the idea to write Stingy Jack?
The idea actually came to us a few years ago while writing another film. We
toyed with the idea that so many films take place on Halloween, so we kind of
challenged ourselves to write a story that tends to omit the holiday rather than
embrace it. Marie, my co-writer and I are also big fans of Halloween itself so
writing Stingy was a lot of fun. It was a definite challenge though; because
it’s tough to write a film about a specific holiday without really focussing on
the holiday itself and we didn’t want to write “just another Halloween flick”.
It ended up rounding out very well in the end.
How long of a process was it to get Stingy Jack ready to roll before the cameras?
Shit! It actually didn’t seem like it was a long time until you asked me this, but thinking back on it, it’s been well over year now since we actively began putting things together, not including the script itself. We’ve had a ton of help and support from some wonderful people though, like our producer Pennie Orcutt,(Death By Engagement) Jennifer Rouse and Harry Manfredini. As an indie film maker, it really gives you motivation and encouragement when people like those I’ve just mentioned really get involved and help out.
When do you actually start shooting?
We’re set to begin principal photography in September, 2009 and run for 34 days. I know, 34 days is a strange number, and that could easily change, depending on a number of factors. There are children in the story also, so we’re bracing ourselves for some longer shoots, of course. Time will tell. Around that time also, many of our stars are actually very busy with conventions, so we have to time things carefully in order to get them wrapped and ready to head off to the cons.
In what specific horror genre would you classify Stingy Jack?
I hate to categorize anything and would much rather the audience decide on that, but I’d have to say Stingy Jack is a Supernatural/Horror/Thriller. There are some scenes that are definitely geared more toward the horror/gore fans, whereas there are other scenes that are action packed and suspenseful so the thrill-seekers will be able to appreciate it as well.
The gorgeous Michelle Page!
Is there a particular reason why Stingy Jack takes place in 1997?
Not really. We played with different dates. I have this thing where the modern day is OK to work with, but when you go back in time to another place, you’re forced to omit certain aspects of technology that didn’t exist, so in writing the story you’re forced to rely on what technology there was in existence in that time period, and it eliminates the possibility of relying on the excessive stuff. It’s more rustic and old-fashioned, I guess you could say. Personally, I love horror films where nobody has a cell phone, for example. It just seems too easy to “call for help” whereas without the technology, whoever’s in trouble really needs to find another solution to their dilemma.
Taking into account the approach, how will your film differ to say the The Blair Witch Project?
The Blair What, now? Haha! I actually loved the Blair Witch and thought their whole concept was genius. But The Blair Witch was shot from the POV of those making the film and from a documentary perspective; Stingy Jack is shot from POV of “Shadow People” as well as the actors. We get to see two sides of reality, characters looking outward, and “Shadow People” looking inward into our reality. Sound confusing? It’s not! It’s a whole lotta’ creepy though and it’ll be a blast to watch!
How will your "horror film set on Halloween" be different from other horror films set on the holiday?
That really depends on how the audience perceives it. Our intention was to write a story based on the holiday, without actually showing or talking about it, so again it was a challenge to do that effectively. How different it’ll be remains to be seen. We know already that the story hasn’t been done before, and we really wanted to keep that original aspect of it all.
How bad did you want to get Kane Hodder?
Oh man. The thing with Kane is, underneath the mask, the dude can actually act, and we needed someone for the role who was all of what Kane Hodder is; Big, brawny, with a very soft set of eyes. Kane’s fans won’t see him dawning a machete and mask in this film though, instead, they’ll see Kane in full view. He’s the big, loveable, harmless Teddy-bear that really demands respect because of his gentle side. I think his fans will love him in this role. It’s truly a completely different side to him. Wanting Kane for the role was a given. I had no idea who we’d cast for the role of Duncan if Kane hadn’t accepted. I was a determined guy, but it was actually thanks to a very good friend of his named Joe, that I was able to get in touch with him. So thanks Joe! I owe you one buddy!
You can't go wrong with Kane Hodder man!
Were you ever a fan of Beverly Hills 90210 (b/c Jason Priestley is one of the co-stars)?
If I said no, would you call me a liar? If so, let’s just say I caught a few episodes back in the day! I saw Jason in The Screwfly Solution and thought his acting was brilliant. We needed a big name that was familiar both within the genre as well as outside of it, and Jason was definitely someone I wanted to work with.
Will the film be a gorefest, suspense driven or a bit of both?
can safely say that fans of the different aspects of the genre will walk away
feeling both satisfied and gratified! There’s plenty of the strange and unknown,
and there’ll be enough red to keep the “bloodies” happy – This, I can promise
Does Stingy Jack have potential franchise written all over it?
Well, Stingy Jack takes place in 1957 and 1997, so there’s plenty of room for both a sequel, and a prequel. Marie wants to write a period piece that takes place before 1957 where our story begins, more along the lines of the Witch Trials and even before, because Stingy Jack is actually based on a Celtic Myth, and we love researching historic stuff, so writing something like that could be a fantastic experience. There’s always room for a back-story to any picture, so if a franchise comes out of this one I guess it’s something the producers and I will talk about.