Set Visit: The Stepfather
Back in 1987, a surprise little sleeper about a dad in search of the perfect family terrified audiences… well, at least this particular audience member. Terry O’Quinn as THE STEPFATHER was sensational as he created what turned out to be a living hell for his wife and step-daughter, played respectively by Shelley Hack and Jill Schoelen in the Joseph Ruben directed cult classic. And quite frankly, Mr. O’Quinn is on fire in the role. When he questions “who am I here?” you really buy it. This was one of those little films that you expected nothing of, and then wham, it kicks some serious ass.
So here we are in 2009 with Screen Gems revisiting the scary family flick and giving it a new look. The Stepfather this time around is Dylan Walsh from TV’s “Nip/Tuck” fame. And being the smart guy he is, he gets involved with the lovely Sela Ward and her children. This time around, there are three kids instead of one. The oldest is a troublemaker played by Penn Badgley, from TV’s “Gossip Girl”. While it is switching things up a bit by having a tormented son instead of a tormented daughter, this young man has a loving girlfriend played by one of my recent favorites, and truthfully, all the boys love Amber Heard.
When we were given the opportunity to visit the set, a handful of us met up at Sony Studios. We were then led to a soundstage with a long table and with a bunch of chairs surrounding. Obviously, we were all in discussion about the original film and the other Screen Gems remake, PROM NIGHT which was also written by J.S. Cardone. Although THE STEPFATHER had an earlier draft written by Donald Westlake, it is Cardone’s that we will be seeing. After talking about the previous film we were introduced to Mark Morgan, one of the producers of the latest film.
Mark talked about the film being more relevant than ever, with the current divorce rate and how women can be “easy prey” when it comes to the dating world, especially women who are newly single. Although he added that the film doesn’t stray too much from the original, and described the film as a thriller more than a horror film. He seemed like a genuine guy, and he talked more about the casting and what we were about to see and who we were about to meet. And I will say, that as much as another PG-13 horror remake doesn’t necessarily scream “Must See” to me, I do like the cast.
First up, while we were at the empty soundstage, they
brought out the “family unit” which included Badgley, Ward and Walsh. Sela and
Dylan talked about the fake scars and cuts they were sporting, since we were
there on the day that was obviously close to the end of the film. Each of the
actors were more than welcome talk with us, but I was absolutely impressed with
Ms. Ward. She was incredibly beautiful and about as sweet and sincere as you
could imagine. Yeah, the guys were fine, but I had a little pitter, patter in
my heart for Sela.
After speaking to the family, we moved onto the set. It consisted of the house used in the film and the inner workings of it. While we were shown a limited amount of what was going on inside, it was again, quite clear that this was very close to the climactic ending. I would’ve liked to have seen more but I get the feeling they were being a little secretive as to what they could and couldn’t show. But thankfully, the best part of the day was on its way and I don‘t mean the catering. The “best part” would definitely have to be Amber Heard. Now the thing I like about Amber, and what a few people there didn’t, is her blatant honesty. She speaks her mind and really doesn’t give a shit about whether someone agrees with it or not. Whether it comes to her political standings, or being an atheist, she is absolutely self confidant and seemingly very bright. Good for her… oh, yeah, she is also really freakin’ gorgeous.
After all was said and done, I truly don’t have a whole lot of insight into what the new film is going to look like. But now that the theatrical trailer is available, I will definitely see if for Sela and of course, Amber. The film, directed by Nelson McCormick looks to be simply a modern day retelling of the trials and tribulations of a modern family. Okay, maybe a modern family that has a psychotic killer who wants each of them dead, but a modern family nonetheless.
Still, he has assembled a strong cast, including a couple of other T.V. favorites like Christopher Meloni from “Law And Order” and Jon Tenney from “The Closer“, so maybe it will be thrilling. But I gotta tell ya, nobody beats Mr. O’Quinn in the bad ass department. But let’s hope that Dylan Walsh can give us a new character that wants to clean house with an electric circular saw and make it work. Keep an eye out for our interviews from the set visit very soon. Let me know what you think. Send questions and/or comments to JimmyO@JoBlo.com.