INT: Byron C. Miller

The Arrow interviews Byron C. Miller

Writer/Director Byron C Miller put his cash where his mouth is, went through hell with casting, survived a arduous shoot and completed his film called NIGHT, a great looking action and vampire hybrid. I had the opportunity to go a couple of rounds with the lad and here's what he punched my way.

What’s your favorite horror movie?

Tough question… How about some of my faves. Halloween, Dawn of the Dead (original), Evil Dead 2, John Carpenter’s The Thing, Re-Animator, Invasion of the Body Snatchers (78)

What are your directing credits prior to NIGHT? Was it your debut?

NIGHT is my first feature. I did however direct a horror comedy short in high school called The Creeps. A cheesy good time. Before NIGHT I would work on any local production I could get in with. Grip, Loader, 1st A.D., actor whatever I could do to get some on set experience. And in general I’ve been making movies since I was 10 years old with my dad’s camcorder and some Halloween masks.

How did NIGHT come about? What was the initial spark that birthed the film?

It all started in 1996…. I was a senior in High School (new school, different state; sucked) and wanted to make another movie. I wrote the script, got some people interested, however being in school and having no money it was just too ambitious and I sort of put it away for a loooong time. Then a few years ago after working on some of those local productions and taking some film classes I decided it was time for my first feature and out of all of the scripts and story ideas NIGHT just seemed like the best one to do.

The narrative structure reminded me of Near Dark! Was the film an inspiration?

Definitely, I love Near Dark. I wanted NIGHT to have that postmodern approach, no stakes or holy water. I also wanted to take that a step futher with the vamps characterizations, making them more like real people when they hang out. Not overly gothic, or all a bunch of mean assholes. They’re a bit more like us until they get hungry. Other inspirations were Lost Boys, Lethal Weapon, John Woo’s Hard Boiled, Alien Nation, Full Eclipse, Forever Knight, Sam Raimi….

How tough was the casting process? Which was the hardest role to lock?

Oh the stories I could tell. Pre-production was a long process filled with false starts and I cast the film very early. Thus many roles were recast and recast. During production I had to recast Mike. John Hardy (Mike) originaly played Jerry and was so good that when we lost our Mike (scheduling issues) we bumped John up and he did a fantastic job. Tonia was very tough.

I had a specific way I wanted her to be, and when we lost Tonia number two during production and had to rush and hold more auditions no one seemed right. Enter Melanie. She doesn’t look at all how I pictured Tonia, however she was the first actress to truly understand what I was looking for from that first audition. She nailed it. She’s awesome. I have some great deleted scenes featuring different actors in some of the roles.

What was the biggest obstacle that arose during the shoot as a result of working with a low budget?

Let me think of some highlights for you…. Recasting the leads mid production. Adhering to everyone’s work schedules. TIME. We did however make a lot of creative solutions that worked out and didn’t hurt the film…along with some that did.

Looking at the film now what are you most proud of?

The sex/kill sequence. I love it. The score; Jasyn did a great job. The actors, the f/x team, and the crew (usually Jasyn and Kelly Weaver); everyone worked their asses off. I’m also just proud that I’ve had to view it now, oh I don’t know, a hundred times and I still enjoy it. It was a blast making it. I can’t wait for the next one.

Where is the film now in terms of distribution?

We have a number of interested parties. We’ll see what happens.

What’s next on your plate; any other films in the works?

Yes, we’ve got a number of projects in development. The next one is a very dark violent and scary as hell supernatural horror film. I had fun with the action/horror, but this time I want to do something that scares the shit out of people. Then we’ve got this dark indie drama, and a Halloweenish Slasher film that should be loads of fun, and a horror comedy sorta in the vein of There’s Nothing Out There. Of course if Hollywood comes a knockin’ I’m there. I wanna make all kinds of films. All genres. Though most of the things that interest me tend to be on the darker, stranger side.

What was the first drink you downed at the NIGHT wrap party!

Funny thing is, we never got to have a wrap party, but it would’ve been something with vodka. I like the vodka.

I'd like to high five Byron for stepping into this site's ring and going toe to toe with its inebriated host. Break a neck with distribution for your film man and keep fighting the good horror fight!



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