Set Visit: Skinwalkers (2/3)

PART 1 / PART 2 / PART 3

On the Set (Part 2)

In between talking to Dennis Berardi (a.k.a Mr.X) and eating from Craft Services, the other journalists and I were welcome to watch the "RV werewolf bondage" scene being filmed. In this scene, we saw Shawn Roberts, Sarah Carter, Lyriq Bent and Elias Koteas being strapped in the back of the RV by leather bonds. (Clive Barker would have been thrilled seeing this!) In the vehicle, we saw a bunch of objects and supplies. We were explained about this special RV from Dennis. The RV is "the werewolf mobile" in the film. (Hopefully, they will NOT be calling it that in the finished project.)

The RV has been built by Jonas (Koteas) and the rest of the good werewolves to protect them against the bad clan of werewolves. The objects in the back of the RV are the supplies the werewolves need to be able to stay safe if ever this prophecy comes true. This scene takes place after the good clan has seen the red moon and knows the prophecy is true. While the actors were being strapped into the leather bonds, we were also explained that they were being strapped into their pods. The characters are strapped in so they don't hurt or feed on anyone. The pods are designed to protect and restrain them for these pack of werewolves make the choice of not hurting anyone.

The scene opens up with Will (Jackson) opening the doors to the RV. He looks around and calmly walks in the back of vehicle. As he walks in, the camera zooms out, and you see the other characters strapped in their pods, panting and sweating. It's daylight in the scene, so obviously the werewolves have transformed back into their human selves. This scene would have been even more awesome if we were allowed to some werewolf action, but I guess they want to keep the look of the werewolves a surprise. The last part of the scene we saw being shot was a close up on Elias Koteas' and Lyriq Bent's faces as they are breathing hard and sweating from their transformation. Elias' face was very saddened. (Unfortunately, we weren't told why.)

After watching the scene being filmed, the other journalists and I were lucky enough to get interviews with one of the "pod strapees": the director Jim Isaac, two of the rebel werewolves, Jason Behr and Natassia Malthe and Shawn Roberts. Here they are just for you!


Were you attracted to the idea that this maybe not the sort of traditional gothic eastern European werewolf film, and is more set not only in North America , but also has shadings of Native-American mythology to it?

Absolutely. There are a lot of things I love about the script. One of them is, visually, the palette is very diverse. It doesn't take place just at night. It doesn't take place in some dark European city. It's unlike other genre movies. It takes place in beautiful settings. It takes place outside Huguenot, our town in the day. Now as we get into our journey, things become darker, grittier and scarier, and it becomes more of that genre film. But, I really loved the idea. It felt to me almost like a western in a lot of ways. I love that. I love the fact that it is different than most genre movies, and what was more important about the script was the story. There's a real story there. You take away the werewolf part of the story, and it's still a very dynamic story about family and choice, and sacrifice and civil war between family members. You got a lot of depth and different levels to the story which is really attracting to me.

Is there anything new you are bringing to the table in terms of werewolf horror?

Not a damn thing. (jokingly laughs) I am doing the same ol' crap. No, I think I am. I hope I am. Again, that was why I was attracted to the script, because it's really about the beast inside of us. Our designs, our creature designs merit that. They're not big dogs. They don't have big snouts, and big ol' ears. We're not doing the traditional transformation scene. It's more of an emotional transformation scene. It really has to do again with the choice to embrace it, and really let yourself go and open yourself up to that transformation as opposed to holding the transformation and fighting it.

So, it's much more emotional, less visual in a way. But, the creatures themselves are a true blend of human to beast; and so they're very subtle, and I wanted them to be very sexy, very powerful. Scary, when we need them to be. I believe we're doing something absolutely brand new, certainly with the fact the genre has a great story and great characters, but visually the creatures I think will be something that nobody's ever seen before.

Are the rules still the same? For example, the silver bullet?

Rules are the same. We're staying very true to the mythology on that level. So they use silver bullets and the moon brings them out. So we wanted to stay true to the mythology, but not just update it. Just do what I think, really what it needs, is give it some soul.


Can you tell us about Varek?

Varek is the alpha leader of this pack of wolves that is on one side of this civil war that has been going on for centuries. Their whole mission is to, well, his mission, he's a little different from the wolves on his side. He kind of wants to organize freedom. He's sort of trying to convert the other side to his way of thinking and his belief system. His belief system is a celebration of who he is and what he is, what his place is in the world, and it's based solely on experience, and these other wolves haven't really experienced what he believes to be the right way to live.

It's interesting how you describe it that way. We have been hearing a lot about good werewolves and bad werewolves, and you almost sound like you are admiring Varek's character. There's more to it than just the fact that he's an evil character.

Yeah, I don't think it's so black and white. I don't think it's so cut and dry like that. It can't be for me. I think that stuff is sort of boring. There's gotta be more to it than just good and evil. I think that one of the most interesting things to watch especially when you're talking about war or conflict is that both sides really believe what they're fighting for, completely and whole-heartedly. That's why they're doing it. You can look at them as an observer. As an actor, I could say, 'Well, I can see what these guys are doing is wrong, and what these [other] guys are doing the right cause.' But as an actor playing one of these characters, you really have to look a little deeper and try to find validation in what your character is doing, and not make him so cartoonish-one note. Give him a little more layers. I think that Varek is a pretty complicated guy. He's been a lot of fun to explore.

As the actor playing Varek, do you think necessarily that the suppression of the beast is a good thing as the other tribe is trying to do?

Well...there's a lot of fun to him. (laughs) I get to shoot guns, ride motorcycles and celebrate something within you that comes out of you. That's something I've never really experienced. I think that it's been a nice excuse for me to let our the inner animal, and I'm not talking about the drum-playing muppet. (laughs) It's been a lot of fun for me as an actor to sort of just play around with guy a little bit.

What's your favourite scene you've filmed so far?

The guns fights were really kind of fun. We took this little town. This little town, Creemore, whose well known for their beer and for their brewery, and every morning was like a war zone. The gun stuff has been fun, the motorcycle stuff has been fun. They gave me this really long, custom made sexy bike that I don't have, and I got to drive it through town like you're riding in some sort of old western. So that's been a lot of fun.

How did you find it working with the prosthetics? Did you find it painful?

The procedure to get all that stuff ready was really fascinating, because I got to go down to Stan Winston's studio. The guy to me is like the God of creature effects. From JURASSIC PARK, INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, TERMINATOR 2, stuff that we all grew up on. You walk in there, and that's all you see. You see this massive T-rex head, and Arnold Schwarzenegger's gun. I felt like I was 12 years old. They've made a lot of advances. All they had to do with me is a head cast. I haven't really tried on all the prosthetics yet. Just a head cast, and they did a body scan, which is basically me standing in my tighty whiteys, and then doing laser graphics of me, and that's about it.


Can you tell us about your character?

My character's name is Sonya. She's Varek's girlfriend. She's very obsessed about him. Very neurotic, very loyal. He [Varek] at some point turned her, and gave her a new kind of life. He's more my mentor in a way, but I'm also his back bone. I turn into a werewolf, we all do. We're dark in the sense that we do choose a dark part of life, but we also believe in it. It's just a different perspective than the other werewolves, and those two perspectives clash.

Did you think going there [bad] as an actress to be interesting?

It's actually a lot harder going into a darker place, for me anyways. It takes a lot more concentration. You have to focus more. If you're in a really good mood, you have to shovel those beautiful thoughts, (laughs) get into this dark place. Music helps me a lot. I usually listen to Guns and Roses, Metallica, a lot of heavy metal, The Cure, you know, old eighties' music. (laughs) Slightly gothic as well, and my character does look slightly gothic. She has dark leathers on and fur. It is a little bit tribal, and it does remind me of a typical Hell's Angels gang, where they [bad wolves] stick together and they protect each other while they're up to no good.

You say your character was bit, yet the other werewolf seems to born into it?

There's a difference, because I had a human life. The difference between Varek and I is that he's never experienced it before, and I have my concerns. I want the boy [Timothy] to be gone even more than Varek because I have come from a miserable life. My backstory is a kind of rough life, he kind of saves me from that.

Are you a horror fan?

Yeah, I like horror movies. I've always been a fan of DRACULA, INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, THE LOST BOYS. I loved those kind of movies. I've always really been drawn to darker roles. I don't know why, but I tend to get darker roles, but maybe my next movie will be different.


Can you tell us about your character?

Adam Kilmore. Grew up in Huguenot, played on the football team, did all that, and happens to be a werewolf. He's in love with Katherine [Sarah Carter], his girlfriend. They even grew up together as kids and they have a secret, they're werewolves. So that really creates the bond for the two of them, I think.

What attracted you to the role?

For this, I'm kind of realizing my childhood dream. I get to be an action star with all the gun fights that happen, and become a werewolf at the same time. The fact that this great film was being made here in Canada , and some of the greatest producers that Canada has....and just amazing talent. It was just a dream come true to do it. I, of course was more than happy to be here.

Have you been made up into a werewolf yet? I understand they still might look somewhat human, even though they're creatures.


I thought you were in costume?

No. My character only gets to stage three. We have certain stages that the werewolves get into, and with that, a brow piece gets put on. I have contacts and some teeth that make up my little transformation.

Is there more of the humanity to a werewolf story than perhaps to another kind in your opinion?

I definitely say that there's more humanity to the werewolf, because when it's daylight, you're out there living an everyday life. You have this secret, but you still have to go on with your day life. You still have to have a job. You still have a life. You interact with people. You're not sitting in a coffin somewhere in the dark. So there's definitely that aspect of humanity in the werewolf.

Is there romance in this film? Are there romantic aspects?

There are definitely some romantic aspects between myself and the character Katherine, played by Sarah Carter. There's a little love there. There's love in many different dimensions I'd say between all the characters.

This film prominently takes place in the day. If it's a horror film, what makes it scary? Because we're used to seeing horror at night time.

A lot of it [story] happens during the day time, but the way it's filmed and the action that's going on, you're sitting on the edge of your seat the entire time because it's suspense filled from right to start to finish. There are the gory moments. They're at the right places, the right times, and when those moments really hit, it's an impact, because it's different than all the suspense that you go through, and the energy and the drive that the characters go through in the daylight hours. So when the transformation happens, gore happens.

Can you tell us how it is to work with Jim Isaac? [director]

Jim has been amazing. I got to say, a lot of directors won't take the time and Jim really has. We've had a bunch of rehearsals. We can ask him any sorts of questions. He's definitely there for us, and he's clear about what he wants. We all talk it through, and have that chance to be one on one basis with him, and be totally open with him, which is great. The right thing is coming on the screen.

Your thoughts of being tied up with leather straps in the back of an RV?

Great! (laughs) It's definitely an interesting experience. You're all strapped in, and exposed and open, but just imagining what kind of experience it is to go through your entire life having to do this? It's a shame our group of good guys have to do this, but we eat humans if we don't.

In your opinion, what makes this film unique?

It's never been done like this before. Stan Winston has never done werewolves before and is absolutely stoked to do it, and look at this setup. Look around, we're in a provincial park. It's beautiful. We have great people behind us. It's a movie that hasn't been done before, but desperately needs to be made. The whole genre needs to be refreshed, and I think this film will do it.

Can you talk about the RV?

The RV is our escape vehicle. We are ready for battle in the back of that thing. It's lined with bullet proof metal. We have our pods in there. So no matter what happens, we're going to be safe. It protects us as we get away from the bad guys. It's a death-defying machine. (laughs)

That's Part 2 of my "hairy" day. Stay tuned for my interviews with Don Carmody (producer), Rhona Mitra (Rachel) and Sarah Carter (Katherine).



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