Dead Before Dawn 3D is Canada’s first all 3D feature film and will play as the closing night Gala Presentation as part of TIFF’s Next Wave Film Festival Sunday Feb 17, 2013. We had a chance to sit down and talk with director April Mullen, writer Tim Doiron about the film and we even got a surprise pop in from star Devon Bostick.
Thanks for taking some time for us today guys. So what made you think you could pull off shooting this film on a 20 day schedule?
April– Well we never thought we could do it for sure, we just believed we could in our hearts.
Tim– And we really didn’t have a lot of options, we knew we only had a 20 day shoot and that was it. IT was all we could fit into the budget so we just studied our butts off and made sure on the preproduction side we had everything scheduled and planned to a t. I’m not saying that surprises didn’t come up on set, of course they did, but we tried to be prepared as possible.
So this is the third project you guys have used the same location and crew for, can you talk a bit about the family aspect that you guys have developed with the everyone involved on the shoot? And how much easier is it filming with people you have worked so closely with before?
Tim – Good question
April– We are really lucky that we have been working together with Luke Higginson our editor, Daniel Grant our cinematographer and Fay Mullen, my sister, as production designer on all 3 films. So our shorthand really helps us to move quickly when we only have 20 days to shoot
Tim – On top of that when we shoot in Niagara Falls all our extended family, I have 2 brothers April has other sisters and our parents, usually show up and gets involved to help out.
April– Familiar location and familiar key creative really helps.
So you guys had one huge long day in the middle of the shoot with a lot of ‘Zemons’ on set and an overnight shooting day. So how was the shoot kept in order and how did you manage to wrangle the Zemons?
April– It was a great day, it sort had this magical element in the air because we were under the football field lights; everything feels like you’re on a spotlight on the planet because those lights are so huge. 500 family, friends and extras who came out really wanted to be a part of a zombie film. They were dressed up as Zemons, they got to lay on the floor as dead bodies then they actually got to get up, rise and run, so everybody had a lot of fun. I mean 500 bodies with our small little crew to wrangle them could have been challenging but they were so well behaved as zemons, and as humans, that we kept it all cool on the football field
Great, sounds like fun! So how were you guys able to get Christopher Lloyd involved?
Tim– The first thing was we wrote the role specifically for him. We always wanted him and he’s a childhood hero of mine, and April’s, so when writing we thought of him. He’s the only person we know that could make this character and film jump off the page.
April– The rest was just trying to get it to his hands, which wasn’t an easy task, but once we got his location we had 24 hours to get him a printed script to read and get a yes or no. The next morning after we got it there his manager called and said Christopher loved the script and thought it was a real cool fresh spin on things and loved the humor added with the zemons in particular. From there it was just the regular negotiations, but it was a yes after he read the script.
So did you already have Devon involved or did he come on after Christopher Lloyd singed up?
April – Right after actually, Devon was more of a timing issue because Diary of Wimpy Kid was shooting directly after our shoot but because Fox is so huge they allot a 20 day period on the front and back of their shooting schedule. So we had to negotiate and promise a kill date on our film so that he would be able to fly over to where they needed him with a 10 day advance that was more of the tricky thing was his schedule
So you guys have created your own entity here with the Zemon name, what type of plans do you gusy have for further marketing/filming with the Zemons?
Tim – We love zemons. We were always aware that there would be hard core zombie enthusiasts out there that will state you can’t mess with a zombie, but we just felt why not. This is just something fun and we just wanted to do it , the half zombie/half demon thing has so much potential to be this whole new hybrid creature that’d really fun /exciting and scary on screen. So we would love to keep the zemon franchise going in any way possible.
April – We’re working on a part 2, so if that happens there will be a lot more exploration with the zemon hybrid.
So do you think you will give yourself 30 days on the sequel?
April- oh honey I hope so.
Just when we thought the interview was over, star Devon Bostick popped in for a minute from signing and meeting a throng of underage fans and managed to give us a few words about the film
So Devon, how was it filming on a short schedule?
Devon – Working on the film was one hell of a ride, we all worked really hard, and had a lot of fun at the same time. That’s all you can really ask for when you are working.
So what’s your favorite scene in the film?
Devon – My favorite scene, I don`t even know there are so many. The thing about the film that`s so great is that the level of intensity is always at a 10, so it`s really hard to pick a specific thing. I do enjoy running from my mother in it though.
Dead Before Dawn 3D screens at 9:30 on Feb 17 with director April Mullen and writer Tim Doiron in attendance. For more information check out TIFF’s Next Wave page online here.