One of my favorite films at Fantastic Fest this year was the vampire road film Stake Land (you can read my review here). While it may have been a small budget film, the scope of the movie is quite big and everything feels of the utmost quality. Gritty, tough, and yet full of heart, this was a fun ride from beginning to end that had a slew of different vampire classes. Although I had yet to see the film when I got the opportunity to interview writer/director Jim Mickle, co-writer Nick Damici, and star Connor Paolo, I had a feeling this was something I would not want to pass up. The news that Stake Land won the Midnight Madness award out of Toronto International Film Festival just a few weeks prior had given me confidence in my decision. Luckily, it worked out quite well because I loved the film and the cast and crew were great. So, hit the jump for my exclusive video interview and time stamp highlights.
For those wondering, Stake Land will see a theatrical release, which is the best way to see a film like this. MPI and Dark Sky Films will release it in the U.S. early next year. Forewarning, there are two spoiler bits if you haven’t seen the film yet. The first occurs at 5:38 until 5:46, and the second begins at 17:10 until 17:28.
- 0:22- Explains how they cut out back story for a lot of the characters.
- 1:35- Touches on how they got the cast together; touches on the letter Jim Mickle wrote to Kelly McGillis, that she did not read before accepting the role.
- 4:20- Co-writer/actor Nick Damici talks about the aesthetic of the vampires in the film and how the film turned from webisodes to the big screen. He also mentions the variety of vampires he had that weren’t seen in the film, including a hopping Chinese vampire.
- 6:35- I jokingly ask when the graphic novel from all the unused material will come out.
- 7:00- What did Damici draw inspiration from for why the vampires are so damn difficult to kill?
- 8:30- The inspiration for the Berserkers class of vampires.
- 9:28- How much location scouting was done.
- 10:24- The use of practical effects throughout the film instead of using CGI vampires; Mickle mentions Monsters as a highlight of using CGI in the background to help a story.
- 13:10- How did Connor Paolo’s character evolve in the film despite his lack of dialogue.
- 14:35- Damici describes the most difficult part of shooting the film: Getting the car started every time.
- 15:47- What does the future hold for a potential sequel? Damici wants flying vampires.
- 16:35- They gathered a great cast for this film. If a sequel happens, who would they shoot for?
To wrap everything up, once I got Jim, Nick, and Connor to open up I had a blast in the interview. This was the first time I remember thinking the night before how excited I was to interview a cast/crew because I genuinely loved the film. I recognize the fun might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it really connected with me and I can’t wait for a wider audience to see it.