As you Yellers know, I gushed over the Jacob film last summer. Now, the Larry Wade Carrell-directed work of genre perfection will hit the North American market on April 16th. (Note that Larry also wrote and starred in the film.) You can look for Jacob on Redbox and f.y.e., among other formats and outlets. You might even find it in hell, if that’s where you reside.
We also were cursed with the chance to speak with Larry, as well as costars Grace Powell and Dylan Horne, last summer. Not to tout our own horn, but that interview has landed among the special features accompanying Jacob.
Above anything else, Jacob is just an excellent film that you have to watch – especially if you appreciate this kind of film. If my encouragement isn’t enough to persuade you, perhaps this previously unpublished interview with Larry can do the job.
Give us the background on yourself, and what you’ve done so far.
I started off recreating my favorite monster make ups and props as a kid, which led to me doing my first Haunted House in high school. I went on to do it professionally, running big haunts with 40+ actors, special fx team, and 6-figure budgets. Back in 2002, after 14 years of scaring people, I realized that I was already building sets, working with actors and FX, I just needed a camera.
Talk to us a little bit about how Jacob came together as a project, I understand it wasn’t shot all at once?
Jacob began principal photography in January 2011, and was shot in 21 days. Once we had the film in the can, so to speak, we quickly put together a rough cut so we could see what worked and what did not. That is when we decided to give the audience a little more explanation as to why Jacob is the way he is. In the first version of the film there was a reoccurring theme with several townsfolk commenting on how bad Jacob’s father had been. I really like the ideal of giving the audience a few clues about a situation and then leaving it alone for them to imagine what might have happened in their own minds. It turned out that with this piece it was going to be a lot of fun to actually let the audience experience the tragedy of Jacob’s dad first hand. Michael Biehn has always been one of my favorite actors. So I wrote the scenes with Michael in mind even though I was pretty sure there was no way we would get him. Sometimes it really pays off to think big, because this is one time that I got exactly what I wanted. So, with Michael on board we scheduled an addition 10-day shoot for pick ups and the new scenes.
Some people have the idea that Jacob is a traditional slasher film, where I think it’s better compared to a film like Carrie, a drama that goes very wrong in the end. What was your inspiration and thought process while writing the film and creating Jacob’s world?
When I write it just kinda pours out of me. It is like I can see everything happening in my head and I am the only person on Earth who knows these characters’ stories and it is my job to tell the world about them. I like stories that move me. I like characters that you care about. Otherwise, when bad things happen to them, who cares? Being an actor helps because I really spend a lot of time in each characters’ head. I know what they are feeling. What makes them happy. What makes them sad. Once I know them that well, it becomes about pushing there buttons.
Larry, what made you choose to do a double role in the film as well as direct? Well, and all your other roles? I was expecting to see your name under “catering” in the credits!
I had always planned to do it that way. The story is very personal to me and I knew that with a limited budget there would be challenges that would arise that could best be overcome by adapting the story on the spot, since I wrote the story and knew each character so closely it just made sense for me to direct. Playing Billy and Otis was just something I needed to get out of my system. I really like to challenge myself as an actor and I wanted to see if I could convince the audience not only that Otis and Billy were two different people, but to hate one and root for the other all at the same time. It seems to have worked. I can’t tell you how many people come out of the screenings thinking they were two different actors.
How did you find your stars, Dylan Horne as Jacob and Grace Powell as Sissy? Just how scabby are your knees from getting down there and thanking God every night that you were the first to find Grace? She’s kind of amazing.
Grace and Dylan both are amazing. Back in the days of my dreaded “Day Job” Dylan walked into thegame store that I managed seeking gainful employment. I instantly knew he was going to be Jacob. So I hired him on the spot and a great friendship was born. I met Grace working on a public service announcement about terrorism. There was maybe 150 extras there and I had already scoured the kids and sadly didn’t see anyone that had Sissy potential. I was helping the casting move a massive pile of head shots when one fell out on the floor. It was Grace. I knew instantly she was Sissy. So I went to the holding area found her and her mom, convinced them that I was not a creep. (despite my “Sexy” belt buckle) and (after having me thoroughly checked out) she brought her out for a screen test and the rest is history.
The film looks fantastic, especially for the budget and conditions you were working with. Talk to us a little bit about the process and cinematography on Jacob, how you nailed that look and feel?
The first thing Stacy Davidson and I did when we started talking about shooting Jacob was get together with a stack of our favorite DVDs and talk about what we liked and what we thought we could achieve with the cameras we were using. We had a Canon T2i, Canon 7d, and a Canon H1. We decided on shooting 2:35:1 to give the film this big wide epic look. And we decided to try to recreate the style of the ’70s-era cinematography from the movies we loved growing up. Stacy did a great job with the cinematography and editing on Jacob. The man is a real artist and the movie would not be what it is today with out his touch.
I know Jacob just got the final audio mix, and you’ve shown it at some conventions and festivals. What’s up next for Jacob?
Jacob has screened all over the states and in Canada and has won 16 awards, which led us to distribution with Paris-based WTFilms, whom has acquired the international sales rights to Jacob. And Kino Lorber’s new label, Horizon Films, which has the rights to North America. The street date is April 16, 2013, and we are planning a launch event at this year’s Texas Frightmare Weekend!
Now that Jacob is nearly in the can once and for all, what’s next for you?
Acting wise I have several films in various stages of production. I just wrapped on Stephen Wolfe’s The Doll Factory, and I am currently shooting on Shawn Welling’s The Legend of Darkhorse County, in which I share a lead role with Lee Majors! He plays an older version of me as the Sheriff. It was super cool working with him. I am also acting in a new film called Sorrow from writer/director Millie Loredo that stars me and Mayra Leal, Eric Martinez, and Donny Boaz. In fact Sorrow currently has a Kickstarter that is offering up my severed arm from Jacob has a perk!
Traditional final question: What’s your favoritemovie?
Damn it, man! So, I have so many. It really depends on what kinda of mood I am in. I’ve been on a Clive Barker kick lately so I am going to say horror wise it is NightBreed. That one really takes you out there. But my favorite movie of all time is JAWS.
There you have it. Larry makes a pretty compelling case for seeing his baby. Below you’ll find a list of the special features available on Jacob.
“A Killer Cast” (18 Mins )
“The Shoot” ( 15 min )
“Childhood Heroes” ( 12mins )
“An Award Winning Score” (15 mins)
“Yell Magazine Interview at the “Jacob” Canadian Premiere” ( 9 mins )
Actors Commentary with Dylan Horne (Jacob), Grace Powell (Sissy), and Larry Wade Carrell (Billy and Otis Keller)
Filmmakers Commentary with writer/director Larry Wade Carrell and producer/cinematographer Stacy Davidson
A photo gallery slide show
Screen Test – Mini Featurette
Deleted and extended scenes section with Commentary – Mini Featurette
Story Board to Scene Comparison with Commentary – Mini Featurette
Trailers section (The Teaser and Pre-production Pitch Trailer) – Mini Featurette
Rock Hard \m/