For the release of the true-crime thriller, LAST RAMPAGE, starring Robert Patrick, Heather Graham, and Bruce Davison, Curt had the chance to speak with director Dwight Little about everything from his newest film, to securing such a talented cast, to HALLOWEEN 4.
Nightmarish Conjurings: To start with, I just wanted to say that HALLOWEEN 4 and FREE WILLY 2 were two of my absolute favorite films growing up – I’m actually wearing the whale pendant from the latter film in my preschool pictures – so I’m a huge fan of your work. I had the chance to see LAST RAMPAGE recently and I really enjoyed it as well. Was the true story aspect of the film what drew you to the project, or were other factors at play?
Dwight Little: Yes, the true story was a big part of the appeal, especially since many people had not heard of this story. But I think it was the Father/Son story that really got my interest. The power that this man Gary Tison had over his sons and the way that he and his wife Dorothy manipulated them. The Sins of the Father. It seemed biblical and Shakespearean in a way. Also some universal themes.
NC: Each member of the cast is terrific, with Robert Patrick giving one of my personal favorite performances of his career. Can you tell us what it was like to have such a talented cast at your disposal, as well as what it was like to re-team with Jason Richter as an adult after directing him in his youth?
DL: Robert Patrick and I had worked together three times before on different projects in television. I knew he was a great actor and would be a perfect Gary. Bruce Davison is an actor I had wanted to work with for years and Heather Graham was really prepared and a pleasure to work with. It was a dream cast.
Jason has really grown up to be a strong film actor. He holds the screen and a close up beautifully. He is his own man now but if you look into those eyes you can see Jesse hiding in there somewhere!
NC: Were there any liberties taken with the factual story in order to make the film more entertaining?
DL: We condensed two of the characters. Molly Quinn plays a reporter who is sort of a combination of real reporters who were on the case. We wanted her to be new to this kind of story and be a contrast to Cooper who’d been on the trail of bad characters for years. Bruce Davison’s character Cooper is also a composite of several lawmen involved in the hunt. Everything else is pretty much spot on.
NC: Before I let you go, as a big fan of the HALLOWEEN franchise, I have to know what the experience of being the filmmaker behind one of the most beloved films of the series has been like for you over the years.
DL: I have had so many people say how much they appreciated the return to form that we accomplished in HALLOWEEN 4. We wanted to capture the spirit of the Carpenter classic and still bring some fresh terror to the material. I think we did that and people really responded.
NC: Lastly, do you have any upcoming projects that you’d like to talk about?
DL: I am putting together an action movie with Alan McElroy, the writer of HALLOWEEN 4!
LAST RAMPAGE is in select theaters and On Demand/Digital HD.