Before the World Premiere of "Officer Downe" at the LA Film Festival on June 3rd, I was lucky enough to spend some time with cast and crew of the film. I spoke with director Shawn "Clown" Crahan (you may recognize him from the group Slipknot), actors Kim Coates, Tyler Ross, Alison Lohman, and Meadow Williams as well as producer Mark Neveldine about the upcoming film, the horror genre, and why "Officer Downe" is a much bigger badass than "Deadpool".
Shannon McGrew: Hi Everyone! It's such a honor to be speaking with you today! You must be so excited about the world premiere tonight, so to start things off, why don't you tell us what interested you in wanting to be a part of "Officer Downe"?
Kim Coates: Shawn did (laughs). To be able to take a script that's so dark and restrictive and truthful to that comic book lore of being as ruthless as you can be to entertain the viewer, there wasn't one moment where me or director Shawn "Clown" Crahan didn't do that. I just can't wait for the world to see this film.
Shawn Crahan: I opened up the comic and there was this sexual scene in the beginning in which after that I closed the book, looked up and said "I'll do it." I was sure if this comic started like this I was going to love everything after it. I then started to read the comics and there was so much craziness that involved the Fortune 500, telekinesis, and more that I just knew I wanted to be on board.
Mark Neveldine: I loved the graphic novel and was blown away by it. I talked to writer/producer Joe (Casey) about it and told him that this was going to be a movie and it was going to be a big movie.
Alison Lohman: Being able to work with my husband (Mark Neveldine), director Shawn Crahan, and Kim Coates. I saw the images from the comic book and it looked like a really interesting project and I just wanted to be a part of it. The role that I play is really interesting as well and it ended up being very original and went beyond my expectations.
Shannon McGrew: What was it like working with director Shawn "Clown" Crahan?
Tyler Ross: Great! The dude is very passionate, very focused, and very open as well. It was a lot of fun working with him.
Kim Coates: Crazy!
Alison Lohman: Amazing, seriously.
Mark Neveldine: He's a visual beast, he understands color and tones and knew exactly what he wanted. It made my job as a producer so much easier (laughs).
Shannon McGrew: What were some of the challenges you faced while filming "Officer Downe"?
Meadow Williams: Working on the costume! Let me tell you though, it's going to be a beautiful costume and you're going to want one!
Tyler Ross: I had never worked with a green screen before or in such a confined space. I had to bring a lot of myself to the character along with what was already written about him. I was trying to bring a humanity to this character, even though on paper he looks two dimensional, my goal was to give him a three dimensional feel. That, in combination with what Shawn set out to accomplish, he really enrolled me into what the story could be.
Mark Neveldine: We shot this film in 21 days but luckily we had great actors who loved the graphic novel which was so important in getting this done fast.
Alison Lohman: Maybe my outfit at times, it was a little bit constricting (laughs)
Shannon McGrew: Shawn, how do you go from being in Slipknot to directing a feature film?
Shawn Crahan: One story that I've kind of been telling that makes sense to me is I'm very fortunate. I'm 46 years old and growing up in the 70s I got to watch "Aliens" when it came out at the age of 10. It changed my life because I had to actually look at my father and my mother and go 'are there aliens' and my dad would look at me and say 'I don't know' which led my imagination to run wild. My mom and dad would talk to me while watching "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", "Deerhunter", "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and explain to me what these films were really about. My parents would open my head up to movies, some of the greatest films that were made before CGI came along. In terms of music, that's my God but film is something I've been working towards forever.
Shannon McGrew: With all the controversy that is surrounding "Deadpool" do you think films such as "Officer Downe" is where these comics should be headed?
Shawn Crahan: Listen, no one is fooling anyone. Everything is dark, just some people know how to get away with darkness. Really what we are talking about is pulling the veil all the way off because all of these types of movies are dark, none of it's PG-13.
Shannon McGrew: Is horror a genre that interests you?
Meadow Williams: Yes because it evokes emotions, you feel something. You don't walk away without an emotional reaction.
Tyler Ross: It is, but I don't know if I would describe "Officer Downe" as a horror movie. There's an arc to what happens here, it's not all shock and awe, though a lot of it is, but it also has a little bit of detective work and a little bit of what it means to be a hero.
Shawn Crahan: Yes but I'm gonna show you it in my way and it's gonna take a minute as I still have a lot to learn. I love horror; however, I have a brand that's coming and "Officer Downe" is the start.
Shannon McGrew: What would you like audiences to take away from this film?
Tyler Ross: Whatever they choose and whatever they desire! I think it's one of those films that you can't watch it without taking something away from it because it's so in your face.
Kim Coates: I don't know because the film is so raw. Listen, I'm not a hypocrite, I love DC, I love Marvel, I love it all, but it's a bit PG right now. I don't know who's fighting who, I don't know who is where, but that's just me, I can't keep up. Then "Deadpool" came out this year and did what it did. Our film was done before "Deadpool" on a lot less of a budget and I'm just excited for people to see something this dark and this crazy and this funny and this sexy and for it to be rated R, R, R. Put your seat belts on and get ready to go.
Shannon McGrew: Thank you everyone so much for taking time to answer my questions. We are excited about "Officer Downe" and can't wait for the world to see it!