One of my favorite films from last year’s Blood in the Snow Film Festival was Rob Grant’s Alive. When I learned of his latest film, HARPOON, a venture that he wrote and directed, I knew I had to see it. In HARPOON, three friends (played by Munro Chambers, Emily Tyra, and Christopher Gray) find themselves stranded on a yacht in the middle of the ocean and as dark secrets and rivalries bubble to the surface, it’s up to the three of them to do whatever it takes to survive.
Not only was I lucky enough to see this film, but I had the insane pleasure of speaking with Rob where we discussed all things HARPOON, what he has coming up, and, of course, horror movies.
Thank you so much for speaking with me today. How did you come up with the idea for HARPOON?
Rob Grant: I was feeling frustrated with the industry and the movies I was making and was worried I wouldn’t get another opportunity to make a movie. I knew I wanted to write something that dealt with all the things I wanted to try but was too scared to do so. HARPOON kind of was born out of that, as well as just a slowly evolving story I had been working on.
Where was filming and how long did it take? What were your challenges with shooting in such a confined space?
Rob Grant: We originally looked into Fiji but the government turned the script down on ‘moral’ grounds. Then we looked into Hawaii where they shot Lost, but nothing was panning out. We were going to have to postpone shooting the film, which is certain death for an indie film, so we decided to build the interior of the boat in Calgary, Alberta, Canada while my producers searched for the exterior location. They found Belize and the real boat in the nick of time and we flew a skeleton crew there to shoot all the exteriors.
The confined space ended up being a strong suit as it forced me to pare things down to just a single camera while letting me focus on better camera techniques and actor performances. I don’t think I’d go back to a two camera shoot again if I can avoid it.
What was your fondest memory of shooting?
Rob Grant: Probably the day after we wrapped principal photography. The host of the party never has any fun, and you are so stressed out about everything going wrong, that the day after wrap we only had to shoot the flashback scenes of Richard Parker (played by Christopher Gray) in an old wooden boat. That was just me, my DP, and my producers floating in a wooden boat in a tropical location. I felt like I could breathe again.
If you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Rob Grant: Jack Nicholson. Everything he did had an energy that I kind of vibe with and want to see more of in a movie. It’s a performance.
Are there any projects you are currently working on?
Rob Grant: I’m writing a hyper-violent crime flick, but it’s about the minutiae of crime. Kind of like The Friends of Eddie Coyle or Le Cercle Rouge.
Lastly, what is your favorite scary movie?
Rob Grant: Back to Jack, gotta go with The Shining.
HARPOON is currently available to stream and you can read Nightmarish Conjuring’s review of the film here.