Cuban-American actor Yul Vazquez has experienced his fair share of the horror/thriller genre having had such roles in series and movies such as “The Outsider“, “I Am The Night“, “Fringe”, and 2005’s War of the Worlds. Recently, for the release of BOOKS OF BLOOD, I had the opportunity to speak with Vazquez about his role as Bennett, a shifty swindler on a quest to find the Books of Blood. During our chat, Vazquez discussed everything from working with live rats and facing off with a driverless car to what made working with Director Brannon Braga the ultimate experience.
Synopsis: Based on Clive Barker’s acclaimed and influential horror anthology BOOKS OF BLOOD, this feature takes audiences on a journey into uncharted and forbidden territory through three uncanny tales tangled in space and time. The series stars Britt Robertson, Rafi Gavron, Anna Friel, Yul Vazquez, and Freda Foh Shen.
Hi Yul, thank you for speaking with me today! Can you talk a bit about your character, Bennett, and how he wraps around the entire story?
Yul Vazquez: The interesting thing about Bennett, to me, was that he doesn’t really want to do this job anymore. He wants to retire and he’s kind of just over it, he’s more than over it. I think in many ways he’s just disgusted with himself that he does this, you know what I mean? He has a young protege in Steve (Andy McQueen) and tries to impart a little wisdom to Steve that Steve may or may not get because of his age. [Bennett] sees an opportunity and he thinks this is it and that he’ll be able to buy two tickets to paradise and drink margaritas. The lore of that hooks you in, anybody in life can kind of relate, you know? I found that being given the opportunity to sort of play, that was interesting.
How was it working with Director Brannon Braga on this project and were you familiar with Clive Barker’s Books of Blood?
Yul Vazquez: I was not familiar with the actual books. Hellraiser was my introduction to Clive and still stands as my all-time favorite horror movie for a number of reasons. When I was going to go do the film, I looked at the books and read the script. Then Brannon said to me that what he had done is he had just sort of taken [unintelligible] and then made this thing. So that was really my blueprint that I had to follow for the job. Working with Brannon, I’ve said it like 5 times today, I would walk into any fire with that guy. He’s just literally a great guy and I can’t say that about a lot of people. A lot of people I would happily go work with again but Brannon’s really good. He’s a great collaborator, you know what I mean? He wants to know what your ideas are and he has his ideas and then you work. From there, you can piece together this house with different nails and different pieces of wood and we create the house together. That was the beauty of him, you know, and he’s just a really nice guy.
You have a few terrifying scenes which include an encounter with a slew of rats and a face-off with a driverless car. How was it filming those scene and did you deal with live rats?
Yul Vazquez: There are some actual rats. The rats on me aren’t [real] for a number of reasons: rats are terrible at taking directions. Don’t work with children, babies, or rats…and those are movie rats! The car stuff was amazing. There was a lot of trust in the drivers in those cars because [that scene] is actually happening. Sometimes it’s me and sometimes it’s a stunt man because for insurance and liability issues, if I get hurt, then I can’t finish the film. In fact, I think my stunt guy hurt his shoulder. So yeah, you work out a thing and you trust the coordinators and they’re really, really good and you just go from there. It’s a dance with trust, you know? And then you hope that it looks good. I actually thought that sequence came out really cool.
Lastly, and most importantly, if given the opportunity and there was an actual Books of Blood, would you ever be curious enough to seek it out?
Yul Vazquez: Yeah. Hate to say, hate to say it, Shannon. Yeah. Have you ever heard of the Akashic Record? The Akashic Record is basically a record of your entrance, which is your date of birth, it charts out your life and it has your exit. The one guy that I know who I used to study with, he was a Kundalini yoga teacher, he claimed that he knew everyone’s exit and he would never tell you. I was skeptical about it… but that’s what he said. The concept of the Akashic Record is not his, it’s a very old idea. Cause if I know I got X amount [left], I’m gonna just light it up!
BOOKS OF BLOOD is now available to stream on Hulu. For more on the film, check out our review here.