This interview conducted for Killer Reviews. For a classier page and photos, see that site.
One of the fastest rising stars behind the scenes in the world of horror is Jordan Yale Levine, a producer at Fylmar Productions. Still under thirty, he has produced and executive produced a large handful of films, including the After Dark Horrorfest’s “Tooth and Nail” and the upcoming murder thriller “Blood Ties”. He can also be seen in the sequel to Tim Sullivan’s “2001 Maniacs”, appropriately titled “2001 Maniacs: Beverly Hellbillies”.
Jordan has been a good friend and colleague of Killer Reviews for many, many months now and it is an honor to interview him and have him share his story of how somehow so young can become so powerful so quickly… without having to be bit by a radioactive spider. Without further ado, Jordan Yale Levine.
GS:. The message board on the Internet Movie Database makes claims that you’re “for real” and “the hardest worker in Hollywood”. How much of this is true and how much is just good PR?
JL: Well, I actually just hired a publicist two months ago, and those comments were from around a year or so ago I think, so it definitely was not PR!
GS: How does someone get to be a producer of films with real talent at such a young age?
JL: You have to open the door for yourself, no one will open it for you. For me, I was able to bring financing to other people’s projects as an Executive Producer, build my resume and credibility with investors, and now have the ability to have my own projects financed, where I can fully hands-on produce.
GS: Most of us in the horror community first became aware of you following “Tooth and Nail” at the 2007 After Dark Horrorfest, which happens to be my favorite film that year. How much hands-on involvement did you have in that project?
JL: My business partner, Franco Sama, and I became Executive Producer’s on this film, after it was shot, and needed some extra financing for post production. I would say a lot of our hands-on involvement in this film, was in the distribution area. We threw a massive premiere and after party for the film during the the Screamfest in 2007 at the Mann’s Chinese Theatre, followed by events at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. We had almost 1000 people attending, including top industry executives, press, actors, red carpet, V.I.P rooms, sponsored by Patron and Vans. This party caught the attention of distributors, who then noticed the film, and helped to give it the release it went on to have, being part of the 8 Films to Die For.
GS: You seem drawn more to horror and thrillers… is this intentional?
JL: Producing and acting in horror films is very exciting, for different reasons. I am a big fan of the horror genre. It was never intentional, I was just presented with one cool horror film after another. We have just started to explore thrillers, with the release of our last movie “Paid,” starring Corbin Bernsen, Tom Conti, and Guy Marchand, and “The Land of the Astronauts,” starring David Arquette and Vivica Fox, which we will be shooting early November.
GS: You say you are “big fan of the horror genre”. What films, actors or directors have really influenced or stuck with you over the years?
JL: I am big fan of the original “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” and all of Tobe Hooper’s work. Ironically, Tobe created a new horror concept, “Clowns,” that Diamond Dallas Page will star in, and passed me the project to Executive Produce, with Tim Sullivan (director of 2001 Maniacs, Beverly Hellbillys) to direct. More recently, I am a big fan of Rob Zombie and his films.
GS: In the past year, you’ve moved from producing to acting. What has sparked this transition?
JL: I never intended on acting in a feature until early 2010, where I am starring in a 5-7 million dollar action thriller my company is producing in the islands of Fiji. This is a concept I thought of years ago, always wanted to explore acting as this specific character, and right now David Frigerio (Bloodsport 2, Wreckage) is writing the script. The acting job you are referring to is my role I just shot in “2001 Maniacs: Beverly Hellbillys”. This came out of nowhere, and it was an amazing experience. I guess whoever was playing my role originally fell out for whatever reason, and they needed to fill the role with one week until production. I get a call from my good friend, former Wrestling Champion Diamond Dallas Page, who is great friends with Tim Sullivan (director of Maniacs) and tells me that Tim is about to call me and offer me the job. I was pumped as hell, spoke to Tim, and the next week I was shooting the film in Iowa!
GS: I have to ask. How does one become friends with Diamond Dallas Page?
JL: I would have asked myself the same question years ago, when I was a huge wrestling fan, watching DDP on TV every Monday night. I was introduced to Page a few years ago, by Ernest “The Cat” Miller, another former professional wrestler, whom I once managed, and was responsible for getting him cast as “The Ayatollah,” in Darren Aronofsky’s Oscar Nominated film, “The Wrestler.” Cat made the introduction when my company was shooting a promo video for a Television show concept we had, “Behind The Curtains,” a look on the inside of the lives of the professional wrestlers outside of their characters on screen, and in the ring. Recently, Page and I have been working together more, as he is playing one of the supporting characters in my upcoming film, “The Land of The Astronauts,” with David Arquette.
GS: Tell us more about “2001 Maniacs: Beverly Hellbillys”. How closely did you work with Christa Campbell?
JL: I worked very close with Christa, and became friends with her as well. Christa is a very cool chick, and great actress. Ironically enough, my first day shooting, in my first scene, she was slapping me in the face with her whip, that her character holds. She also did much more to me, but I probably should leave those details out, until you see the movie! So yes, you can say we worked VERY close. I do have a funny story though of how she found me at a gas station eating breakfast by myself, and then jumped in her car with her to go back to the hotel before set one day.
GS: Is this something you can elaborate on?
JL: Haha, that was a funny morning. It was my third day in Iowa, and I had the day off from shooting. Production gave me the day off, because the day before was my intense kill scene, and I was so beat from all the work. I was the only person with the day off, and stuck in this micro hotel, in the middle of nowhere, with no transportation or anything to do. I missed the breakfast at the hotel, so I was kind of screwed. The only possible place in walking distance that could have a protein bar or anything was a gas station, all the way down the road. I walked there, and I guess a lot of locals eat breakfast there, because they had tables and a grill, believe or not! I ate my protein bar and vitamin water, when the door opened and it was Christa! She was cracking up to find me eating breakfast at a table by myself, at a deserted gas station, and drove me back so I wouldn’t have to walk!
GS: How was filming in Iowa? Rumor has it the mosquitoes were pretty extreme.
JL: Mosquitoes, and every other kind of bug you can name joined us on set. When you are out in the woods, in the middle of Iowa, you encounter a lot of bugs, and animals that you have only seen on National Geographic. A few of the girls, mainly Katie Marie Johnson, who was my girlfriend in the movie (Rome Sheraton), and now my girlfriend out of the movie, got chiggers! Chiggers are tiny, six-legged wingless organisms (larvae) that grow up to become a type of mite, and are much more severe than mosquito bites. The makeup artist had a lot of work to do covering all the bites on the actors for sure.
GS: Mayor Buckman was played by Robert Englund in the 2005 film, and now he’s played by Bill Moseley. Why the casting change, and how noticeable will it be for viewers?
JL: I was not involved on the production side of this film, but all I can say was that Bill did an amazing job. It was very humbling for me as an actor, to work with Bill. I think the fans will be pleased no doubt.
GS: “Blood Ties” is coming out in October. Killer Reviews had the privilege of viewing it much earlier this year, and I can personally attest that it’s well-crafted. What happened to delay the release?
JL: We have experienced distribution situations in the past on some of our films that turned out to be not anywhere near what we expected or hoped for, and we wanted to make sure that did not happen with this picture.
GS: Tell us about “Wreckage”… give us a taste of this one.
JL: Wreckage is a really cool and intense horror flick that stars Aaron Paul, Cameron Richardson, and Mike Erwin. The film is about four friends, who get stranded in a deserted junkyard, when their car breaks down, and they learn of an escaped convict prisoner who has just been reported on the loose, and in close proximity to where they are.
GS: I’m always trying to dig up dirt on David Hasselhoff. Have you met the man?
JL: I have never met David, but I have met his ex-wife Pamela, at various nightclubs in Hollywood hosting events.
GS: Do you have any interest in writing or directing? What does the future hold?
JL: Yes, I came up with and wrote the original story for our big action thriller we are shooting in Fiji, early 2010. I am not writing the actual script, but in the future I will more than likely be involved in the creation of original concepts, just like the Fiji film, as there is a much more personal connection to something from inception. As of now, my main focus is producing, but after acting in “2001 Maniacs,” I might have a little of the acting bug. I am also acting in “Wreckage,” “The Land of the Astronauts,” and will star in the Fiji film. After those films, I will be able to tell you if I still have that acting bug, or just want to focus all of my attention on producing. In the meantime, it is very nice to have the option of both.
Thank you, Jordan, from Killer Reviews for giving us the inside scoop on “2001 Maniacs” and your other upcoming projects.
For more information, be sure to check out Jordan’s production website: http://fylmar.com/