Dread is the eagerly-awaited new installment in Clive Barker’s Books of Blood franchise, with Anthony DiBlasi at the helm, directing from his own screenplay based on Barker’s original short story. Hot new US talent Jackson Rathbone (Twilight, S. Darko) heads a young cast which also includes rising British talent Shaun Evans (The Take, Telstar) and newcomers Hanne Steen and Laura Donnelly.
Phil visited Runnymede Campus in Egham, Surrey at the tail end of 2008 where the film was being shot, and then caught up with the Dread team again at FrightFest in August last year – where the film received its UK premiere – where he caught up with Shaun Evans, who plays the enigmatic Quaid, to bring you this short interview.
Evans was born in Liverpool and first appeared on our screens in Channel 4’s Teachers, before going on to star in such films as Cashback, Gone, Telstar and most recently, Sky’s mini-series of Martina Cole’s The Take where he starred alongside Tom Hardy.
PN: Hi Shaun! So how did you get involved with the film?
SE: Basically I was working with the producers on another film at the beginning of the year in Hawaii [Princess Ka’iulani], something very different, historical, based on a true story and essentially they said they were taking the Books Of Blood and turning them into a bunch of movies and they had a script for one of them which they’d like me to read. I read it and I thought it was awesome and then I met the director when I was in LA and we hit it off and it kind of snowballed from there really.
PN: Did you read the original short story?
SE: I did yeah, of course, I read it just before Anthony [DiBlasi] and I met, just after I’d read the screenplay. I thought it was a great short story, really cinematic, and actually out of all of the Books Of Blood that I’ve read Dread was my favourite. But I also think that the screenplay is brilliant, a screenplay that would stand alone, do you know what I mean?
PN: What appealed to you about the story?
SE: Loads really, I was really interested in the characters and I thought that Quaid was a really interesting beast and I thought that would be fun.
PN: Can you talk a little about the character of Quaid?
SE: Quaid is this guy whose parents were killed when he was a youngster, by an axe-murderer, and we revisit him like 15-20 years later when he’s a student. He’s at University and it’s about him, in a way, trying to deal with that but by getting a group of people around him and exploring what each of them is afraid of and then him ultimately exploiting what everyone is afraid of, in a nutshell.
PN: You shot most of the film in the one location, how was that?
SE: It’s been awesome because were all on base so it was easy to create a little family in that respect, so yes it was incredible really. We rehearsed in the evenings right through until 12 or 1 am and there was a really strange, quiet vibe around there in the evening so it was a perfect place, I couldn’t think of a more fitting place to shoot something like this, to get a small environment with people together, it was perfect.
PN: How did you get on with the other cast members?
SE: Awesome, they’ve all done brilliant work. Jackson’s a great guy and the two girls have done great stuff as well; Laura who plays Abby and Hanne who plays Cheryl have done some extraordinary stuff, Jackson too, so it was a great environment actually.
PN: How has it been working with Anthony on his debut film?
SE: Well, you know I always quite like that because there’s a freshness and a hunger which inevitably goes the more pictures that you make, and because he’s written it he knows what he wants. So it’s been awesome really.
PN: Has it been collaborative, were you able to share your own ideas on the character with him?
SE: Well, I think so, yeah. You know filmmaking is always like that, the casting can be a long process. I think directors and producers are very smart in what they want in their films and they want you for a specific reason and what you will bring yourself, so it has to be a collaborative thing because if you’re not comfortable then it’s not going to work, do you know what I mean?
PN: Obviously the theme of the film is dread, so what are your own fears?
SE: None of your business! (laughs) I need to get a better answer for that, everyone keeps asking me!
PN: I hear it became quite gory on set, how did you find that?
SE: You know what, for the first three weeks it was really tame, there was very little of that and then we came in one day and did all the blood and axe stuff and it was awesome, I really enjoyed it. It was like nothing I’ve ever done before and it was brilliant because it reminds you what kind of movie you’re making. And also I love this genre, I love horror pictures, so it was brilliant to be pulling an axe out of somebody and to be hitting an artery and blood flying everywhere, I fucking love that shit! It was awesome, really great. But I think the gore has been kept to a minimum really compared to other pictures.
PN: Would you like to do more horror films in the future?
SE: Oh totally, if I’m interested in it then I’m totally up for it and if the people involved have a desire to make a good picture then definitely. As I just said earlier, I do really like horror films and so I’m definitely up for doing more.
PN: Thank you!
Lionsgate will be releasing Clive Barker’s Dread on DVD and Blu-ray on 29th March and Chris and Phil will be reviewing the film in Podcast #30.
For further information visit the film’s website at www.trailofdead.co.uk.