DVD Interview : P.J Pesce

Despite its budgetary limitations, ”Lost Boys 2 : The Tribe” has had a blazing money-can’t-buy promotional trail attached to it. Funnily enough, the PR didn’t cost the studio a cent.

The story goes that both Corey Feldman and Corey Haim were both hired to star in the sequel to Joel Schumacher’s monstrously popular 80s vampire hit. Unfortunately, only one of the actors showed up to film his scenes.

“We made a deal with Haim and he was supposed to show up in Vancouver but for whatever reason, he didn’t show up”, says Pesce, who got the job after Warner saw his vampire sequel to ”From Dusk Till Dawn”.

The internet went into a frenzy about what had happened – some said the studio didn’t want to be involved with a notorious tablet abuser, others said Haim couldn’t get a working VISA in time, but most assume the former 80s hearth-throb just didn’t show up because he’d simply forgotten or couldn’t bring himself to do it (which ultimately seems to have been the case).

Haim, who has been battling a very public addiction to drugs for years, wasn’t in a good place at the time and for whatever reason nixed the chance to come back and play one of his most popular characters.

‘’We so wanted Corey to be a part of this”, Pesce says of the actor whose credits include ”Lucas”, ”License to Drive” and ”Dream a Little Dream”. ‘’But he’s got his own demons. I don’t really know what happened. He just didn’t show.

“We did wind up doing some additional photography in Los Angeles, and ended up getting him in it that way, but [that short scene is] not as satisfying as it might have been.’’

Haim’s character Sam Emerson appears briefly at the end of the film – but even that was a chore for the actor it seems. Haim not only seemed rather unenthused to be there but fluffed his lines constantly. He just wasn’t in the right space of mind to be doing it, it seems.

The day was captured on film as part of the reality series ‘The Two Coreys’ which follows the plights of both Haim and Feldman and their attempt to make it back into the big leagues.

“They shot [the show] on the set and it was very revealing to see what actually happened when I wasn’t there”, says Pesce, who himself plays one of the bikers in the film. ‘’I wasn’t aware of some of the things that were going on. It was a little eye-opening.’’

Even though he planned on using a little more of Haim in the movie, Pesce says he never thought the film should fix on Haim and Feldman’s characters too much anyway.

‘’There’s a large contingent of vocal Lost Boys fans who believed a Lost Boys 2 should essentially be about Sam Emerson and the two Frog Brothers gallivanting around killing vampires. Why that might be interesting for hardcore fans – nobody else is going to give a hoot. I respect the studio’s decision in not going in that direction.”

”The Tribe” centers on orphans Chris and Nicole Emerson, new in the coastal town of Luna Bay, who fall in with the wrong crowd – i.e. vampires. The head vamp she’s besotted with turns her into one and it’s up to Chris, with the help of a local reputable vampire hunter (and surfboard shaper), to free her from the curse, and kill the bloodsuckers standing in his way.

Newcomers Autumn Reeser, best known for her work on TVs ”The OC”, and Tad Hilgenbrinck, seen in ”American Pie Band Camp”, play the siblings.

“Autumn was a great actress”, says Pesce. ‘’I’d seen her in a few things and I thought she was great in them. The studio wanted someone that’s known to younger audiences – so that’s pretty much a no-brainer. Same with Tad – though he wasn’t originally what I had in mind – he was a smaller guy – he was terrific. It seemed like a really interesting way to go to go with him rather than your typical hero-looking type.’’

Playing the villain of the movie is Angus Sutherland (ironically, the half-brother of ”Lost Boys” villain Kiefer Sutherland!). Pesce says Sutherland’s cool and charismatic performance is one of the movie’s high-points.

‘’Sutherland was retiring like a cat”, Pesce says of the newcomer. “Whilst all these other guys, the vampires, are bouncing off the walls, he’s just so quiet and cool. I thought he brought a really nice contrasting rhythm to the group”.

It wouldn’t be a Lost Boys movie without at least one Corey though – and Pesce is so glad Corey Feldman’s vampire-hunter Edgar Frog was a part of the new story.

“Feldman is great, a real pro. He’s really funny and smart”, Pesce says. ‘’We pretty much just laughed all the time. He brought a lot to the part – he came up with all those goofy one-liners. He’s great. And I just really enjoy him.’’

Though his appearance can only be found in the alternate endings of the DVD, another ”Lost Boys” star, Jamison Newlander, makes a return appearance as the ‘other’ Frog Brother Alan.

“We always wanted to get Jamison in – we just didn’t know how”, Pesce says of an alternate ending that sees a vampiric Alan Frog hunt down his brother. ‘’He hadn’t acted for a long time but I have to tell you, he’s great. At Comic Con we did a Q&A for the film and he and Corey Feldman came out in character, as The Frog Brothers, and they were bloody brilliant! Jamison really held his own – he’s god damn funny!”

Despite the finances allocated to it (Schumacher’s original had about five times the budget!) and time constraints (“We had exactly 23 days to shoot this movie. Most Television Pilots have more time than that. So we had like a one-hour Television Pilot schedule. With the amount of action, gore and stunts that’s not what you’d ask for”, says the director) Pesce is very proud of the sequel. He believes audiences will have a really good time with it.

“Warner Bros are very happy with it too”, says the filmmaker, adding that he’d like to do a Western next. “They sent me a bottle of champagne last week!”

And is a ”Lost Boys 3” to be expected?

“They’ve already started talking about it”, says the filmmaker, whose currently in pre-production on his new film, a sequel to 2007s “Smokin’ Aces”. “This one was the highest selling DVD of the year in the states; it doubled what Warner Bros were expecting, so I’d count on it”.

- CLINT MORRIS

RELEASED ON DVD and BLU-RAY JANUARY 7 IN AUSTRALIA