In the new horror/drama “The Lost Tree”, Thomas Ian Nicholas (“American Reunion”) plays a young man, guilt-ridden for the death of his wife, Emma (Clare Kramer), who travels to an isolated cabin in search of peace and isolation. But he soon learns of the dangerous surroundings of the area. Moviehole caught up with the film’s writer/director Brian A.Metcalf to see what spooky-flick fans can expect.
Where did the idea originate? Is there a bit of a back-story behind the film’s conception?
The idea originated when Thomas Nicholas and I met up to discuss working on another project together. We knew we wanted to do something but weren’t quite sure yet. So we spent hours hashing out ideas when this one came to mind. After that, a short time later, I had written a full script and we began the pre-production process.
You seem to have made a very smart horror movie – which, as we’ve seen with the likes of Cabin in the Woods and Mama, audiences seem to appreciate more. Was it a conscious effort not to do something in the terrain of camp splatter or torture porn?
The intent was to make a film that focused on telling an interesting story with good character development first. Worrying about budget, actors, visual effects, locations, etc. all came secondary.
Besides the obvious, did you discover many differences in making a full-length feature to a short film?
The obvious key differences are that you can tell more of a story with a feature. But in the filmmaking process, the production schedule is a lot longer all at once. You shoot for a certain amount of weeks straight in a row with very little sleep and deal with the many issues that come into play when making a feature. It takes a toll on the cast and crew involved. But at the same time, it was one of the best times of my life. I had such a wonderful time making it.
In terms of financing, was it the script that led to finance, or someone attached to the film in an acting capacity?
It was the story and script first and foremost that lead to financing. That said, it certainly did help having actors that have name recognition to help push for financing.
Did you have any of the actors in mind for these roles when it was in the writing stages?
I focused on story first and foremost without thinking what actors would come into play. After that came the imagining phase of wondering what actors would play specific roles. However when the script was done, we discussed using actors that would play against stereotype – for example, Madsen is playing a father figure in this film which he is more known for his vicious roles. Thomas plays a very serious role in this movie.
What was it about Thomas that made him the ideal choice for the lead? (Particularly since he’s better known for his comedic parts)
Thomas has a very strong side to him for drama even though he’s known for comedy. I could tell back when we worked together on a short I had done. I believe this movie will show just how strong and talented an actor he is. And I think it will surprise a lot of people to see the darker side of him that they hadn’t seen previously.
I have to know, what’s Michael Madsen like to work with?
Michael Madsen was absolutely great to work with. We had a lot of fun together and joked around a lot. He showed up prepared and really gave some creative insight to his character. He had a lot of great stories to tell which were quite entertaining.
Have you an idea for a follow-up project, yet?
Thom, myself along with others formed a production company together called Red Compass Media. We have projects ideas in the works for the future.
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