A couple of weeks ago I saw a movie titled The Vault (review). I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from a film that claimed to be half horror and half heist film. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was the story interesting and fresh, it has a fantastic cast that includes Scott Haze, James Franco, Francesca Eastwood, Taryn Manning, Q’orianka Kilcher, Clifton Collins Jr. and many other talented actors.
In the film, in order to save their brother Michael’s life, the Dillon sisters, Leah (Francesca Eastwood) and Vee (Taryn Manning) have organized a bank robbery, but when the upstairs vault doesn’t have enough money to cover Michael’s debt, on the advice of Assistant Bank Manager Ed Maas (Franco), they drill into the downstairs vault. But the bank’s basement hides a terrible secret and before long, the Dillons have to choose whether to face the police outside or the terrible supernatural forces from the vault below.”
I had the pleasure of speaking with director Dan Bush a few weeks ago and when I got the opportunity to interview the movie’s star, Scott Haze, this week I jumped on it.
For those of you who aren’t sure if you have seen Haze in a film, I can tell you that you have. He has been in so many. But the thing is, he rarely ever looks the same from film to film and that has a lot to do with the way he prepares for his roles. In fact, he may be the most dedicated method actor I have ever met. How many other actors would live in a cave for several months to get into the headspace of a character? Not many. But I will let him tell you more about that.
Horror Fuel: ” Will you tell us a little about your character Michael in ‘The Vault’?”
Haze: “You did talk to Dan [Bush]? You know that the original script had an all-male cast?”
Horror Fuel: “I did, but I did not know that.”
Haze: “I met with Dan. Originally it was going to be an all-male cast and then it evolved to what it is now. I think it’s a thousand times better. How many times have we seen a group of men rob a bank rather than having very strong female leads? I was excited about that.
Michael is in a very precarious circumstance and the way the script unfolds, you don’t really know exactly what is happening until the end. I think that’s a good storytelling technique. It holds its cards and the cards are revealed as the story unfolds which keeps some suspense and mystery for the audience until the end which is pretty cool and exciting. So I think Michael is in a circumstance we’ve all been in, where we get in over our heads and in some circumstances, it’s pretty dangerous. Who is there for us in the hardest of times, our family. I think that’s what Michael is in.”
Horror Fuel: Your character, even though he is robbing this bank and is supposed to be the bad guy, but he’s so sympathetic and you can’t help but like him.”
Haze: “Yeah, you know I mean I don’t know. I did a movie a few years ago called ‘A Child of God’. Have you seen it?
Horror Fuel: “I have. I didn’t even recognize you. I thought you were two totally different people with the same name. It wasn’t until I sat down and started working on this interview a few days ago that I realized it was you. You look completely different.”
Haze: “[laughter] I’m an actor you know. [laughter] I guess I do look very different in a lot of these roles. In the two movies I have coming out next month I look completely different in those too. If you watch the ‘Thank You for Your Service’ trailer you won’t recognize me in that. I showed the ‘Thank You for Your Service’ trailer to my mom and she didn’t even recognize me. My mom knew I was in Georgia filming ‘The Vault’.
In ‘Child of God’ I think people fell in love with Lester Ballard which was fun. Here’s a guy running around the woods, a necrophiliac serial killer, and people are rooting for him. I was shocked by the audience’s response.
I’m a very passionate guy who cares about a lot of stuff and with ‘The Vault’ I really dug into the scenes. I thought Francesca and Taryn were absolutely fabulous. Q’orianka was unbelievable too. It was the first time I had ever done a film with my best friend and brother that I wasn’t on set with him once.”
Horror Fuel: “And who was that?”
Haze: “James. He was one of my first friends in Los Angeles and we’re extremely close. I think our friendship goes over fifteen years. I’ve done over 10 projects with him. Yeah, we have other movies coming out. We are always working together. He’s one of my lifetime collaborators. Long story short, in ‘The Vault’ we were never on set together. I was in a boot camp for another film as he was shooting.”
Horror Fuel: “Did you do anything special to prepare for ‘The Vault’?
Haze: “I did a lot of crazy stuff to prepare for ‘The Vault’. I don’t even know if I should tell you this [laughter]. I’ve always wanted to rob a bank just to live that experience, in a fantasy world. I did a lot of insane things because I wanted to know what that felt like. I talked to a lot of bank managers. I did a lot of traveling around. Going through the process of robbing a bank and what that would be like. But I want you to know, I did not actually rob a bank.”
Horror Fuel: “What was it like being on set with the actors dressed as the ghosts? Was it creepy?”
Haze: “I think anytime you see a spirit with a bag on its head it’s creepy, a little suspect. I think Dan Bush and the team, Jessee Clarkson who did a lot of the special effects, and Tom Butterfield and Allen Pao who produces, a lot of people were trying to make the best movie possible. There wasn’t a ton of money to make this movie. I think they did a great job in the special effects department.
Did you know that one of the actors passed away before we could premiere it for him?”
Horror Fuel: “No, I did not. I’m so sorry.”
Haze: ” Yeah, Kenny Loneker. He passed away before the movie came out.”
Horror Fuel: “The one who played Cyrus?”
Haze: “Yeah, it was very sad. I heard he got sick shortly after filming. He would write me on Instagram sometimes. He was just a really great guy. It was emotional to see that film and what we did to him. He was a great man. He will be missed by a lot of people. He and Francesca did a movie called ‘Angel and Outlaws’ together as well.”
Horror Fuel: “I’m so sorry.”
Haze: “The essence of my interview: I thought those girls were great, Taryn, Francesca, and Q’orianka. I’m such a big fan of them. There were really dedicated and made my job as Michael really easy. I just had to love them and be open. There are different preparations for movies right? That was my main preparation for the movie.”
When it comes to ‘Thank You for Your Service’, I’m doing all my interviews for that movie right now. This is my first for ‘The Vault’.
In ‘Thank You for Your Service’ I play a soldier shot in the head in Iraq. I represent all of our injured veterans. There’s a magnitude on telling that story. That movie is coming out and it’s going to be a powerful film. When it comes to ‘The Vault’ it is a different type of thing for me to talk about. Most of the other projects I’m involved in right now. One is a documentary I directed in Africa. One is about nineteen fireman who died in Arizona. And one is called “Only the Brave’. Those all come out within the next two weeks. And then ‘Thank You for Your Service’. So, when we talk about ‘The Vault’ it’s a very different thing. It’s a fun horror movie where my sisters save my ass and it’s a fun ride.
The preparation for ‘Thank You for Your Service’ was me living in the VA. Me living in a wheelchair for over a month and not walking.”
“It’s a very different type of process. With ‘The Vault’ I am in an immediate circumstance where I have to try to stay alive. And Who do I care about? I care about my sisters. What do I have to do right now? It’s an awful circumstance that I put us all in and I hate it. Things keep unraveling where you believe the bank is haunted. Who knows? The process was very “in your face” for me. It’s like ‘There’s my sister.” Taryn is over there doing what she’s doing, and this is the immediate circumstance. The process of making that movie was a lot of being present and in the moment and knowing exactly what to do next and knowing exactly how I feel about my sisters which was love. So when you say that I seemed sympathetic it’s because I was really speaking from a place of love the whole time to them. That’s what I really worked on. I have so much admiration for them. It’s not hard to have admiration for any of those women on and off camera. They are all amazing women. I was just blessed to be around them and I had fun doing it.”
Horror Fuel: “That’s what’s important, besides the fact that the movie is really good. That counts too.”
Haze: “Well, thank you so much. I’m so happy that you liked it.”
Horror Fuel: “When a movie comes along that surprises me and that I can’t see the ending coming a mile away, it’s a very cool thing. It’s a really good movie.”
Horror Fuel: “I love how you are so invested in every role that you play and put so much preparation behind it. I heard that you did some extreme stuff to get ready for ‘Child of God’ and ‘Thank You for Your Service’.
Haze: “I did just as extreme stuff for ‘Thank You for Your Service’. I quit walking for over a month and went and lived in a VA. It’s an interesting thing to go from walking around then the next thing you know you decide to quit walking. I just wanted to start at ground zero for that preparation. In ‘Child of God’ I lived in a cave for so long and I had to loose weight and live off the land. You don’t have any weight on. I have friends that live out on ranches and they’re very lean. Take away going home and having a nice cooked meal. You have to go get your meal. For ‘Child of Good’ it was an all intensive preparation. The way I look at it is if a movie was like a basketball game and my favorite players give all that they can and get up at 4:00 in the morning and work as hard as they can. When you’re talking about real life guys like in ‘Thank You for Your Service’, you have to give all you can to honor and respect that story. You have to honor and respect our soldiers. You have to honor our veterans. I would hate to look back and do everything I could to prepare. I know that may sound a little manic and crazy. Cormac McCarthy is my favorite authors and it was a blessing of tackling that. Every time someone trusts you with their script, their movie, like ‘The Vault’ or anytime someone says ‘Hey, we would love for you to be part of this film.’ It’s a blessing. It really is a blessing to be able to tell stories. I am very grateful for that.
In ‘Child of God’ I lived in a cave for so long and I had to loose weight and live off the land. You don’t have any weight on. I have friends that live out on ranches and they’re very lean. Take away going home and having a nice cooked meal. You have to go get your meal. For ‘Child of Good’ it was an all intensive preparation. The way I look at it is if a movie was like a basketball game and my favorite players give all that they can and get up at 4:00 in the morning and work as hard as they can. When you’re talking about real life guys like in ‘Thank You for Your Service’, you have to give all you can to honor and respect that story. You have to honor and respect our soldiers. You have to honor our veterans. I would hate to look back and do everything I could to prepare. I know that may sound a little manic and crazy. Cormac McCarthy is my favorite author and it was a blessing of tackling that. Every time someone trusts you with their script, their movie, like ‘The Vault’ or anytime someone says ‘Hey, we would for you to be part of this film.’ It’s a blessing. It really is a blessing to be able to tell stories. I am very grateful for that.
When you’re talking about real life guys like in ‘Thank You for Your Service’, you have to give all you can to honor and respect that story. You have to honor and respect our soldiers. You have to honor our veterans. I would hate to look back and do everything I could to prepare. I know that may sound a little manic and crazy. Cormac McCarthy is my favorite authors and it was a blessing of tackling that. Every time someone trusts you with their script, their movie, like ‘The Vault’ or anytime someone says ‘Hey, we would for you to be part of this film.’ It’s a blessing. It really is a blessing to be able to tell stories. I am very grateful for that.
And for the documentary, I directed, ‘Mully’ it could change the world. That comes out on October third. It could legitimately change the world. If you watch ‘Mully’ your DNA as a human will be inspired and changed. If there was a Nelson Mandela or a Mother Terresa on earth today it would be it’s Charles Mully. They have over 12,000 children that they personally know their names, that they’ve rescued from death. Then, what they are doing with the environment. It’s an inspirational thing. I spent four years on that film. It will be releasing on October third in a thousand theaters. I think ‘The Vault’ got ten screens. The little documentary that I directed is getting a thousand.”
Horror Fuel: “I read about ‘Mully’ and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for it.”
Haze: “It’s going to be in Georgia, just so you know. If you go to MullyMovie.com and enter your zip code I bet you money that it is playing in one near you.”
Horror Fuel: “Awesome!”
Horror Fuel: “So, you are going to be playing Charles Manson in Franco’s ‘Zeroville’, is that right?”
Haze: [laughter] Yeah. I play Charles Manson for a minute. It’s more of a cameo role but yeah. I show up and I’m sitting in the makeup chair. It’s my first day. I’m next to Megan Fox. It was a funny moment. I wanted to come to set as Manson and there was a double take I saw Megan give me and she’s like ‘What the hell is going on?’ Now I think Tarantino is tackling that subject from his own angle.”
Horror Fuel: “Are you going to play young Manson or older Manson?”
Haze: ” That story is based on the book ‘Zeroville’. I’m playing the young Manson when he’s in Hollywood. He’s the guitar playing, music loving Manson. That’s funny.”
Horror Fuel: “Did you do any crazy preparation for that?”
Haze: “I think I always go a little crazy with this stuff. I think it’s the only way I really know how to do it. Sometimes you don’t have to do very much preparation for a movie. It’s all about what the role requires.”
Horror Fuel: “So nothing like living in a cave?”
Haze: “Robbing banks, living in caves, not walking. A lot of people thought I was crazy for not walking.”
Horror Fuel: “I get it.”
Horror Fuel: “I have to ask, if there was any horror character in a movie or book you would want to play who would it be?”
Haze: ” Any Character? I think that my favorite character would be Charles the Joker. I also think that I’m like you and really drawn to stories that are based in truth. Characters based on a true story I think are more exciting in a way. I think there’s more honor in the approach. As much as it limits what you can do it also makes the process different. I think it’s more exciting. As a young boy, I always wanted to tell stories that made people experience what you did when you watched ‘The Vault’. I have other movies coming out that can entertain but at the same time put good things out in the world. It’s a cool thing that I get to do in both spaces right now.”
Horror Fuel: “I imagine that that makes for a very interesting life.”
Haze: “It is. You never know what tomorrow will bring. For some people that is very, very hard not to know whose shoes you’ll be walking in tomorrow. That’s why I’ve been producing and directing more and looking at certain properties and stories that I want to tell. But it is an exciting thing and I am really blessed and grateful to be able to do it. I really don’t take it for granted, Kelli. I know how fortunate I am and how short our life is here, how blessed I am to be able to do it. I’m really grateful for it. ”
Horror Fuel: “I’ve talked to a lot of actors and there are some who do this simply for a paycheck, then there are others, like you, that it means something. That always leaves me more impressed.”
Haze: My whole career has been like that. There’s a lot of opportunities that I have passed on. I’ve been lucky to be able to work with a lot of my friends like Jeff Nichols, we did ‘Midnight Special’ together, Jason Hall who did ‘American Sniper’ which was his first film. There is Joseph Kosinski who did ‘Tron’ and ‘Oblivian’. They are great, great talents that I’ve been so fortunate to work with. Dan Bush and I made ‘The Vault’ because I liked him. He said he had an idea to twist a genre on its head and he said he was going to go out and get Francesca and then Taryn and Q’orianka. Why would I not want to work with people who are fun to work with? My best friend’s in the film so I was like, ‘Let’s do this.’ ‘The Vault’ is not brain surgery but sometimes it great just to entertain.”
Horror Fuel: “Well, ‘The Vault’ does make you think and question what would you do for your sibling. I have a sister so I get it. It did make me ask myself how far would I go to protect her and would I rob a bank for my sister. It’s more than just a movie.”
Haze: “It means the world that you said that. You would if you had to.”
Horror Fuel: “I would, but I’d be pissed off about it. But I would make sure there was no vault in the basement. [laughter]”
Haze: “If it was a bad situation I think you’d do it just based on this phone call. You’d rob a bank. [laughter]”
Horror Fuel: “Hopefully, I’ll never have too. ”
Horror Fuel: “In the scene with the fire were you actually in it? And was that scary?”
Haze: Yeah I was in it. Any time you’re that close to fire it’s scary. And I’d be lying if I told you it wasn’t. It’s hot first of all. You just pray everything goes right.”
I was taken by surprise just how pleasant and friendly Haze was. He was full of sincerity and laughter. I was truly blown away by how far he goes when getting ready for a film. You rarely see that these days. I don’t know about you, but it made me want to follow his film career even more.
Since I spoke with Scott I’ve had a chance to see his documentary ‘Mully’, about “the remarkable life of Charles Mully. A man revered as “Father to the Fatherless.” He was right. It is an amazing documentary about a man whose dedication and determination have changed so many of the lives of over 12,000 orphans. It is a beautiful film that will restore your faith in humanity.
Be sure to follow Scott Haze on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up to date on his roles, films, and projects. Be sure to check out The Vault now in cinemas, available on iTunes and on digital HD. Be sure to use #TheVaultMovie on social media.
Thank You for Your Service, Only the Brave, and Zeroville will be out soon. You can find screenings of ‘Mully’ on its official website.