Today, I sat down to talk with Joston Theney. The Georgia native, who is an actor, writer, director, and producer already has several films and series under his belt, such as Bleed 4 Me, Axeman, Axeman 2: Overkill. He also worked as a writer and producer for the series Uncut and Let’s Do L.A. with Mr. Hollywood.
Horror Fuel: “What made you want to get into the film industry?”
JT: “You know, I’ve been a long time fan of film in general. Growing up, I was always a quiet kid. I was always kind of shy. Movies and television is what I always turned to. As I grew up I created my own little stories and stuff, short stories. I had a little comic book I started. I think all of that overtime naturally led to me picking up a camera.”
Horror Fuel: “I have to ask, what was the name of the comic?”
JT: “[laughter] I want to say I called it D-Man and the Muscle Men, or something like that [laughter]. It was a guy who was half demon. The other people that were his sidekicks were all regular people with a bunch of guns. He could turn huge and step on people.”
Horror Fuel: “Comics are huge right now. You could always go back on make it a film.”
JT: “I haven’t thought about that since I was a kid [laughter]. But yeah, that would make a pretty cool story I guess.”
Horror Fuel: “When writing and directing Bleed 4 Me, what made you decide to go the female driven route?”
JT: “I have two answers. I always go with my P.C. answer, I can imagine a world where women are so strong. Blah Blah. But the honest truth is, when I sit down to write I think about the world I am trying to explore. After writing down all the attributes the hero needs to have, what kind of vulnerabilities they need to have and I said, ‘This works as a dude, but it would come off stronger and have a better journey if it were a woman.’ I will a lot of the times do that.
There is a script that I am writing right now and there is a character who is a private investigator who is a disgraced cop. She looks for missing children and really only investigates cases where she knows she won’t be able to find them, so she can string along the family to keep them paying for everything. As a dude, there are certain vulnerabilities we don’t have, most of the time they come off weak. But you can play more, have a wider range of what the character is capable if they are a female character. You can show certain weaknesses and vulnerabilities that you just can’t show with men. Halfway through the script I said ‘As a dude this will never work.’I would never have gotten the same response from the audience and the other characters in the story. I had to make that character relatable. You despise the character but at the same time, you understand where she’s coming from.”
Horror Fuel: “I get it. Does the script have a title yet?”
JT: “Yeah, it’s a sequel to a film I acquired recently, The Haunting of Viktorville. It’s already signed to a distributor, but right now we are still trying to determine how we are going to get it out. There are some issues with the film itself, but we will soon have an answer for that. Hopefully, it will be coming out later this year. What I’m doing right now is getting the sequel down for it.”
Horror Fuel: “Tell us about Axeman?”
JT: “I was sitting down with a friend of mine, he’s probably one of the biggest stunt coordinators out here and he’s also a director and writer. We were sitting down with some money people who do film and we started kicking around some ideas and that idea just started as me going ‘You know what, nobody has shot a movie that is set now, but plays like an 80’s movie.’ They asked if I wanted to shoot an 80’s movie, and I said ‘No, everything is shot exactly the same, but it’s an 80’s horror flick.’ No big backstory. He’s just a guy swinging his axe. The whole point of it is like a Jason movie. I don’t think I have ever watched a Jason movie and thought it was scary, but I thought they were fun. We made it a little bit hokey because the audience should already know the rules of horror films. I wanted to play it funny. The kills are good. It’s scary when it’s supposed to be scary. I wanted to do something like that. That’s where the story came from. It was born in that room. Once I started to write it I realized there was a lot of opportunity to build a world that the axeman lives in and that is what led to it becoming a trilogy.”
Horror Fuel: “Has the third one already been filmed?”
JT: “No, but it has been written. We are finally getting over this rights issue thing, which should be resolved within the next couple of weeks.”
Horror Fuel: “You also co-star in Axeman, can you tell us about your character?”
JT: “I kept with the old 80’s trope of the “token black guy”. I try to take different items from 80’s horror films. Once you see them, you know exactly what they would be from 80’s horror films. I took that and tried to build upon it. Opposed to making a very one dimensional character, I set out to make a character with depth.
Daren Cole is the kind of guy I can see myself in. He’s a nice guy. He’s always trying to be sweet. He’s trying to get the girl and that’s all he’s concerned with. He’s been obsessing over the same girl his entire adulthood. That’s him in a nutshell.
Horror Fuel: “Your new film, Adam K, is approaching release. Who is Adam K.?
JT: “Adam K is really about nature vs. nurture. It’s about an insurance claim adjuster who tries to make friends with his clients who really have no reason to be friends with him. He’s very, very socially awkward, which leads to a whole lot of awkward moments. He’s always going out and trying to make friends, but is greatly offended by people who don’t want to be his friend. Those people end up dead usually.
The way it goes back to nature vs. nurture is that at his core, he is not a very good person, but he’s trying everyday to be good and he thinks being a good person means having tons of friends.
Horror Fuel: “Interesting, a socially awkward serial killer? I can get with that.”
JT: “It feels cold and it feels isolating all the time. That’s what his world feels like. He’s so awkward. There are some deleted scenes that just feel painful. You know he’s trying to be a good guy and people start to try to take advantage.
All the deleted scenes will be on the disc so you will get a chance to check them out. There are some people in there who are horror regulars, but unfortunately it didn’t make it into the film. It was running too long.”
Horror Fuel: “Is he based on someone?”
JT: “I think in part all of my characters are based on me and different parts of my personality from different times in my life. Adam was based on me feeling socially awkward. I have a ton of moments where I was like ‘Did I just say that?” There were so many of those moments that I started writing them down and I thought, ‘What, there was a guy where this is his life?’ His life is just a succession of failures, failed attempts to make a connection with people. He kills people he likes. That’s what led to Adam K. It’s a terrifying thing once you realize what he is at his core. He is truly a terrifying character. There is a point of no return about 30 minutes into the movie that you will get this stomach churning feeling because something happens in the film that is so sick. And if you are still on board with this guy, and you still feel bad for him, you have to question your own sanity. I think that that is where pure terror comes in.”
Horror Fuel: “What are you working on now?”
JT: “We are finishing up production on a film called Watch Us Kill. It’s a fake documentary about a disgraced journalist who is chronicling the making of a snuff film. We are wrapping production on that one within the next couple of days. We will hopefully be holding some screenings this fall and we will put it in a couple of film festivals. This is the first film that I’ve put in film festivals. I think it is a really cool film. The actors are great and the makeup is incredible. That’s how you show your respect to the cast and crew, to put the film out there for people at festivals to critique. The ending of the film is very surprising. ”
Horror Fuel: “That’s great.”
It was a pleasure to talk with Joston Theney, who is down-to-earth and a genuinely nice guy. After our interview was over we talked at length about The Walking Dead and the season finale, as well as horror films in general. It turns out that he’s not a fan of Fear the Walking Dead (neither am I) and we agree that rebooting Jaws would be blasphemy.
Check out Joston Theney’s past films, Bleed 4 Me and Axeman, as well as his upcoming films Axeman 2: Overkill, Adam K , The Haunting of Viktorville, and Watch Us Kill. Be sure to visit the official website for Adam K for more information. To stay up to date on all of Joston’s projects, follow him on Twitter.
Joston was kind enough to send over some exclusive stills from Adam K, starring Farrah Abraham (Teen Mom, Celebrity Big Brother), Mindy Robinson, Kristin Wall, Emii, Arielle Brachfeld,