Writer-Director-Producer Les Mahoney Talks ‘At Granny’s House’ And More

April 13, 2018

Written by Kelli Marchman McNeely

Kelli Marchman McNeely is the owner of HorrorFuel.com. She is an Executive Producer of "13 Slays Till Christmas" which is out on Digital and DVD and now streaming on Tubi. She has several other films in the works. Kelli is an animal lover and a true horror addict since the age of 9 when she saw Friday the 13th. Email: horrorfuelinfo@gmail.com

Les Mahoney and I sat down for an interview that I would love to share with you know. Mahoney has a long list of acting credits that includes films such as Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Adrift, Available, The Devil Inside, and TV series like “1000 Ways to Die”.
One of his most recent projects is that of the horror film At Granny’s House, which he wrote, directed, produced and stars in. He plays the role of Ted Steiner, the love interest of Rebecca, played by Rachel Alig. Bill Oberst Jr. co-stars. Les took us inside the film, along with others, and revealed some really interesting stuff.

Horror Fuel: “Your film ‘At Granny’s House’ will soon be out. I would love it if you would tell our readers a bit about it.”
Les Mahoney: “‘At Granny’s House’ is a Hitchcockian that I wrote and Directed. The idea came from my mother-in-law’s home in eastern Colorado near Kansas. My wife and I were staying there, that’s where she grew up, and we were sitting in the front room, kind of a formal room with a couch and a piano. It’s all very nice. I was just sitting there and had this vision of like little old ladies playing cards, but up in the attic, there’s a guy being held hostage. I don’t know where that image came from, but that’s where I got the idea for the movie. Over time, that image which is one of the first scenes in the movie, built.
It’s about this little old lady, Granny, who doesn’t want to have a caregiver, but her over-bearing son wants her to have one. And the young lady is nice, but she has an edge that builds as the movie goes on. The caregiver has a secret that comes out eventually. There’s a love triangle in there. They do something like couch surfing where they open up a room to people. It’s all copesetic until one of the visitors flips Rebecca’s triggers.
It’s all dark and twisted. It was filmed in the house where my wife grew up. We shot that over two weeks in Colorado and we flew people out from Hollywood.
Rachel Alig plays the lead and Bill Oberst Jr., who had a strong role. The crew also came out from L.A. It was one big, happy family. Most of us stayed in this house, those who didn’t stayed close by in RV’s and other homes. It’s a small town and everyone sort of pitched in with the production. It was a cool experience.
We had everyone there the day before production and that night there was a tornado in the area, less than a quarter mile from the house. It knocked out the power to the entire town. Here we are, and it’s like 9:00 and the power goes out the day before we are set to begin production. We ended up shooting twelve or fourteen hour days to get it done on time. It was nerve-racking for us. During the tornado, we all went down to the basement. It gave everyone the chance to get to know each other whether they wanted to or not. In a way, it was a good bonding experience. I thought, ‘If I get up at seven o’clock and there’s still no power, what is that going to do to our schedule?’ But it did.”
Horror Fuel: “Wow! I’ve been through tornadoes, I know how scary that can be, but I’m glad ya’ll have that memory. It all sounds pretty intense.”
Les Mahoney: “We definitely grew closer together that night. We really had great people. My DP was instrumental in getting this done. He’s a perfectionist when it comes to lighting and we were like ‘Get in and get it done.'”
Horror Fuel: “You also have a role in the film.”
Les Mahoney: “I play the love interest actually. My wife and I come in and take advantage of their free bed, and it’s like couch surfing, except we call it “MyFreeBed.com, and that’s when things get really weird. Rebecca and I have sparks and that leads to an event and me staying there, and my wife not. It gets kind of twisted there.”
Horror Fuel: “Was it hard to balance writing, producing and acting in the film?”
Les Mahoney: “It really is. I’ve done that a few times since that movie, which was my first time acting in and directing a movie. If it hadn’t been for our crew keeping me straight it would have been much more difficult than it was. I was producing it as well. There are three different mindsets going on there. Production is all about logistics and planning. Directing is all about the cinematic vision and acting is totally different from either of those. You have to get outside of your mind and letting your emotions and heart take part. SO, I’ve got to set the shot, get out of director mode and be like, ‘Just give me a minute here.’ It was definitely a challenge.
We’re actually shooting a movie right now in Los Angeles. We’re going to shoot this afternoon. It was really coincidental when I heard you wanted to chat today. In the next hour, we are going to begin shooting in L.A. for our next film which is called ‘Adrift’. It’s the sequel to our spy thriller ‘Available’ which is out on Amazon right now, but anyway.
Horror Fuel: “I can’t imagine trying to do all three.”
Les Mahoney: “It’s still a challenge, but I’m getting a better handle on it. I think you have to be schizophrenic a little bit. I’m a little multi-personalty anyway.”
Horror Fuel: “I’m sure it helps, when you’re not driving your wife crazy [laughter].”
Les Mahoney: “Oh, I probably am, but she’s pretty mellow. None of this would be possible without her right there sticking with and to help me out. I think that’s kind of the core of a good relationship, it’s like a sanctuary element where you know you’re safe with your partner. There’s another part of it, there’s a movie called ‘Aviator’ with Leonardo DiCaprio and there’s a line in there where DiCaprio is playing Howard Hughes and he’s talking to Audrie Hepburn, and he’s kind of going crazy, and he goes ‘Don’t worry, I’ll take the stick now.’ I keep thinking about that because sometimes you just can’t take the stick, your partner does and takes control. You should be able to back each other up.”
Horror Fuel: “I agree completely.”
Horror Fuel: “What was it about Bill Oberst Jr. that made him a good fit for his part in ‘At Granny’s House?”
Les Mahoney: “Bill is a great person and a great actor. What’s funny is that I lived in L.A. for eight years as an actor and Bill and I would go out for the same parts. We would show up and be in the same audition rooms and we just started talking. When I wrote the part of Boarstag, who is Lithuanian by the way, I thought of him and I was really happy that we were able to get him to take part. He’s such a pro. He brings this professionalism to the set and he’s wonderful to work with.
I’ve written another movie he’d be a lead part. It will be a higher budget movie. It’s actually an adaptation of a Patricia Bremmer novel called ‘Cornstalk’. Part of it takes place in a cornfield at night. It’s creepy. Think about a cornfield at night. He’s a perfect fit for this role of a farmer who has a certain mania, he’s part survivalist, part religious extremist. He has certain ideas about how things should go. These big city farmers are hunting in his fields without his permission. That’s not all of it, but it’s the nuts and bolts of it.” ”
Horror Fuel: “I’ve personally never met him, but I think he’s very talented. ‘Cornstalk’ sounds both great and creepy. Personally, you won’t ever get me in a cornfield period. I’ve watched too many movies.”
Les Mahoney: “If you go to a cornfield late at night, man. It’s like how do I get out of here?”
Be sure to check out Les Mahoney’s film At Granny’s House now out on Amazon Prime, iTunes, and Vimeo (worldwide). Visit the website and Facebook for Mahoney’s Vagabond Entertainment for more on this film and others.

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