Back in 2016 I sat down with actor-writer-director Miles Doleac to talk about several of his films in an interview. With the upcoming release of his film The Dinner Party I thought it was fitting to catch up with him to talk about the film as well as what he’s been up to the last four years.
In The Dinner Party, a couple is invited to an exclusive dinner party, not knowing that they are on the menu.
Horror Fuel: “It’s been a while since we got the chance to catch up. What have you been up to?”
Miles Doleac: “I’m teaching at Loyola University in New Orleans, the film program there, which is a great gig. I’ve been gearing up for the release of The Dinner Party. I’ve also been juggling a couple of other projects, one of which I was supposed to do this summer, but now, with COVID, of course, that’s up on the air.
But, truly, I can’t complain, I’ve been home with the wife and the dogs during the pandemic. We’re staying healthy and safe. A lot of people have had it a lot worse than us.”
Horror Fuel: “I’m glad that you and your family are doing well. I see your posts on Facebook of you doing Shakespeare with the dog. It’s a great idea. You have an adorable dog.”
Miles Doleac: “Thank you. My dogs really do make my life better and I think it’s good to stay creative and engaged during this time.”
Horror Fuel: “It is. The last time we spoke we talked about Demons and The Hollow. What have you released since then?”
Miles Doleac: “We have made three more films now, counting The Dinner Party. I remember fondly our discussion on The Hollow. I don’t know if we had a proper discussion of Demons, at least after its release. It’s an exorcism psychodrama starring Lindsay Anne Williams, Andy Divoff, Steven Brand, and John Schneider that was released in 2017. We followed that up with Hallowed Ground which was released last year. Both via Uncork’d Entertainment. Both of those films meant a great deal to me and benefited from the work of a lot of wonderful people. And then The Dinner Party. In the meantime, I’ve been acting. I’ve been a part of some really cool projects, as an actor, including “Watchmen” for HBO and I just did “Lovecraft Country”, the Jordan Peele, Misha Green, J.J. Abrams-produced series based on H.P. Lovecraft’s short stories. That’s going to be really good. A special project I think. I also did episodes of “The Purge” and “NCIS: New Orleans” and a fun Civil War piece called Son of a Gun.
I’ve been teaching at Loyola. I’ve really enjoyed being there this year and working with some really talented students who have been facing incredibly-difficult odds while dealing with the pandemic. That’s the most rewarding experience, just seeing what the next generation is capable of. I’ve tried to keep busy and stay creative. I’ve taken up gardening. I’m one of those people who has a hard time sitting still. There have been days, though. You’re not motivated. You know? I’ve put on a favorite album and just hung out with Lindsay and the dogs.”
Horror Fuel: “It’s great that you’ve spent the time with your family.
Watchman is a great series. Is there anything you can tell us about your role in Lovecraft Country?”
Miles Doleac: “I can’t really, I signed an NDA. But the trailers are out now. You can get a feel for what the show is about. It’s a parable about racism in our country. It’s a horror series with supernatural elements. With all the talent involved, you know, it’s going to be great. I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do. Being on that set was unbelievable.”
Horror Fuel: I can only imagine. Can you tell us what episode you’re in?”
Miles Doleac: “I’m in episode three. My character’s name is Hiram Epstein. So look out for Hiram.”
Horror Fuel: “I’m very excited about the series!
As for The Dinner Party, if you will tell us about it?
Miles Doleac: “The short synopsis is, an aspiring playwright and his wife have been invited to a dinner party at the home of a renowned surgeon and culinary expert Carmine, played by Bill Sage. It’s a gathering of the cultural elites who have promised to bankroll our playwright’s new play. Things sort of go off the rails. Our hero couple is forced to fight for their very lives. The group has dark designs in mind and they are harboring an ancient secret that is going to change the lives of everyone involved.
It’s really an eclectic movie. It has elements of Darren Aronofsky’s Mother!, Eyes Wide Shut, and even a little Rocky Horror Picture Show.
It’s a horror film, a character drama, a thriller, satire, with some social commentary. It’s a unique animal. It’s unlike anything I’ve done to date. I’m very much looking to kicking out to the world.
Horror Fuel: “I watched it last night. I really enjoyed it. I guess the best word to describe it is elegant. It looked great. Bravo to the cinematographer. ”
Mile Doleace: “We spent a lot of time talking about the look. I worked with an excellent cinematographer, Michael Williams. This is our second feature together. When you say elegant, that’s what we were going for. We wanted the aesthetic to look, to feel like a piece of art. We probably spent more time thinking about the visual aesthetic of this one than any film I’ve done. Michael delivered beautifully. Also, I have to give a shout out to our production designer, Julie Toche. She really came through as well.
One of my biggest concerns was finding the right house. Thankfully, we’re able to get this mansion that worked brilliantly (thanks to Dr. and Mrs. Carr McClain!)”.
It all really was a group effort. I work with one of the best colorists in the business, Bradly Greer, too. There really is no one better.
Horror Fuel: “It came out beautifully. I was really impressed by your leading actress. How did she get involved?”
Miles Doleac: “Thank you so much. We were so fortunate with our lead, Alli Hart. That role was so vital to the success of the whole thing. She really did a fantastic job.”
Miles Doleac: “This is my first film working with Alli. She was recommended to us by her agent, Rachel Sheedy, who we’ve worked with on several films. She reps awesome actors. Alli read for us and we were all blown away. She just brings all the right elements: she’s innocent, weird, sexy, funny, and powerful; she has a little bit of a female James Dean thing going AND she has the power to transition from one of those to the next on a dime. She was really great to work with.”
Horror Fuel: “I could see that.
I have a strange question for you. I can’t help but be curious, in the kitchen scene there’s a lot of meat. I know we are meant to think it is human, but what was it in reality?”
Miles Doleac: “It’s mostly pork. They say pork looks the closest to human flesh. Julie, our production designer, pulled all that lovely grotesqueness together, along with this gelatin-like substance that we used in some of the scenes, like in the altar scene, where we had to actually eat the stuff. It tasted kind of like rubber with sugar on it.”
Horror Fuel: “That sounds tasty (laughter). The things directors/actors will do to get a shot. I’m always curious about things like that.
What is the message that you hope viewers take away from this film?”
Miles Doleac: “There’s a lot going on in this film. First, I hope that viewers will be entertained. At the end of the day, I think that’s what movies are really about, that’s the main thrust, but art matters, on so many levels. It’s not JUST entertainment. It can change hearts and minds, so there are some other things that I hope viewers take away. The film is female-forward. Up until very recently, there were just not enough quality roles for women. That’s probably still the case. Even when there were meaty roles for women, female characters had far fewer lines of dialogue compared to their male co-stars. I’m trying to help change that in some small way. This film has strong female characters, who have a lot to say if nothing else.”
Horror Fuel: “I’m glad that filmmakers are starting to stand against the sexism that has plagued Hollywood for so long. I’m also happy that the roles are not filler, they’re quality roles for women. Thank you for that.”
Follow Miles Doleac on Instagram to stay up to date on all his projects and much more. Be sure to check out The Dinner Party, which we called “sophisticated horror” in our review. It will be released on On Demand and VOD on June 9th.