Interview with the Vampires: The Cast of The Forsaken
Thanks to MoonFire for letting me know about this interview:
Brendan Fehr, Phina Oruche, Kerr Smith, and Johnathon Schaech talk about their roles in what they refer to as “a car chase movie with vampires.”
by Steve Head
It was starting to rain when I entered The New Yorker Hotel, asylum for Fangoria’s Weekend of Horrors. The lobby was packed. With ten minutes to spare, I hurried to the elevators, also packed. Time to take the stairs. It turns out, thankfully, the check-in was on the second floor. At two minutes to two, checked in, I made it to the entrance of the main auditorium; momentary detainment here was in the form of a walkie-talkie carrying hand-stamp checker. No entry without a hand-stamp. No exceptions. I retraced my steps to the check-in table, to the front, got the hand-stamp, entered the auditorium, jogged to the side of the stage, and found event organizer Tony Timpone. We shook hands and he said, “In the nick of time.” I replied, “For a while there I didn’t think I’d make it.” It was two o’clock, time for the preview of The Forsaken and Q&A with the cast.
There must have been a thousand people; it was wall-to-wall. (For perspective, see the above photo I took of Bruce Campbell addressing the crowd. I’m told it was so crowed the Fire Marshall disallowed people from entering the building.) With applause the lights dimmed and the audience was presented a first look at The Forsaken. It included interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. At the conclusion of the preview, Tony introduced the cast members: Brendan Fehr (Disturbing Behavior and TV’s Roswell), Phina Oruche (How Stella Got Her Groove Back and TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Kerr Smith (Final Destination and TV’s Dawson’s Creek), and Johnathon Schaech (That Thing You Do and Kenneth Branagh’s forthcoming film How to Kill Your Neigbor’s Dog). This was their first interview session of the day, and my chance to get some pictures (below). After a half an hour of Q&A, the cast adjourned to the side of the stage to sign autographs. Next on Fangoria’s agenda was longtime fan favorite and recent Spider-Man cameoer Bruce Campbell.
Midway through Campbell’s set, the Forsaken cast retreated backstage, up a side stairway to the auditorium’s balcony. Here, with CHUD’s Johnny Butane, we found an empty table towards the back, a nice out-of-the-way place to talk with the gang, but still within sound range of Campbell’s ad-lib humor and the crowd’s reaction.
During our conversation (to relate the story I’m jumping forward a little, but I’ll get back), Johnathon and Brendan remarked that writer/director J.S. Cardone provided a detailed backstory for the film, and herein is the creation, the legend, of those who became The Forsaken. Says Johnathon, it’s the story that “grabbed me and made me want to do the film. Brendan does a wonderful job of telling the story during the movie. During the Crusades, the French were surrounded by the Turks and they were going to be killed. There were nine French knights that remained, and the God of Battles.”
“Abandon,” Brendan amends, “The God of Battles. He appears to them and offers them immortality so they could get out alive. Eight of the nine (knights) agreed and in order to seal the deal, they sacrifice the ninth, and they became The Forsaken.”
“When the sun rose they felt shame and they had to hide in the caves,” Johnathon explains. “That’s what my character is doing, he’s running from shame.”
To elaborate, the Knights were sentenced to darkness and given an insatiable thirst for blood. They spread their curse to everyone they bled. The first Knight to be killed happened during the Spanish Inquisition. Since then, three have died. The most recent met his fate in Paris in 1967.
Jump forward to the present; four Knights remain. Two are believed to reside in Africa or Eastern Europe and two are in North America. For their infected victims it becomes a race against time, and the odds aren’t in their favor. The only way to cure themselves is to kill their host before they turn. The story follows Sean (Kerr Smith), driving from California to deliver a Mercedes and attend his sister’s wedding in Florida. He picks up a hitchhiker Nick (Brendan Fehr). A bad idea. Nick is newly infected.
I asked why they wanted to do a vampire movie – nothing against vampire movies, I dig them, well… most of them. Johnathon replied, “I think it’s because the script kind of popped out. Of all the vampire movies being made some of them, like Dracula 2000, were just bad scripts. Queen of the Damned came out, which is Anne Rice so you’d think it’d be good but the script was just bad. This one was different, a little edgier.”
“I wanted to do this vampire film because it didn’t read to me like a vampire film,” says Phina. “None of the usual stuff like fangs and that bulls*** is there. Oops! It’s edgier, it’s darker.”
With a laugh, Brendan says to her, “You can say “bullsh***” on dot com.”
And Johnny Butane reminds them, “You can say worse things, too.”
Johnathon smiles and follows with, “C***! C***!” (All I can offer is it rhymes with bunt.)
Phina blushes from her statement, “Sorry,” and continues with her point. “It’s because it read edgier, more interesting. It was also a good opportunity to be a bad girl, that’s what I wanted to do, just be a sexy, bad girl.”
“She doesn’t walk around trying to be sexy at all,” adds Kerr, humorous sarcasm intact.
To see the complete article and pictures, click here.