Grimmfest Interview with Red River Road star/producer Jade Schuyler and star/writer/director/producer/composer/editor/cinematographer Paul Schuyler

Grimmfest’s first Easter Edition kicks off on the evening of Thur April 1st, 2021 with our preview night, and then continues across the evenings of 2-5 April, with a series of feature film premiere double bills with supporting shorts and Q&As with the cast & crew of each feature. In addition, there’ll be an exclusive pass holder double bill and an ARROW double bill both of which can be accessed any time across the weekend.

There’s so much to watch you won’t have time to get bored this Easter!

A family of four isolating against a pandemic virus that spreads through the internet and robs you of your ability to perceive reality–often violently–begins to unravel when they suspect one or all of them might be infected.

How did this idea begin, and how did the project develop?

Paul – So we had another film set to shoot in September, and right at the beginning when news was breaking, this pandemic was happening. It created a giant question mark. Are we gonna be able to do this other film? It was just sort of let’s just assume the worst that we’re going to have to pull the plug if this gets worse. I really just wanted to do something, sort of take my mind off of being disappointed, first of all, that the movie wasn’t going to happen. And second, just the idea of being stuck in the house, what can we do? We had all the equipment necessary and the fact that all four of us are actors and have experience. Maybe we could do one here, and so we did.

Did the original idea change massively into what we see in RED RIVER ROAD?

Paul: No. In fact, immediately after that thought, that night, I woke up from a sound sleep and basically had the movie that you see just playing in my head. I literally grabbed a notepad and pen and just wrote five pages trying to get it all down before it escaped. You know that when you wake up from a dream and it’s like it’s immediately gone. So then it was kind of going through my notes and trying to shape it into a script which didn’t take long, about 10 days. From the moment I thought about could we do this to first light and cameras, maybe four weeks,

How was it working as a family?

Jade: Well we fell in love while we were writing together, he was directing and that’s how we met. So we’re a very incredible creative team, in the fact that we know each other inside and out. It’s really wonderful to also not have to have all those pleasantries and niceties. We get it done. You don’t have to be nice to tell me what to do.

But, you know, after 14 hours of shooting and everyone’s tense and tired and hungry and there’s still ten more shots…. I’m not going to lie, there was some drama behind the scenes we always had. We always have the agreement that it’s basically what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. But then we’re good.

How did you get into directing?

Paul: Honestly, when I was a little kid, the first big movie my parents took me to just changed my life. It was like, I don’t know what this is, but whatever this is, this is what I’m going to do. When JAWS came out, that was my first. There was so much talk about Spielberg and it was Spielberg, Spielberg, Spielberg. So early on, I understood that there was somebody authoring the movie, that it was sort of their taste and their point of view that was being put on film. I immediately go, I want to have that kind of control and to be able to tell a story in this way. It’s just awesome. So it’s kind of always been there.

How would you sell RED RIVER ROAD in one sentence?

Paul: It’s a horror movie for people who want to think and want to feel.

There’s some incredible world-building in this film, were there any influences in how you approached RED RIVER ROAD?

Paul: I think it was just thinking about if they were trapped, how would they be fed? If they really couldn’t communicate or have access to the Internet, if they were truly shut off. Then that just formed and it kind of grew from there, that there’s this unseen force outside of the pandemic that’s really controlling them that you never see. But over time, it’s like they literally control everything. There’s a little throwaway thing towards the end when things are really falling apart and there’s a yoga DVD in the crate, she just tosses it, dismisses it like it’s their way of saying, just relax. So I want to drop these little hints, like they’re being monitored and when things get really bad, they send them a bottle of whiskey for example.

We can’t wait for cinemas to be open again, what film would you love to see the guys at Grimmfest screen to a packed audience?

Paul: I would pick something that is truly meant to be on the big screen like JAWS. Perfect example. It’s great on TV, but when you see it in the theater, it really is its own world and you get to live in it. So something like 2001 or APOCALYPSE NOW, something that is going to make that experience worth it.

Jade: Something really grand and I think if we’re dealing with this pandemic too, I think we have to pick something that’s true escapism. Something that has to be seen on the big screen like AVATAR, something like that.

What’s the best horror film you’ve seen for the first time recently?

Paul:I’m a huge fan of HEREDITARY and MIDSOMMAR, Ari Aster. I’m just really excited about his voice and where that’s going to go. THE LIGHTHOUSE we both love.

Jade: I don’t know if I would call that horror, more like… emotional.

Paul: It’s Lynchian. It’s unsettling. I mean, I think when I define horror, it’s a pretty wide net for me. It’s anything sort of a little subversive, a little dark.

Jade: I’m not a huge…..I wouldn’t say I’m not a fan. I love horror. It’s just that my heart can’t stand it. So I watch very little horror. We shot another film called RUNNER, which is a horror actually and I still haven’t seen the end, even though I’m in it.

But when it’s on screen, it’s too real.

Paul: I just thought of the one that we both were like, wow., THE BABADOOK.

It has some similarities to RED RIVER ROAD. It has that slow burn, that kind of thinking, you need a thinking audience to really be involved in it and want to take the journey, not just scare here and scare here.

I think that the kid in the movie is sort of a litmus test for people, like I love that kid’s performance. I think it’s almost too real, and I think if you have kids or you’re raising kids, there are moments where it’s just like so real, that really spoke to me. I think it’s a little tough for some people to sort of be patient with that and let that evolve.

What have you got lined up next?

Paul: Well, we’re crossing our fingers that we do get the vaccine out and we’re able to return to THE TUNA GODDESS, which is what we were going to shoot. The cast we have is still raring to go and committed to doing it. So we’re open. That’s the next one.

Jena Malone, Kathleen Quinlan, Xavier Samuel, and Christopher McDonald.

So we’re hoping to shoot this fall. But basically, what I can really say, it’s not a horror movie.

Interview by Sean Luby. Find out more and book your tickets HERE and check out the trailer below:

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Gremlin

There is little that gets between Gremlin and a good news story. Except perhaps a late night snack followed by a dip in the pool.

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