LEGEND OF BEAVER DAM's director + co-writer, Jerome Sable!

I'm glad to see that The Legend of Beaver Dam is starting to get some mainstream coverage before its premiere at Midnight Madness this week and I can't wait to see the reactions this awesome little film is going to garner from the always-rabid Midnight audience. I had a chance to chat with the director and co-writer of this bloody Canadian rock horror opera, Jerome Sable to find out a little more about the film.

Jerome Sable: director & co-writer of The Legend of Beaver Dam

Q: Can you talk about how the script for Beaver Dam came about and if/how it evolved over the course of production? A lot of the dialogue comes off very naturally - was anything improvised?

A: Batalion and I were batting around the idea for a horror musical for a while. One day, we were talking "What if's" and we thought, "What if the ghost story being told around the campfire actually came true?" So we thought that could be interesting-- and of course we added, "And what if, when the ghost arrived, he terrorized everybody through heavy metal?" But yeah, your question about the dialogue is right on-- since Seán Cullen is so good at improv, we made sure to do a few takes where he just let 'er rip, and that obviously ends up being the stuff we use in the film.

Q: How hard was it to work with someone with an ego the size of Sean Cullen’s? What's he like on set?

A: That's like me asking you, "How long have you been asking trick questions in your interviews?" or better yet, "How long have you been beating your wife?" Oh-- I guess that's not fair, since technically you guys aren't married. WTF? I love Seán Cullen. Batalion and I both are huge fans, and we were flattered to work with him. The guy's a musical comedy powerhouse. The hardest part about working with him is adding the accent on the "á" in his name for our press release.

Q: Was Cullen always in mind for the lead? What was the casting process like for the role of Danny, and what made you land on LJ Benet in the end? Is it true that the actors that didn't make it were summarily sacrificed to Stumpy Sam?

A: Cullen was indeed our Pathmaster of choice. He was attached to the project before we even got the funding, and he's a big part of the reason this thing got made in the first place. The casting process for Danny was exciting because we got to work with the amazing casting director Laura Adler, who brought us the cream of the crop of young talent in L.A. We had kids coming in who blew us away (the lead kid from the Lion King on Broadway, for example), and it was tough competition! We were thrilled to be able to cast L.J. Benet in the end. Actually, it was dicey at first because L.J. also had the lead in Seussical the Musical the same weekend but they got his understudy to fill in for him. L.J.'s awesome-- love that kid. And as for Stumpy, well, we auditioned tons of actors and even lead singers of metal bands for the role, but no one came close to Rick Miller. This guy's a heavyweight vocal talent, and he can literally do anything with his voice. All we said was, "Hey, can you give us Robert Plant and Robert Englund at the same time?" and yyyyiiieeeeeeaaaaaahhhhhh-- Stumpy's pipes were born!

Q: Legend of Beaver Dam is one of the more high-profile shorts to premiere at TIFF in recent memory. What’s it like to be walking the red carpet at Midnight Madness as a short film director?

A: Truly flattered and honoured-- I mean, really. Batalion & I both are fans of nearly everybody we're now billed alongside-- it's preposterous, really. We are indebted to Colin & Magali & Alex and everybody at TIFF who are giving us this 15 minutes of fame-- or 12 minutes, actually. Okay 10, plus the credits.

Q: What made you decide to do this film as a musical and what were the biggest challenges?

A: Batalion & I are both musicians and composers and most of our stuff is musical. The biggest challenge for this one was doing production vocals live, on location, in the woods. We really wanted a live sound from the actors, and so they wore ear-wigs (wireless inner-ear monitors) and belted it out take after take. They really gave it their all. Also shoutout to Kyle Riabko, the prodigy blues guitarist from Saskatoon who shreds like it's nobody's business on the soundtrack. He's played on stage with guitar icons like B.B. King since he was 12 years old, and he was nice enough to hop on the Beaver train for an afternoon and share his magic with us. That sick guitar solo during the end credits? That's Riabko wailing.

Q: Is it true that Cullen despises children and that his eagerness to do this project sprung from that sentiment?

A: Yes.

Q: What was your inspiration for the look of Stumpy Sam? Were there any other horror films that inspired this movie?

A: Absolutely--the whole fun of this story was we were mixing every urban legend villain we could--Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Candyman, Beetlejuice, Bogeyman--so we were inspired by everything and everyone. We worked with special effects makeup wizard Hugo Villasenor (who had just come off J.J. Abrams' Star Trek), and, since we were on such a shoestring budget, we "frankensteined" the makeup from different prosthetic labs around town. Hugo is a perfectionist, though, so he first designed it on a dummy head and we tweaked it until it was just gross enough.

Q: Is there anything else you're looking forward to at Midnight Madness or the Festival in general?

A: Everything. The MM lineup looks sick this year. Everything looks amazing. In fact, I've made them all into one movie in my head, like a mnemonic device, so I don't forget about any of them: The Super Insidious Chef and his II Vanishing Red Buns Stake The Ward.

Q: Where are you planning to take the film after TIFF?

A: We're on a lucky streak-- honoured to be in Austin Fantastic Fest, Sitges. Everything will be on our online promosexual feed: The web: http://stumpysam.com FB: http://facebook.com/stumpysam Twitter: http://twitter.com/stumpysam

Q: Anything else you'd like to say to Midnight audience to prepare them for Legend of Beaver Dam?

A: Um... stick around for Fubar? No seriously-- we can't wait for Fubar, especially since our good friend Terra Hazelton is in it. Shoutout to Terra! Wooohoo!!!! Okay I'll stop now.

Q: And finally, out of anyone you worked with on Beaver Dam, which two people would you pick to be joined to you in a Human Centipede?

A: Okay dude, seriously? You just caused a bunch of sick thoughts to cross my mind. But fine. Let me dignify that with some kind of response. Hmm.... That would probably have to be my co-writer Batalion and picture editor Nick Musurca, since, after all that time cooped up in the small confines of the cutting room together for weeks, ingesting and digesting Panda Express in close quarters without ever getting a breath of fresh air, well... it wouldn't be that much of a change. And if there's anything I fear more than demented German surgeons, it's change.

The Legend of Beaver Dam shows ahead of Fubar II

Thursday September 9 11:59 PM RYERSON
Saturday September 11 12:00 PM VARSITY 8

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