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Adam Wingard

Adam: "Me and my friends were probably the only kids in the world to create a Michael Biehn fan club".

Conducted by Phil Davies Brown
August 16th, 2005

22 year old Adam Wingard has already caused quite a buzz with his forthcoming horror movie 'Home Sick'. Read on to find out how a first time feature filmmaker managed to get the likes of Bill Moseley, Tom Towles, Tiffany Shepis and Jeff Dylan Graham in his movie.

When did you first become interested in film?
I remember wanting to make films as far back as third or fourth grade after I saw the terminator films and the alien movies. Me and my friends were probably the only kids in the world to create a Michael Biehn fan club. We just loved the space marines and the characters he played in those James Cameron movies. At the time I thought filmmaking was an unrealistic goal so I decided I would be a comic artist. It wasn't until seventh grade that my father bought a camcorder and I was able to start experimenting and get enough confidence to know this is what I was going to do.

You went to film school in Orlando. Do you feel it was beneficial?
Yeah absolutely. I have to confess I slept through a lot of classes and was more interested in girls most of the time, but overall I gained a lot of experience and knowledge most importantly from watching other amateur filmmakers fuck up. There's also a really cool video store there called Stardust, that was my real film school. Watching all the foreign films which I otherwise might never have seen like Gonin, Fudoh, Week End, and Evil Dead Trap. Great place if you live nearby check it out.

I believe you met your partner in crime Evan (E.L.) Katz there. How did the two of you get talking and why do you feel you gel so well?
Evan and I work so well together because we understand each other. We both have similar feelings on whatís scary and we both love the same movies. The first time we ever hung out we watched the story of Ricky and Bullet in the Head. At the time I never knew anybody that was into films like that other than my brothers, so it was an instant connection. I just really love working with him and when I'm not working directly with him, he's my intended audience. If Evan likes it, I know itís good. He helped me get out of a shitty funk I was in by working on Home Sick with me. So I guess I've got a debt to him.

You're from Alabama and I have a very good friend there (Scream Queen Kimberly Lynn Cole) so I know that some of the inhabitants of the smaller towns can be quite difficult or even hostile towards horror people. Did you run into any problems with the locals when making the film?
Not a bit. The places we were shooting were mostly supportive of us. We shot a lot in my home town of Marion which is totally backwoods. But being a local gives you an advantage. The only trouble we ran into came from shooting in peoples houses which is always stressful. I donít think I've ever made it out of shooting in someoneís home where they aren't pissed off at you afterwards. Thatís the worst part about filmmaking, all the angry people you leave in your path. Nobody talks about it but trust me itís true. Something about movie making really empowers people to become assholes.

Adam: "Doing a feature was a no brainer".

You kind of did things in a backward fashion as you made a feature then a short. Why did you decide to make a feature first?
I did a lot of shorts in high school but I never liked having to pack a whole story in to a short time frame. Doing a feature was a no brainer. We were fearless. There was nothing that could stop us from doing this movie. We busted out of film school and said lets just fucking do it.

How did you come up with the concept for Home Sick?
It all started the day Evan came to Alabama. We drove to the nearest bookstore (an hour away from my house) and Evan had a stack of magazines and his coffee and he asked how I felt about doing a slasher film. He then gave me a crash course in all the greatest slasher films ever made starting with Black Christmas. From there we slowly worked out our premise. The plot really came together after Evan showed me Texas Chainsaw 2 and we were like ďwouldn't it be cool if we could write a genre actor part for Bill Moseley?Ē. So we did and the rest just fell into place.

How did you manage to attract such a well regarded genre cast?
We got Bill because he loved the script and we were willing to work under Sag restrictions. From there that legitimized us to the point of getting a cool cast.

Here you were shooting your first film in the presence of Bill Moseley, Tom Towles, Tiffany Shepis and Jeff Dylan Graham. Were you ever too star struck to think straight?
More than anything, I was just excited. When we were still negotiating with Bill I had a signed picture of him as Otis by my bed which I basically prayed to every night that he would do the movie HAHA. Yeah I guess itís weird now but itís what really made the movie possible. I think the most nervous I got was when I first called Bill up on the phone when he was signed on. I think I paced around my kitchen for about half an hour working up the courage. It was like calling a girl for the first time. But luckily Bill can tell some good long stories so I was relieved.

Tiffany told me that when she was first approached, she thought it would be another one of those "We'd really love you to be in our movie but we can only pay you $5 per day" gigs. How was the project financed?
She actually cut us some breaks with her price tag so that was really cool of her. She does a great job in the film. We funded the movie by sucking our family's dry. Not the best way to do it but you got to start somewhere.

Which directors inspired or influenced you whilst making the film?
I would say Tobe Hooper, Fulci, and Lynch were the main three with a hint of Takashi Miike. Towards the end of the film I tried to really lay the levels on thick like Hooper does in Chainsaw and Poltergeist. Lots of folks screaming and acting insane. I love that shit. It gives me a rush.

Adam: "One day if I can I will secretly
murder this person".

Can you compare the film to other horror movies, to give us an indication of the overall tone?
Itís hard to say. Itís got some comedic stuff in it but never in an in your face Troma style. The characters are just kind of insane and silly but the situations and atmosphere are very dark. A lot of people say they feel dirty after watching the film. Itís a sleazy picture. I'm not going to lie. Itís really gory and trashy and what I think an exploitation horror film should be. If I could compare it to something I would say its kind of like Pieces meets Repo Man.

What was the hardest aspect of the shoot?
Jesus anything involving one of the actors in the film which I will not name. This person acted like a stuck up asshole the whole time and consistently tried to sabotage the movie and drive me insane. One day if I can I will secretly murder this person.

What is happening with distribution and in particular over here in the UK?
We're dealing with overseas distribution next year. Right now we are finishing our final sound mix.

What can you tell us about your short film The Little One?
The little one is a project I did after Home Sick to see if I could pull off a scary ghost story. I believe we did. The movie has two definite chair jumping moments that really fuck peopleís day up. It was the first narrative I worked with my actress friend Maggie Henry on and she did an amazing job. Sheís my favorite actress to work with right now. I try to cast her in everything. We just have a good rapport. You can also see Jonathan Thornton the special effects makeup artist in Home Sick doing a cameo acting appearance. It may end up on the Home Sick DVD.

I believe you also just did another short called The Girlfriend?
Yup, just finished it a few months ago. Itís the longest short yet clocking in at thirty minutes. Itís sort of a Body Snatchers story but done like Iíve never seen it before. Both of these films were written by Evan and headed up by my friends here, a group called Team Bloodjet! Great things here in Alabama.

What can we expect to see from you in the coming months?
I'm working on a project right now that starts filming in a little over a week. I don't want to release any details yet but itís a really cool horror drama with some of my favourites from the Home Sick cast such as Brandon Carroll, Will Akers, Collins Holt and Jeff Dylan Graham. These guys are amazing.

"Thank you ever so much for taking part in this interview Adam.
And we wish you the very best of luck in the future."

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