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Brett Kelly

Brett: "It's funny, I guess Iíve always been an actor".

Conducted by Phil Davies Brown
May 19th, 2006

Canadian actor Brett Kelly has made quite a dent on the indie horror scene in the past couple of years. I felt it was time to catch up with the hard working man and see what lies ahead.

Read on to hear how Brett got to where he's at today.

How did you get into acting?
It's funny, I guess Iíve always been an actor but didn't always know it. I thought I was going to be a cartoonist for the first 14 years of my life when I got cast in a play and discovered my true calling. I haven't stopped since.

Did you complete any formal training?
I studied Theatre at the University of Ottawa but as it happened I was working as an actor at the same time. I also studied Broadcasting at college but never finished.

You have had many roles in film, which is your favourite, acting, directing or producing?
It's a strange thing, I never really intended to direct movies. I always wanted to be an actor, but since there was no real paid work for a period of time, I decided to take the initiative and create my own work. Now in some circles I'm better known as a director than as an actor. I have to say though that acting is my passion. Producing is fun too. I enjoy starting a project and getting it done.

Where do you get the ideas for your movies?
You never know where inspiration will strike. For my first feature THE FERAL MAN, I combined some reading I had done on lycanthropy with the true life tragedy of the loss of my father to a heart attack and that is where that story came from. THE BONESETTER is based on a boogeyman story that parents in Quebec (a Canadian province for those not geographically inclined) tell their kids, I changed the story around a bit and boom the script was born. My most recent movie MY DEAD GIRLFRIEND came from my desire to combine horror with theatrical farce. It turned out to be a good idea in my humble opinion (laughs).

Canada is a major part of the film industry now; does that make it easier for indie movies to get financed too?
Lord no. It's always tough to find financing even for low-budget films such as mine. Our system is likely similar to the UK model of government grants and such. I'm always slugging away at grant-writing. Keep your fingers crossed.

Brett: "I have gotten some fan mail from the UK".

The Bonesetter must have been successful as it got its very own sequel. Were you happy at the reception the films received?
Yeah. The Bonesetter went over pretty well. A lot of people seemed to get that the movie was an homage to the old Universal Monster and had some tongue in cheek elements. Some folks didn't but hey - you can't please them all. Overall the response was pretty good and the sales were good too. I still enjoy it myself.

When are we likely to see your movies over here in the UK?
Good question, I thought they were coming out over there, I could be wrong. The DVD that Tempe Video put out is region 0 so folks from all over the globe can get them from www.tempevideo.com or from www.amazon.com I have gotten some fan mail from the UK so I suppose the movies are trickling across the pond.

A large amount of your work has been based in the horror genre; does this mean that you are a horror fan?
Definitely, although I was not always the horror fanatic that I am these days. As a kid they scared the hell out of me which I attribute to my vivid imagination. The truth is that I always loved it and tried to talk myself out of it for a while but the horror bug bit me and won't let me go (laughs).

What are some of your favourite movies and filmmakers in the genre?
My favourite movie of all time is DOUBLE INDEMNITY, a Billy Wilder Film-noir. I find that the structure, writing, acting and directing is perfect! As far as genre films go, I love the Universal Monster flicks, Halloween, Dead of Night (1940's with Michael Redgrave) and 50's low budget stuff. I'm inspired by a lot of low budget movies as well such as those directed by my "mentor" J.R. Bookwalter and some of the stuff that Full Moon and other small companies put out.

Brett: "Oh god, where do I begin".

Youíve worked with some great horror talents; do you have a favourite person you have worked with?
Oh gosh, that's a tough one. Everyone has been great. Brinke Stevens is a lady in the truest sense of the word. Debbie Rochon is a laugh riot and a fellow Canadian. I also love my Canada crew; working on a horror film is like a summer camp, always lots of fun.

Who are some of the people you would like to work with in the future?
I'd love to be directed by J.R Bookwalter, John Carpenter, George Romero, folks like that. I'd also like to act with Debbie Rochon whom I have only directed before but never acted with. I'd also like to act with Bruce Campbell, he's my fave.

Do you have any funny stories you could share with us about a project you have worked on?
Oh god, where do I begin (laugh). For MY DEAD GIRLFRIEND we shot a zombie, gore fest only to discover that there was no running water on site (poor zombies). On THE BONESETTER, Jody Haucke (who plays the title character) stepped in cow droppings that went all the way up his leg. On the drive home he stopped at a garage to use their water hose to spray himself off and he was in full Bonesetter makeup! You can imagine the look on the mechanic's face! There is a great story for each day of filming, itís a good job.

Youíve been to some conventions too havenít you? Do you enjoy meeting the fans?
I love meeting the fans. Horror conventions are cool because they give folks with like-minded interests a chance to talk about a subject that the general public might not always understand. They're always enthusiastic about their love for the genre. Plus the cons are always great for partying. It's humbling to hear someone in another country tell you how much they enjoyed a movie that you wrote on your sofa in Canada. It's great stuff!

Whatís next for Brett Kelly?
I'm negotiating a few things with Tempe Video and shooting a vampire project this summer for them, although the deal isn't inked yet. I don't want to jinx it because the script is great. Other plans include a psychological thriller and a possible revenge flick. Stay tuned to www.brettkelly.net for details.

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

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