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Ethan Dettenmaier


Ethan: "".

Conducted by Phil Davies Brown
November 18th, 2005

By the time you read this Ethan Dettenmaier will be knee deep in desert filming the much hyped and anticipated Sin-Jin Smyth.

I spoke to Ethan a couple of months ago when he was still in prep and found him to be honest, humble and appreciative.

Read on for some confirmed news about the movie, as well as hints to some surprises, as I chat with the most refreshing filmmaker I have met in ages.

Who is Ethan Dettenmaier?
Just a man trying to do his best.

How did you get into film? Is it true that you started in the mail room at Warner Bros?
Yeah, that’s true…I took the only job I could get inside the industry, with the studio messenger service back in 2001 and was fortunate enough to make it temporary.

Sin-Jin Smyth has set tongues wagging amongst genre fans - ETHAN: DAMN! That’s a serious compliment - What's the big deal?
I think the fans are the only ones who can really answer that but, if I was to kick in a theory, I’d say that this film probably gets some benefit from being independent, outside, a studio machine that currently seems to specialize in re-makes or sequels. So maybe because we were able to invent a film piece---without casting, marketing or product placement formulas mixed in to compromise the content---that may be what interests some people.


Ethan: "".

Is it true that the script has been circulating with dummy pages in it?
It’s a protective measure (laughs) ---fans have always been sharp---and they can run a script up on the internet black market over night. These guys (the horror fans) are serious and they know as much about the film as the production outfit that pulls the trigger on the set.

There have been many rumors about casting. Can you confirm who has actually been cast as of yet?
RICHARD TYSON (Kindergarten Cop, Three O’clock High, Something About Mary) and JASON HILDEBRANDT who took a combined 40,000 rounds of gunfire in BLACK HAWK DOWN. A machine named JACQUELINE MOORE from the WWE/WWF, LEE VING (Clue, Streets of Fire, The Decline of Western Civilization, lead singer of the punk band FEAR), LEWIS SMITH (Southern Comfort, Wyatt Earp, Buckaroo Banzi) GREG TRAVIS (Tool Box Murders, Starship Troopers, Showgirls) Billy Duffy of THE CULT and a few surprises…

Any truth to the Jonathan Davis rumors?
There is some truth to that, we just sent his contract off to Europe where he is on tour.

The majority of the cast all seem to be either action stars, wrestlers or musicians. Are you pulling a 'Rob Zombie' and casting your heroes?
I try to cast whoever is right! And on a picture like this, it can get un-conventional, not just from a dramatic stand point but from a human-character stand point. When it comes to surviving the elements on the set---the FX, the storm FX, the gunfire, heavy weapons and what not---during a night shoot, (and Sin-jin Smyth is shot entirely at night) those elements require tough players and you better know who’s in your line-up! You don’t want to be out on the High Plains in Tornado-like conditions with some punk-bitch off of Teen Beat Magazine saying he needs to get back to his trailer for more make-up work rather than shoot-it-out in a rain storm!!! We don’t have the time or patience for that sort of thing!

Can you give us an overview of your production schedule?
We have had an extensive pre-production period due to the fact that most of the film will be shot on location with Practical Effects and since I’m new at this, I’m slower than most and I like to examine every detail. The actual shoot has been extended for six weeks. Then there is an extended post-production period due to an intense sound package we want to design. (The Sound Design will be handled by Wade Wilson of Shrek, Elf and The Ring 2).

When is the expected completion date?
Summer 2006!

Any info at this point about distribution...any interested parties?
We have been hit with a battery of offers and have also talked with Warner Independent, New Market, Lions Gate and a few others. We think we’ve found a deal that is best for the fans---and us---and should have the Domestic Deal in place by the end of the month with the Foreign locked in soon after that.


Ethan: "".

Can you list some films that Sin-Jin Smyth will be like in terms of style and tone?
The tone of this film is DARK and the style behind our shot list and (story) boards follows a more classic, film noir type design…I’m not sure if it’s fit to be compared to anything yet. We should talk about that after the film is cut.

Why is the project shrouded in secrecy?
I would prefer for the surprises we have mapped out to come across on the screen and not in print months before the release.

Can you give away any other plot details other than those which have been released so far?
I can discuss it. The film follows two Federal Marshals who man an isolated Federal Field Station in the Kansas Badlands, one night (over Halloween Weekend) they get an emergency message to cross the border and storm the tiny, quiet farm town of Shin Bone (moments after a tornado warning) in order to move out a mysterious prisoner with no identity! This is set against a Kansas legend that warns of a midnight appearance of the Devil in a quiet Kansas cemetery.

What's this about the producers threatening to publish your criminal record if you didn't supply them with your biography? (is it all in jest?)
That’s the way it goes in this business I guess, (laughs) these people are treacherous! And my biography would only bore you in any event!

What type of movies do you like to watch and do you think we will see any homage’s to said movies in Sin-Jin Smyth?<
I’m not boxed into one type of film, I like just about anything when it’s done well and there have been some impressive films since this developed into an art form…The Wild Bunch, Breaker Morant, The Longest Day, Three Days of the Condor, The Wild Bunch, The Wild Bunch (laughs) Casablanca, The Searchers, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The work of Kurosawa, Wells, John Ford, Walt Disney, Rod Serling, the early work of John Carpenter, James Whale, Sydney Pollack, Lon Chaney, M Curtiz, Apocalypse Now, Downfall, 20,000 Leagues, Once Upon A Time In The West, Psycho, Guns Of Navarone, Jaws, The Train, Double Indemnity, Witness for the Prosecution---just about anything from Wilder---Browning’s Dracula, Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Kubrick’s Paths of Glory and his work on The Shining, Gallipoli, Platoon, the work of Roy William Neil, Richard Lester, Robert Wise, Coppola, Lean, the visual imagery of Ridley Scott, and literature from Robert Louis Stevenson, Washington Irving, Richard Matheson, Cornelius Ryan…

And to answer part two of your question: We’ve got some surprises lined up…for the real fans who know their business.

Can you say what Sin-Jin Smyth is or means? (i'm guessing no)
Sin-Jin Smyth will introduce himself to you once the lights go down and the theatre gets dark!

Is it likely that we would see sequels if the film was a huge hit? (which it's shaping up to be)
There are no designs for a sequel but, if we are fortunate enough to have a hit and a sequel is something the fans wanted, then---we give it to them---because we would have them to thank for any success and we can’t turn our back on them. They are---after all---who we work for!

Finally, what else can we expect to see from you in the near future?
I have been hit with some interesting offers, but I want to keep focused on this film and the job at hand, that’s what the audience expects when they buy a ticket.


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

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