Wednesday 18 October 2017

Interview with Marshal Hilton - Star of Bunnyman Vengeance

Actor Marshal Hilton (Beetleborgs Metallix, EP/Executive Protection) talks about his newest film, Bunnyman Vengeance, as well as favorite roles, upcoming roles and why he’s not that big of a horror fan himself.

Having spent so much time in the horror realm in recent years, I imagine you must be a fan?

It’s safe to say that I’ve seen my share of fake blood and body parts  Actually, I am not a Horror Genre fan in the true sense of the word. Getting the shit scared out of myself is not my idea of a good time. I’m a puss like that. I don’t watch them. It’s a completely different beast when you’re working on one. You know the gag so its not all that. And then there is the issue of whether or not as an actor I want to deliver the level of evil required. As I’ve gotten older I’ve developed a sense of conscious I guess. I really try to live in a character when I do the work. The deep dark thoughts and twisted imagination can really grind you down. I feel like I’ve explored as much of that as I want to look at. Some actors are able to separate themselves from the work. To me “Evil” characters require allowing evil thoughts to inhabit your head. Now, there’s a difference between “Suspense” and “Horror”. Depending on the character, I have a difficult time carrying around the level of darkness required in a true blood and guts Horror film. I prefer stories where there is the suspense, the fear of getting hacked, rather than seeing the actual hacking  That imagery haunts my sleep, and I do enjoy my sleep.     

Is there a role folks recognize you for the most?

I varies really. I’m always caught off guard when someone gives you that curious, contemplating look of familiarity, but they’re still not certain?  It’s odd. It’s like watching a hard drive searching for data. Sometimes they get it, and other times they can’t find it.

Then there’s the person who bum-rushes you and says “Dude, Why didn’t you just shoot that f’ing giant evil Bunny?” lol

It’s very unpredictable and always catches me by surprise.

Which of your man roles is your favorite?

I look at every character as a unique autonomous being. Everything I thought about the character and felt about the character has been explored. He then goes to the audience and they get to experience the character and come up with their own ideas about him. At the time of creation he’s absolutely my “favorite”, and then he’s is finished.

I’ll give you the long answer first. “Favorite” implies that when the film is finished, I sit down and watch the work, compare the work to other things I’ve done, and then form an opinion of the work. I just can’t do that. One, I absolutely hate watching myself. It’s horrifying. All I see is an aging face and a big nose, that’s it! Two, the Ego judges and protects the self. I really don’t want to question my creative instincts through an Ego whose job is to protect my fragile sense of self worth. Acting is about stripping away any sense of safety. People want to see pretty and ugly, a visceral real person with all its flaws. If I watch the work I start to self edit my instincts.

I think you have to treat every opportunity like it’s your favorite. Otherwise, that means you’re giving one project more energy and time than the previous job, or the next job. And you just can’t do that because for all you know, every opportunity you get could be your last job ever. “Favorite” implies that I lied some more than others. These days I prefer to measure favorite against personal growth. Did I learn something new as a craftsman? Did I learn new something about myself? Did I really challenge myself? Was I able to help those who hired me to tell their story in an interesting way? Did I help my fellow cast members and the crew to do their best work? Did a gain the respect and support of my colleagues? The relationships you forge in this business can carry you when things seem bleak. The less I worry about “me”, or a “Big Break” or my “favorite” the more I am able to remain cantered and focused on the work. It should always come back to “The Work”.

Here’s the short answer. At this moment Sheriff Clint Baxter is my absolute favorite.

But this guy will be my upcoming favorite early next year because he’s going to out there for the world to see in early 2018.

The film is titled “Primal Rage “Primal Rage” (formerly “Primal Rage, the Legend of Oh-Mah”) that we shot in the forests of Northern California and Oregon. It’s directed and created by Practical FX Master Patrick Magee. Patrick is a genre veteran that has worked in the trenches of independent film for many years. As a collaborator, he get’s it. He was a gracious and caring host. The cast and crew was a terrific bunch of team players. We hiked and ran around out in the forest for several weeks. It was one of the more enjoyable shoots I’ve been on in many years. Although I generally do not watch my work in public, I did watch a private screening of the film. It’s done really well. It’s most definitely a Theater experience film. Stunning forest visuals, action, suspense and a thundering sound track. It’s an intense experience. The best description I can give you is, think Arnold’s “Predator”, in the deep forest, with angry fur and carnage. I’m confident in saying that the legend of Bigfoot will never again be seen in the same light. It’s going to have Theatrical Release in early 2018. There’s a teaser trailer for the film on YouTube.

You can follow me, or the film, on social media to stay tuned as to the exact dates.

Could you relate to Clint in the Bunnyman films?

Well, Baxter didn’t like Idiots. Sheriff Baxter was a suspicious fellow and wasn’t an overly happy, outgoing soul. He didn’t take to fools kindly. I believe that we insufferably share these characteristics 

Anything you found difficult to film in the latest flick?

The stunt we shot for one of Baxter’s scenes was a bit dicey. Without giving up too much, whenever you deal with the hood of a moving truck on an old dusty road, and a psycho dude in a giant blood covered bunny suit, all bets are off the table.

Tell us about Carl Lindbergh. Collaborative?

Carl is a creative freak. And I say that in the most loving and respectful way. His imagination is a scary and very odd place. The stuff that runs amuck in his head is frightening. Its funny, but most of the guys that I’ve met that delve into the dark depravity of genre films have been some of the most unassuming and quiet people you’ll ever meet. Don’t get me wrong, Carl is strong willed and has a definitive opinion on things, but you’d never suspect that while shaking his hand a seeing his smile, that deep within lays an unfiltered distorted imagination.

I have another Script that he wrote called “Blood Angel”, about a time traveling Nazi named “Icarus” that has landed back on earth in search of his genetic offspring, as he attempts to recreate his bloody version of the 3rd Reich. I’m attached to the film playing an older, skeptical, grizzled Detective that’s trying to figure out how to protected the young girl at the heart of the story. It’s a crazy psychological time travel dream-like story in its Steam Punk Industrial vision. It’s so gnarly and poetic in its spirit. It’s very unique and I can’t wait to get working on it. 

How does working for TV differ from film?

In my opinion it’s the speed of production and the shortness of scenes in the story telling process. Traditionally, Episodic TV is about telling a very short narrative in a series of small moments. Every character in an Episodic Series has two arches: a Series Arch, and then an Episode Arch. The creative process is really tight, there’s not a lot of time to wander through storylines.

Cable Episodic has changed the story telling landscape quite a bit over the last few years. The types of stories can be harder, darker and more explicit. They feel like they are more of a long form story arch, where character development is of more importance than a quickly buttoned up episode filled with commercial advertising. I’m a big fan of what AMC has been producing over the last few years. They get it.

Film is what I call a Long Form One Off. To me it’s still the most freely creative medium. It’s continuous with no commercials. You’re kept for the ride uninterrupted. It’s also the place where artists can challenge conservative corporate convention. Filmmakers are able to tackle stories and do battle with the studios on battlefields that they are unwilling, and unprepared, to do battle; stories driven by corporate advertising decisions and shareholders, verses stories driven by a passionate artistic voice. It’s the never-ending battle between economics and art.

In my opinion, I think that is why you’re seeing better quality Television these days. Much of work that paid well in Feature Films in years past has disappeared for all but a very small group. Digital Distribution completely changed the traditional model. There is a lot of high visibility, established “A List” actors now moving over to television because that is where the money has landed. But I think what happened is that many of them forced the Writers and Producers of television content to up their game. The film actors were used to working on characters and stories that were deeper in their character and story development. I think that they and their Reps demanded a higher quality of writing and story development.

The quality of shows now running throughout Cable, Streaming and VOD platforms has gotten really good. Cable and its creative independent nature offered Writers and Actors the latitude to explore more complex stories without the glaring hand of corporate conservative censorship. We now have the availability to create content for a niche and don’t have to worry about the whole. If you can capture a niche that is passionate and has viewing numbers, you can create what they want at slightly lower budgets, and that in turn requires fewer advertiser commitments needed to support the production. It always comes town to money. If the advertisers like your numbers and demographics they will buy enough for you to keep the show running. 

Having done so much horror, do you see yourself having a panel or a booth at Comic Con, or one of these large conventions, one day?

Perhaps one day, but its not high on my list at the moment. I’m not real comfortable in mob crowds. I’ve been to Comic Con in San Diego several times, and Stan Lees’ Comickaze in LA a couple of times in support of films. It’s just too loud and packed with humanity for my liking.

I’ve been doing the Powermorphicon Convention in Pasadena since its inception. It’s a gathering of all the shows that were on the Fox Kids Network: ( Power Rangers, Beetleborgs, VR Troopers ect. ) I was one of the Series Regular Co-Stars on Beetleborgs Metallix back in 1997-98’. The Convention has been getting bigger and bigger every year. I think they had over 30,000 people at the last one. I actually look forward to the event. They give me a booth and its actually fun to meet and greet the fans of the shows from back then.

One of the issues I have with the convention racket is charging fans money for swag. It doesn’t feel right to me. It just feels like we are pushing the exploitation down to the consumer, the fans that make the shows successful. We get paid to do the show because they pay a service provider so they can watch the show. I know they are “fans”, and that we mean something to them in their lives, it’s a wonderful feeling to know that they are passionate with their support. I get it. But I feel like they’ve already paid us. Some of these folks save money for an entire year to give it to us in trade for a piece of swag. It makes feel guilty, like I’m being opportunistic. Whenever I have charged for swag that cost me more than lets say an 8 x 10 photo, I always donate the proceeds to charity. I usually just sign a photo for no charge and just give it to them. You should see their smile. They’re like “No Way?” That’s the smile that makes it all worth it. They never forget that you gave it to them. I think that’s the difference between Brand Building, and Brand Buying, one creates fans, and one exploits fans. Fans are the engines that keep everything running. They are the audience that the marketers are willing to pay advertising fees to reach with their products. Those fees keep the shows on the air. I just don’t feel like baingin on them for $30 for a signature. That’s my take it.

You can follow me on my various Social Media platforms to keep tabs on what’s happening in my little piece of the world

Thanks for having me!

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BUNNYMAN VENGEANCE is released on VOD this October via Uncork’d Entertainment