Christopher Farley, Alycia Tracy, and Aaron Leddick talk “THE ALIENATORS”Home,Movies/TV,News Adam Lee Price
I find myself looking at the “box art” of a film online and saying to myself, “what the hell is this about?” Actually, I do that often. Well, I did that with the film THE ALIENATORS. Now, even though I wasn’t sure what it is I was getting myself into, I checked out the film anyway. Well, I must say, it was well worth the watch.
THE ALIENATORS, directed by Christopher Farley, and starring Derek Reckley, Alycia Tracy, and Aaron Leddick, is a mocumentary that follows two Ufologists (Reckley and Leddick), those who study U.F.O.’s, and their investigation of a woman (Alycia Tracy), who claims that extraterrestrials are watching her. This alien abduction, science-fiction comedy really changed my point of view, no pun intended, on the hand held/documentary style filmmaking, still happening. From the fun, and often over-the-top characters, to the “reel” feel of the film, THE ALIENATORS is absolutely a film to check out.
Now, after the release of their film, Christopher Farley, Alycia Tracy, and Aaron Leddick took some time to talk about the project and what it was like getting arrested during a rehearsal; that’s right, arrested. Check out our conversation and find out why.
FANGORIA: So, Chris, why U.F.O.’s?
CHRISTOPHER FARLEY: I’ve been interested in the UFO phenomena for a while. I watched all those documentaries growing up. And, there are always these weird characters, but their boring. I wanted to turn that whole thing on its head, and tell that same story with different people. I thought it would be more fun and more interesting and more original and that’s what I’m always striving for; new things in an original way.
FANGORIA: As a fan, did you have to do a lot of research for this film?
CHRISTOPHER FARLEY: I read a lot of books. There is one hypno-therapist out there called David Jacobs who has several books, there is Bud Hopkins, Whitney Strieber; all these guys out there that are famous in this world. I listened to a lot of Coast to Coast episodes. There is a lot of bullshit out there, obviously, but, I wanted to the do the research and sort of pick out what seemed legit. The consistent things were: you have your spaceship; you’ve got the blue light, or blue energy, which is consistent. I wanted someone that is also interested in this to watch this movie and say,” all this stuff, this is right on.”
FANGORIA: I think that one of the things that stands out the most are the characters in the film. Chris, where did the characters come from? And Alycia and Aaron, what was it about the characters that you connected with?
CHRISTOPHER FARLEY: The characters came from pieces of people that I know, and pieces of them are in me as well.
ALYCIA TRACY: When I read the script, I felt like Jess was probably the one character we knew the least about. Everybody else, you kind of knew where they were coming from and what their quirks where and what their story was. I approached it from the point of view that I think we all understand to a certain degree, depression, isolation and for a lack of a better word, alienation. Feeling like you’re not quite right in this world, and loneliness.
AARON LEDDICK: Good or bad, this character is actually a lot like me. I identified with Skot very quickly, because in a lot of ways he’s got a very strong desire for everyone to get along and connect. But a lot of research and studying was done to make it appear like I knew what I was talking about. And I don’t swear that much in my daily life and I’m not a very crass individual. Following Vic around, those cringes are pretty authentic. And something cool happened, initially, about 90% to 95% of the movie I was going to be behind the camera. That’s how it was written at first.
CHRISTOPHER FARLEY: I had not met Aaron before this and he proved to be this great actor and I wanted to use him more because he was so good. He became this character. Just the way he took over the character of Skot was so much fun that I really wanted him to be seen more.
FANGORIA: Now, Derek Reckley who played Vic, and Erika Johnson who played Felinda, couldn’t join us today, but how did they snag a role in the film?
CHRISTOPHER FARLEY: So, when I wrote the script I had a guy in mind; big bushy beard, a little overweight, obnoxious. I remember watching an ATT commercial with these two guys on a ski lift. I forget that it was about but one guy grabs the other guy’s phone and chucks it. And the guy that did that looked exactly like the guy in my head. It was uncanny. I googled “ATT commercial guy in ski lift”, but there was nothing about him. But I found this obscure little podcast where someone interviewed this guy named Derek and it had a link to his Facebook page, which I went to and I messaged him. I said “hey I wrote this movie for you and look at the script”. So he contacted me back and said “cool, let me read it” and we got together and he read it and he was the perfect fit for it.
ALYCIA TRACY: Eirka Bernard who plays Felinda, I thought immediately of her. We did a few casting sessions after her because we were trying to get the look just right. So, I made sure Erica came in for those auditions. I think she walked in and sailed! And Chris was like “I’m done, that’s it!”
FANGORIA: Well, you nailed it with casting.
CHRISTOPHER FARLEY: You know, when you’re making a movie and when you’re casting, the ultimate goal is to have what is called “zero casting”. Aaron you can maybe explain that better than me.
AARON LEDDICK: Zero casting is where someone walks in a room and you know exactly what they are going to deliver. They are not putting on any character. They are just themselves, existing; that’s all they want. They don’t want any body doing a thing or putting on a character. They want that person to walk in the room and be as simple as possible, and that’s zero casting.
ALYCIA TRACY: That’s why making any decent movie is 90% casting. We see that all the time in Hollywood. If you don’t have the casting right, it’s just off. I think all of those combined really helped unify this as a whole piece.
FANGORIA: Stylistically, were there any major challenges while shooting?
ALIYCIA TRACY: One of the great things, because it’s shot documentary style; we have these really long scenes. We all just worked together and approached it in that vein so we could get the long scenes done from beginning to end, and then not cut away.
AARON LEDDICK: I would definitely share that sentiment, that the long takes really aided in telling a certain story where the camera is a character and is a part of it, but it’s not a cheap use of it. The other thing is, the characters that we brought; as zany and outlandish as each of them there where, there’s a life to them. There is a depth to them.
CHRISTOPHER FARLEY: And we were very particular on what it would like on the screen and our DP was steady as a rock. I think when we were working on our blocking, we wanted to make it interesting, but didn’t want to do that seasick cam. We were very intent to not make it look like that. And what was cool about this movie was that we basically shot the bulk of it in two weeks. We were in a cabin, there were eight of us total, with crew and cast, and we just became this really fun family and I think we all fell in love with the characters in the story and the movie.
FANGORIA: It did look like you all had a great time shooting the film; any fun or hijinks off camera?
AARON LEDDICK: I had been arrested and as a direct result of this movie.
AARON LEDDICK: So, Chris and I are holding a microphone in his backyard just recording stuff that I would be saying when I’m behind the camera; all the craziness we are just going to add in and all the one-liners. “Oh no! Here they come! What is that?! We’re going to die! I’m freaking out.” Stuff like that.
CHRISTOPHER FARLEY: He’s yelling at the top of his lungs and it’s only about 8pm.
AARON LEDDICK: All of the sudden from this gate we hear, “Hey you! LAPD, get over here!” So, my gut reaction was “ok, it’s the police let’s go check out what they want and talk to them and sort it all out.” Chris’s reaction was “you guys get out of here,” and I’m sure there were a couple of expletives added in there, for sure. So, they are finally like, “Get up here. We want to talk to you!,” and I’m like “Chris, do what they say. Let’s go up there.” We finally start waking up to where they are and we come around the corner and through the gate you see two guys in full swat gear with assault rifles pointed at us. So, I just immediately just started freaking out even more because it’s the first time I’ve ever had a gun pointed at me. When I open the gate they are there with the guns and they back away really fast, like they are about to shoot us.
CHRISTOPHER FARLEY: They grab us and put us on our knees, and separate us. Hands behind our backs and they handcuff us. And I’m sitting there the whole time going, “You idiots. I can’t effing believe this. What the hell going on!” Go ahead Aaron, the best part is coming.
AARON LEDDICK: So, they’re talking to us and in a moment, a team of ten swat guys come running up the street, towards us. And we are just sitting there. Right at that moment a helicopter comes across the horizon. There is a spotlight on us. Of course all the neighbors come out and are looking. It’s just insane and such a huge waste of taxpayer money.
ALYCIA TRACY: The best part of it is the compliment that Aaron got from the Sergeant.
AARON LEDDICK: Right at the end, the main Deputy Sergeant finally gets there and he walks up to find out what occurred. He’s like “Oh, so it’s a couple of actors.” And they are like “yeah just some actors.” He says “man, must have been some really good acting.”
FANGORIA: So what’s next for the three of you?
CHRISTOPHER FARLEY: There have been some companies who might be interested in developing it into a series. I do think there is a lot to explore with each of these characters that I think would be a lot of fun. I also have a couple of horror movies in the works, and there’s a family film. It’s just a matter of getting all the pieces together to get them off the ground.
ALYCIA TRACY: Acting wise, and writing wise, I’m helping another friend of mine who has a very interesting web show. I’ve written a script for them and probably will be directing the episode as well, which I’ve never done before, so it should be fun.
AARON LEDDICK: My wife and I actually just shot a web series about an Irish brother and sister who are submitting to a cooking show for the food network and craziness ensues. I’ve also got an independent drama that should be released sometime later this year.
FANGORIA: Looking back at the experience, any final thoughts you’d like to share? Other than being arrested.
ALYCIA TRACY: I knew what the risk was in doing something so different. In particular, with this genre and it really did take a unique approach to this genre and this subject matter. I think it pays off beautifully in the end, particularly in the last 10-15 minutes of the film. That footage, for me, is what makes the whole movie, and the whole reason to watch it.
CHRISTOPHER FARLEY: The one thing I think about this movie that we’ve all experienced now is, some people don’t’ like it and some people do. What I find interesting in this day and age we are dealing with so many sequels and reboots and the same story told over and over again. I wanted to break free from those overused troupes we see all the time.
AARON LEDDICK: They said it all. It was great. I had a blast being a part of it. I would love to do more with these kids.
FANGORIA: And one last note; the song at the end of the movie, where the hell did it come from? It was hysterical.
CHRISTOPHER FARLEY: The song was done by John Konesky who is a guitarist for Tenacious D wrote that song. He had done something on a local radio station and I contacted him. We wanted to do something. I said I needed an end credit song. He asked “what kind of song do you want?” I just said “Can you make something out of fucking aliens took my girlfriend.” I said it just needs to start off with “Fuck You.”
Check out this clip from the film below and click HERE to see the movie on iTunes.