Q&A: Jason London talks “NIGHTWORLD”Books/Art/Culture,News Adam Lee Price
Some may remember the Jason London of the 90’s; Court Foster in THE MAN IN THE MOON, Pink in DAZED AND CONFUSED, or even that dude in those Aerosmith videos. Some may know the Jason London from horror films such as CARRIE 2: THE RAGE, DRACULA II: THE ASCENSION, and DRACULA III: LEGACY. However, no matter which version on London you may know, he’s been around for decades, making waves, both on and off screen.
Now, with 10 films slated to come out in 2017, London’s latest on-screen venture takes him to Sofia, Bulgaria; where he must guard a mysterious house, battle inner demons, and oh yeah, make sure the gates of hell don’t open.
So, over a cup of coffee and between breaks helping his twin brother Jeremy at the family-run London Arts Acting Studio in Ocean Springs Mississippi, London took the time to chat about his new horror/suspense fright flick, NIGHTWORLD.
FANGORIA: How would you describe NIGHTWORLD to those that have yet to see the film?
JASON LONDON: It’s really about a guy trying to find some peace in his life and he ends up in a situation that provides the opposite. In the beginning it’s just this guy who takes a job after his wife has died. A buddy of his tells him about a job opportunity that he can go and be a kind of night guard and make some decent money. So, he takes this job in this interesting and kind of creepy building, and it turns out that there’s a lot more going on there than meets the eye.
FANGORIA: And I’m sure something’s horribly wrong with the building, right?
JASON LONDON: It turns out that in the basement there are all these monitors set up in this room where he’s supposed to just watch for anything. Apparently there’s never been any movement, there’s never been anything, this is just set up as a just-in-case kind of scenario, but they don’t tell my character why. They just tell him to let them know if you see anything all these monitors and let us know immediately. So he’s curious but then, of course, strange things start to happen and the building starts making him a little suspicious as to what’s going on and a little curious as to what’s down below the building and what’s in this area that’s being monitored.
FANGORIA: Does your character find out what’s being monitored?
JASON LONDON: Yes. So, basically one day he finally sees something and it’s sort of this black figure across one of the screens and so he calls the guy in charge he was told to call and they rush over there but they’re still not telling him what’s going on. Then, this strange blind man shows up, Robert [Englund], a mysterious guy who had the same job I have now, he had it for years, and it’s still not telling me what’s going on with this building. Eventually it turns out that he’s sort of guarding one of the gateways to Hell. Apparently, there are three or four of these places around the world and each one of these places have a guardian. I then discover, in the very top penthouse of this building that I’m watching, there’s a very, very, very, old man and he is the guardian of this gate and if he dies the gate will be open…and he dies.
FANGORIA: NIGHTWORLD isn’t like many horror films out in the theaters today. Is that what stood out for you when you read the screenplay?
JASON LONDON: What’s great about this movie, to me it’s a throwback to the old horror movies especially old horror novels like FRANKENSTEIN or DRACULA. The anticipation of the monster is the tension in the movie or in the book, the anticipation of it rather than jumping off the gate versus seeing something bad happening. What you do is get to experience something in that old fashioned way the entire movie the intention of what could be and then the result of what happens and it happens more towards the end of the movie. To me, I really did appreciate it and it did remind me more of the fear of Frankenstein and describing the monster but you don’t see him for a very long time. It’s almost like JAWS, you hear the music through the whole movie and then you finally get the shark at the end. NIGHTWORLD does away with the modern version of horror films that scare you from right out of the gate and it lures you in through suspense, right up to the terrifying finale.
FANGORIA: Is the film more suspenseful than bloody?
JASON LONDON: Oh god it gets bloody; it goes from like zero to bloody. There were a few days where I was stained red for a couple days.
FANGORIA: Suspense and blood aside, it seems that the horror elements throughout the film stem from both psychological and paranormal fears. For you what, which is most terrifying?
JASON LONDON: Psychological. It’s certainly more terrifying to me personally. My character is dealing with basically having witnessed his wife commit suicide right in front of him so he’s dealing with some pretty dark issues; not having an understanding of what happened to his wife or why she did it or what went wrong. So, for him it’s about when he takes his job he’s just trying to start his life over and start something new and the last thing he needs is, well, the gateway to Hell.
FANGORIA: So, was it the physiological elements of your character that attracted you to this role?
JASON LONDON: It was one of those rolls that I felt like when I read it I wanted to play it, so lets do it. I’ve had quite the dramatic life myself personally off screen and to work on some psychological and emotional things that I’ve dealt with him my own personal life and get to exorcise those demons on-screen is an incredible gift. It is an incredible kind of therapy especially when you have people around you that are supporting you in doing so it really makes everything okay again. I think that’s why I felt safe while I was there and I feel like that’s why the little kid in me didn’t want to leave. I felt protected there.
FANGORIA: So, the film was shot entirely on location in Sofia, Bulgaria. What was that experience like, working with an entirely international crew?
JASON LONDON: This is what I’ll say, the Bulgarian crew was one of the greatest crews I’ve ever worked with. One of the hardest working, knowledgeable, talented, dedicated, and tight group of people I’ve ever met. No one fights with each other, everyone gets along, everyone’s there to assist and help each other, and it was so refreshing. It was one of the greatest experiences I’ve had. Let’s put it this way, I’m so used to wrapping films and leaving and knowing that I’ll probably work with people again, I don’t get sad anymore. But I cried like a baby when we wrapped, I didn’t want to leave and I didn’t want it to be over. I just wanted to stay in Bulgaria and keep filming. It was an experience I didn’t want to end.
FANGORIA: Was the language barrier every an issue?
JASON LONDON: The great thing on the set was our assistant director was a guy named Todor Chapkanov and he’s actually a great director himself. I’ve done a few sci-fi movies with him as the director in Louisiana over the last several years and it turned out that when I got to go Bulgaria, he was our assistant director. So I had a dear friend of mine as my assistant director and he speaks English perfectly and Bulgarian, so we didn’t have to worry about any sort of language barriers at all. There was always someone there that spoke English.
FANGORIA: Did shooting on location add to the suspense or look of the film while in production?
JASON LONDON: Just the look and weathering moodiness of Bulgaria will certainly add some texture and some layers to it but it’s the kind of movie that could probably have been done anywhere and still have the same effect. But there always is something a little bit more mysterious about a place that Americans aren’t that aware of like Bulgaria. When some people think of Bulgaria they see it as some third world, Russian-adopted step-child, that it’s sort of Easternized, but it’s not that way at all. It’s a very Westernized place. In fact the people that I knew and the young people that I met were more technologically advanced than most Americans I know. They are very into the American culture while maintaining their own Bulgarian culture but it is very westernized there. I made really good friends with a lot of people including some local musicians and seeing live music in a club there felt like you were in Los Angeles or in New York. I felt very comfortable there.
FANGORIA: Now that NIGHTWORLD is getting ready for a mid 2017 release date, based on its success, do you think there will there be a chance for a sequel?
JASON LONDON: I sure hope so. It’s the kind of setup where is perfect for multiple movies because of the idea that there’s multiple gateways. I hope that it’s received, well enough that we’re able to figure out what the sequel might be and make the sequel. We were talking about making a sequel the entire time we were there. We just kept coming up with ideas and what if this character dies can he come back, or what if this character dies can he come back?
FANGORIA: So, what’s next for you in 2017 and beyond?
JASON LONDON: I’m trying to transition into directing and producing and I have an opportunity to work with Lifetime. I have a friend who’s done some Lifetime movies and he asked me what I wanted to do. I said, for my first feature, as a director, I don’t want to do a creature feature. So he said, “Well what about one of these lifetime films.” I said, “Great, I’ll do one. I’d be glad to direct a female drama,” I’ve been around a lot of females, and a lot of drama my whole life.
FANGORIA: One last question; your co-star in the film is the legendary Robert Englund. What was it like working with such an icon in the horror industry?
JASON LONDON: Robert Englund was the life of the party. Everyone was so excited to meet him and you’re always a little nervous to meet Freddy Krueger and then you meet Robert Englund. He’s talkative, wonderful, kind, full of love and just never stops telling stories. You actually have to get him to calm down. Loris Curci has quite the relationship with him. They’ve worked together often, so Loris is very good with him. He’d say, “Robert, we gotta shoot, you’ve gotta stop telling those stories.” I would just say, that knowing “Uncle” Robert is like I have a friend for life. And it was funny, my last name is London, his last name, Englund, so we had this London/Englund joint and we want to do as many London/Englund joints as we can. We really did have such a wonderful chemistry and we both have a lot of respect for each other and he was so supportive of me. You know, when you do a film you hope that you leave you’ve made at least one lifelong friend and on this one, I’ve made a dozen. That’s why this project was so special to me.
We’ll continue our coverage on NIGHTWORLD with none other than Robert Englund and his experiences playing a blind man who’s more-than-meets-the-eye. In the mean time, check out the trailer for NIGHTWORLD below!