Madeleine Koestner is a writer, filmmaker and performer. She plays a ukulele and sings songs about ghosts in small venues in New York City. She likes beer, synthesizers and movies about death games. Sometimes Madeleine does special FX makeup and gore for low-budget horror movies. You can follow her on twitter @DVDBoxSet, but do so at your own risk, as she’s really weird and inappropriate.
Q&A: Josh Waller, Zoe Bell & Nacho Vigalondo talk “CAMINO”Movies/TV,News Madeleine Koestner
The best way to see a film is with the filmmakers in attendance, and if you’re lucky enough to attend FANGO’s upcoming NYC screening of CAMINO, you’ll see what we mean. When that film is a bloody, wild ride like CAMINO, then you’re guaranteed to have one hell of a time. A who’s who of familiar genre faces, CAMINO is the latest project from Spectrevision partner and director of RAZE, Josh Waller. Waller teams up again with Zoe Bell (DEATH PROOF), the most badass stunt-woman-turned-leading-actress on earth and they are joined by genre favorite and notorious party animal Nacho Vigalondo (TIMECRIMES).
Hitting theaters on March 4th and VOD on March 8th, CAMINO stars Bell as photojournalist Avery Taggert who has been given the opportunity to travel with a group of missionaries in the Colombian jungle and document their exploits. Tensions build between Avery and the group’s cult-like leader, Guillermo (Vigalondo), and when she captures something she was not meant to see on film, she realizes her life is in serious danger. FANGORIA sat down back at Fantastic Fest 2015 to chat with the director and the two stars of this tense thriller.
FANGORIA: What’s it like being able to make films with your friends? Clearly you guys have an amazing bond and love being around one another.
NACHO VIGALONDO: Zoe wasn’t always my friend! She became my friend when we worked together; now we are best friends! We can share a house for a whole week without having any conflict; that’s important.
JOSH WALLER: I’m pretty friendly on set, but I can be a bit intense sometimes. I can get tunnel vision with my eye on the prize sometimes, but it comes in handy when you have friends around. We’ve known each other for so long, Zoe or Nacho can pull me aside and say [doing a Nacho impression] “You are being an asshole right now!”
FANGORIA: Having those relationships must have been helpful; it sounded like this project came together in a matter of minutes.
WALLER: It did. Everything happened over phone calls, and all the phone calls were pretty much the same. For Zoe, I called and told her the story: “So this guy, Avery Taggert, he’s a photographer…” and she heard the whole thing and asked —
ZOE BELL: “What if he was a she?!”
WALLER: And that’s why I was calling you! And the same thing with Nacho, and Sheila Vand (A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT) was the same way. I asked: “What are you doing tomorrow? Want to go to Hawaii?”
FANGORIA: CAMINO is an ensemble piece of people we’ve been seeing in indie genre for the last two years, and it’s amazing you were able to gather all those people together. How long was it from the inception of the film, to being there, and making it?
WALLER: AFM [the American Film Market] was last November. We wrote the script on Saturday and Sunday, and on Wednesday, we sold it at AFM. And we were in production in Hawaii on January 3rd.
BELL: The first time you spoke to me was just before that.
WALLER: Yeah, it was just an idea then… I went to Hawaii on December 5th and was prepping through the holidays there. We were just trying to hit this window where Zoe was available because she had been in Telluride training for HATEFUL EIGHT. She was going to be called to set in February. We were like, “let’s make this happen.” She ended up getting called in early anyhow; it was difficult.
We were flying Nacho from Spain and all the actors from everywhere to Hawaii in between Christmas and New Year’s, the busiest time in Hawaii. Every hotel was booked, every Airbnb was booked. Ultimately it worked out. That New Year’s was one of the most memorable New Year’s Eves of my life. All of us out in the ocean, under a full moon at midnight, passing around a bottle of Jameson, Nacho with a sombrero on his head. [all laugh]
FANGORIA: So you’ve having this amazing time in Hawaii, but then you’re making this incredibly dark, violent movie.
BELL: I just saw the film for the first time yesterday, and thought, “Wow, this shit is DARK!” To be honest, I feel it was symbiotic. Shit was intense; logistically, our shoot was intense. The product we were creating was intense. Then we would go home, we were all living in the same house, and our relief was intense. Everything fed off everything else. I never walked off set and felt, “Oh god, now I have to shift into the real world.”
One of my favorite things about this film was working with this cast. I was honored, every day, to be surrounded by these professionals. And not just professionals — people who know how to be good people, and know how to be brilliant actors. Those two things don’t always go hand in hand!
FANGORIA: You get the chance to be so cool on screen, but Josh is always beating the shit out of your characters!
WALLER: But she always wins.
BELL: I think if getting beat up leads my character to be somewhere emotionally deep and profound, that’s what he loves.
WALLER: That applies to anything. Again, even though this is not a Spectrevision film, the same principle applies. I don’t have any desire to make films purely for exploitative means. If there’s going to be gore in a movie, it needs to be there to drive the story forward. If there’s going to be nudity, it shouldn’t be nudity for nudity’s sake.
BELL: I wanted to do the whole movie naked, and he wouldn’t let me! [all laugh]
FANGORIA: And Nacho, you’re usually in the director’s chair, but in this film you get the chance to be totally unhinged and terrifying on screen.
BELL: Right, and that’s so unlike him. [laughs]
VIGALONDO: I was scared to be this creepy character. They told me just be yourself! [laughs] I was scared until halfway into shooting, but I stopped, not because I felt I was doing it right, but because I knew I had these guys behind me and that meant I had to be doing it well.
BELL: Yeah, like, I must be doing okay if I’m surrounded by these people. We had one moment where we were doing a scene where Avery is peeing, and Guillermo is apparently not watching. We sat down and talked to each other about our characters, and Nacho says: “It is so weird, I feel no connection from you!” and I thought, “oh god, that’s terrible, as an actor, am I not present?” And Nacho responds, “No! Avery! I don’t think she likes Guillermo!” And I was thrilled! In real life, he and I became best friends so quickly, but our characters are the opposite.
VIGALONDO: Our lack of chemistry on screen was perfect!
FANGORIA: Another thing that is very compelling about the film is Avery’s photography. The photos are really interesting to look at. Where did they come from?
WALLER: It depends on which ones. Zoriah Miller is a friend of mine from back in New York in the late ‘90s. Zoriah used to be a massive electronic DJ, and he got tired of DJing and decided to become a war photographer. He’s become one of the most prominent war photographers in the world, and he’s one of the people responsible for there being wartime censorship, due to photographs he took of dead marines during the war in Iraq.
VIGALONDO: And he’s very hot!
BELL: Did you just say he’s hot?
WALLER: [laughs] Yes, he’s very good looking. In the opening of the film, those are all actual photographs that Zoriah took of children and victims of genocide. That’s why at the end of the film we say it is dedicated to the victims in the photographs. Throughout the film, it’s mostly Zoriah’s work. Some additional photographs were taken by Noah Greenberg, the cinematographer.
FANGORIA: And the photograph, the incendiary photograph that the film is really about is terrifying to look at. It gave me chills.
WALLER: We obviously messed with that picture a bit. We made it black and white, and tweaked the contrast. Our editor, Brett Bachman, is just brilliant in everything; he edited COOTIES for us, his first feature job was editing RAZE.
BELL: He’s part of the family.
WALLER: We were sitting in the house in Hawaii and messing with that image slightly. I asked him to fill in some of his pupils, and take his mouth down, add blood underneath. We wanted to manipulate the image just enough to be realistic, but also enough so that it actually felt like horror. This is also why, for the score [Composer] Pepijn and I really pushed a strong, horror presence in the instrumentation. It’s not quite PSYCHO, but there is a horror aspect to it. They emerge out of the water, and it’s no longer action movie music. It feels like something Bernard Herrmann scored with a Theremin.
Pepijn scored 74 minutes of original music in three weeks. He was doing six to ten minutes of original music a day. He’s in Belgium, so we had a daily Skype at 10 a.m. every single day, he sent the cues while I was sleeping. I’d listen, give him notes, and then he’d go right back to work.
FANGORIA: Does anyone have any upcoming projects they want to mention for the readers?
VIGALONDO: COLOSSAL! It is so unprofessional that I am here right now; I am deep in pre-production.
WALLER: He’s shooting COLOSSAL in three weeks. We have BAD VIBES coming up, and we just announced our Richard Stanley project, which is COLOR OUT OF SPACE. Zoe, what about you? Oh, besides HATEFUL EIGHT! [laughs]
BELL: I got this movie called CAMINO that is coming out soon! And I produced a short film last weekend and I’m starring in it, it’s called NO TOUCHING.
WALLER: It’s two of the best stunt women in the world, she and Heidi Moneymaker, whose husband directed JOHN WICK. They worked together to make this film. They play two best friends, two badass girls, who go to a haunted house type thing, and the people in the haunted house start touching them. And you’re not supposed to touch in those things, so they touch back.
CAMINO hits theaters on March 4th and VOD on March 8th from XLrator Media. FANGORIA fans in the NYC Area can attend our FREE screening of CAMINO on Monday, Februry 29th by RSVPing HERE.