Q&A: Mark Jones talks “SCORNED,” the new “LEPRECHAUN” and “VAMPRICHAUN”!
Screenwriter and director Mark Jones is best known for spawning the LEPRECHAUN franchise, which is notorious for polarizing audiences—including genre fans. His new flick SCORNED (on DVD and Blu-ray from Anchor Bay) features no mischievous sprites, but instead EXCISION’s AnnaLynne McCord as Sadie, a demented young woman seeking vengeance on her unfaithful lover (Billy Zane) after a would-be romantic getaway weekend turns sour.
FANGORIA chatted with Jones about the making of SCORNED, and also got his thoughts on the upcoming reboot LEPRECHAUN: ORIGINS (in which he is not involved) as well as his plans for his own new horror/comedy series starter: VAMPRICHAUN.
FANGORIA: Tell us what SCORNED is about.
MARK JONES: It’s a revenge thriller—I like to think it’s along the lines of MISERY meets FATAL ATTRACTION, but contemporary and with young people.
FANG: You co-wrote this film with actress Sadie Katz (who co-starred in last year’s horror flick HOUSE OF BAD); can you talk about SCORNED’s conception and what the writing process was like?
JONES: I’ve known Sadie for 10 years; we’d commiserate about different relationships, and we just started talking about friends who have been caught cheating via their text messages. I thought, “You know, that would be an interesting movie,” so we sat down and started to write it. I wanted to have fun—I never take any of my movies too seriously, even though critics tend to. I don’t understand why people don’t see these films for what they are, which is fun and simple at times. We wrote the script quickly and got a deal to make it—Anchor Bay came on board, and everything happened very fast. We shot in Ohio, because they have a terrific tax credit there that helped us.
FANG: How long did it take you to shoot?
JONES: We shot for about 20 days, but in Ohio, it’s not 12-hour nights like they are in California. When we filmed in the summer, we had maybe eight hours of night, so our schedule was vastly reduced; it was actually a really tough shoot. We did it under a lot of stress, but because I had a bunch of great people and incredible actors, we were able to pull it off. That’s the thing no one ever talks about—the obstacles you have to go through to make a movie. Everybody loves to criticize what did and didn’t go right, and I say, “If you guys had been there…” We should get an Academy Award for making this movie! But nobody cares about that.
FANG: Aside from the short nights, what other struggles did you endure while shooting?
JONES: Besides getting up in the morning [laughs]? Honestly, [the cast] was wonderful. They were a big part of getting through this thing. It’s very tough to get movies made on smaller budgets and without a lot of time; every day was a struggle. Filmmaking is a battle. You’re put out into a territory and all these enemies come at you, and you have to kill them all to survive. We did, but it wasn’t easy for the actors. But for the most part, I’m very happy with the movie. If you look at it with the right perspective, I think you’ll get it.
FANG: What differences can you cite between this film and the others you’ve directed?
JONES: Quite a few. This was the first picture I’ve shot digitally—we used the Alexa, a top-of-the-line camera—after filming all my other features on 35mm. Also, the first LEPRECHAUN is a horror/comedy, and RUMPELSTILTSKIN is similar; this is more of a straight thriller. It inadvertently has some comedy; [McCord’s] character is so twisted that there are lines you laugh at, but it’s more of an adult movie. In the past, I’ve done a lot of monsters and used plenty of prosthetics, which means waiting three or four hours for the makeup to be done. It was wonderful to have an actor go into a trailer and come out 15 minutes later. SCORNED is more of a character piece; AnnaLynne brought a lot of dimension to her character. I felt it was probably the time to do this film so I’m not just known for monsters, though I will go back to them.
FANG: How was it working with McCord?
JONES: You’d never believe how professional and studious she is. I wish I could take more credit for her performance as a director; she knows how to act. All actors are crazy—I just lost my actor friends, but they’re all nuts. And they all think directors are crazy! I think AnnaLynne is destined to go on to win awards. I’ll go on record saying this, so she’ll remember six years from now when she’s getting the Oscar.
FANG: How are you hoping horror fans will respond to SCORNED?
JONES: I love horror fans because they’re so eclectic, and you never know how they’ll respond to you. I’ve got movies that one group thinks are incredible works of art and the others think should be burned [laughs]. I think they have to look at SCORNED as a fun movie—it’s well done, it looks good and the performances are great, but don’t take it too seriously. It’s got some horrific elements—Sadie becomes a monster. There are a couple of twists and turns and it doesn’t have your typical ending—I always like to do something different than what you would expect. Nothing surprises me as far as how the fans react. I’d rather have people talk about my movie, good or bad, than not have a movie for them to talk about.
FANG: What’s your take on the LEPRECHAUN reboot?
JONES: I love Warwick Davis; we’re friends, and I thought they should have used him in the remake. I know they’re going in a different direction, making a straighter horror movie. We’ll see what the fans think of it. I’m involved financially, so I’m glad they’re doing it—I love the whole LEPRECHAUN series.
On that note, I’ve developed a new horror/comedy franchise about a very unique new character I’ve created for Warwick. Hopefully the fans who wanted Warwick to be in the new LEPRECHAUN will be satisfied once that movie starts production. It’s about a leprechaun that’s been bitten by a vampire, turning into a vamprichaun, and it’s a very good script. He bites your ankles instead of your neck, because he’s not tall enough to reach your neck. Nothing is finalized at this point, but we’re going to make the movie. It’ll be the next big franchise from the LEPRECHAUN creator!
FANG: Do you know yet when you’re likely to go into production?
JONES: I think fairly soon; we’re trying to put deals together, though it always takes longer than you think. Everybody’s reacting great to the concept. I figured since Lionsgate wants to do what they’re doing, I’ll just come up with another one, and we’ll have a battle of the movies!