Exclusive Interview with Eddie Perez for ‘Hollows Grove’

– by Gig Patta

Even the name “Hollows Grove” doesn’t sound like a pleasant place to visit.

In a found footage-style horror film, it follows a group of paranormal activity investigators into a haunted children’s hospital.

Here’s the full synopsis:

A young filmmaker, Harold Maxwell is filming a behind-the-scenes documentary about his friends - the Spirit and Paranormal Investigation Team, (S.P.I.T) and their ghost hunting reality show. Harold joins the S.P.I.T crew as they head out to their next assignment, to film an old, abandoned and supposedly haunted orphanage, Hollows Grove. Soon after arriving at the orphanage the team begins to realize that what they thought would be a routine investigation is turning in to a nightmare from which they can’t escape.

The cast includes Lance Henriksen, Matt Doherty, Sunkrish Bala, Mikelti Williamson, Val Morrison, Matthew Carey and Bresha Webb. It is the feature film directorial debut for Craig Efros.

Latino-Review conducted an exclusive telephone interview with the Hispanic stuntman/actor Eddie Perez on his role in the film. We talked about his love for the horror genre, being a stuntman/actor and the rising opportunities for Hispanics in the movie industry nowadays.

“Hollows Grove” is available tomorrow on VOD through iTunes and on the film’s web site.

Read the text of the interview below.

Latino-Review: What made you attracted to this movie and how were you approached?

Eddie Perez: I was approached, because someone at the last minute bailed out on them.

Latino-Review: Oh really? So basically they called you up and you just managed to fill in those shoes? [Laughter]

Eddie Perez: Basically on what happened was that Kanin Howell, the stunt coordinator and a friend of mine, said, “You can act and do the stunts. We just had someone [drop out] last minute and we’re trying to find someone. We’re casting on the fly and hopefully it works out. I know you so are you willing to do this?” I go, “Yeah. Absolutely! Let me read it real quick.” Literally, I jammed through [the script] in ten minutes and go “I’m in!” [Laughter]

Latino-Review: Are you an actor or mainly a stunt person? I understand you did both in the movie.

Eddie Perez: I do both. I did recently “Twenty-two Jump Street” and “Paranormal Activity: the Marked Ones.” I stunt coordinated “Shameless” and just directed a short. So often, I go back and forth between the two. Mainly though, I do stunt coordination and direct. I’ve been doing it so long that I wind up doing both, because I could do the action and the acting.

Latino-Review: The role playing the groundskeeper is fairly brief as an actor. So that came pretty easy for you then.

Eddie Perez: Yeah, like I said that I’ve done it before. In “Paranormal Activity,” I played one of the kids taken out by the ghost. I like doing horror, because it’s always fun for me to do since I get to do some action stuff too. By the time I get killed, something good happens that always is fun. It’s my favorite genre of films to do. But in the past, there’s not a lot of Hispanics in horror. [Laughter] And now we’re getting more. We’re getting recognized in horror films.

Latino-Review: For horror films, isn’t it every time you introduce a minority—they’re for sure going to die? [Laughter]

Eddie Perez: Yeah, it’s true. The quick essential college kids wind up dying anyhow. So it’s like everyone dies in the movie eventually. We’re kind of recognized now and before there weren’t a lot of us in horror films. “Paranormal Activity” was exciting because it had an all-Latino cast.

Latino-Review: That’s right.

Eddie Perez: It was a lot of fun. We’re all laughing about it. “Wow. We’re all actually doing a horror movie together and it’s a good one!” It was an interesting venture for them to take that on.

Latino-Review: Did you stunt or acted in that “Paranormal Activity” movie?

Eddie Perez: I was one of the actors and wound up being thrown into the soda machine. It’s when we go into the school yard and go after the backback.

Latino-Review: Oh, yeah. Absolutely I’m trying to recall that see and now I remember that. So you’ve been a fan of horror films for a long time. Why is this genre so attractive?

Eddie Perez: As a kid, I always liked the Freddie Kreugers and all that stuff. I’m friends with Guillermo del Toro. I’ve done some of the “Blade” movies. It takes a lot to scare me so I like doing them. I’ve done well and I go “Well, that was fun.”

Latino-Review: That is true. Guillermo del Toro is the master of horror. That’s for sure. But, for this film, I understand you did some of the stunts.

Eddie Perez: I did the hanging off the building and swung through the window.

Latino-Review: Oh!?! I thought that was a dummy. [Laughter]

Eddie Perez: No, no, no. The first half was the dummy, but the second half was me.

Latino-Review: [Laughter] Wait, you swung yourself into the window?

Eddie Perez: Well, they hung me out there. I pushed off the wall and then swung myself back in [to the window].

A lot of times I would get called to act and do stunts. Especially in these days, everybody is trying to push the envelope. So they would say, “If we get an actor, then we’ll have to get a double cause they won’t do their own stunts.” If we can get a stuntman who can act, then he can do everything. You don’t have to cut away or shy away from certain scenes.

Latino-Review: In the Hollywood business, you mentioned that it’s a bonus to get a stuntman who can act. Is that a rarity in the industry?

Eddie Perez: It’s starting to become more of a norm now. They’re now realizing a lot of us can do stunts and have done acting. We’re pretty athletic and moves towards the directions of stunts. It’s more challenging and more fun. But, obviously being Hispanic and the way I look, I’m still limited on what I can do.

I can be doing the gang member, in which I’ve been doing my whole life. I’m grateful for it.

Latino-Review: You always wanted to get into the stunt side of things?

Eddie Perez: No. I started off as a personal trainer. I trained Anthony Michael and Mickey Rourke. When I first came out to Los Angeles, some people were like, “Why aren’t you doing stunts for them?” So I asked myself, “Why don’t I?” From there, I have a friend Esai [Morales] who was working on “La Bamba.” He needed a stunt double. He told me that I was perfect and could ride a motorcycle. So he wanted me to do his stunts. It later progressed into doing even more stunts.

Latino-Review: Also for you being Hispanic, Hispanics now make up as the largest movie audiences today. Are more opportunities heading your way, because that movie genres have expanded more Hispanic movies and characters?

Eddie Perez: Yeah, I think the genres are expanding towards [Hispanics]. It’s the fact they’re recognizing [Hispanics] as viable consumers. It’s definitely helping obviously. All of the studios and everyone are more aware to put more of us in these movies. It’s showing diversity. By that, it’s helping us out more.

Taylor Hackford produced “La Bamba” and “Blood In, Blood Out” back then and we had conversations lately [about Hispanic films]. When he did those movies, studios were fearful that there aren’t enough actors to fill in a movie, because there are not enough Latinos out there. It’s tough to do a movie with an all-Latino cast since there are not a lot of actors out there.

So they had to go out there to create a Latino film community. So in the last ten years, there’s more of a community now. There are also more places and more people to go to. There’s better communications and opportunities to work together. Many of the directors today admit that the Latino film community is more active now than it has ever been.

Latino-Review: It sounds like you’re having a lot of opportunities with quite a busy schedule. Can you talk about some of the upcoming projects you may have?

Eddie Perez: I just directed a short film called, “The Test of Time.” I hope to get that in the festivals soon. I just worked on “Sicario.” It’s with a Canadian Latin director [Denis Villeneuve] so that was fun. And I’m still stunt coordinating “Shamless” for the past seasons. It’s a fun place to be to work with Bill Macy and all those guys. Oh, and one more thing. I just did “Tomorrowland” as well. I play a cyborg in it. This is kind of fun, because it’s a sci-fi/horror realm. The fact that I could also do stunts—I’m grateful for that as well. And that’s where I like to be.

Latino-Review: And one final fun question since you being a stuntman and all. If you were trapped in a haunted building like this one, how would try to escape?

Eddie Perez: Oh, good question. [Laughter] In every horror film, they always go down to the basement. That’s the one place I wouldn’t go. I would try to go outside and find a fire escape to climb out. Or somehow rappel down the building outside.

Latino-Review: [Laughter] So basically the best suggestion is to don’t go downstairs. Thanks for taking the time to speak to me on your busy schedule.

Eddie Perez: No problem. Thank you very much.

“Hollows Grove” is available tomorrow on VOD through iTunes and on the film’s web site.

Source: Latino-Review

Interviews, Film, LRM Exclusives Eddie Perez, Hollows Grove