A werewolf never has a chance against an old blind Vietnam War veteran.
From Dark Sky Films, director Adrian Garcia Bogliano (“The ABCs of Death”) presents a different kind of werewolf movie that takes place in a retirement community.
Here’s the synopsis:
Crescent Bay is not the ideal place to spend one's golden years, especially since the once-idyllic retirement community has been beset by a series of deadly animal attacks from the ominous forest surrounding it. When grizzled war veteran Ambrose McKinley (Nick Damici) is forced into moving there by his yuppie son Will (Ethan Embry), the residents immediately take offense to Ambrose's abrasive personality. But that take-no-prisoners attitude may be just what Ambrose needs to survive as it becomes clear that the attacks are being caused by creatures that are neither animal nor man, and that the tight-knit community of Crescent Bay is hiding something truly sinister in its midst...
Latino-Review had an exclusive phone interview with actor Ethan Embry last month. We talked about playing his character, working with Nick Damici and movies that don’t use CGI.
“Late Phases” will be playing in limited theaters and will also be available on VOD.
Read the interview below.
Latino-Review: Ethan, what attracted you to this movie called, “Late Phases?”
Ethan Embry: What got me was the combination of the absurdness that the story took place in a retirement [community] and with the practicality of the way they were going to do it. They were staying true to the classic version of the werewolves. I loved the way they made the monsters more practical instead of perverting it with the computers like they do these days.
There was also the heart that Adrian [Garcia Bogliano] wanted to bring to it. It was a bold undertaking. So the fact that it had all these different elements—it was pretty brave to accomplish all of them. That’s always fun for me.
Latino-Review: So when you say practicality—you don’t like the movies with all these special effects and CGI?
Ethan Embry: Yeah. It does allow us to make movies today that we weren’t able to make in the past. I think that these days we rely too heavily on them. Like “Beetlejuice” was one of my favorite movies for decades. They perfectly mixed the combination of animation and practical. I hear they’re making a new one now. I really hoped they don’t computerize the whole thing. I [want] them to keep the real, craftsmanship behind these models, costumes and sets dressing. If you completely eliminate that then you’ll lose a lot of heart that the film has.
Latino-Review: Are you a big fan of werewolves movies?
Ethan Embry: I actually am not. It’s not exactly that I’m a [die-hard] fan of them. I couldn’t throw out my favorite werewolf movie if you ask me to. I’ll tell you this though—I’m not a fan of werewolves with the bare shirt off. I’m more of a vampire guy. And not the kind of vampires that glow in the sun.
Latino-Review: [Laughter] Quite understandable. During production, did you see the physical werewolves themselves? I understand that you kind of had a scene with it…..
Ethan Embry: Tiny. Tiny scene. We shot the film in this [community] right around the tail end of the recession. There was this large planned community that never got finished. Since it was never finished, no one ever moved in. Those houses we shot in were these unsold vacant properties. We turned them into the wardrobe room, the production office and the special effects house.
On the days that I wasn’t working, I would be watching them build these monsters. The combination of making those monsters and on what they did to Nick [Damici] to age him—that to me is one of the largest talent in this film. It was really, really, really impressive.
You don’t see a lot of it these days anymore. That craft had been lost to the guy who could write code.
Latino-Review: About your character, Will, what did you like or particularly relate to with the guy for the story?
Ethan Embry: He was always a work in progress if I remembered correctly. At first, the way the character was written, it was this guy who was really sick of his father and his attitude. He just wanted to get rid of him. He couldn’t stand being around him.
When we were up there, Nick and I were working on [the character]. Although the relationship was strained, we wanted to make it like Will was trying the best that we can and Nick’s character was not letting him. I didn’t want Will to be an asshole too. There should only be one fucking little dick in this movie. It should be Nick’s character.
We were trying to make him as sympathetic as we could. If his dad would’ve let him, then he would’ve opened up his own door. Nick’s character would never allow that to happen. So I’m trying to do the best that I can with that grumpy old dude.
Unfortunately, I don’t relate to that yet. [Laughter] Hopefully, I won’t have to. That chapter of my life hasn’t come around yet.
Latino-Review: That’s a good thing. Nick had a tough character to work with since he had to play a blind veteran. How did you try to work along with another actor playing blind throughout the whole production?
Ethan Embry: To me, it’s really Nick’s film. He carried the whole movie on his back. For me, it was really simple. He wasn’t the guy that he’ll let you help him cross the street. Whenever I was with him, you got to keep an eye on him. Only have the hand there if it was needed. I think my character learned a long time ago not to lead him anywhere. He doesn’t want the help. It was that balance that he could need it and honoring his desire to be completely independent.
All of that weight was actually on Nick’s shoulders. Nick is such a great guy. He is a very classic, old school New York actor. He takes his job very seriously. At the same time, he would have a very good time on set. He knows how to work hard and he knows how to play hard. It was a lot of fun working with that guy.
Latino-Review: I do have to admire your long acting history with various roles. What makes you choose a particular role and what would you still like to play in the future?
Ehtan Embry: There has to be something that I could grab on to with each character. It’ll be something that I can identify with and not just the situation the character is going through. And it’s also with the project as a whole. Lot of it depends on who’s in it. Who’s alongside me? Who am I working with? I like to feel good on what I’m doing. I like to be in films that I’m excited over the process.
Before I get too old, I would love to do one of these war films like “Fury.” I’m almost to that point on where they wouldn’t draft me anymore. That’s every boy’s fantasy to play war or even given a tank to drive.
Latino-Review: [Laughter] That “Fury” was an interesting movie. Can you talk about any of your future projects?
Ethan Embry: Just yesterday, we just finished shooting a new Netflix show. It’s called, “Grace and Frankie” and it’ll be out sometime early next year. They’re great people I had a chance to work with. It is starring Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston. It’ll be this half-hour comedy on Netflix.
For the genre fans, there’s the first American film from Sean Byrne called “The Devil’s Candy.” It’ll be floating around next summer.
But, as of today, this is my first official unemployed day of the year. It’s pretty awesome. Or kind of not. [Laughter]
Latino-Review: Well, after all this, you’ll have an early Christmas vacation. Thank you, Ethan.
Ethan Embry: No, thank you.