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Jackson Hurst Talks About Fun, Comedy and Monsters in Vampire Dad [Exclusive Interview]

Jackson Hurst
Jackson Hurst in Vampire Dad (From l-r: Emily O’Brien, Grace Fulton, Hurst and Barak Hardley)

Vampire Dad is one of those films that is fun to watch because it looks like the cast had a blast performing in it.

The monster comedy movie stars Jackson Hurst as the vampire father, who was turned unwillingly into the blood-sucking creature. His new purpose was to be the psychologist to other monsters that visit in the middle of the night. Hilarity ensues when bloodlust overcomes him, and the rest of the family hides this family secret from their teenage daughter.

Vampire Dad also stars Grace Fulton (Shazam!, Annabelle: Creation), Emily O’Brien (Love, Death & Robots, Death Stranding), and Barak Hardley (Spell, The Mortuary Collection). It marks the directorial debut for Frankie Ingrassia and with the script by Frankie and Kathryn M. Moseley.

LRM Online spoke with the lead actor Hurst about the project over the phone last month. We talked about the fun he had on this project since it was something far different from his other previous projects. Additionally, we talked about how Vampire Dad was a true indie project that was filmed with a limited budget and in close quarters.

Jackson Hurst has numerous projects under his belt from being in a horror movie like The Mist to a mystery TV series with HBO’s Sharp Objects and even with a comedy television series Drop Dead Diva.

Vampire Dad is currently available as VOD today.

Read our full interview below.

Jackson Hurst: How are you doing?

Gig Patta: I’m doing well. Just like everybody else. We’re trying to survive, right?

Jackson Hurst: Never leaving your house ever again. Bwahahaha!

Gig Patta: No kidding. Congratulations on this successful project of Vampire Dad.

Jackson Hurst: Thanks, man. It was tons of fun. That’s why I appreciate that.

Gig Patta: What initially attracted you to do a project like a Vampire Dad?

Jackson Hurst: I had just done a couple or rather three dark projects. It was the right timing because I had also just got a kid. I said, “Man, I got to lighten this up a little bit.” Then when the offer came in, I said, “Aww, this is perfect.” I cracked up when I read it. Then when I met the people involved. It’s a good project with timing. The other stuff was dark.

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Vampire Dad
Emily O’Brien and Jackson Hurst

Gig Patta: Since you play a vampire, which is not quite a spoiler, did you revisit some of the old movies to get into character?

Jackson Hurst: I did. It was more with the producers were playing stuff for me. I’ll be honest. I was never much of the monster movie type. We would sit down and watch the old stuff because we had some monster nerds working on the project. They knew a ton about this stuff.

I ended up watching quite a lot of footage. It was awesome. You’ll see it in the movie. If you know a ton of stuff about the old monster movies–there’s a ton of throwback.

Gig Patta: How much do you know about this subject personally?

Jackson Hurst: Well, I’ve never met a monster personally. [Laughs] My kids believe in them that they live under the bed and in the closet. They made me play a monster around the house all the time.

As far as movies go, I’m a huge horror movie fan. For the classic monster movies, I didn’t know a ton until I started working on this. Then I learned to appreciate it sincerely.

Gig Patta: What helped you get into character to play Raymond? What do you like about that character?

Jackson Hurst: At the end of the day, you always knew that it was a comedy and that it was about family. It was all about protecting the family, love for the wife, and love for my daughter. Keep that in mind, and you can almost do no wrong. With this character, all actions are justified.

So that helped out a ton because I have a family myself. The monster stuff was the icing on the cake. That was tons of fun. We were having a blast doing this movie sometimes. Certain times, we would start late as we shoot through the night, and then delirium would set in. We ended up laughing our asses off left and right. It was fun, man.

Gig Patta: Tell me first about creating your look like the late 1950s, early 1960s, a type of dad.

Jackson Hurst: Well, it started with the teeth. It was fun getting my custom vampire teeth. I have two pairs of those. By getting into the look, our producers Kathryn [Moseley], Frankie [Ingrassia], our director, and a photographer, they all had colors in mind. We went from there by pulling a bunch of stuff to choose from. Then it was time kind of came together.

I wanted there to be no edge whatsoever to this guy. It should be a throwback to Leave It Beaver. The dad should have that vibe. I thought that would raise the stakes as far as when you introduced the whole monster story. That was my choice to keep them buttoned up. He’s Mr. Professional that just happens to eat people.

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Jackson Hurst
Jackson Hurst in Vampire Dad

Gig Patta: You’ve played so many characters throughout your entire career. Was it challenging to play the sort of like a straight-edge character like Raymond?

Jackson Hurst: As I said before, it was all about having fun. We committed to the craziness of the weirdness by being animated and just having fun with it. I sunk right into this project. I think that had a lot to do with the timing. I was excited to do a comedy or something fun, different, quirky, and weird. I’ve done a lot the stuff before. That was quite the opposite. I don’t know how the performance turned out, but I sure had fun doing it.

Gig Patta: I think the film was hilarious.

Jackson Hurst: I’m glad you liked it, man.

Gig Patta: Does comedy performance comes easy for you, or do you have to work at that?

Jackson Hurst: I’ve done just a couple of comedies in the past. I’ve naturally gravitated towards darker, non-comedic, edgy stuff. But, I don’t have to work at it. I’m usually pretty kind of a crazy weird guy. If you ask my wife, she’ll go on about how wacky I am. If I did try to work at it, it probably wouldn’t work for me with the training and comedic timing. I don’t think I’d be able to shoot a sitcom to save my life. With something like this, that’s way out there, and it’s perfect for me.

Gig Patta: What was the funniest moment off-screen for you? It sounded like you guys had a lot of fun on set, and it showed in the credits.

Jackson Hurst: I remembered this one outtake with this a part of the movie. [Laughs] Oh shit, am I going to get the giggles? Emily [O’Brien] has a line. She says, “Oh, my sweet angel!” She was talking about our daughter. It took us hours to shoot that Barak [Hardley] who played Bob, and I could not keep it together. Emily is a constant professional. To me, she is hilarious and can keep a straight face. She rattled off twelve different additives to describe our daughter. I could not get it together.

There were other scenes, like the dinner table with Bob. Barak is excellent with improv. He would just throw stuff out and lose it. Especially when you get into past midnight, that’s where the monster sets in as far as acting goes. Things start getting delirious.

Gig Patta: So there is a lot of improv through this production. Are you pretty good at improv?

Jackson Hurst: I love improv. That’s where I sink in. In television, you need to stick to the script since there are a thousand writers who put their thoughts in there. With improv, that’s where I shine and have the most fun. There was a ton of on this project.

Gig Patta: Since you brought it up earlier about Grace [Fulton] and Emily, how was it working with the two ladies?

Jackson Hurst: We had a blast. Honestly. I would get excited about coming to the office. We were shooting in one house, one set, and occasionally we shoot outside. So we were in close quarters. Therefore, we got along great and had a blast. Most of the time, we were cracking up because you have all these different personalities playing different characters. On camera, we all sunk in as a family. I think it shines through that we loved each other. It was awesome.

Gig Patta: Since this was shot in one house and being a low budget, independent movie, what do you think the miracle that this film pulled off?

Jackson Hurst: I have to give that to Kathryn, our producer. We’ve remained close, and I love her like family. She made it happen. In shooting, it came together with Frankie on directing and with the cinematography looks good. In post-production, that’s a huge thing. The editing room makes you or breaks you. Kathryn and Frankie were a part of a lot of that. From start to finish, Kathryn carried us, and she always made the right decisions–even if they weren’t the most popular. It proved to bring this movie to where it was. I got to hand it to her.

Gig Patta: It sounded like you’re praising Frankie quite a bit, especially since this is her directorial debut.

Jackson Hurst: Oh, one hundred percent. Frankie was awesome, and the energy was great. Again, you’re in close quarters. You’re working with a limited budget, so you have a specific mindset. Frankie was there. She knew the genre. Some of the shots were so cool, and you got to hand that to Frankie. We still keep in touch. We talk a lot. She’s super awesome. I think she did a great job, especially for her directorial debut.

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Rich Cohen
Rich Cohen as Werewolf Joe in Vampire Dad

Gig Patta: Since you were on set, you also got to see what a mummy, a werewolf, and another vampire in person. Could you talk about what they looked like up close?

Jackson Hurst: What the actual monsters looked like up close?

Gig Patta: Yeah. There’s one thing to see it on screen, and there’s one thing to see it in person.

Jackson Hurst: Terrifying, man! I was scared. I’m doctoring these guys. I’m a brain shrinking them. I got to hand it to our makeup team with a limited budget. They killed it. [Laughs] The zombie is another buddy of mine. He’s one of the producers, believe it or not. He said, “You know, what? I’m going to be a monster.” A couple of hours later, there was this realistic zombie. They killed it. I was impressed. With me, it was just teeth and blood. For the rest of them, it was the whole outfit. The werewolf was great.

Gig Patta: Let me start wrapping things up since you have such a great career, is there anything else that you still want to play?

Jackson Hurst: I’d have to go with a spy because my four-year-old is convinced he’s going to be a spy when he grows up. It would be nice for him to see me playing a spy, which I don’t think I’ve played. I’ve played an assassin. I played everything, but I haven’t seen an actual spy. It wouldn’t be too bad.

Gig Patta: That does sound pretty good. I don’t know about a father training his four-year-old son to be a spy.

Jackson Hurst: You never know. He’ll probably end up training me in some way. He’s got quite the imagination. A lot of kids want to be a spy, or they want to be cops. One time, he even mentioned he wants to be a garbage man. He’s obsessed with garbage trucks now. I’m sure next week there’ll be something else.

Gig Patta: Maybe he’ll follow your footsteps and get to play all different types of jobs.

Jackson Hurst: Or even a vampire dad. You never know.

Gig Patta: That’s true. Now I do have to ask the obligatory question, even though at times like this, do you have upcoming projects for yourself?

Jackson Hurst: Right now, it’s all about the baby. We had a baby just a month ago. So I shut down everything. In addition to the stuff that’s already happening, I’m going to be that dad for the next few months. After that, I’ll probably get back to work.

Gig Patta: One last quick thing, what’s the beauty about doing independent projects like Vampire Dad?

Jackson Hurst: It’s freedom. If you can sink into that environment, it’s such a cool collaboration. As a lead, you’re working with the producers and the director. You all put it together by putting your heads together to make it your own because there are fewer chefs in the kitchen. I love that whole freedom and collaboration.

Gig Patta: That’s a terrific answer. Thank you very much, Jackson, for this conversation. I appreciate it. I look forward to more projects in the future for you.

Jackson Hurst: Likewise, there’ll be more.

Vampire Dad is currently available as VOD today.

Source: LRM Online, Random Media

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