Brandon Boyce [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! Welcome to the 2020 edition of our Month of Horror. It’s almost humorous that we are showcasing the motion pictured displays of horror when it seems as though we simply have to look around us to see the natural horror that is enveloping our daily lives. But nevertheless, a quick escape from the surrealism of our daily lives is often appreciated. In this vein, we honor these wonderful folks who seek to only entertain us with a good scare and a break from the actual horror that is all around us. We have assembled a wonderful batch of actors, writers, directors & beyond, who have worked on so many different projects that you know and love. I am beyond excited to share them with you all throughout the month of October. Enjoy!

Today’s guest is an absolute legendary figure in the world of horror and suspense. It’s Brandon Boyce, Everyone! He is an amazing writer and actor, whos work include terrific films like Venom and Wicker Park. Another amazing project, quite possibly my favorite of his, is the brilliant adaptation of a Stephen King short story, Apt Pupil. I have always been of the opinion that this film is one of the few instances where the movie was actually better than the book. Coincidently, the same could be said for another short story entitled Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, another work from Stephen King. And clearly this is not a stab at the legendary author, because how the hell could I do that? What it really means is that a short piece of great art was lengthened and treated very, very well by brilliant screenwriters like Frank Darabont and our new friend, Brandon Boyce.

Not only is Brandon Boyce a wonderful edition to this year’s Month of Horror, we are simply extremely honored to have him join the TWS family as a whole. He is a brilliant artist, and has some amazing words to share. So Folks, let me shut myself up and share some amazing words from the great Brandon Boyce.

 

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What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it something you aspired to do since your youth or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

It was that combination of being the only thing I was good enough at to do professionally, and I liked doing it. There are other things I liked doing, but the writing was on the wall that it was going to be a long slog to try to make a go of them. Entertainment is slog enough.

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affects your work today?

I played Tiny Tim in a union production of A Christmas Carol at the Virginia Stage Company in Norfolk Virginia. I was 11, I think. We had eight shows a week and  I got to leave school on Wednesdays to do the matinee. I remember about halfway through the run, the stage manager said, “We’ve got some money for you” and he put a check for about $300 in my hand. Up until that point I didn’t know we were getting paid for it. So I learned there are things are that fun you can make living doing. But I also remember some of the lessons to this day: show up on time. Hit your marks. Know your lines. Nobody wants to hear about your bullshit.

You are one of the folks behind the writing of one of my favorite horror films of the last 20 years, the brilliant Venom. I really dig it. I am curious to know what it is that you enjoy about working in the world of horror? What sets it apart from the other projects you have worked on?

The joke with me is that horror films scare the crap out of me. But I can tap into that place that scares me. I try not to unpack it too much. I’m grateful that that film has found such a loving audience over the years. The script I wrote was my take on the great ’70s horror films. What came out in the theaters was a departure from that. It wasn’t until years later that I learned that a few weeks before production, the film’s budget got slashed considerably. That killed most of the set pieces I’d come up with. In that respect, I think what the producer, who’s a very good writer, managed to do with it was admirable.

Another wonderful project you worked on was the film adaptation of Apt Pupil based on the novella by Stephen King. And you did it brilliantly I believe. I am always curious about what it is like for folks to work on adaptations of one of the most popular and brilliant writers of all time? Is there a bit of pressure in working on a project like this?

It was the first script I’d ever written. I had just graduated from college and had nothing to lose. I wasn’t getting paid and was writing something I didn’t have the rights to—so in that respect I felt no pressure. But of course, as it came together, there was immense pressure, mainly to make something good. We had to go in a different direction than the book in some places. I remember hearing that Stephen didn’t like the film at first and of course that was disappointing. But years later I saw that he listed it among his favorite adaptations of his work. That was validating.

 

 

What is your favorite scary movie?

When I was in college, the film school did a whole class on horror. I wasn’t a film student then, but anyone could show up for the lecture and watch the movie, so I got a whole film education that way. I remember one night I walked in and the professor, a brilliant guy, was showing Ken Russell’s The Devils. As a horror film. I can tell you that to this day, that film stays with me and I always consider it to be a film that pushed the boundaries of what horror really means. My favorite film of all time is still Jaws, though, after all these years. Is it a horror film? It is in the scary parts. For pure terror, it’s tough to beat The Exorcist.

I know this year may be a bit different, but I am curious to know if you have any sort of Halloween traditions? Anything you would normally do each year?

LA is a good halloween town. The parade in West Hollywood is always a showpiece of creative irreverence. Sometime, usually in June, I’ll start thinking about what tasteless costume am I going to see twenty of in October. Of course this year is a bust. But I’m a dad now, so it’ll be a few years of pumpkins and princesses before she’s ready for the naked Trumps and bloody Britneys of the Boulevard.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

I’m writing on a series for FX, based on the book Under the Banner of Heaven by John Krakauer. Dustin Lance Black, whom I worked with on Milk, is the showrunner and executive producer, along with Ron Howard.  I was honored to write a couple of episodes. I’ve also just finished a new script for a film. It’s a thriller. That one I want to direct.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My eight-month-old daughter. She makes me smile everyday.

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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