Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Interview with ZOMBIE HUNTER creator, Jesse Dedman!

Hello Jesse and a big thank you for taking time to do this interview for Jonnys Cult Films, I see you run Dedman productions could you tell us about it and what inspired you to get it started?

Dedman Productions emerged because I needed a name that encompassed the various I have. I remember in school my peers used to rip on my name, and though at first I was bothered by it, I soon grew into the name. I mean, having a Dedman as a last name sets one with the introduction one ever really needs. The horror and dark fantasy literature of Deadman’s Tome, the comedic take on the zombie apocalypse, and the collection of gritty and morbid tales I wrote are all represented well with the name.

With great reviews for Zombie Hunter season 1 and Season 2 about to hit, did you think from the start that it would continue on to a second season?

The idea to do a second season was already there, but I was somehow managing to get the attention of a certain international playboy model that served as a catalyst for it. Season 2 would have all the things season 1 was supposed to have, plus more.

There is some real funny moments in season 1 and season 2 looks to be equally as funny with great acting and FX, Do you know all the actors personally and how were they when you pitched the original idea to them?

Yeah, all the actors are either friends, friend of friends, or family. Elvis Quintero has been a friend of mine since 4th grade. Natalie Hernandez is my fiancés sister, and she’s come a long way. You can tell she was nervous in some scenes, especially a scene I like to call the “Pain Test”.
It makes directing easier as I know their limitations, and I also know that they aren’t doing this for the money… what money? Elvis is a perfectionist and pretty hard on himself, and Natalie has just begun to become comfortable physically hurting me when I play a zombie role. She hit me with a bat, a machete, an NES controller, and even knocked me down with the butt of a shotgun.
Everyone involved is for the project and loves the show in a similar way. I don’t want to bring someone on board that is going to be a damn diva. My parents own a construction company and it would be a shame if we would have to dig a few 6 feet holes.

As I mentioned the FX are great! But not just the CGI but the practical makeup is also great, can you tell us a little about your make-up artist and how the ideas come about?

Jennifer Hernandez, my fiancé, does most of the make-up. I do the special FX obviously a big inspiration for me is FreddieW. Damn, that guy is a fucking boss at FX. As much as I enjoy movie style muzzle flashes and other trappings, I want season 2 to have more of a documentary feel to it. So I opted for realism over style, but people do love them muzzle flashes.
For the zombie make-up, I just tell Jen what stage of decay the zombie is to be and she takes care of the rest. As far as the costumes and character designs, I live in Texas. It isn’t uncommon to see rednecks so recreating those sorts of stereotypes isn’t very difficult, but giving each character their own niche, that took some creative work.

Were you always a fan of the Zombie/horror genre and what would you say are some of the horror movies that inspire you?

I watched a lot of horror movies as a kid, zombie films included. The films inspired me to create monsters, which I love to do, and they also sparked an interest in filmmaking. When I was a young teen I thought about becoming a director as I had a plethora of ideas, but I was discouraged by the limitations around me at the time. I grew up in a household where work was valued over creativity. My parents did not dismiss my creative projects, but they would encourage me to follow a more stable path. Even now, I’m studying to be a therapist, probably and LCP, as people will always have drama and many will pay to for an unbiased, non-judging ear. But while I continue my studies, what is it that takes up the majority of my time? Creative prospects such as Zombie Hunter, Deadman’s Tome, and writing short stories consume my time when I’m not working or spending time with my fiancé.
My favorite horror film would have to be Halloween. Micheal Myers, a psychotic man with a mind and soul completely consumed by darkness (another words a sociopath), struck me as something that could actually exist and that scared me. Other characters like Jason and Freddy, while they are awesomely evil in their own way, their origin stories and/or existence require suspension of disbelief and superstition.
My favorite zombie film would have to be the Night of the Living Dead. A great classic that laid out the foundation for other zombie films and other creative works. Many zombie purists, the “zombies don’t run” type back their reasoning with the lore that George Romero established.

Since The Walking Dead hit TV it seems that the market has been flooded with a ton of Zombie titles, for me personally yours stood out because of the humour that I have seen a lot in other projects that for me just doesn’t quite work but does in Zombie Hunter, was it always intended to be humorous?

I can’t deny that The Walking Dead and along with the surge of zombie types in video games have benefited the reception of Zombie Hunter. I also get inspiration both externally and internally, so I see what others do and wonder how can I make something that stands out. After all, a web series needs to stand out, otherwise it has no real edge or additional offering than what one can find on TV.
While I enjoy horror and suspense, I wanted to do something very different with Zombie Hunter. For me, it’s hard to take a zombie apocalypse seriously, at least a version as depicted in Night of the Living Dead or any other show where the dead somehow manage to walk again. There are people out there that actively stock up on guns , ammo, and food as if waiting for that day when dead come back. Some people going as far as to rig their truck into some sort of redneck battle truck. I would love to have Nathan drive one of those. It just seems so weird to me. They become the butt of a joke, a joke that they are completely oblivious too. But while I dismiss them, there is one fact that I can count on here in Texas. If the dead ever tried to leave their graves, they would be greeted by gun lovin’ Texans and uh, escorted accordingly.
Imagine a gang of redneck vigilantes running a task force to slay them rotting bastards. It doesn’t take long for it to become a comedy.

Can you tell us of anymore future projects you have lined up and will there be a season 3?

A third season could happen. I can’t say for certain as Zombie Hunter is at the mercy of just about everyone’s schedules and what not. The intent and passion is there though.
Other projects, well, Dedman Productions has another web series that hasn’t gone very far. It is a show about these video game obsessed delinquents. You know, the type of guys that smoke weed and play games all fucking day. The two episodes were essentially a pilot and serves as a way to test what works and what doesn’t. The show is called Casual Gamers, an ironic title, and will receive a major overhaul towards the end of this year.
There is another zombie related project I have been chomping at the bit to do. Zombie Times or Life as a Zombie is pro-zombie “reality show” about a zombie living or at least trying to live in a world that actively hates them.
The guys that help out with Zombie Hunter talked about doing a paranormal mockumentary where we mock the hell out of shows like Ghost Adventures. I can already see a fohawk tough guy trying to provoke ghosts by verbally abusing them. Oh wait, that’s already what happens on that show.

If you had the chance to get any actor on board who would you love to work with?

Any actor? That’s a tough one to answer, but I would have to go with fucking Zack Galifinakis. I could see him play a role in Zombie Hunter and he wouldn’t have to change much. Perhaps he could be Bucks brother.
Dwayne The Rock Johnson makes an appearance…. I might be kidding. It is a scene that is hard to describe, but it involves a zombie getting beaten down by the image of the Rock.

We were lucky to get Cheryl Stell, an international Playboy model, to star in season 1. She is in the Zombie Spray episode. Elvis was so freaking nervous. First, he has like zero acting experience and this playboy model is standing next to him and, what’s this, she touched him. I remember my fiancés reaction when I told her, yeah so a playboy model is coming over. Good times.

What would you say your own personal Favourite moments have been from making season 1 and 2?

Favorite moments for season 1: working with Cheryl Stell, watching Elvis embody Nathan Greene, and the big daddy scene.
Favorite moments for season 2: Buck’s first house call, Tiff beats down a zombie with an NES controller, Nathan takes on a zombie soldier, and when Tiff feed energy drinks to a zombie.

I could describe them to you in detail, but uh, I think the headings work just enough without giving anything important away.

Any final messages for readers of Jonnys cult films and your fans over here in the UK?

I guess I should say, you know that stereotype about every Texans owning a gun and a horse? Well guess what, it’s completely wrong. In Texas, you’re not considered a Texan unless you own like five guns, man enough to stir hot coals with your dick, and can tolerate some fucking Lone Star.
On a serious note, I hope you guys enjoy Zombie Hunter. I really don’t know how receptive the humour will be to you folks overseas, but there is more to it than just Texas twang, redneck jokes, and sexual innuendos. The show features a mix bag of jokes and gags from dry humour, verbally explicit, irony, and of course, zombie comedy.

Jesse's official site- http://dedmanproductions.com/

Here you go folks, 4 Teaser trailers for Zombie Hunters Season 2!!

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