This weekâ€™s interview is with Jared Cohn, who made a little bit of history this year. He is the first director for The Asylum to get his film on the big screen with Hold Your Breath. The critics and fans have been very positive to the film, so what better time to get to know the man behind the camera. Enjoy
1. Hold Your Breath, your latest film is currently in theaters. This is the first time The Asylum tried to put a film on the big screen, did you know going into this project that you were shooting for a theater run? If so, were you nervous about the project?
It was very exciting to know that HYB would be a theatrical release. I knew going into it that this could possibly be in theatres but was not certain. After the trailer was cut and people responded well to it, I think it was around that time that I got confirmation. I was definitely a little nervous during the shoot, making sure the shots looked big and theatrical and that gave me a tad bit of the butterflies… I didn’t really sleep during the shoot! I was operating on pure adrenaline and movie magic dust.
2. A lot of people know you as an actor; some know you as a director and writer? To you, which one is the easiest and less stressful? And why?
I love acting and directing and writing. For me, just to be working in this industry is a blessing that I never take for granted. Hard to complain when you are working a dream job. Acting is the less stressful because you don’t have to be responsible for making the days and making sure the production goes smooth and people get fed, transport, etc.. However, if the movie stinks then everyone points to the director, sometimes the actor but mostly the director. Writing is completely different, at least for me, because I usually lock myself into a room and just buckle down… pure isolation and raw creativity- all starting with a blank page. Writing is the most creative because you can go in any direction. I started off just wanted to be an actor so for me to still be able to act is fun. I am currently in Montreal playing the lead in a thriller/horror Feed The Devil, www.FeedTheDevil.com – being shot on 35mm. I’m having a blast.
3. Is there a different mindset in being behind a direct to dvd film as opposed to a big screen film?
For me, I always try to make the best movie I can make. But when you know it’s going to be seen on the big screen, you get a little more anxious and on edge. The stakes are raised. But everyday I go to set I make sure that I try to do my best work. And I always make sure I try to get a good night sleep! That always helps.
4. You know in this business you need to have a thick skin, people love to complain and write stuff about your acting or your films. So that being said, do you read all your press and if so do you let the negative get to you?
I have to admit, I read the majority of the stuff write about my work. It’s kind of hard when it’s only a Google search away. People love to hate. That said, I wonder how many of those haters are just angry, bitter people. But, I don’t care if they hate me or not. I am surrounded by awesome, creative people and I have a great family that supports me (at least now they do, before I was just an unemployed guy!) Now they are proud, lol. Anyway, I actually get entertained by some of the bashful comments. It gives me something to talk about and adds texture to my day. However, at the end of the day, it doesn’t affect my work at all. The very fact that people are talking about my work is great!!
5. You have worked on quite a few of the Asylum films, what do you think the biggest misconception of the company and their films?
The Asylum is one of the greatest companies, ever. David Latt, David Rimawi and Paul Bales are geniuses and The Asylum makes more movies than any other company I am aware of. The biggest misconception is that they put out B movies. They make quality cinema and they have awesome people working for them, and for me to be an inmate of theirs is such an honor. Mega Shark, Giant Octopus, all of those creatures are real and affect a lot of people. And their films can be seen worldwide, so like I said before, people love to hate, at the end of the day, The Asylum is doing a million times better than most companies… so… hard to argue with that. Easy to talk smack, but when I hear that sort of stuff, I just smirk. And so do they. We are unstoppable.
6. Hold Your Breath, is quite different from anything you worked on before and also very different from anything The Asylum has released before. I know you cannot speak for them, but for you what made you want to tackle this film which is not what fans would expect from you?
The script was solid, and I got a call from David Latt, so when he calls, I answer. I’ve done comedies (Bikini Spring Break) Thriller (Born Bad) Horror (12/12/12) so the fans probably are not sure whats next from me. I don’t genre discriminate, I just wouldn’t want to do a romantic comedy or a kids movie because, I’m a little twisted, not so much of a romantic. But, I wouldn’t say no unless I read a script and completely thought it wasn’t right for me to direct or act. But in all honesty, when The Asylum calls, I listen with 100% attention.
7. While we are on the topic of expecting. It seems you have another film coming out later in the year by the name of 12/12/12. Is this a sequel to 11/11/11 and what can we expect from this film? Any scoops for the readersâ€¦
12/12/12 is my favorite film I have ever made. It will be epic. The script which I wrote, I am so proud of and the star Sara Malakul Lane and Steve Hanks did such great acting work. And Ben Demaree kicked ass, we shot on Red EPIC. It looks so different from anything I’ve ever done. It’s a game-changer for me. It’s about the spawn of satan and everything you think might happen, might happen or it might not. Disturbing and gory and twisted. It is not a sequel to 11/11/11.
8. Not saying this will pertain to you, but if a director put out a bad movie, and he knew it was bad. Do you think he owes it to the fans and people buying it to be honest and upfront about the film? And why or why not?
I can’t speak for anyone else, but if you make a bad movie, the director will feel like crap for awhile! The worst punishment will be inside their mind and they will suffer far beyond the 2 hours spent and the 15 bucks spent on a ticket. As for them owing an explanation, I don’t really know how to answer that because it’s not the director’s film but the producers and if the director isn’t proud and wasted the producer’s money making a bad film that not even the director is proud of… well, thats territory that I don’t want to be in!!
9. Do you think it is fair that all theaters even the small mom and pop theaters that probably barely scrape by, were bullied into going all-digital? Also, do you embrace the 3-D?
Technology moves! You got to be able to keep up, that’s how it is. If mom and pop can’t stay in business, and don’t want to keep up with the latest 4k projects then that’s on them. As a movie goer myself, I want to see the movie the best possible way. I want to be comfortable and if that means going to the Arclight vs. a rinky dinky theatre, I will do that. And I am pretty sure the director wants the audience to see the movie in the best possible way, the way it was meant to be seen. The theatre business is not for the unambitious. The house movies and show them is a large responsibility, so I would say if you can’t keep up, with good picture and sound then let the big boys have the screens and bow out. 3-D can be a great tool, Prometheus was so good, and I saw that in IMAX 3-D and it was spectacular. I would not have had a awesome experience had I saw it in 2-D in a crappy theatre. To even own a crappy theatre and charge people for seats is disrespectful to the film and the filmmaker.
10. Have you ever worked on a film that one of the actors or actresses were being difficult to work with? If so, how do you handle it? And if you want to name names, by all meansâ€¦the readers love the name drops.
HAHAHAH!! Yes, but I will not name names. I have had difficult actors, I deal with it by keeping my cool and reminding myself that the show must go on. I handle it by never working with those people again. And I never forget who gave me a hard time. I like people that love their job. If they are fortunate to be on set acting, they should be happy! Actors who complain about stuff is really annoying.
11. You have worked with some very well-known people; do you get star struck when meeting someone like a Katrina Bowden or Robert Carradine? Also, who would you like to work with you have not yet?
I did not get star struck, I would if Val Kilmer or Joe Pesci or Pacino or one of my childhood idols worked with me. Katrina was professional and nice. There are so many people I would love to work with, musicians as well. I really enjoy artists, passionate, cool people. Robert Carradine is a great actor, it was cool to be able to direct him. Liam Howlett of Prodigy, he is so talented, I would probably get star struck for a minute. The people whom I admire the most are very random! Not the typical A-list folks. This is because I myself am an oddball!
12. A lot of people may not know you were also in Plaguers. Brad Sykes a pretty good name is indie horror. How was it working on that film set? Was everyone cool to you?
Great set, Brad is a solid director and that movie came out well. It was awesome to be apart of that one. Everyone was cool on that show, they had really great sets and the movie is still available, so I recommend everyone to check it out! I play Riley, a space mechanic who turns into a Zombie.
13. What inspired you to get from in front of the camera to go behind it?
I made the decision out of necessity. I was living in L.A trying to make it as an actor like 100 billion other people and I was working, doing great productions but not nearly making enough to live and sustain myself. So, I learned to edit, shoot, color correct, use After Effects, went back to school and got my B.F.A at New York Institute of Technology, which gave me the technical proficiency to start my video production company Traplight Media, Traplightmedia.com – so, I did a lot of music videos, corporate videos, commercials, etcâ€¦ I was writing and acting still, so I got really busy in NY, but then got burned out editing so I made the leap back to LA and luckily it is working out! Everyday I count my blessings! And I am so grateful to The Asylum for keeping me busy.
14. If film never happened for you, what was the backup plan?
I have no clue, suicide? Hahah, I have no other marketable skills so if this industry didn’t work out for me, probably would be a homeless junkie, addict, bank robber, or something really nasty. I was a valet for awhile and that was probably my best part time gig, so I’m not sure. The thought alone scares the hell out of me more than anything. In all honesty, I didn’t have a back up plan, I went full force and that is maybe one of the reasons I got this farâ€¦
15. Any email from the Darren Lynn Bousman camp about 12-12-12? I mean letâ€™s be serious for a second, Asylum is known for creating the mockbuster where they mock a popular film and try to beat it on a direct to dvd release. You personally when you work on a film do you get any feedback from the film that you are rumored to be favoring?
Those emails, if they were sent, went to The Asylum. And they got a legal team that is quite capable of dealing with these matters. As far as I am concerned, I will fight tooth and nail to defend The Asylum, if anyone is mad about the mock busters, or take-offs of other films, that’s not my problem. 12/12/12 has nothing to do with Darren Lynn Bousman’s 11/11/11 – completely different. I haven’t even seen that film. I am a huge fan of Saw though, and of Darren’sâ€¦ So, I hope he isn’t upset at me or with The Asylum. But at the end of the day my loyalty is with The Asylum.
16. If you were elected president today, what would be the first thing you would change about this country? Also, how would you solve the recession crisis?
If I was President, I would be a crappy president because politics is not my thing. But I would legalize a lot of stuff and let the people do more of what they want, there would be some anarchy, and we would return to a wild west, medieval state and there would be chaos. I would have no clue on how to solve any kind of crisis, in fact, I would probably add to the problem. Like I said earlier, I have no other skills so me being president is definitely not a good idea. I think Anthony Kedis (of the Chili Peppers) would make a good president. Hopefully, he would set up really large speakers and blast music out loud everywhere and we would have a perpetual party.
17. Now that you have Hold Your Breath in theaters, and also on VOD (cheap plug) do you know if Asylum is planning any more theater runs for their titles?
Yes! There are going to do more Theatrical releases, and I hope that HYB helped them out with this cause. But yes, plug away, go see the movie, it’s good and entertaining and there is gore, sex, and mayhem.
18. Do you think if the internet never existed, that music and film would be in this mess today? Why or why not?
If the internet never existed, it would be like 1987â€¦ so I can’t imagine it would be a mess, corporate America would find a way to make money from the people and the artists and everything would be just fine. A lot more CDs and less mp3s and downloads. I am happy about YouTube and Pandora and Mark Zuckerberg, smart people innovating our lives, making things better.
19. We made it to the end of this interview; I hope you had a blast. This is your chance to plug, promote tell the worldâ€¦thanks so much
I did have a blast! And THANK YOU! for allowing me to spew my random, sociopathic, psychotic, views. Check out The Asylum’s site, and Jaredcohn.com and Traplightmedia.com and Feedthedevil.com and my imdb page and keep in touch with me on Facebook.com/jared.cohn and twitter @traplightmedia and reach out and connect!! More movies to come and I promise never to make some whack, corny movie. Everything I do will have some degree of baddassness to it. And thank you Matt Chassin!!! He is the man that made this come together, great guy. Love my family. Sail.
Thanks go to Matt Chassin who is great to all the websites and blogs, for looking out for us on this one. Jared is nothing short of fun, did not name drop the people but we can go to imdb and assume we know who he is talking about. If you think you know The Asylum and the films they are putting out, trust me in the last year with the quality of things they have put out they will surprise you. And, Hold Your Breath is a fun horror concept that fans of the genre will sit back and have a good time with. Currently playing at select theaters and VOD, and arriving on home video in January.