Exclusive Interview: Actor DJ Perry Talks ‘DEADLY RENOVATIONS’ And Lots More
It’s been a few year since we last chatted with DJ Perry but the time has come to get caught up with the Michigan based actor/writer/producer. DJ has built an impressive career in the entertainment industry. As CEO of Collective Development Inc. and as an independent producer he has overseen or assisted in the overall production of 30 plus feature films in all genres and in all formats. You can catch DJ next in the very cool DEADLY RENOVATIONS when it releases on DVD on August 21st and I highly recommend it to the loyal horror fans out there!
His award winning films such as “Wicked Spring,” “An Ordinary Killer,” “Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town” have been distributed throughout the world market. DJ has a reputation for delivering high quality product and staying on schedule and budget. In addition, he has produced major commercials for companies such as Toyota and JBL. As a writer several of his scripts have been produced into feature length motion pictures and two of his screenplays “Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town” (7 weeks as #1 western rental) and “Wild Michigan” have been novelized for publication and distribution via Alexander Books. He has several scripts in development for production with a variety of international companies. As an actor he has become one of the most sought out independent leading men, sharing the screen with many legends of the entertainment industry. He does so with a humble, appreciative attitude that makes him a draw in front of and behind the camera.
Alien Bee – You’re attached to a lot of movies coming up in 2012 and even into 2013. Fill me in on whatever projects you can talk about!
DJ Perry – I would like to thank Brian for this opportunity to chat with you and your readers. This is a great year for me in the horror genre. I play a masked bad guy, star in my 1st “found footage” film, be a psycho patient and one evil doctor. I think fans will all find something to latch onto from that batch of films. The films rolling out are “Deadly Renovation” (www.deadlyrenovations.com) is out August 21st, 2012 nationally. “Locked in a Room” (www.facebook.com/lockedinaroom) and “Darkest Night” (www.darkestnightmovie.com) are negotiating their distribution deals as we speak. “Donors” (www.donorsthemovie.com) is in post-production and should give audiences a 1st tease here soon. As for future films I’ve committed to the next CDI/GPI Philippine feature “The Beast” and also to play the antagonist in their TV version of “American Horror Story” called “Kinship of Death”. The pilot will film that this winter when I travel overseas to promote “Darkest Night” in their theaters. If network numbers are good we will film the 1st season in early 2013. I’m also very close to having the prequel to “The 8th Plague” financed. It is called “Soul Eater” and may film this winter in Michigan if I can get everything aligned correctly.
Alien Bee - (For the readers) Tell me a little about Deadly Renovations and your character.
DJ Perry – “Deadly Renovations” is a cool horror/thriller that centers on an old Yuma, AZ based hotel. The place is/was actually quite famous as an establishment in its hey-day. It is known as the location of the studio film “The Getaway” back in the 1990’s and still holds a “haunted” reputation. I play the leader of the renovators Allen who seems a bit “milk toast” at the start of the film. I will just say that he is a complex character that shows a wider spectrum of emotion as the film progresses.
Alien Bee - Where did y’all film this?
DJ Perry – Again it was in Yuma, AZ and what a beautiful community it is. It has a flavor in the shops, food, people and town itself. From the historic prison to the clamato red beers and Mexican food – everything was wonderful. I really enjoyed my shoot there. I stayed at a beautiful hotel there and started my days with a swim, coffee, breakfast and reading lines. Most are shooting was at night so it was days of relaxing and getting ready for night shoots. It was a great place and I recommend a visit to all of you out there.
Alien Bee - The movie itself has a great twist in it.
DJ Perry – Thank our writer Charles Pisaeno for that one:)
Alien Bee - It has that feel that it got influences from everywhere and in between, from Texas Chainsaw to Mother’s Day to Uwe Boll’s Seed. Am I even close here?
DJ Perry – I’m sure that Charles pulled on many great influences in writing and Robert (Gwinn) surely had influences in mind when he directed. I would say I used dashes of PSYCHO and THE SHINING as my influences. The 1st (Psycho) in the subtle clues dropped throughout. Maybe an eye movement or a glance that really says so much. As for “The Shining” I would say since both use hotels as the central location – that brought some obvious connections into play. I also found some inspiration in the character of “Jack” from that film. I liked how his environment slowly started to work on him.
DJ Perry – Writing is more of an enjoyment for me. Producing allows me to act in projects I really have an attachment to. The acting is also getting to be more effortless and almost purely enjoyment as well. I don’t feel hectic often because I believe in preparation. I would say that most projects I’m involved with are NOT gorilla style films. Even smaller films can be well planned out and executed in a professional manner. In my experience gorilla filmmaking often results in poor filmmaking. As Elvis Presley said, “The only thing worse than watching a bad movie is being in one”
So large or small – practice how you’re going to play. Gorilla filmmaking to me seems to be a word that implies a rush job that is not very well planned out. I really don’t do too many gorilla films. We might get in a crunch that requires a somewhat gorilla filmed scene but if an entire film is done this way it usually ends up poor quality. Some folks brag on this style but I say for every one that comes out good you have a slew that fall apart from lack of good planning.
Alien Bee - Have you ever experienced anything really creepy or unexplained while filming?
DJ Perry – I’ve had several small things while filming “From Venus,” “Deadly Renovations” but the craziest happenings were on set of “Darkest Night”. We were filming in this mansion house at this mango estate in the Sagada Mountains in the Philippines. Night one I caught a glimpse of a little boy and when he was gone I thought it was the 24 hr flight. A door in the mansion had a crushed in handle as if someone had tried to bash it in. I noted that – later I heard the stories of a house keeper they found dead on the staircase. It was a wide oddly shaped staircase so it was easy to see how someone could have fell. Fast forward to a scene where I’m suppose to rush the stairs to the “bashed in doorknob” room. I was to hold it shut (no lock) and pretend to bust it down. FULL INTENSITY. Take one – lights came on while shooting. Take two – same thing – a bit of a disturbance from the crew on 1st floor. Take three – I go racing to the door and it really will not open! Shut tight. Not one to break character – I stepped back and kicked the door in! I felt a slight pull back – but the scene played out with screaming girls inside and so on…CUT! I have a burning sensation on my shoulder. Now I’ve seen that on TV where “ghosts” or whatever have scratched or grabbed folks but I always questioned that a bit. Here on my shoulder where finger nail scratches. We actually filmed some behind the scenes and they photographed it. (Included here) That shoot takes the cake to date for spooky experiences on a film shoot.
Alien Bee – Tell me what you love most about working in the horror genre!
DJ Perry – This is the easiest question to answer and that is the FANS! I also am a person who loves to watch films in this genre. I like spooky vs gory (The Exorcist vs Friday the 13th) personally but I know that tastes are all subjective. I’ve still got many things yet to do in this genre. I’ve never done a zombie film or played a Vampire or Vampire hunter. My favorite of the creature features has to be werewolves and I’ve never played in that world. So I think I still have many opportunities to thrill fans. I’m really enjoying the international films. Thanks to my fans I’m able to bring people together over a common love of a genre. The introduction of the eastern horror style as seen in “Darkest Night” is a good example. US audiences will see foreign actors and directorial styles and that is very cool. I want people to know that with a DJ Perry film you will get something different. The mark may get missed on occasion but I will always get an “A” for effort.
Alien Bee - Staying on this subject. If you could come up with the next masked slasher in the horror biz what would it be? What kind of mask?
DJ Perry – Funny you should ask. I think the upcoming film “Locked in a Room” directed by Larry Simmons, that has some great masked characters. I play one named “Mr. Creepy” who I think is just that. There are a few other masked people in that film including one called “The Interviewer” and that mask was created by Larry’s design and I’ve been telling him we need to produce the mask for sale. (See pic on poster)
Alien Bee - Do you ever take any breaks? Catch a ball game, hit the old multiplex, that kind of stuff?
DJ Perry – I would say that I’ve mastered the art of work hard, play hard and back to work. I’m Netflix crazy these days and still play on a Men’s soccer league every Sunday if I’m in town. I’m big into the grilling and chilling with friends. Winemaking is something I really enjoy and beer making is on deck here soon. I enjoy playing guitar for fun and as noted before, writing is enjoyment for me. My choice to not live in California or New York because of family and friends really keeps me grounded. I do work very hard but often sitting on my patio in a nice breeze sipping a red wine.
Alien Bee - Would you like to say anything to all the crazy cool horror fans checking this out?
DJ Perry – I would just love to once again give my deep appreciation for all the fans out there. The fans can be hard on you once in a while but I think it is because they really do want you to do good work. When I look at a project I’m not only thinking of myself I do factor in the fans. Is this something new and exciting to offer them. Like I said earlier in this interview – I want them to relate DJ Perry with something unique and new. It is very hard to be 100% original and fans like tried and true formula but it can be presented in a new way. So I thank them for their support – I’ve also been asked many times about these horror conventions and making appearances. I will one day make that part of my marketing routine. I just honestly want to give the fans enough material (films) for them to talk with me about or at least have a few breakout hits. I mean most of the people there have really earned the right to be there (Linda Blair, Robert Englund…) and I think my #1 right now is still creating content. I have discovered that I do have many fans in various countries but I guess I don’t always realize that sitting at home in Michigan. Maybe I do need to get out more:)