Acting great Danny Trejo is joined by a stellar cast for the new action thriller Darkness Descends, starring alongside Danny are True Blood’s Darren Darnborough and NCIS; Los Angeles’ Kinga Philipps. Actor and producer Frank Krueger created this exciting film that also features multiple EMMY winner Kristoff St. John, Louis Mandylor (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), Peter Dobson (Party of Five) and WWE superstar John Hennigan.
Last week we had a quick catch up with the leading actress in this exciting film Kinga Philipps and Darren Darnbrorough, this week we got to catch up with the actor and producer of this enticing film Frank Krueger.
Darkness Descends is an crime thriller set in the subway tunnels below New york City. It’s a fictional story set against the real life backdrop of homelessness in New York City. Our goal was to tell an archetypal action story while raising awareness about some of the issues facing the homeless in real life.
Why did you want to get involved in Darkness Descends?
I wrote the first version of the script as part of screenwriting class ten years ago. It’s changed a lot through the years but the story and especially the homelessness aspect stuck with me and it became very important for me to try to get the film made.
What was different about this film as opposed to some of the other projects you’ve worked on?
This is the first feature I produced and wrote as well as acted in so it was a very different experience than anything else I’ve ever done. I was involved in every aspect of the production which was a fantastic experience. I found myself over my head at times but that is the best way to grow.
I wrote the first version of the script as part of screenwriting class ten years ago
What was it like working on a film with Danny Trejo?
Danny Trejo is one of the nicest most supportive actor you could ever want to work with. He has such a depth of rich personal experience that he brings to the set. Not only his tremendous amount of film experience but life experience as well. It was such a pleasure to get to talk to him and listen to stories from his past. He is a huge supporter of independent filmmakers and does everything he can to help the project. He is a very generous man and it was a honour to have him be part of the film.
Did you face any difficulties working on this film?
Independent film always have their own set of difficulties. This film was self financed so we didn’t have the budget to do all of the things we wanted to do the way we could have with a larger budget, but in the end that leads to more innovative and creative solutions. Necessity breeds invention. We had a great team that brought so much of themselves to the project regardless of the money to go above and beyond what I thought was possible. Many times on independent films you find yourself wishing you had more money, but sometimes I think that leads to a more interesting solution. It was a pretty difficult shoot without all of the usual comforts of some larger films but we had a gritty and hardworking team that went above and beyond every step of the way.
With the advances in technology, it seems that nowadays everybody has the means to make a film at their fingertips. What do you think this will mean for filmmakers in the future?
I think it’s a great thing that people can make their film, or digital series, or pilot. There really is no excuse any more. The other edge of that sword is that there is so much “content” out there that it becomes more and more difficult to get the audiences attention and rise above the noise. I think we are at a crucial spot where everyone can tell their story. We need to make sure that we use this unprecedented opportunity to expand the possibilities for filmmaking and storytelling.
As well as producing you are also an actor, what do you love most about both acting and producing?
I’m an actor first and foremost. I love the process of finding the character and working with other actors to try to find the truth of a scene. Producing is new to me. With this project I got to be a part of every element of the film from development to distribution. It’s a ton of work and there are many fires that need to be put out, but you get to work with the incredible artists in each department so it’s a tremendous experience. You really get to be at the ground level of the whole process.
I think we are at a crucial spot where everyone can tell their story.
What advice would you give to youths aspiring to become a producer?
I would say that the most important thing to do as a producer is to find a project that you really love. It is vital to believe in the project and your team. Surround yourself with positive people first and foremost, people who are supportive and bring a good energy to the work. That is a key I think, to surround yourself with positive people. The team is everything.
What advice would you give to youths aspiring to become an actor?
I would say that it is essential to get a foundation through class. Acting is a craft in the end and classes will not only give you the tools you need to do the job, but for me class was the most creative and expanding time in my life. It will give you insight into yourself and the emotional ammunition you need to start to do the work you want to do. And once you do get on set I think it’s important to be as open and available as possible to the other actors, the director and the rest of the team. If you are a great team player it gets around.
What can we expect from you in the near future?
Right now I’m working on several different projects. I’m currently developing a digital adaptation of HAMLET and an original superhero digital series, BLUE DRAGON TALES for YouTube and other digital distribution outlets. I’m also developing an action film to shoot internationally later this year, THE LAST DANCE.
This exciting film is about to be released into the UK market and will be available on iTunes, as well as Asda, Sainsbury’s and HMV.