Harbinger Down Exclusive:
Lance Henriksen Interview

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To celebrate the release of the trailer for Studio ADI’s practical effects creature feature Harbinger Down we’re unleashing some special Thing-fan exclusives continuing with an audio interview with genre legend Lance Henriksen – who plays Graff, captain of the doomed vessel in the film.

In this candid interview with Thing fans Tony (Outpost31), Darren (thulestation.com) and Fredrik (The Thing Legacy), Lance talks about classic horror films, his approach to acting, his role as Graff in Harbinger Down and his role as Bishop in the Aliens series – and much much more.

Keep an eye on our site, The Thing Legacy facebook page and the mighty Outpost31 all weekend including exclusive video and interviews with Director (and practical effects legend) Alec Gillis and the star of the film Lance Henriksen as we countdown to the trailer launch this Monday 9th June 12PM (PST) at harbingerdown.com.

Harbinger Down - Trailer Launch 9th June

Lance Henriksen as Captain Graff in Harbinger Down.

Lance Henriksen as Captain Graff in Harbinger Down.

The trailer for Harbinger Down will be unleashed THIS MONDAY June 9th – 12PM PST at www.harbingerdown.com. Keep one eye open on the following sites too for more info on the film and all sorts of Harbie-related mischief.

Harbinger Down Exclusive:
Mick Ignis

To celebrate the release of the trailer for Studio ADI’s practical effects creature feature Harbinger Down we’re unleashing some special Thing-fan exclusives. It’s very rare that you ever get to interview one of the creatures from a horror film. But, we’ve managed to prise performer Mick Ignis out of his creature suit for this quick interview.

Keep an eye on our site, The Thing Legacy facebook page and the mighty Outpost31 all weekend including exclusive video and interviews with Director (and practical effects legend) Alec Gillis and the star of the film Lance Henriksen as we countdown to the trailer launch this Monday 9th June 12PM (PST) at harbingerdown.com. Harbinger Down - Trailer Launch 9th June

Mick Ignis

Mick Ignis

Tell us about your character?  Are they fight or flight? Are you like them or completely different?

Without giving too much away, I portray an unspeakable terror lurking within the holds of the SS Harbinger. The creature is aggressive, quick, powerful, and can not be reasoned with…I’m a bit more personable than my character, thankfully!

Did your character have a back story or did you make one up for them? Does this process help you get under their skin?

The backstory of this creature is discussed quite a bit in the film. What it is and how it came to be, born out of scientific experimentation on tardigrades aboard a Russian spaceshuttle. The biggest challenge for me coming in to this was the physicality! It’s the first “suit” role I’ve played with a cable operated head, 4 additional limbs, and an almost complete lack of vision. It’s hard NOT to get in to a creatures head when you’re playing something so far removed from yourself.

What’s it like working with real monsters on set? Did you get scared? Is it totally different from green screen/digital work? Does it make it easier to give a realistic performance?

Having acted both AS monsters and WITH monsters, I can definitely say that it’s a hell of a lot easier being “in the moment” on set when you have something to genuinely react to (that isn’t a tennis ball on a stick). I’ve never performed in front of a green screen but I do come from a black box theater background, which is somewhat similar in nature. There’s no comparison to the real thing. You can never replace the energy between the actors. The creatures you see in Harbinger Down ARE real. There’s a life within them that no computer program can replicate.

Actors love to improv and add little things that aren’t scripted into the mix. Did you get a chance to improv in this way on HD?

There was a LOT of improv for this role, which tends to happen when a character is entirely physical. We tried quite a few different approaches for certain shots, just to experiment. Most of my work involved moving rapidly while Alec screamed direction from the monitors “MOVE LEFT! RIGHT! JAB JAB! THROW YOUR HEAD BACK AND SCREAM! FASTER! NO, TOO FAST! KEEP DOING COOL STUFF!”. I love it when Alec yells at me.

 Was this your first time working with Alec and Tom? What are they like to work with?

I actually started working with Alec and Tom a few years back, not as an actor, but as a fabricator in their shop! I was studying theater and FX simultaneously and was brought on as an intern at ADI after graduating from makeup school. My first job was building displays for some of the Alien suits Tom had worn. It didn’t take long for them to notice my extremely slender build (6’1 and 115lbs) and, during my 2nd week, Alec tossed me in a suit to see what I could do. Some months later I was brought in for my first acting job with them, portraying a naked 4-armed demon girl in ’The Evil Within’. Alec first approached me about HD while I was submerged in an 8-foot deep vat of blood! I love working with those guys. So much of what I do today and what I’ve learned about this art, I owe to Alec and Tom.

Mick Ignis and Director Alec Gillis in the ADI Studio.

Mick Ignis and Director Alec Gillis in the ADI Studio.

What’s your lasting memory of working on HD? What moment won’t you ever forget?

Probably the spiky breasts this creature had that nearly every one of my cast and crew members had to grope at one point…Lance’s reaction the first time he saw me in the torso was priceless.

Other than HD (of course) what’s your favorite creature feature? What makes a good scary movie? What scares you in real life?

I’m a big fan of the classics. My favorite film of any genre is ‘Bride of Frankenstein’. Karloff’s portrayal of the monster is both hauntingly beautiful and terrifying. Seeing that as a kid was one of the reasons I wanted to get in to this world. I’m also a huge fan of the Alien franchise. The Xenomorph is definitely one of my dream creature roles. The most important thing for a horror movie to me is atmosphere. The tone of the film that draws you in from the very beginning. Harbinger Down has a cold, claustrophobic aesthetic that you could feel the minute you walked on set. I’m afraid of losing control and, in an environment like the SS Harbinger, you’re not left with many options in case of an emergency. On the ship, you have ruthless creatures looking to tear you to shreds. Off the ship, you face a frozen, watery death. That’s terrifying.

Do you have any phobias? Do you draw on those when you act to help portray realistic fear?

I wouldn’t say I have any hardcore phobias (other than boring stuff like ‘failure’). Really, just the fear of death and the dark unknown. Here’s hoping they’ll be able to stick my brain in a robot body one day and I can just keep on doing what I’m doing!

Who is your favorite character (or favorite scene) from The Thing (either version) and why?

I’d have to say that crazy Dog-headed beast thing. He really stole that scene. Absolute pro. I saw him do Hamlet a few month ago and he was brilliant.

Is Childs The Thing at the end? Do you know your The Thing if your The Thing?

Hmm…that seems like the sort of question one of THEM would ask. Do I need to ready the blowtorch?

Do you think we’re alone in the universe? Does the thought of contact with an alien species excite you or fill you with dread?

I have no doubt at all that there’s other lifeforms out there in the Universe, although I don’t think we’ve been visited just yet. I’m hoping we’ll discover proof in my lifetime and, if they do show up, they can totally crash on my couch.

Got any special message for the Harbies? Or anything you’d like to add?

I am absolutely honored to be a part of this film and can’t thank each and every one of you enough for helping us make Harbinger Down a reality. It couldn’t have been done without the support of our loyal and enthusiastic donors and supporters. The project has been a dream come true for me…and I’m hoping it’ll become a recurring nightmare for you!

Check out Mick’s work in the trailer for Harbinger Down at http://www.youtube.com/user/studioADI. And keep one eye open on the following sites too for more info on the film and all sorts of Harbie-related mischief.

Harbinger Down Exclusive:
Giovonnie Samuels Interview

To celebrate the release of the trailer for Studio ADI’s practical effects creature feature Harbinger Down we’re unleashing some special Thing-fan exclusives continuing with an audio interview with actress Giovonnie Samuels – who plays Ronelle, one of the research crew on board the doomed vessel in the film.

Keep an eye on our site, The Thing Legacy facebook page and the mighty Outpost31 all weekend including exclusive video and interviews with Director (and practical effects legend) Alec Gillis and the star of the film Lance Henriksen as we countdown to the trailer launch this Monday 9th June 12PM (PST) at harbingerdown.com.

Harbinger Down - Trailer Launch 9th June

Giovonnie Samuels in Harbinger Down.

Giovonnie Samuels in Harbinger Down.

Please tell us your name and your role in the film:

My name is Giovonnie Samuels and I play the role of Ronelle

How did you get involved in Harbinger Down?

Call from Joey Paul a casting director and offered me the role.

What drew you to the project?

I love this story and I’ve always wanted to do a scary movie! That was on my actors bucket list. When I found out that I would be working with Alec Gillis who did one of my favorite old movie “Death Becomes Her” I was totally in!

HD is (to date), still ‘the #1 most funded Sci-Fi/Horror project in Kickstarter history’. How does it feel to be involved with such a project?

I think that is truly amazing! It just proves that the people want this and know what they want. When big studios get out-of-the-way and stop only think about the bottom line all the time you can have a great project on your hands. Kickstarter and other funding sites just cut out the middle man.

Giovonnie Samuels gets up close and personal with the practical effects in Harbinger Down.

Giovonnie Samuels gets up close and personal with the practical effects in Harbinger Down.

Obviously the focus of this project was the prospect of bringing practical (non-CGI) creatures and effects to the big screen, what was your experience (if any) working with creature effects like this?

It’s was my first time working with anything of this magnitude! I’ve done some effect stuff on All That but nothing is grand! I loved it! I love the whole process from how it’s made to the end results.

What were some of your favorite moments on set? Do you have a funny story or an anecdote that you would like to share?

I think my favorite day onset was when we all went outside and did yoga. We had some extra time on my hands between takes so we would work out! Seeing Big G doing a warrior pose was really funny! Lol

Things get creepy for Matt Winston and Giovonnie Samuels on board the Harbinger.

Things get creepy for Matt Winston and Giovonnie Samuels on board the Harbinger.

What moment are you most excited to experience with the Harbies/ audience (without too many spoilers)?

Woo hoo I will say table scene with Matt was gruesome! I wish I could say more.

What are your post HD plans? Do you have some projects lined up that you would like to talk about?

I’m working on a show called “You’re the Worst” that airs on FX in July. In between acting jobs I teach an acting workshop for kids called GS Acting Workshops (www.GSActingWorkshops.com) classes start June 28!

What’s your favorite movie?

Edward Scissorhands, Coming to America, Death Becomes Her, Constantine, all of the X-Men, Inception, this list can go on forever. Lol

Please share something about yourself (fun facts, other talents, quirks, etc.) that people may not know about you.

I love to paint! My mom is an art so I grew up around art. Cooking is another thing that I like to do. Trying out different recipe I feel like a master chef. Lol

The trailer for Harbinger Down will be unleashed THIS MONDAY June 9th – 12PM PST at www.harbingerdown.com. Keep one eye open on the following sites too for more info on the film and all sorts of Harbie-related mischief.

Harbinger Down Exclusive:
Camille Balsamo Interview

To celebrate the release of the trailer for Studio ADI’s practical effects creature feature Harbinger Down we’re unleashing some special Thing-fan exclusives continuing with an audio interview with actress Camille Balsamo – who plays Sadie, one of the research crew on board the doomed vessel in the film.

Keep an eye on our site, The Thing Legacy facebook page and the mighty Outpost31 all weekend including exclusive video and interviews with Director (and practical effects legend) Alec Gillis and the star of the film Lance Henriksen as we countdown to the trailer launch this Monday 9th June 12PM (PST) at harbingerdown.com.

Harbinger Down - Trailer Launch 9th June

Camille Balsamo aboard the Harbinger.

Camille Balsamo aboard the Harbinger.

Tell us about your character?  Are they fight or flight? Are you like them or completely different?

At the beginning of the film, Sadie would much rather run from her problems than face them; when confronted with this monster, though, she must rise to the occasion and become a fighter. I struggled with Sadie’s passivity at first, because I’m downright pugnacious! As I settled into the character, however, I began to appreciate the meaty character arc Alec had written for me.

Did your character have a back story or did you make one up for them? Does this process help you get under their skin? 

Sadie’s back story is fairly integral to the story, but I fleshed it out even further for my own sake; doing this helps me have a more specific point of view.

What’s it like working with real monsters on set? Did you get scared? Is it totally different from green screen/digital work? Does it make it easier to give a realistic performance? 

The scariest moments for me were when we filming the scene in the bilge. I was waist-deep in freezing water (okay, it was probably 65 degrees), enclosed in a dark, windowless chamber that was only about 12 feet x 12 feet, the only way out was to climb up through a hole in the ceiling, and there were creatures lurking in the water around me. I’d say I was genuinely scared.

An actor’s goal is never to replicate an emotion, but to live in an imaginary situation truthfully enough that a genuine emotion. Sometimes unexpected feelings bubble up, but it’s not hard to wish to be scared when you’re filming a scary movie!

Actors love to improv and add little things that aren’t scripted into the mix. Did you get a chance to improv in this way on HD?

We all had to improv to keep up with Lance The Pro!

Was this your first time working with Alec and Tom? What are they like to work with?

Alec was a focused, collaborative director. It’s always great to feel like you’re part of a team, like all concerns and questions are considered for the sake of the improvement of the film. Alec always quoted his mentor, Stan Winston: ‘A good idea can come from anywhere.’

Camille Balsamo aboard the Harbinger.

Camille Balsamo aboard the Harbinger.

What’s your lasting memory of working on HD? What moment won’t you ever forget?

I will always cherish the memories of laughing and sharing stories with Lance. He plays my grandfather in the film and we couldn’t help but fall into a very familial relationship, which will make our onscreen relationship that much more textured.

Other than HD (of course) what’s your favorite creature feature? What makes a good scary movie? What scares you in real life?

My favorite monster flick is definitely The Godfather. Don Corleone counts as a monster, right? In all seriousness, HR Giger’s Alien is the most chilling, elegant, sophisticated creature in all of cinema. Sorry, Brando.

Do you have any phobias? Do you draw on those when you act to help portray realistic fear?

No phobias – luckily my ‘technique’ is to make myself believe what’s going on in the scene, so my lack of phobias didn’t hinder my performance! Hopefully….

Milla Bjorn and Camille Balsamo aboard the Harbinger.

Milla Bjorn and Camille Balsamo aboard the Harbinger.

Who is your favorite character (or favorite scene) from The Thing (either version) and why?

Kate Lloyd, of course! The first movie didn’t have any women, let alone smart, proactive women!

Is Childs The Thing at the end? Do you know your The Thing if your The Thing? 

Mac’s the thing! DUH!! Just kidding….I think the ambiguity is what makes the film as great as it is.

Do you think we’re alone in the universe? Does the thought of contact with an alien species excite you or fill you with dread?

I think it’s a little hubristic to believe Earth is the only planet that hosts life! That said, it’s pretty terrifying so I try not to think about it so I try not to think about except in the context of awesome sci-fi films.

Got any special message for the Harbies? Or anything you’d like to add?

Our Harbies put in so much of their precious time and hard-earned money to make this film happen. There was plenty of blood, sweat, tears and vomit (I’m looking at you, Gio!) on set, so I’m pretty sure the Harbies will be proud of this film that they made possible! Also – keep an eye out for all the Easter eggs scattered throughout the film – I can think of at least five homages that the truest fans will love!

The trailer for Harbinger Down will be unleashed THIS MONDAY June 9th – 12PM PST at www.harbingerdown.com. Keep one eye open on the following sites too for more info on the film and all sorts of Harbie-related mischief.

Harbinger Down Exclusive:
Matt Winston Interview

To celebrate the release of the trailer for Studio ADI’s practical effects creature feature Harbinger Down we’re unleashing some special Thing-fan exclusives continuing with an interview with actor Matt Winston – who plays Stephen, a university professor who joins the crew of the doomed vessel in the film.

Keep an eye on our site, The Thing Legacy facebook page and the mighty Outpost31 all weekend including exclusive video and interviews with Director (and practical effects legend) Alec Gillis and the star of the film Lance Henriksen as we countdown to the trailer launch this Monday 9th June 12PM (PST) at harbingerdown.com.

Harbinger Down - Trailer Launch 9th June

Things get creepy for Matt Winston and Giovonnie Samuels on board the Harbinger.

Things get creepy for Matt Winston and Giovonnie Samuels on board the Harbinger.

Tell us about your character? Are they fight or flight? Are you like them or completely different?

My character is a university professor. The last place in the world he wants to be is on a rusty crab boat in the middle of the Bering Sea. If there’s a fish out of water in this story, it’s me. In real life, I’d like to think I’m a little bit more easy going and adventurous.

Did your character have a back story or did you make one up for them? Does this process help you get under their skin?

The more you know about your character’s story before the events of the film take place, the better. Alec and I discussed that my character was someone who’s had a fairly unremarkable career as a university professor. Always following the rules, crossing T’s and dotting I’s, without ever making a mark. The events that unfold in the film awaken his ambition and he decides to grab the brass ring for the first time in his life.

You’ve probably spent most of your life surrounded by creatures of one sort or another but what’s it like as an actor on set?  Did you get scared? Is it totally different from green screen/digital work? Does it alter your performance?

Acting is reacting. And being surrounded by real creatures makes the acting process much easier and much more fun.

I’ve also acted in an empty room with a green tennis ball. It’s no fun at all.

Matt Winston is all at sea on board the doomed vessel Harbinger.

Matt Winston is all at sea on board the doomed vessel Harbinger.

Actors love to improv and add little things that aren’t scripted into the mix. Did you get a chance to improv in this way on HD?

Alec invited the cast to bring their creative ideas to set every single day. During a scene where I’m supposed to be spewing psycho-babble to the ship’s first mate, Big G (Winston Francis), Alec let me improvise a bunch of stuff. We’ll see what makes it into the movie. Now Lance Henriksen is a MASTER of improvisation. He’d come up with priceless lines that really brought his character to life.

What are Alec and Tom like to work with?

I’ve known Alec and Tom for 30 years and working with them always feels like a family reunion. They are both incredibly talented artists with a clear vision of what they want, but they also understand that filmmaking is a team sport, so they encourage everyone else’s creativity as well.

What’s your lasting memory of working on HD? What moment will stick in your head?

What I’ll most remember about Harbinger Down is the positive spirit everyone brought to work with them everyday. We were all there for the love of Practical FX and “Real” Monsters. It wasn’t like working on a typical movie, but like contributing to a mission. I’ve never had an experience quite like it and am so honored to be a part of the HD family. My favorite scene to shoot was my, uh… “departure” scene. I can’t go into detail, other than to say it was messy. It was one of those scenes that really showed off the promise of Harbinger Down as it was filled with tons of in-camera Practical FX in all their gooey glory!

Matt Winston gets a touch of seasickness aboard the doomed vessel Harbinger.

Matt Winston gets a touch of seasickness aboard the doomed vessel Harbinger.

What’s your favourite creature feature? What makes a good creature and a great scary movie?

My favorite creature feature of all time is Tod Browning’s Dracula (1931) starring Bela Lugosi. It’s beautiful to look at, has a great story and iconic performances. Edward Van Sloan is the quintessential Van Helsing and Dwight Frye’s Renfield is unforgettable. Bela Lugosi’s suave yet commanding performance as Dracula has defined the vampire genre ever since.

Smart monsters (vampires, demons, ghosts) scare me more than dumb monsters (zombies). But really any monster that taps into a primal human fear is going to be an effective monster. Whether it’s insects, sharks, demons, darkness or dead people.

A great scary movie needs more than just a great monster. It needs lead characters you care about, a “trapped” environment (derelict ship, cabin in the woods, etc.) and most of all a filmmaker who understands how much to show, and how much NOT to show. Leaving things to the audience’s imagination is one of the overlooked keys to a great monster movie. No visual effect can compare to the nightmares an audience can conjure with their minds.

Do you have any phobias? What scares you in real life? Do you draw on those when you act?

I love monster movies and I can tolerate fake gore, but I’m a wimp about real blood and carnage. My dad was the same way. He loved the fantasy stuff, but not the real stuff. That’s probably my biggest phobia. And to answer the second part of that question, NO, I try not to think about real blood and guts when I act. Or any other time for that matter. It freaks me out too much.

Who is your favourite character (or fav scene) from The Thing (either version) and why?

Kurt Russell’s MacReady and Wilford Brimley’s Blair are my favorite characters from THE THING. My favorite scene, for sheer mind-blowing WTF?! impact is the Norris “Spider-Head” scene. It’s a Practical FX tour-de-force. Totally unpredictable, artistically inspired and technically audacious from start to finish. My second favorite is the kennel scene that my dad (Practical Effects Legend Stan Winston) worked on. It’s a brilliant scene that gets the monster effects off to a great start and sets the tone for the tentacled, twisted nightmares to come. The blood test scene too!! So many great moments in that movie. It’s hard to pick one.

Is Childs The Thing at the end? Do you know your The Thing if your The Thing?

Yes and Yes.

Do you have any memories or anecdotes that your Dad (Matt is the son of late special effects legend Stan Winston) might have mentioned about his work on The Thing?

Stan jumped in to design and create the “Dog Thing” when Rob Bottin became overwhelmed with his insane build list for the movie. They didn’t give dad enough time or money to create an elaborate animatronic puppet so he used the same hand puppet approach that he’d seen Jim Henson use for the Skeksis and Mystics of “The Dark Crystal.” It was low-tech but highly effective.

THE THING Trivia: The man inside the “Dog Thing” is one of Stan Winston’s best friends, Oscar-nominated Makeup FX artist, Lance Anderson.

Do you think we’re alone in the universe? Does the thought of contact with an alien species excite you or fill you with dread?

I am positive we’re not alone in the universe and the thought of actually making contact with an alien species is absolutely thrilling to me. Even if they’re hostile. I hope it happens during my lifetime.

Got any special message for the Harbies?

Thanks for supporting Harbinger Down. Thanks for supporting creator-driven filmmaking outside the traditional Hollywood system. And most of all thanks for supporting PRACTICAL FX!! Thanks to you, real monsters will never die.

The trailer for Harbinger Down will be unleashed THIS MONDAY June 9th – 12PM PST at www.harbingerdown.com. Keep one eye open on the following sites too for more info on the film and all sorts of Harbie-related mischief.

Harbinger Down Exclusive
Mike Estime Interview

To celebrate the release of the trailer for Studio ADI’s practical effects creature feature Harbinger Down we’re unleashing some special Thing-fan exclusives continuing with an interview with actor and comedian Mike Estime – who plays Dock – one of the ship’s crew in the film.

Keep an eye on our site, The Thing Legacy facebook page and the mighty Outpost31 all weekend including exclusive video and interviews with Director (and practical effects legend) Alec Gillis and the star of the film Lance Henriksen as we countdown to the trailer launch this Monday 9th June 12PM (PST) at harbingerdown.com.

Harbinger Down - Trailer Launch 9th June

Mike Estime (fourth from left) on board the doomed vessel Harbinger.

Mike Estime (third from right) on board the doomed vessel Harbinger.

Tell us about your character?

I play the role the role of Dock and I like many other characters I see myself in them and I had to make up a backstory to really give Dock life. He’s from the streets and he’s all fight…if it’s something earthly which is not the case when he boards the harbinger.

What’s it like working with real monsters on set? Did you get scared?

I loved it and it wasn’t as scary as much as shock and awe to go 2nd George Bush on you. Like with CGI or green screen I had to use my imagination and improv was encouraged on the set which I loved because a lot of the action going on had to feel and look organic and raw. And I think this film brought that out without the green screen.

Director Alec Gillis on the set of Harbinger Down

Director Alec Gillis on the set of Harbinger Down

Was this your first time working with Alec and Tom? What are they like to work with?

First time working with Alec and Tom and hopefully not the last.  It’s so refreshing when a producer and director work in tandem not for their own egos but for the good of the film project and also let everyone from actors all the way to the production assistant do their job and trust that he or she will do it properly. Respect is so hard to get and find in Hollywood and I have a ton for Alec and Tom and I was so fortunate that they trusted and respected me as an artist, a person, and hopefully now a friend.

Other than HD (of course) what’s your favorite creature feature?

My favorite creature features were the old Godzilla films. I used to watch them all the time when I was young. Godzilla VS King Kong,Godzilla VS The Smog Monster,  and on and on. But the first movie that made me afraid to go to the bathroom that made me pee on myself was The Omen. Which was about a young white boy who was the son of the devil which made me scared of little white boys for months.

Things get creepy aboard the doomed vessel Harbinger.

Things get creepy aboard the doomed vessel Harbinger.

Who is your favorite character (or favorite scene) from The Thing (either version) and why?

I actually don’t remember The Thing.

Do you think we’re alone in the universe?

God I hope not because there’s so many people I don’t like here on earth :)

The trailer for Harbinger Down will be unleashed THIS MONDAY June 9th – 12PM PST at www.harbingerdown.com. Keep one eye open on the following sites too for more info on the film and all sorts of Harbie-related mischief.

Harbinger Down Exclusive:
Reid Collums interview

To celebrate the release of the trailer for Studio ADI’s practical effects creature feature Harbinger Down we’re unleashing some special Thing-fan exclusives continuing with an interview with Reid Collums – who plays Bowman – one of the ship’s crew in the film.

Keep an eye on our site, The Thing Legacy facebook page and the mighty Outpost31 all weekend including exclusive video and interviews with Director (and practical effects legend) Alec Gillis and the star of the film Lance Henriksen as we countdown to the trailer launch this Monday 9th June 12PM (PST) at harbingerdown.com.

Harbinger Down - Trailer Launch 9th June

Reid Collums as Bowman in Harbinger Down

Reid Collums as Bowman in Harbinger Down

Tell us about your character?

I was lucky enough to play Rick Bowman in Harbinger Down. Bowman has a large amount of unrealized potential. He could have gone to college, he could have gotten away from the dangers of working on a crabbing ship but he has decided to stay in Dutch Harbor. Bowman has a little bit of work to do in order to fully gain Captain Graff’s trust.

Are they fight or flight?

Definitely fight. If getting off the ship was an option he would gladly fly, but when locked stuck on a ship with a dangerous organism he fights.

Are you like them or completely different?

I think under different circumstances I could be Bowman. Those circumstances being that I grew up in a crabbing community, I was part of a crew that dredged a dangerous organism from the ice, and my parents named me Rick Bowman.

Did your character have a back story or did you make one up for them?

There are certainly windows into Bowman’s backstory written into the script, and there are also unanswered questions. I made sure that those questions were answered before we started filming.

Does this process help you get under their skin?

One thing that helped me a lot going into this project was that I was able to help build the ship. For three weeks before principle photography I was working 12+ hours a day on our sets. Not only did this help me familiarize myself with the Harbinger, but I feel that it got me into the mindset of being part of a hardworking crew (just to be clear I’m not comparing building sets to crab fishing and I don’t think acting is anything like being in the military).

Reid Collums as Bowman in Harbinger Down

Reid Collums and Winston James Francis in Harbinger Down

What’s it like working with real monsters on set?

Amazing. There was no part of working on this film that wasn’t completely amazing.

Did you get scared?

I did get scared once. It didn’t have anything to do with the creatures, but there was a scary moment where I thought someone was hurt.

Is it totally different from green screen/digital work?

I would love to say it’s so much better than digital work, but I would be lying if I pretended to have a comparable working experience with digital. I don’t. All I know for sure is that the more an actor has to react to, the better. If you’re shooting a close up and the other actor in the scene doesn’t stay off camera for coverage your performance suffers. So if the creature you’re filming with can’t bother to show up for coverage (cause it isn’t finished rendering) your performance should also theoretically suffer.

Does it make it easier to give a realistic performance?

I don’t want to fall into the trap of saying I gave a realistic performance but I loved working with practical effects.

Actors love to improv and add little things that aren’t scripted into the mix. Did you get a chance to improv in this way on HD?

Alec was an amazing director in that he was very collaborative. He allowed us to play, and encouraged us to voice our concern if we felt something wasn’t working. That included adding/removing lines, changing blocking, and even altering one of the final scenes of the movie.

Director Alec Gillis on the set of Harbinger Down

Director Alec Gillis on the set of Harbinger Down

Was this your first time working with Alec and Tom?

I was lucky enough to work on the kickstarter trailer for Harbinger Down.

What are they like to work with?

We honestly spent so much time on set laughing and having fun. That starts at the top. Creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable enough to be creative, be goofy, and still stay on a very tight schedule is no easy task. Alec did this masterfully. It was truly a pleasure.

Lance Henriksen and Reid Collums on the set of Harbinger Down

Lance Henriksen and Reid Collums on the set of Harbinger Down

What’s your lasting memory of working on HD?

The people. Every person that was on this set wanted to be there and appreciated coming in everyday. They were all there because they believed in what we were doing. This experience raised the bar.

What moment won’t you ever forget?

There are a lot of them, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget the last day of watching the kickstarter campaign.

Other than HD (of course) what’s your favorite creature feature?

Predator.

What makes a good scary movie?

A great story, compelling characters, and scary monsters.

What scares you in real life?

Watching the news.

Do you have any phobias?

I think I have a healthy fear of snakes.

Do you draw on those when you act to help portray realistic fear?

I never draw on snakes.

Reid Collums on the set of Harbinger Down

Reid Collums on the set of Harbinger Down

Who is your favorite character (or favorite scene) from The Thing (either version) and why?

Mac. I am a big Kurt Russell fan. There are two actors that make everything they are in awesome: Kurt Russell and John Candy.

Is Childs The Thing at the end?

Was there a monster on the Pork-chop Express? Of course.

Do you know you’re The Thing if you’re The Thing?

Yes. Otherwise why would Childs drink the whiskey?

Do you think we’re alone in the universe?

I do not think we’re alone in the universe but I also think we will never meet sentient life from another planet.

Does the thought of contact with an alien species excite you or fill you with dread?

A little bit of both, but realistically I don’t think there would be anything scarier than aliens coming to Earth.

Got any special message for the Harbies?

Thank you for this movie. If a fraction of the love and excitement that went into making this movie ends up on screen than you guys will be proud.

Anything you’d like to add?

Even though we have come so far there is still a big job to do. We need spread the word. We have a real opportunity here to make some people pay attention. We can start to carve out a place in Hollywood for these types of films. So let’s do it. Let’s make some noise.

The trailer for Harbinger Down will be unleashed THIS MONDAY June 9th – 12PM PST at www.harbingerdown.com. Keep one eye open on the following sites too for more info on the film and all sorts of Harbie-related mischief.

CG or Not CG War Crimes

The Thing Prequel is as much a story about studio interference as it is about telling the story of the Norwegian camp from Carpenter’s 1982 version. ADI’s great looking practical effects were almost all painted over with CGI and it’s one of the reasons the film was such a massive disappointment for fans.

So in the lead up to the release of the trailer for Studio ADI’s Harbinger Down (a completely CGI-free all practical effects Sci Fi creature feature). ADI’s Tom Woodruff Jr and Alec Gillis discuss what happened to their work in The Thing prequel and touch on the current state of the industry and how it is impacting on artists in the practical effects industry.

Keep an eye on our site, The Thing Legacy facebook page and the mighty Outpost31 all weekend including exclusive video and interviews with Director (and practical effects legend) Alec Gillis and the star of the film Lance Henriksen as we countdown to the trailer launch this Monday 9th June 12PM (PST) at harbingerdown.com.

Harbinger Down - Trailer Launch 9th June

The trailer for Harbinger Down will be unleashed THIS MONDAY June 9th – 12PM PST at www.harbingerdown.com. Keep one eye open on the following sites too for more info on the film and all sorts of Harbie-related mischief.

Harbinger Down Exclusive:
Edwin H. Bravo interview

To celebrate the release of the trailer for Studio ADI’s practical effects creature feature Harbinger Down we’re unleashing some special Thing-fan exclusives kicking off with an interview with one of the stars of the film.

Keep an eye on our site, The Thing Legacy facebook page and the mighty Outpost31 for exclusives all weekend including interviews with Director (and practical effects legend) Alec Gillis and the star of the film Lance Henriksen as we countdown to the trailer launch this Monday 9th June 12PM (PST) at harbingerdown.com.

Harbinger Down - Trailer Launch 9th June

Edwin H. Bravo

Edwin H. Bravo

So, let’s ‘get underway’ with an exclusive interview with Edwin H. Bravo (who you might have seen in Pirates of the Carribean, Harry’s Law, Hawaii Five-O and Sons of Tucson) who plays Atka – one of the doomed vessel’s crew – in Harbinger Down.

Tell us about your character? Are they fight or flight? Are you like them or completely different?

Atka is the guy on the ship whom nothing ordinarily really bothers or affects him, he’s an easygoing type of guy who likes to laugh. He goes about his day with a smile on his face. He’s somewhat of a joker and he has a really strong connection with Captain Graff. He’s a “fight” type of guy as is most of the crew members, we have to be. Each of us has had their own difficult path that led them to Captain Graff and the Harbinger, however when the creature shows up, it’s a different story, especially for Atka who’s an Inuit native, because it touches him deeper than any of the other crew members. To him it’s ethereal, something that comes from the spirit world, something that is all powerful and deeply imbedded into his people’s soul, also a world that he is possibly trying to run away from. I see a lot of myself in Atka, as an actor, it’s difficult to NOT bring a part of yourself into a character.

Did your character have a back story or did you make one up for them? Does this process help you get under their skin?

Atka, if you just read the script, kind of feels like just a small ancillary character, there wasn’t really much to go on as far as dialogue. However, after speaking with Alec, he’s a pretty major part of the crew and the lives of everyone on the Harbinger and provides an anchor or an alternative point of reference to the creature and what’s happening. He kind of represents mother nature’s point of view, a point of view that’s been discarded or neglected in the modern world of science and mathematics, a point of view that is still respected and revered and even feared in the more traditional or “ancient” ways of men. So to answer the question, yes, I had to create a backstory for Atka within the parameters that Alec gave me. In fact, the first day of the table read, it was Lance Henriksen that really helped brainstorm the relationship that Atka has with Captain Graff and we came up with some really great stuff that helped me get a grasp of who Atka is, in relation to the Captain and the rest of the crew.

Lance Henriksen and Edwin H. Bravo in Harbinger Down.

Lance Henriksen and Edwin H. Bravo in Harbinger Down.

What’s it like working with real monsters on set? Did you get scared? Is it totally different from green screen/digital work? Does it make it easier to give a realistic performance?

Working on set with real monsters, real practical FX was mind blowing! I’ve never worked in this genre before, so I didn’t know what to expect. I was like a kid in a candy store, my jaw was open for most of the time because I was in awe! It really sank in, i’m working with the guys that created the best monsters in films that I watched growing up (Pumpkin Head, Aliens, Monster Squad…)!! Any actor will tell you that they prefer to work with something they can react to. The worst thing you can do to an actor is tell them to look at a dot hanging from a c-stand and tell them to “act”. The goal for any actor is to give or get a reaction that’s as close to or is, the real emotion, and having monster goo splattered all over you or this huge super life like thing with claws and teeth come out from the dark, makes it highly more probable to get those reactions.

Actors love to improv and add little things that aren’t scripted into the mix. Did you get a chance to improv in this way on HD?

Yes! and it was fun. Now, how much of it actually makes the cut, that’s another story. Alec was really great at letting the actors get their “flow”, but it also has to fit within the parameters of what the scene or characters are about and we as actors have to respect that. Maybe we’ll see some of it in the gag reel or something. LOL.

Was this your first time working with Alec and Tom? What are they like to work with?

Yes, this was the first time I’ve ever worked with Alec and Tom and hopefully not the LAST!! I loved every minute working with these guys. It’s rare that I get a chance to work with people that are at the top of their industry. What made it great for me was that they were some of the most genuine people I have ever met. They open their arms and welcomed me into the “family”. Never once was I made to feel like I was just the “talent”. It was great to see them be as excited to be on the set as I was. There were so many times when, Alec pulled me to the side and said, “Hey Edwin, check this out! “, and it would be one of the creatures that they just finished and you can see the complete dedication and passion in his eyes and hear it in his voice to this project and to his craft. It was like two kids hyped on candy. ME – “Dude! That’s so f*ckin cool!” ALEC – “Ya! Isn’t it! Check it out…” and both of us are giggling, in an adult kind way. LOL. There was no way i was NOT going to give them %110 effort on this project.

Lance Henriksen and Edwin h. Bravo in Harbinger Down.

Lance Henriksen and Edwin H. Bravo in Harbinger Down.

What’s your lasting memory of working on HD? What moment won’t you ever forget?

It was by far the best set I’ve ever been on. The talent on the set was top notch. The set designers (Calder Greenwood, Wilson Brothers, etc..), the monster makers (Tim Reed, Yuri Everson etc…), the make-up crew (Mike Spatola, Patricia Wang, Brittany Avalon etc..), Producers (Tom Woodruff jr, Jennifer Tung, Hadeel Reda), and the entire crew blew me away! If I can raise my level of talent to where they are in their respective crafts, i would be extremely gifted and thankful. The dedication and hard work of every individual on that set was clear from day ONE, and to do what they did with humility and kindness was absolutely beautiful! If there’s anything that I can take away from being a part of this film, it’s FAMILY. There’s not one thing that I can point out because that would kind of take away from the entire experience of it all.

Other than HD (of course) what’s your favorite creature feature? What makes a good scary movie? What scares you in real life?

The Exorcist is probably my favorite horror film, but my favorite creature feature film would be: “John Carpenter’s :The Thing”, The entire “Alien” franchise, Predator, Pumpkin Head, Prophecy (1979) Too many to name!

What makes a good scary movie is real suspense, all the tension built before the “reveal” or “kill scene”! The tension that makes the viewer create their own fear in their head before they even see the “monster”, and of course the actors. The actors are the conduit for the electrical activity that create the fear in the brain. If you can’t believe the actors, no one will be scared.

What scares me in real life?… Dropping a line or missing my mark, haha! BIG HAIRY BUGS scare the shit out of me. People, in this day and age scare me. Quitting, scares me. But physically, big hairy bugs or nasty worm-like parasites!!! Oh, and demons and stuff like that, anything you can’t punch, kick or shoot… Oh, and being eaten alive… by a monster of course, or another animal with sharp teeth.

Michael Estime & Edwin H. Bravo on the set of Harbinger Down.

Michael Estime & Edwin H. Bravo on the set of Harbinger Down.

Who is your favorite character (or favorite scene) from The Thing (either version) and why?

My favorite character was “Childs” in John Carpenter’s The Thing, played by Keith David. There was such an honesty about his paranoia and fear that made it funny and real. People always forget the “funny” in creature films. When people are scared, they make the funniest faces, and if the camera can catch that, they’ve caught gold, because it’s an honest reaction. In the face of fear people can “laugh” or “cry” and I feel people nowadays choose “cry” because it’s the easy way out.

My favorite scene in the film was when MacReady tied everyone up to test thier blood with the hot wire. The tension in that scene was soooooo thick and Carpenter let the air out of that scene so fast, only to nonchalantly “smash” you right in the face with the screaming alien blood! The reactions from Keith David and Donald Moffat were priceless, the way they were trying to jump out of their chairs. I never had a heart attack and laughed so hard at the same time in my life!

Is Childs The Thing at the end? Do you know your The Thing if your The Thing?

That’s the beautiful question… I don’t think he was, but he did disappear from the camera for a while… You never know and that’s what makes it great. I definitely think that if you’re “The Thing” you KNOW that you’re The THING!!, but you have to convince everyone else that you’re not… hehehehe

Do you think we’re alone in the universe? Does the thought of contact with an alien species excite you or fill you with dread?

I really hope we’re not alone and I don’t think we are. That would be a really lonely existence and extremely arrogant on are part to think so. I would like to see or experience other alien species, minus any “probes”. Whether they come to us in peace or war, it would be quite an adventure, just don’t let our governments do the talking for us.

Got any special message for the Harbies? Or anything you’d like to add?

I just want to say THANK YOU for making Harbinger Down a reality!!! and know that we as viewers and fans, we do have a say in what we want to watch.

The trailer for Harbinger Down will be unleashed THIS MONDAY June 9th – 12PM PST at www.harbingerdown.com. Keep one eye open on the following sites too for more info on the film and all sorts of Harbie-related mischief.

Heisserer blasts the science of The Thing

Thing Prequel screenwriter Eric Heisserer has recently popped up on the forums over at thethingfan.fr.yuku.com to challenge inconsistencies in the continuity between the 2011 Prequel and Carpenter’s 1982 classic.

The Alien Spaceship in Carpenter's The Thing

One of the issues that’s consistently highlighted by some fans about the Prequel is that is eschews the thermite blasting techniques that are used by the Norwegians to reveal the alien spaceship that are documented in video footage in Carpenter’s version.

There are other inconsistencies too but this one is commonly cited in criticism of the way the Prequel diverges from perceived canon.

Heisserer has posted a reply on the forums to clearly state that it was his idea to change this part of the story and it seems he has the science to back it up:

“I spent a few weeks interviewing scientists in this and relative fields, including a forensic archaeologist. My father was a classics professor for thirty years, so I had a need to appeal to the scientific community as a way of respecting him. What I learned from the scientists was this: Using thermite or similar explosives to detonate the ice directly over the ship is a “remarkably stupid idea that no scientist of merit would choose to do.” It endangers the very artifact or site you’re trying to access. Improperly done, you can have a few million tons of ice come down and destroy the thing you’re trying to get to. The way it’s done is: You dig in (with explosives, perhaps) nearby and find a route on a horizontal path to the ship in order to slowly excavate it or explore it. If you need to come in from the top, you only do that with a tunnel using drills. But a route from the side is the scientifically sound concept,” Heisserer writes.

The screenwriter goes on to tackles the issue of freeing the Thing from the ice.

“My two archaeologists watched the movie and had me pause it there, asking “Why would they dig out the creature that way? That makes no sense.” I asked them to explain, and they said it was a similar principle to the space ship: If you go in from the top to dig out the creature from the ice, you’re making the job ridiculously hard on yourself. You have to lift it up. It requires more equipment. Whereas someone with a little smarts would instead dig in through the side. That’s where the director had the idea of the creature bursting out on its own through the top, so we wouldn’t have to shine a light on the rather awkward and unwieldy approach to removing the Thing,” he writes.

There’s quite a sound rationale in Eric’s thinking and it does highlight the fact that as great as Carpenter’s film is – the science in it is occasionally flawed.

Check out his posts on the Thing forum here.