Paul, welcome to UKHS. I love Westerns, my dream role as an actor would be acting in a Western, if I lived in the USA I would be knocking at your door with my acting resume. Thank you for keeping the Western genre alive. OK, time to fire a fistful of questions at you!
UKHS – First of all, why don’t you introduce yourself to those of us who don’t already know you and tell us a little about your previous work ?
PW – I’m an Indie filmmaker. I spent almost 30 years in Hollywood producing for the major studios and I have also done a lot of Indie work as well. Lately, my films have included Native American actors and themes of the American West. Like you, I love Westerns. I grew up with them and I will do my part to keep the genre alive.
UKHS – Which actor and director inspires you the most?
PW – I don’t think I can pick one. There are so many good ones. Brando, certainly. Jack Nicholson. Many of the classical British actors. There are really so many that it is hard to narrow it down. With directors it is the same. I have been influenced by many…Kubrick, Hitchcock, Huston, Kurosawa. So many. I think Clint Eastwood is a very good director. And actor. I loved him when I was young and I still do. I used to ditch school and go watch his movies over and over in the theater.
PW – I love westerns and I love zombie films, so the mix was an easy one for me. I’m surprised that the genre mix hasn’t happened sooner. The film premiered in Tempe, Arizona for a week and we will be back in theaters in January 2014. We have also released the film on Vimeo On Demand. You can access the film at our site at http://www.cowboyzombiesfilm.com/ where you can rent it or download it. I’m excited about the new distribution markets that are available to Indie distributors now. We are four walling the film in theaters ourselves and handling all distribution in all markets. Exciting stuff.
UKHS – Good luck with the distribution. You and Gahan Wilson wrote the screenplay for the movie. Gahan is best known for his macabre cartoons that have appeared in Playboy and The New Yorker. How did the two of you team up and did Gahan design the zombies?
PW – Gahan and I have worked on many projects together in Hollywood. I produced ‘The Kid’ for him, and Gahan Wilson’s ‘Diner’. I was also one of the producers of ‘It’s True’, a pilot we did for Paramount and CBS. We have a long history. We both love zombies films so I started telling him my idea about 12 years ago. We would talk about how much fun it would be and then I started writing up the scenes. And presto, ‘Cowboy Zombies’ was born. He didn’t really design the zombies since they are just your run of the mill zombies. Nothing against them, of course, but they are the freshly dead. In ‘Cowboy Zombies II’ we will have zombies who have been dead for some time, so I think that it is then that Gahan can put his hand on the design of some “proper” very dead zombies.
UKHS – Great news about ‘Cowboys Zombies II’. Well done! You should call it ‘Cowboys Zombies II: A Fistful of Gore. There are many types of zombies depicted in stories and movies, what kind of Zombies will we see in ‘Cowboy Zombies’ and do we all get treated to plenty of gore?
PW – I like the classic, slow moving zombie. These new “athletic” zombies are a bit too much for me. They move too fast! We have some blood, but ‘Cowboy Zombies’ was designed to be not over the top with gore. We have some good moments!
UKHS – The locations look stunning along with the town, where was the film shot and how long did it take to shoot?
PW – We shot the film primarily in Arizona, with one day in Ventura, California. The town was an old movie town called Cowtown. Many films have been shot there over the years. Dead Man, with Johnny Depp was shot there. I believe that was Robert Mithcum’s last film also. By the time we got our turn to shoot there, the town had decayed to a very decrepit looking place, which lent it self very well to the feel we were trying to accomplish. We shot the film in a month.
PW – Sam Bearpaw is an actor I worked with in one of my earlier films, ‘Nate and the Colonel. He’s a great actor and he was a producer on Cowboy Zombie as well. Lee Whitestar, who played Datanta, the Apache Chief I have know for many years. We met on a film I did called ‘Red Blood’. It’s really an ensemble cast with many fine actors taking a turn. I love what they all did. It was very satisfying to see the script come to life as it did.
UKHS – Finally,what would you consider to be the three main ingredients that you need to make a classic Zombie flick?
PW – A good story. Great locations. Great zombies. There you go!
UKHS – Thanks Paul, before you ride off into the sunset, I would just like to say it’s been a true pleasure talking to you. Good luck with the movie and thanks for your time.
Image courtesy: WINTERS FILM GROUP.
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