Hey everyone, Smith here. Earlier this week I had the opportunity to speak with Robert Angelo Masciantonio, writer and director of 2009’s NEIGHBOR about his upcoming film adaption of Brian Keene’s horror novel, CASTAWAYS, as well as his previous vampire film COLD HEARTS.
Robert’s always a pleasure to speak with and he even gave us a glimpse of a classic horror film that he’s lobbying to remake, should the project come to fruition.
Smith: I dont know how in depth you’d like to go into Castaways at this point, is it too early to mention?
Robert Angelo Masciantonio: It’s currently In Development. I hope to have the first draft finished this week, then a budget will be drawn and we’ll take it from there
Smith: Awesome. As far as that goes, how is it working on adapting previously written material, with it being a book before, as opposed to Neighbor and Cold Hearts, which were 100% original?
Masciantonio: It’s interesting. There are segments in the book that take up pages and in the script they can be summed up in three lines.
Smith: Do you feel a responsibility to the book as far as keeping it true to that, or do you want to make it YOUR baby?
Masciantonio: Well, the book and Brian Keene have a large fan base so I have to keep that in mind. I’ve been asking what’s important to people on the Castaways fan page and getting some interesting responses. People definitely cast ownership, so I have to keep that in mind, but it’s also my job to make it an interesting movie, so people will just have to accept that some things will have to change.
Smith: Yeah, I could see how as a filmmaker it might be difficult at times working on something that has a solid fanbase and how passionate those fans are about that. How did the project come along, were you looking for something like this to do, after making Neighbor?
Masciantonio: Damian Maffei brought it to me; he has the rights to the book and has been looking for someone to adapt it. Neighbor had the in-your-face grit that he was looking for so he asked me about it.
Smith: Yeah, that’s one thing about Neighbor that I really dig, how gritty it gets at times. The fx and how realistic they look is definitely a good touch for the film.
Masciantonio: I read the book over a Sunday and thought it could be a lot of fun, so we’re running with it. Charles St. John Smith III (from Neighbor) will be producing. I plan on the same with Castaways as far as what will be on the screen.
Smith: Will Vincent Guastini be back on this one working on the fx?
Masciantonio: Just gotta write him the check. Vinnie’s in my core group. If I need make-up, I’ll always go to him. We had become friendly over the years and I had always wanted to work with him. When the opportunity came up, I called him first for Neighbor.
Smith: Remakes seem to be a big trend these days, with studios remaking everything under the sun pretty much, are there any classics that if you were given the opportunity, you’d want to work on?
Masciantonio: American Werewolf in London. It’s one of the movies that made me want to make horror movies. I’ve already written the spec, I just don’t know who to get it to at this point. I even e-mailed John Landis about it and it’s totally out of his hands. (He responded very promptly, which I thought was nice, by the way)
Smith: Is it something you’re really passionate about wanting to do, if the opportunity arises?
Masciantonio: I feel like anyone else that makes it is going to eff it up big time. I’ll take the responsibility of saying I’m the only one that can do it right.
Smith: When writing the spec for your Werewolf if you could do it, did you write it with anyone in mind?
Masciantonio: America Olivo (Neighbor, Platinum Dunes’ Friday the 13th Remake) is Jack in my mind’s eye.
Smith: Speaking of America, I thought she was great in Neighbor, how did she come to be in that film?
Masciantonio: We met originally to discuss another project and became friends. I had her mind when I wrote it and called her as soon as it was finished. I always felt she could pull off the insane girl-next-door quality that the character had. She read it, called the next day, and was like, “you’re a fuckin’ nutjob. Let’s do this.”
Smith: ..and you had previously worked with Christian Campbell on Cold Hearts, prior to casting him in Neighbor, right?
Masciantonio: Yeah, and wanted to work with him since. He was amazing to work with on Cold Hearts and he’s another one that has become a friend over the years. He was another first call.
Smith: Right on. My wife is a massive fan of the Howard Stern show, and you had Fred Norris appear in Cold Hearts, was that out of being a fan of Stern’s and his show as well?
Masciantonio: Totally. I grew up listening to the show and that was way back when Fred “Eric” Norris wanted to get into acting. He was a lot of fun to work with. Sal and Richard from the Stern Show are in the Castaways novel and I’ve spoken to Richard about them being in the film. They’re into it, so hopefully it’ll all work out.
Smith: Ok cool, well I’m definitely looking forward to Castaways, and I’m sure a lot of other people are as well. Anything you’d like to say to the Icons of Fright readers?
Masciantonio: I heart u.. And thanks for being out there.
Smith: Awesome, well Robert, thanks for your time, definitely appreciated.
So, there you have it. Thoughts? To keep up to date on the upcoming production of CASTAWAYS, be sure to check out the official Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/CASTAWAYSmovie