Icons of Fright talks THE MIND’S EYE With Actor Graham Skipper!!

unnamedDirector Joe Begos’ latest film THE MIND’S EYE opened in select theaters and VOD yesterday,  with acclaim and praises from within the horror community. In celebration of that, I got to sit down with star Graham Skipper to discuss what it’s like to have telekinetic powers, work in negative 27 degrees and see the process of how a head can explode from mind control.

 

Shannon McGrew: Hi Graham! Thanks so much for chatting with me today! So to start things off – what interested you in the role of Zack Connors in THE MIND’S EYE?

 

Graham Skipper: Well, who wouldn’t want to play a telekinetic drifter hell bent on revenge (laughs)? Joe (Begos) sent me the script and I thought it was great and aside from the surface level stuff I just mentioned, Joe really wrote a meaty character with a lot of depth and a real heart to him. It’s something that is easily dismissed in a movie like this so it was fun and exciting to me to have a character that’s servicing a story based around action, set pieces and big genre troupes and to have that character have real life and pathos to him. I was excited to dive into that.

 

So I must ask, were you and your character inspired by SCANNERS?

 

Oh of course, I mean Joe made me watch a lot of films. Obviously I watched SCANNERS and it’s sequels but also THE FURY, DEATH WISH, and FIRST BLOOD. I took a lot of inspiration from FIRST BLOOD as it was this idea of a drifter that had these incredible abilities but he doesn’t want to have to use them. He’s somebody that kind of gets caught in this situation that he can totally handle but doesn’t want to and I felt like that was really strong. Before John Rambo becomes sort of a superhero in the sequels of FIRST BLOOD, he’s really a tragic character so that was probably my biggest inspiration.

 

THE MIND’S EYE is the second film you’ve worked on with director Joe Begos. What is it about him and his films that keeps you coming back?

 

Joe and I are friends and we are friends because we share the same love for horror movies. I think that has translated into us being able to really communicate in a good shorthand that is just so useful as an actor with a director.  He can say in one sentence, “Hey, I want you to do this scene like John Rambo in this scene from FIRST BLOOD” and I’ll be like “Oh yeah, okay, I get it”.  Then I can take that through myself and make it come alive. It’s real easy to work with him and it’s fun because we both share an excitement with what we do. There’s never a sense of “Oh man I have to drag myself out of bed for work today” it’s “Great! What awesome thing do we get to shoot today!” and I know Joe is going to make it look awesome so it’s cool working with him.

 

What challenges did you face when filming THE MIND’S EYE?

 

GS: It was bitterly cold and this insane blizzard hit us the first day of shooting. We had three feet of snow on the ground and it was freezing cold. There was one overnight shoot we had outside with the temperature, not including windchill, at negative 27 degrees. The whole crew is wearing many many layers of clothes and my costume is not built for the cold like that. You just do your best and it’s great because as an actor it makes you not think about anything – you just have to go. I think it helps the cold really become a character of the movie which I think adds a certain texture to it that I think is really cool. Then with all the snow there’s the logistics of getting a snow plow out here or the costume designer is stuck in Boston, and you may not know what to do, but you come up with solutions and you make it awesome at all costs.

Along with THE MIND’S EYE, you were also just in BEYOND THE GATES, and it looks like you are going to be directing a film as well. What other projects can we look forward to in the future from you?

 

Like you said, BEYOND THE GATES is out right now at festivals and it’s really fun and it’s a great cast.  It’s a VHS era horror movie about a haunted VHS board and it was really exciting to be in it with Barbara Crampton, which makes 14 year old Graham giggle with delight (laughs). I just wrapped production of my film SEQUENCE BREAK which is a metaphysical sci-fi horror movie about a mysterious video arcade machine that infiltrates this guys life, played by Chase Williamson from JOHN DIES AT THE END. He’s brilliant and basically this arcade machine infiltrates his life and causes these Cronenbergian biomechanical hallucinations to happen and it’s about his character figuring out what that means to him and how to really solve this mystery. It’s really fun and I’m really excited about it – we are editing it right now and I’m hopeful that we will be able to get it out to the world as soon as possible.

 

That’s wonderful and I know I look forward to seeing all of these and wish you continued success! Thanks so much for speaking to me!

THE MIND’S EYE is now in select theaters as well as available on iTunes and VOD.