Icons of Fright Chats THE MIND’S EYE With Actor John Speredakos!!

unnamedHorror films have introduced us to quite the amount of terrific yet psychopathic doctors throughout the years and the latest film from Joe Begos, THE MINDS EYE, is most definitely no exception.  Today I got to sit down with actor John Speredakos, to discuss what it’s like to play an evil scientist, work with the infamous Larry Fessenden, and what it’s like to re-enact telepathic powers while doing your best to avoid you own head exploding in real life.


Shannon McGrew:  Hi John!  Thanks for sitting down with me today to talk about your latest role.  For those who are not familiar with your character, Dr. Michael Slovak in THE MINDS EYE, could you tell us a little bit about him and what interested you in the role?


John Speredakos: Well, I think any actor I know would be interested in this role because on the page it was just so much fun to play.  My character Michael Slovak, is a doctor that everyone seems to refer to as nefarious; I never heard the word nefarious used so damn often (laughs). I’m a doctor who, let’s just say, has an agenda, and when I get involved with Graham Skipper’s character, Zack Connor, I at first appear totally trustworthy or at least a fairly decent guy.  As the movie continues on it reveals that I have this whole agenda going on.  It wouldn’t be a horror film if the lead antagonist was a pleasant fellow – I do become diabolical rather quickly and that’s what attracted me to this character.


Youve had the opportunity to work with Larry Fessenden quite a bit in the past, what is it like working with him?


Oh yeah Larry – I got involved in the horror genre through a movie called WENDIGO that Larry casted me in.  What I like to tell people is Larry is just like you and I, he’s just more talented, smarter, and has better hair – other than that he’s a very decent guy.  Not only is he a talent but one of his talents is he’s very good at attracting talent to him.  He’s a delight to work with.  We did a project last summer called STRAY BULLETS that Larry’s son, Jack Fessenden directed and Larry worked the camera.  It’s a lot of fun working with Larry in any capacity whether it’s him as an actor or being directed by him.


In THE MINDS EYE there are some pretty intense body re-enactments of telepathic powers, how were you able to deal with that physically?


JS: Well not very well, I dealt with it by getting hurt like most of us (laughs).  It was really challenging, even if you take the weather out of it – if you see the movie, you will see that it was a monster to shoot in that type of weather with subzero temperatures, while shooting outdoors, in rural Rhode Island.  We were banged up and that contributed to it, as well as being in those harnesses – it must have been like when women wore girdles in the 50’s – that’s basically what we were wearing.  When we wore the harnesses it crushes your ribcage so it was hard to breathe.  When you can’t breathe you can’t talk.  So I had to deal with that and obviously I had a lot of latex makeup on my face.  There were time I had a blood tube wrapped around my ear which was taped to the other side of my face and before most takes I would have blood drops put in my eyes which resulted in me not seeing anything for literally a minute.  Then they would put me up in the air and then put strobe lighting on me.  So it was really quite daunting. During the interior scenes they would have this smoke come it for filming purposes so it was like being in a sensory deprivation chamber (laughs).  All my senses were shut down – I couldn’t see, I couldn’t breathe, and I could barely speak – so it was a challenge to work through that and try to have some type of performance come through the latex.


Was there anything in particular that you drew inspiration from for your role of Dr. Slovak?


I wish I could say I had a lot of prep time but I was the last of the leads to be cast.  I think I had about 4 days until I was on set in Rhode Island.  I certainly wasn’t trying to copy anything that I portrayed but I mean you’ve seen MAD SCIENTIST before.  Out of all the project I’ve ever done I would have loved to have shot this one in sequence because it really would have been helpful if I had been able to play that arc from beginning to end, but you can’t always do that.  Some days I would start out with Stage 3 makeup and go in reverse so that by the end of the day I would have no makeup at all, so that was tricky trying to get the right level of performance for the right sequence even though we were shooting out of sequence.


As for drawing inspiration, I kept my face in the script a lot and as soon as I got on set and met with director Joe Begos, I kind of went “Oh, I get it, I know what kind of movie we are making and I know who we are making it for”.  Once I know that, I can find a plug in and let the character take me where it wants to, go you know?


Absolutely!  So what can we look forward to from you in the future?


Depends on what you would like to see.  I’m based in New York so I’ve done a lot of television but if I was going to plug anything I am excited about this picture STRAY BULLETS that Larry and Jack Fessenden and myself did.  It has a lot of talented people in it including James Le Gros, Larry, Kevin Corrigan and more.  It’s not a horror film, it’s more of a thriller, but if you are a genre person at all then some of the people from the cast are going to get you excited.  We had a lot of fun making it and we hope people like it so look for it on the festival circuits hopefully this fall!

S We absolutely will!  Thank you so much for speaking with me today and we look forward to seeing your continued success!

  MINDS EYE is currently playing in select theaters, VOD, and iTunes, so be sure to check it out!

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