Bigfoot flick PRIMAL RAGE screens for one night only at theatres across the U.S before a home video release a little later on.
Marshal Hilton, whose many credits include THE PERFECT WEAPON, BEETLEBORGS METALLIX, and ASSASSIN X, plays B.D, the leader of a group of boisterous, gun-toting locals who go after Bigfoot, in the Patrick Magee-directed film. B.D cuts an imposing figure but he’s foolish, ultimately letting his team become the hunted as opposed to the hunted.
Dan Ashenden: How did you get involved in this one, sir?
Marhal Hilton: I actually read for the role. It was a typical audition situation. I met Patrick Magee the director, Jay Lee the cinematographer, Angela Lee the producer, and Angela’s Bulldog at some place in Hollywood. I got a call that Pat wanted to meet at his studio the next day. When I walked into to his studio and saw all his amazing work lining the walls and ceiling, I just looked at him and said, “I’m in.” I hadn’t even read the script. His work was so stunning and so detailed I knew I was going to work with a guy who was not only passionate, but an artist that had supreme skills. He showed me the concept trailer and said we were going to shoot in the Redwoods forests of Northern California and Oregon, and when I saw his Bigfoot creation, it was a no-brainer.
What was the initial appeal for you?
The level of detail in Patrick’s craftsmanship and his passion for the project sold me on the film. It’s one thing to have someone talk about this and that in an abstract Hollywood style pitch, but when the critical elements of the film are right in front of you, it’s a completely different type of conversation. Now I will admit, “Bigfoot” as a fascination and myth was not on my radar. But when you walk into Pat’s studio and the first things you see in life size detail is the Predator, and then an original casting Alien recreation, any superfluous, hypothetical, or conceptual conversation is moot. The quality of his work is indisputable. He showed me the Bigfoot suit that took three years to make by hand, and the concept trailers he had been working on in pre-production for close to five plus years, and it was a done deal. He said we were going to be shooting in the Redwood forests of Northern California and Oregon, and I said, “I’m in”. I hadn’t even read the script at that point.
Did the project change, if even slightly, due to budget or other creative decisions, as the shooting date approached?
That’s most likely a question for Patrick and the production team. Patrick Magee, the director and co-writer, had been thinking about this film for fifteen years. Along with Jay Lee the co-writer, cinematographer, and editor, they had been in pre-production for approximately five years. We shot the main parts of the story over a two and a half year span. There’s probably five years of footage from different shoots scattered throughout the film. So to answer your question, you can be certain that there were a lot of variables that were constantly evolving. There is an amazing story that involves one of the lead actors, AJ Montgomery who plays “Max,” but I believe that Patrick or AJ should tell you the story. It’s one of the most courageous stories that I’ve ever experienced on a film production. But as for my participation, Patrick was a dream to work with. He was so intimate with the story and the location, he knew exactly where and how we were going to shoot everything. He was very decisive and when a director is prepared on that level, it’s much easier and more enjoyable to do the work.
How long of a shoot was it?
The principle photography with just the cast was approximately sixty days of shooting in total, but Pat and Jay had been going up to that location for several years of test shooting and location scouting, so I’m certain there were many more days in the complete shooting schedule
Was it local? Or were parts of it filmed all over?
We filmed the movie on location in the majestic and breathtaking old growth Redwood forests of Northern California and Oregon, on a 1,200-acre private reserve. We were based in Crescent City, California, a sleepy little fishing community about 20 miles from the Oregon border in Humboldt and Del-Norte counties. The shooting location was absolutely perfect to tell the story. We did however film Bigfoot’s cave here in the Los Angeles area.
How different a project do you think this would have been if it were filmed 20 years ago?
Wow, that is so hard to even contemplate. One of Patrick’s big influences on the spirit of this film was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Predator, and that was released in 1987. Twenty years ago would have put Primal Rage being released in 1997. I’m not certain that Pat was in a place professionally where he could even contemplate creating the concept of this film back then. With that said, the tone and style of Primal Rage is very reminiscent of the sci-fi action adventure films of that era. It’s very stripped down like those films. So I believe that it could have fit in very nicely with the movies of that time, but I think the story might have been told very differently.
It would undoubtedly have been marketed a lot differently then too. Tell us about some of the marketing activities conducted to promote it. I see you’re very active on socials!
Someone’s gotta do it. 😉 I feel that part of my job as an actor is to get behind the film once it’s done and ready to present to the world. I’ve always been a take-charge, responsibility kind of guy. You can’t just sit back and wait for other people to care about your career. No one will ever care about you like you will care about you. I feel really strong about Patrick and the film he has put together and I’m thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this film. I want to see him and all involved succeed. So I’m out there talking about the film. It’s the least I can do. I also need to give a shout out to my publicist Clint Morris at October Coast. He’s grinding the phones and pitching the film, and we’ve been able to reach a lot of genre fans direct which has been really cool.
Referring to your previous question regarding Social Media, it’s really the only thing that is available to us as individuals that we can access other than traditional media. We are not a studio-funded film so our resources are limited and require alternative ways of publicising the film. Social media is one avenue available to promote the film. Like it or not, we feel like we have some control over the messaging and brand management, even if we aren’t reaching everyone in our network.
As for the distribution of the film, the sale rep Blue Fox Entertainment put together a deal with Fathom Events, a company created and owned in part by AMC Theatres, Regal Cinemas, and Cinemark. They are promoting the film for and nationwide limited release of about 450 cities for a one-night-only screening of the film on February 27th at 7pm. The film will be screened, and also included in the event will be a featurette on “The Making of Primal Rage.” It will include a Q & A with Director Patrick Magee and feature behind-the-scenes footage and cast interviews. It’s a nice way for people to get closer to the film in a more intimate way. It’s like being on the inside.
After that I’m told that the film will have a theatrical run in Europe, and then after that some time in the future most likely the VOD release. So there’s still a lot of pushing ahead for the foreseeable future.
How important is a social media presence for a film?
It’s just one part of the puzzle, albeit a rather new and important piece to consider. It gives you an opportunity to control your messaging and introduce your content and brand on a global viral level. Independent film budgets can be very challenging. Promotion is the key. As artists we need to have non-traditional avenues to present our work. In the beginning, social media had an organic feel to it. It felt pure and not restricted. Fans could actually find the artists they liked, share with all their friends, and connect directly. But what was once “non-traditional” is now becoming corporate and traditional. It has started to feel like the corporate goals of the companies that provide the platforms have began to influence our messaging in lieu of advertising revenue. I don’t think that we are actually reaching all the people in our “networks.” So in one aspect we have worked very hard to build our networks to promote our work, but the platforms have highjacked much of our work for their advertising revenue. It feels like we are only reaching maybe ten to twenty percent or our audience. Social media used to feel “free,” but nothing in this world is “free,” and if it is, you can bet that someone is manipulating “free” for a profit. So in that way it’s starting to feel kind of futile, but what else do we have?
What’s one thing people probably don’t realize about making movies?
I had an old producer tell me one time that there were two things a person should never see in life: How sausage is made, and how records are made. The reality of the process would ruin a person’s fantasy of the process. All the glamour is gone.
Filming is technical and repetitive during the process; the amount of downtime there is in between “Action” and “Cut” can be hours at times. Most people I know are not interested in the actual process of filming, and can last maybe a couple of hours or so before they’ve raided the Craft Services table to the point that they cant take it anymore, and they leave. You can only eat so many Red Vines and granola bars in one day. It’s like watching and waiting for water to boil.
When is the movie a success to you, the actor?
For me as an actor there are three levels of success. It’s a success to have the opportunity to do what I love to do, tell stories in a collaborative environment, to hear from fans that they loved something I was a part of, and have my colleagues in the business reach out and give props, which hopefully lead to more offers of work. It’s all about staying busy.
What’s the future hold for you?
Several actually. I have a number of projects in various stages of post-production, but these are the nearest to completion.
I just finished shooting a dramady episodic pilot titled FLICKS that will be pitched to FX, Netflix, Amazon, and all the usual suspects. It’s a quirky character-driven story about a struggling screenwriter who’s been bumping around town for 10 years and just can’t seem to break through Hollywood. I play his agent Elan, a rough and tumble, foul-mouthed, bull-in-a-china-shop talent agent. He’s an animal. It very much has the Indie feel of a show like The Jim Gaffigan Show. It’s a small intimate slice-of-life piece. My description of the story theme is something along the lines of Entourage, except the main characters are still eating Top Ramen and can’t seem to catch a break. It’s about all the insanity and failures people deal with on the “lower levels” of the Hollywood swamp. There’s definitely no lack of storylines.
I co-starred in a sci-fi adventure drama feature with Gary Daniels, titled ASTRO, co-written by Asif Akbar and Bernard Selling. It was directed by Asif Akbar and the film is in the final stages of post-production and should be released sometime this year. We shot it in Roswell, New Mexico. Also in the ensemble cast are Louis Mandylor, Michael Pare, Randy Wayne, Dominique Swain, Max Wasa, and others. I play “Alexander Biggs,” a mysterious billionaire space entrepreneur who recruits an old friend and colleague to help him discover the mysteries of an extraterrestrial life form he’s discovered in another solar system.
I also had a chance to hook up with an old friend, writer-director Jesse V. Johnson, with a little cameo appearance in his upcoming action-drama The Debt Collector, starring Scott Adkins and Loius Mandylor, produced by Deborah Del Prete and Charles Berg. It also features Tony Todd, Vladimir Kulich, and Michael Pare, and true to Jesse Johnson fare, I’m certain that it will be a kick-ass movie!
I also will have a supernatural thriller film hitting the festival circuit mid-2018 titled Echoes of Fear, by husband-and-wife team Brian and Laurence Avenet-Bradley, the creative team behind GHOST OF THE NEEDLE, DARK REMAINS, and MALIGNANT. I can’t give you too much here, other than to say I play “David,” a kind-hearted yet nosy next-door neighbour who Alysa (Trista Robinson) keeps running into as she confronts the haunting of her grandfather’s house.
It’s been a pleasure, and thank you for reaching out. Speaking on behalf of the cast and crew, I just want to say thank you for supporting this film. It was a passion project for everyone involved. I hope you and your readers enjoy the film. And remember; be careful when walking in the woods…
You can keep tabs on what’s going on by following any one of my social media profiles. We’re constantly putting up news and info.
Official Desktop Site: http://www.marshalhilton.com/