-Interview by Nic Brown-
The way things usually work with movies is that you make a movie, and then cut a trailer to try and sell that movie to audiences. However, when Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino teamed up to do a retro exploitation cinema double feature called GRINDHOUSE, they thought it would be fun to add some trailers for films that had never been made. Some were made by famous filmmakers, but others were chosen by a fake trailer competition. Entries of all types poured in, including one from a young Canadian filmmaker named Jason Eisener. Eisener’s entry was a blend of vigilante justice, social commentary, and over the top violence…HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN. The trailer won and was featured during the theatrical run and on the special features for the DVD release. But that wasn’t enough for fans. The trailer became a hit online and soon Eisener found himself behind the camera again. This time though he was taking the trailer and making it into a feature film, starring action/fantasy movie legend Rutger Hauer (BLADE RUNNER, LADYHAWK, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER).
film complete and preparing for a theatrical run of its own,
Eisener has been pounding the pavement promoting the film at
festivals and online. That is how this unassuming young man in a
black t-shirt and toque ended up sitting behind a guest table at
Nic – Jason, you’re here at the Texas Frightmare Weekend promoting your new film HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN and I have to ask, where the hell did you come up with this crazy, fun movie?
Jason - It all started back home in
Nic - So the film actually started as just a trailer?
Jason - Yeah it did. It won and was included in the trailers shown during the GRINDHOUSE double feature. Then after that, we put the trailer up online and it just kind of took off on its own and went viral. All of a sudden we had close to a million hits on the trailer and all these people were leaving comments asking us to make this movie and saying that they really wanted to see it. So we were able to take those numbers and the comments to our producers and showed them that there was a product here that people really wanted to see. The producers really responded to that and next thing you know we’re making a movie.
have to say though that we wouldn’t have gotten to make HOBO
WITH A SHOTGUN and I wouldn’t be here in
Nic - HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN stars Rutger Hauer. How did he become involved in the project?
Nic - That’s great the way he came on board with you! I also understand you had some fun at the premiere of the film.
Jason - Oh man, I was so nervous. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and Rutger and I were sitting right behind my mom during the movie. I was so worried about what she would think of it. When the film was over, she turned around and gave me that same look that she used to give me when I was a kid and she’d bust open the door to my bedroom because she heard screaming coming from the television and she’d catch me and my brother watching RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. It [HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN] was a lot for her to take in and it is definitely not her type of movie. But she was so happy and proud of us, it was great!
Nic - You
shot the film in
Jason - Films like this usually aren’t made in
Nic - I’m glad you were able to get the film made, but wasn’t there one important scene in the film that almost didn’t make it because of the censors?
Jason - Oh yeah! (Laughs) It was a scene that was in the film from the very first draft of the script, and it was always the scene that would come up during conversations with the financers. It’s the scene on the school bus and I don’t want to give anymore away, but we really had to fight to keep this scene in the movie. But we were able to show that it was important to the story and we were eventually able to win out so it stayed in the finished film.
Nic - During the production of the film, I heard there was a bit of a miraculous moment on the set.
Jason - You might say that. What happened was we were shooting
one of the opening scenes where this character named
Well there was this background performer by the name of Jonas that we had and he’d been blind his whole life. Two weeks before the shoot he had corrective surgery done and his vision started coming back to him right in the middle of that scene. So the first thing he sees when he gets his sight back is this girl dancing in the blood! One of the crew overheard him say, “Wow! Red is so beautiful!” and I just can’t imagining anything ever living up to that moment. What a first sight! It’s amazing.
Nic - Jason, it seems like everything about this movie has a great story behind it. What about the film’s poster?
Jason - (Laughs) Yes, there’s a story there too. What happened was that we have the film’s website set up like a blog on the main page so you can leave comments. I was reading through them one day and saw this one from a guy who said he’d love to make a poster for the movie. Well I thought that was pretty cool that a fan wanted to make some art and I told him that it was awesome that he was interested and that I’d love to see it. A couple of days later I get this email and it says, “Hey I got bored the other day so I made that poster for HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN that I was talking about…well here it is.” He sent me this (Jason holds up the one sheet for the film) and I couldn’t believe how good it was. I sent it to everyone involved in the film and the distributors loved it. They bought the poster off of him and now his poster is the face of the movie. It was great because I love the poster and it kind of helped get his career going too. He’s been getting a lot of work now doing posters. In fact, he just did the poster for Ti West’s film INNKEEPERS. His name is Thomas Hodge and he works under the name The Dude Designs and that’s also his website.