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Of Witches, Monsters and Snakemen: An Interview with Ron Ford PDF Print E-mail
Written by Written by Joe Sherlock   
Mar 31, 2005 at 02:00 AM
DG: Tell us about Witchcraft XI: Sisters in Blood - it was originally subtitled "The Weird Sisters" - tell us about that.

RF: The story takes place on a college campus built over the burial grounds of three infamous witches. The evil Satanist drama teacher there ironically uses three girls playing the witches in a production of Macbeth to become the vessels to resurrect the witches. In that play, Shakespeare refers to the three prophetic witches as "the weird sisters." It seemed the logical subtitle for the movie, and one that appealed to me very much. The producer, of course, more familiar with Ron Jeremy than with Shakespeare, didn't get it (even after I explained it to him) and thought it sounded "dumb." So he changed it to Sisters in Blood. So much more smart, don't you think?

DG: Many people consider Hollywood Mortuary to be your signature movie - well-crafted, full of gore and dark humor and multiple nods to the Hollywood of a bygone era. How did the project come about?

RF: It started as a short for Kevin Lindenmuth's CREATUREALM series. I wanted to do an over the top vehicle for Randal Malone, who I thought was born to be the new Divine. Randal played roles in three of my earlier movies, ALIEN FORCE, MARK OF DRACULA and RIDDLES WITH BULLETS, but HM was his first starring role in one of my movies. Randal came up with the title, which I loved. I ran with that and the rest is history. It wasn't until later that I realized how close it was to HOW TO MAKE A MONSTER, which I did rip off somewhat on an unconscious level. Honestly, though, I think my movie is smarter, aware of it's own humor. Anyway, I loved the short so much that I was compelled to make it into a feature. A year later, the rights reverted back to me (according to my deal with Kevin) and we shot additional scenes and reshot the cheesy effects and re-edited the whole thing into the feature as it exists now. For me, it is vastly better as a feature. Some disagree.

DG: You've acted in most of your movies - sometimes in large, sometimes in small roles. Do you have a preference?

RF: My first love is acting, so I give myself parts when I can. But it's tough to direct, write, produce and act in a movie, so I have usually kept the roles small. I would really love to get a meaty role in something where all I had to do was work on my acting role. I someday will do something that is a vehicle for myself as an actor and let somebody else direct it. But that opportunity hasn't happened yet.

DG: The anthology segments in Dead Time Tales each took inspiration from a famous author. How did you decide on this unique approach? RF: I originally licensed rights to the THINGS series, which had done well for producer Dave Sterling. It was made as THINGS 3. Since I was doing a horror anthology, it gave me the chance to adapt some of my favorite horror short stories (public domain ones, of course), which is something I had wanted to do for some time. It seemed an obvious approach given my tastes. Anyway, by the time we got a distributor, the Things series had played itself out and the distributor insisted we change the title. C'est la vie!

DG: Any interesting stories from the set of Dead Time Tales?

RF: Well, the role I played as a gangster in the "Bestiality" segment was supposed to be played by Evan Jacobs, of WALKING BETWEEN THE RAINDROPS fame. But he had been given bad directions and couldn't find the set. When he didn't show, I was forced to jump into the role. I was wearing a black Jurassic Park polo shirt that day, so I borrowed a suit jacket from Randal and that became my costume. If you look closely in a couple of shots you can see the JP logo under the jacket.

DG: There is a particularly bloody sequence right in a seemingly suburban neighborhood. Did you get any odd looks or police visits after that shoot?

RF: Nope. It was a pretty quiet neighborhood, and the bullet hits were red paint balls. It was pretty obvious what was going on even to the casual observer, so nobody took it for real. Plus the neighbors were all used to seeing us shooting horror movies at Randal's house by that time.

DG: You've recently relocated to Washington State, but have already managed to hook up with local moviemakers and shoot a new feature, The Snakeman. Tell us all about it.

RF: SNAKE MAN was a toil because we started in the fall and by the time we were done we had been fighting snow for over a month. That was the toughest thing. Getting people together on the rare days when the ground was clear enough to match what we had already shot. Also, unlike LA, all the acting talent have day jobs making scheduling pretty difficult. We shot mostly on weekends. Most of my movies have been shot in 7 to ten days straight through. This one took about three month shooting here and there when we could. Anyway, it is now finished and should be out early next year.

DG: You also have a small part in an upcoming theatrical release, MOZART AND THE WHALE. Tell us about that.

RF: I was cast as a "featured extra" because I had no lines, but you will see me a lot in it. I play an autistic guy in a group of autistic people at a community center led by Donald, played by Josh Hartnett. I put my heart and soul into that one and I hope it shows. I gave everything I had as an actor in that movie, even though I'm really just hanging around most of the scenes. It's going to be a terrific movie, I think. Written by Ronald Bass (of RAIN MAN fame) and directed by Petter Naes, the Norwegian director of the wonderful and hilarious Academy Award winning best foreign feature ELLING. Petter and Josh and Rahda Mitchell and all the cast were just great to everyone, all just really nice people.

DG: What can we look forward to in the near future from Ron Ford?

RF: THE SNAKE MAN, of course, and then in January I will be going back to LA to direct a teen comedy for hire. I'm not really supposed to talk about it right now, but it's a funny script. I didn't write it, so I can say that. All I can say is that the story involves an illicit substance being marketed in a new way, and Randal Malone and I play business rivals in it. Mostly now though I am concentrating on my stage career. I'm making the bulk of my money these days as a stage actor. I have three plays coming up this season and will have to schedule the movie shoot around them. I start rehearsing for JACOB MARLEY'S CHRISTMAS CAROL in about a month, playing a hellish bookkeeper who Marley on his quest to redeem Ebeneezer Scrooge. I'm keeping busy.

You can keep up with Ron at www.ronfordfilms.com!


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