Creature FX photos and more!
I ran into Sxv’Leithan Essex (strangest and coolest name ever) at The Grove in Los Angeles. He was seeing The Unborn and was sitting in front of me and I recognized his tattooed head. So I asked if I could email him a bunch of questions about working with Ivan and this is what he sent back.
What made you choose Ivan for the part of the main vampire?
Sxv’Leithan Essex: When we were getting into pre-production, even before casting, I went and saw the boys [5FDP] play a gig and, shit, Ivan’s one of my kids, man. I love him to death but when he’s on stage, he even scares me. The way he moves, his incessant intensity…I thought right there, there’s my Beast, my written word brought to life. I pitched him that night and sent him the script. After that, everyone knew we’d had our creature.
What was Ivan like on set?
Essex: A riot. Definitely not an A.M guy, like me. Then getting stuck in 80+ weather out in Sun Valley where we were shooting locked in a rubber suit, he did awesome. When on set, he shined…some of the shots between him and the women he seduces was really sexy shit, they definitely were getting into it. Can’t mask the rock star inside.
Do we ever get to see Ivan not in make up in the film?
Essex: No. He’s geared up as the Incubus the entire time.
How much of Ivan do we see in Bled?
Essex: Lots. I remember during the suicide edit [the first edit of the film], they were milking the mystery of the Incubus and I let them know we were missing the heart of the story. The director [Christopher Hutson] was fascinated with the tree that bleeds the red sap they smoke to transcend dimensions, but horror fans aren’t watching for a tree, they want to see the creature. I mean, I didn’t watch Hellraiser for the box, I watched it for the cenobites. Ivan’s character is the reason for it all happening. After that, Ivan was everywhere.
How much of what you written did Ivan match on screen?
Essex: Ivan gave the character life. For lack of a better analogy, he “humanized” the creature. As I was doing the sketches for the Incubus to pass on to Gage Munster [Creature F/X Artist], Ivan’s presence in the role pushed me to think beyond just a creature, and make him an Ancient God, lost in this otherworldly realm. He’s motivated, and love lorn. And possessed by the ultimate hunger.. Ivan gave him that soul.
You also directed their video for “The Way Of The Fist.” How was it directing Ivan in that?
Essex: Stick Ivan [and the rest of the band] in a Fight Club-style basement and just turn the camera on. Ivan’s a natural performer. It’s just in him. I built the Fight Club environment and lighting concept to frame them in their best light. Direction was to my crew more than anything. I just let the lions run around in the cage, just making sure they were on their marks and I got the shots I wanted.
Would you work with Ivan again?
Essex: In a sucking chest wound of a heartbeat.
Source: Aaron Churchill