Genre powerhouse Jared Cohn talks to SHOCK about his latest film, LITTLE DEAD RIDING HOOD.
Actor and filmmaker Jared Cohn has two films currently on release, the indie drama Wishing for a Dream and the significantly more horror-fan friendly LITTLE DEAD ROTTING HOOD. We spoke to the genre staple about his latest gun for hire gig.
SHOCK: Jared, how many films have you done the past year? Is there some kind of record youre out to beat because it certainly seems to be a lot?
COHN: I like to try and stay busy if Im not working I go crazy.
SHOCK: Do you think its because you do wear so many hats writer, producer, actor, director and can easily slip into any position that youre never unemployed?
COHN: I think in this business you have to be proactive. I think the most power comes from the projects that you help put together yourself. I dont like to wait around and hope the phone rings. Luckily I have an awesome producing partner, Gabriel Campisi, and the support of some good friends and producers. Major shout out to The Asylum, who has been very kind to me.
SHOCK: Are there movies you havent wanted to do over the past couple of years that you have just to put food on the table?
COHN: I love making movies. I love being on set and being creative. Like Gaspar Noe says, never do something for money that you wouldnt do for free.
SHOCK: What was the highlight of 2015 for you film-wise?
COHN: LITTLE DEAD ROTTING HOOD was a great experience, just came out Jan 6th, 2016 we had real wolves in there. Plus I also just shot a script which I wrote, The Valley Drowner, which I am very excited about- about a guy that drowns girls. And lastly I just got back from Bangkok and did a very cool swordfighting movie for The Asylum. Those three movie shoots were awesome. High-lights for me are when Im working and busy.
SHOCK: When it comes to the movies you make yourself, you generally stick to horror or thriller. Is there any reason for that? Is it just where the interest lies?
COHN: My brain gravitates towards various things, depending on how I woke up that day. That said, I have also made numerous other films, other than horror/thriller, produced by myself. My interests change all the time. Its either evolving or regressing or just revolving like a door. Could also just be neurosis who knows.
SHOCK: You were a gun-for-hire on LITTLE DEAD ROTTING HOOD? How did it come about?
COHN: I was, but I was very much involved and when I sign on to do a movie its not just about me being a hired gun, I very much like to get my hands dirty and make the best movie possible, regardless of the budget. I loved how it came out. I am a fan of the actors I work with and a fan of the cast and crew that supports me. I enjoy the process. Also, I dont like to step back too far and look at it so critically. There has to be an organic/spontaneous element to the process.
SHOCK: How much input did you have into the storyline?
COHN: Gabe (the writer) and I have a great collaborative relationship so any ideas that I may have we bounce off each other and we always talk things through until we come to an agreement. We never had an argument. We respect each others views and work.
SHOCK: What about the title? Was that all The Asylum?
COHN: That was all Gabe, the writer. And his illustration crew Buz Hanson, Ken Haeser and Blair Smith, they actually created an entire comic book before the movie got made. So, in a way the movie is based on the comic.
SHOCK: A horror film has to encompass certain things, but does an Asylum movie too?
COHN: Not every horror movie has to encompass the same things, we try to not be so formulaic, that said there definitely are some familiar elements that the audiences come to expect and we dont want to let anyone down. The Asylum is successful for a reason in that they deliver those expectations. The goal though, is to deliver above and beyond. Sometimes it works better than others. That said, I am very happy with how the movie turned out.
SHOCK: On most of your Asylum movies, are you shooting out of the country?
COHN: I only shot one Asylum movie out of the country and that was in Thailand. That said, The Asylum shoots a lot out of country, theyve shot in Bulgaria, Bahamas, Whales, all over the globe. They make a lot of, movies soon they will have hit the entire planet Im sure.
SHOCK: The tone of the movie is a mix of horror and comedy is it hard maintaining that balance?
COHN: All starts with the script, as for the acting and the way its shot, its not hard- its just finding the right balance with the cast, not making it too campy or taking itself too seriously. There has to be a nice, happy amount of realism, comedy, fantasy. Its like chemistry. Too much of one thing and it goes bad, its a constant, evolving thing.
SHOCK: What kind of instructions do you give to your actors so that they dont go too over-the-top?
COHN: Sometimes I tell actors to tone it down, sometimes I say to give more energy, depends on the actor and depends on the scene, and the mood they are in. Actors are regular humans with feelings and you never know what happened to them that day. Acting is a tough job. Well, again depends on the actor. Nothing is constant, with anyone. And everyday and every movie is different. There are many unquantifiable factors at work constantly.
SHOCK: Have you turned down any Asylum movies? Maybe even one you now regret?
COHN: Like I said, those guys I am very grateful to. So, if David Latt calls me and says he wants me to helm a movie for him, my answer, without thinking too much would be a yes. Without them I would be overdosing in my mothers basement in Long Island. Also – I dont like the concept of regret.
SHOCK: Theres also a comic book out there for LITTLE DEAD ROTTING HOOD. Are they trying to build some kind of Marvel Universe out of the title? Six months until we see the sequel and all that?
COHN: Hopefully, plant the seed and let it grow. Ill be there, ready to shoot, both with a camera and with a gun.