Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Ask Me a Question: The Veil w/ Phil Joanou

Last night The Egyptian Theatre hosted a members exclusive screening of new horror-thriller The Veil. Director Phil Joanou directs a script by Robert Ben Garant that finds Thomas Jane as Jim Jacobs, enigmatic leader of a cult based on removing the nails between your physical body and spiritual soul. After a mass suicide leaves survivor Sarah Hope (Lily Rabe) scarred for life, she agrees to accompany a documentary crew headed by Maggie Price (Jessica Alba) back to the camp. Price's father was an FBI agent on the scene and like Sarah, her family's lives have been forever affected by the cult. Boasting a strong performance by Jane as the death defying, violence prone yet miracle healer Jacobs anchors the film along with Rabe and Alba as motivated women trying to make sense of a tragedy. Joanou creates an atmospheric thriller versus a straight slasher film that has a few chills and shocks even if the narrative and supernatural elements get a little confusing. Lots of cast and crew were in the audience and I spotted the man himself Thomas Jane in the lobby looking dapper and chill. I had a great time hanging with RAW Studios and convention maestro Mike and our friend Vladimir Kulich made an appearance as he's a big fan of Jane's dating back to Stander where he thought the Maryland born actor was actually South African.

A very energetic Phil Joanou participated in a brief Q&A:

- Shot in 25 days over 5 weeks at a First Nations reservation. Shortest schedule he's ever had.
- Did a movie for $3.2 million that shot for 32 days in the states and several cities abroad to compare.
- Once Blumhouse decides to make your movie, just tell you to go.
- Script was originally found footage but completely overhauled as fad had passed.
- Learned how to use After Effects on YouTube and spent more man hours adding in blood and ghosts than did shooting the actual movie.
- Loves his cast, said he couldn't have done it in the time frame with a weak crew.
- Shot very wide to evoke likes of John Ford and Roman Polanski to highlight ensemble.
- 1 to 3 takes, accomplished 40 + shots on first day of production.
- Film screened once with an audience for first test, cut out 20 minutes and this was second public screening before going VOD and Netflix.
- Was a protege of Steven Spielberg's and discussed the highs and lows of Hollywood, how hard it is but the key is to do it because you love it, whether it's a big budget, small budget, 3,000 screen release or On Demand. The journey is the destination.
- Spent two years on The Veil and couldn't be prouder of the film and those who worked on it.

While it would have been nice to hear from The Jane, Joanou was a ball of funny and inspiring energy. It was a fun night but only Monday! Check out The Veil on Netflix, available now!

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