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FrightFest: Interview With Shaun Dooley Star Of Blood Moon
By James Whittington, Monday 25th August 2014
Shaun Dooley is one of the UK's most talented character actors. Already well know to horror fans for his appearances in The Woman In Black and Eden Lake his latest film Blood Moon is showing at FrightFest today.
Here he chats about this werewolf in the west shocker and the rest of his career.
HC: First of all, have to ask, what was it like working on the hit horror The Woman In Black? Are you a Hammer fan?
SD: Hi... Yeah have very fond memories of watching them all with my mum who was a huge fan. All the classic Dracula/Frankenstein/Werewolf/Mummy films plus. The Devil Rides Out was my favourite. I recently played Frankenstein’s Monster on a BBC radio adaptation. What a heart-breaking part. I loved working on The Woman In Black. I’d do anything for James Watkins (the director) Eden Lake and TWIB are fantastic films and I’m lucky to have been in both. Daniel is a gent and good bloke to be around. Completely grounded and bloody great in the film.
HC: Did you or any of the cast and crew expect it to become such a global hit?
SD: When you read a script as good as Jane Goldman’s you know it’s going to be good. Or at least deserves to be if everyone else does their jobs right. Was scared reading it and knew the story from the play and the novel.
HC: OK, let’s talk about Blood Moon, what did you think of the script when you first read it?
SD: I read it a few years back and loved it. Really enjoy the genre mashup. Werewolf/horror/Western? Fantastic! I fell in love with Calhoun and desperately hoped the film would be made with me playing him. We did table read about a year before filming and it was very exciting back then.
HC: How did you approach the role of Calhoun?
SD: I started with the hat. Had a thing about getting the hat right. I thought that if he was a superhero this would be his costume, his cape. Never wanted to take it off unless in moments of respect or grief. Then looked at the voice. I wanted a voice that didn’t give much away. That left you guessing just what he was he thinking. Thought of one of my dad’s favourite actors, Sam Elliot. He carries with him such weight and gravitas. Then watched Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges in Wild Bill. Finally (which is something like to do with characters) found a smell for him. A scent. I chose “Cedre & Oranger” by L ’Occitane. Sounds crazy but smell is such visceral sense that it helps me with characters. The character I’m currently playing wears Polo. Ha!
HC: Did it take long to get the accent right?
SD: I was very worried to start with. Wondering if my choices were right but then had a great Skype session with the brilliant Jo Cameron Brown. A voice coach who helped me with Joe Gargery in Great Expectations. She told me it was good and told me not to shy away from my natural depth in my voice. That should go with that and let him exist in that range.
HC: Calhoun has some of the best lines, how did you make sure you didn’t “overdo” his smartarse asides?
SD: HA! I hope I did keep away from over doing it. Having just finished Greg in Misfits learnt that as long as you totally commit to the character, regardless of how outrageous they may seem, then it somehow loses its oddness. Think the same can be said for these lines. The character’s sense of humour is quite specific. Love Calhoun’s dry sense of humour. Think you just have to commit to those lines and mean them whole heartedly. Then you lose the temptation to send them up.
HC: Was it a tough shoot as some of the locations seemed harsh?
SD: It was tough but then I’m from a long line of miners so don’t really feel I can complain about mud and cold.
HC: What’s it like shooting a Western in the UK?
SD: Fantastic. Myself and George Blagden kept pinching ourselves. “We’re in f****** western!” We would constantly say whilst trying to out spin each other with our guns. The location was great and very much akin to Jeremy Wooding’s (the director) taste for ‘real’ westerns such as Wild Bill, Heaven’s Gate, Deadwood etc.
HC: Are you a werewolf fan and if so do you have a favourite feature?
SD: I am a fan, yes. But the greatest still has to be An American Werewolf in London. The transformation scene for me will never be topped by CGI. The whole film was incredible, from Brian Glover missing his shot in the Slaughtered Lamb to the man crawling backwards onto the London underground escalator. Scary stuff.
HC: So, what projects are you working on at the moment?
SD: I’m pitching a treatment for a TV series which hopefully will get picked up. Trying to raise funding for psychological thriller feature I’ve written and filming something I’m not allowed to talk about (unfortunately it’s not Star Wars!)
HC: Shaun Dooley, thank you very much.
SD: Thank you.
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