LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview With Dan Palmer, Writer And Star Of Stalled!
By James W, Wednesday 8th June 2016
Cool Brit-horror Stalled will be getting its UK TV premiere on Horror this Friday at 10.50pm. This gut-munching comedy horror stars Dan Palmer, who also write the script. We chatted to Dan about this unmissable movie and what movie plans he has
HC: Did you know from a young age you wanted to work in show business?
DP: Seeing the original Ghostbusters in the cinema when I was tiny had a profound effect on me and I think that probably put the filmic fire in my belly. As a school kid a student production took over my entire school for a few weeks and that really opened up my eyes to the accessibility of filmmaking. The director was Joe Cornish who, years later, would go on to make Attack The Block. When it came to going on to higher education I tried out for the same film school Joe attended and got in. That was where I met Christian James who went on to direct my scripts for Freak Out, Stalled and my short film Night Feed which starred Alice Lowe.
HC: Where did the idea for Stalled come from?
DP: Stalled is about a janitor who finds himself trapped in the ladies' restroom the moment a zombie outbreak kicks off. It was a notion I had as a kid whilst watching Romero's Day of the Dead for the first time. During the finale when the dead swamp the compound and the character of Steel finds himself trapped I recall thinking 'Why doesn't he hide in a cupboard or something??'. That idea then haunted me as I realised he would forever be stuck in this box surrounded by a sea of zombies. It was the first time a film had caused me to frighten myself with my own ideas, so it stuck with me and eventually bubbled back up into the old lizard brain as a neat concept for one of them talkies.
HC: Did it take long to write and did it change from draft to draft?
DP: As the idea had been swimming around in my head for years, once I sat down to write it did not take long at all. The version premiering on the Horror Channel is pretty close to my first draft, but we did take a bizarre detour for a while when our initial producer/financier wanted us to cut to a subsidary plot going on elsewhere, outside of the toilet setting. We were adamant that this would burst the bubble and ruin the entire conceit so we canned those rewrites and, needless to say, that producer.
HC: Did you write it with the cast in mind?
DP: Luckily we have very talented pals; Mark Holden (World War Z, Captain Phillips) had worked with our director so he took on the role of Jeff from IT. I am friends with Tamaryn Payne (Vendetta, Hollyoaks) so I knew she would be great for Evie. I knew Janet Montgomery (Salem, Wrong Turn 3) and initially wrote the part of Heather for her, but she scarpered to Hollywood so our pal Antonia Bernath (Downton Abbey) stepped into the role and did great. I wrote the main character of WC for myself.
HC: What effect did the budget have on your original vision?
DP: Well, the film is set at Christmas so we couldn't afford all the seasonal songs I wanted. Which was a bummer. No Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses for moi!
HC: How do you feel that Stalled is getting its UK TV premiere on Horror?
DP: I am stoked that the film is premiering on the Horror Channel, as an avid viewer of the station I can't think of a better televisual home. The fact that Stalled will be reaching an even wider audience, and the audience it was made for, makes me very proud indeed.
HC: Do you prefer writing or acting?
DP: That's a very difficult question as they are both very different disciplines. I have more of a love/hate relationship with writing as I do it everyday. Because of that I would say writing feels like the wife and acting feels like the mistress.
HC: Zombies, do you prefer walkers or runners?
DP: Walkers. Especially Salt & Vinegar (!)
HC: So what are you working on at the moment?
DP: I have two features coming out this year as an actor; Kate Shenton's dark satire on indie filmmaking, Egomaniac and Liam Regan's Troma tribute Banjo co-starring Lloyd Kaufman. Scriptwise I've got a whole bunch of things in the pipeline at the moment. I have a very, very dark comedy with one of the Stalled producers and up and coming director Mark Margason plus Stalled's Christian James and I have a project that, fingers crossed, will be rolling by the Autumn. It's produced by Treehouse Digital and the UK distribution team behind Stalled. Fans of Stalled should like it, although there are no zombies … or toilets for that matter!
HC: Dan Palmer, thank you very much.
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