LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Exclusive Interview With Actor Jason Connery
By James Whittington, Tuesday 12th January 2010 Jason Connery has appeared in many acclaimed films including the Zone Horror favourites Night Skies, Hoboken Hollow and Blood Wars. Recently Jason directed his first feature, Pandemic, so we decided to chat to this charismatic man to discover how he started in showbusiness and discover what it was like to be in the directors chair for a change. ZH: Jason, you were born into an incredibly famous family, did your parents encourage or discourage you to enter the acting profession? JS: My Mother talked to me about dramatic pauses, when I was in 5th grade, unfortunately every time I paused for effect the guy prompting, shouted out my line, I got so angry I ran off stage and pushed him over, when I got back on stage I couldn't remember what my line was, and the guy was lying on the floor and couldn't help! My Dad, when I went to drama school and just before I went to Repertory theatre, said that, I would soon find out if I didn't want to do it! ZH: Can you recall your first acting role and how the performance went? JC: Well I did a lot of plays at school, but my first professional job, outside of the theatre was a film called Lords Of Discipline a Pat Conroy book. It was set in Carolina but shot in England with a lot of the young guns from America, I just remember having my head shaved and learning to march American style, and being shouted at a lot, we were referred to as all cadets are as "Knobs" I made a lot of friends, we all played poker in between takes! ZH: You got your big break in the UK TV series Robin Of Sherwood, were you nervous or excited about handling such a much loved role? JC: A combination of nervous and excited, because I had not done that much work before I didn't realize what an amazing job it was, not only because of the quality and longevity of the show with fans, but also because of the friends I made and kept for the last twenty five years! Believe they gave me a hard time, and Ray Winstone loves a joke but they made me feel like one of the gang, which was great. ZH: Was it a difficult role to move away from meaning, did directors consider you to be typecast? JC: Not really I was doing theatre and other roles all the time, and since Robin is a period piece it didn't seem to be a problem. ZH: You’ve appeared in a number of acclaimed horror movies such as Hoboken Hollow, are you a fan of the genre? JC: I do like the horror genre, especially if it has a thriller twist! But in all honesty I love the diversity of playing all different genres and all different types of characters ZH: Pandemic is your directorial debut, what drew you to the project? JC: I wanted to direct and I knew it would be a low budget film, which means not many shooting days and the story has to be tight location and character wise. I felt that Pandemic had a solid story and could be done in the 12 days we had to shoot. ZH: Was it a difficult movie to cast?
JC: Everyone other than Ray Wise and Graham Mactavish auditioned for the part, Graham I had worked with in London and Scotland and Ray was obviously a bonus, as he is a fantastic actor and a great guy to work with. I thought Alesha did a wonderful audition, and Peter who plays Spencer came in a blew me away, I had a very different idea of what the character would look like, but he came in and took the part by the scruff of the neck and went for it, when an actor does that it is very exciting, and makes the journey that much more exciting. ZH: Were you given a decent sized budget to play with?
JC: Well $200,000 is not high in filmic terms but it means you have to pick your moments, as far as what you spend your money on, and get as much bang for your buck as possible! plus it makes you come up with artistic ideas, because you cannot just throw money at a problem! ZH: Did you encounter any difficulties during the shoot?
JC: You are always going to have unforeseen difficulties, we had tremendous heat in Arizona, winds up to 60 miles an hour rain, hale, dehydration a horse that wouldn't lie down, one of the actresses had appendicitis, it was so hot we had to pump dry ice into the camera fan or it would shut down! All part of life's rich tapestry! ZH: Does the final cut of the movie contain everything you wanted it to?
JC: There are always things that one strives to do better, there are always compromises but I feel that there is a lot of stuff I am very happy with. ZH: You’re a writer, actor, producer and director, which role do your get most satisfaction from?
JC: They all have elements that I get a lot of satisfaction from, acting is a something I will always love, but telling the whole story, every element of a story is pretty hard to beat! ZH: Do you have any immediate acting roles lined up and tell us of other projects you’re involved with?
JC: I am off on my travels in the very near future, nothing I can divulge at the moment, but watch this space. ZH: Jason Connery, thank you very much.
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(Photo credit Dawson James Photography)
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