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January 10, 2013

Interview: Director Jared Cohn

Interviewed by: Rob Sibley

Jared Cohn, the director of the amazingly awesome 12/12/12, who also made horror history with the first theatrically released Asylum horror flick, Hold Your Breath, was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to do a fun little one-on-one interview. I will say this, to me Jared is one of the best working horror directors on the Indie scene.

Rob- Hey Jared, I want to thank you so much for doing this interview. I figured we'll mix it up a bit and just do more a casual chat then an interview. Is that cool with you?

JC- For sure, I'm a casual kind of guy. And I appreciate you having me on the show! James DePaolo was very cool to hook it up. Shout out to him and Wicked Channel.

Rob- So let's start at the beginning, so you started out as an actor. Were you born with what they call “the acting bug” or was acting something that became an interest and a passion later in your life?

JC- I started as an actor about 10 years ago. I had no real direction in life, but in college my roommate was an actor and we would talk about movies and shoot lil skits and stuff like that - so that what was essentially got me bitten by the "bug." After that I started the path, the journey. Although according to Brad Pitt in the most awesomest/hilarious Chanel #5 commercial, it's not a journey. I could quote his entire monologue off-book but I won't right now, for sake of coming across as being too odd. I love acting and I just played a badass role in Max Perrier's FEED THE DEVIL - the site is and the movie is going to be sick. Shot on 35mm anamorphic on old school Russian Lenses. I had the lead part, lots of stunts, and cool action, cool story. I got to say and do a lot of badass stuff, was definitely fun times.

 Rob- You've been working with The Asylum for a long time, first as an actor then you moved on up to writing and directing. Was that a smooth transition for you?

JC- First of all my hat is off to The Asylum, love those guys - David Latt, David Rimawi and Paul Bales gave me such a wonderful opportunity in 04 by letting me inside the walls of The Asylum, when I acted in Way of the Vampire - which to this day still plays on TV. I then went on to act in Alien Abduction, Legion of the Dead and Halloween Night - during this time I was writing like crazy, script after script--- like 20-30 hour writing sessions, no sleep... I completed many scripts, knowing the first few ones would probably suck... so after a lot of typing and typing... I decided to send out what I thought was my tightest spec at the time out to The Asylum.... when I got the call they liked it and wanted to make it, I was ecstatic. That one premiered on Lifetime in 2011 - called BORN BAD. It still plays on Lifetime a good amount. I like that movie, I also directed it. Worked with some great actors who were really cool and a great crew. Was such a cool experience.

Rob- On your film “Bikini Spring Break” you worked with the legendary actor Robert Carradine
who I've been a fan of since I've seen Revenge of the nerds & The Big Red One. Did you have a good experience working with the man? He must have been full of stories to tell from his past films.

JC- He is a great actor, and Bikini Spring Break did really well so that was good. He also is a badass race car driver, he would drive the show car on these windy roads super fast, but he had full control. He is definitely a character, but yeah he was great in Revenge of the Nerds, was sick to be able to direct him.
Rob- Now, your made Asylum history dude with your film “Hold Your Breath”. How did it feel to be the director of the first Asylum film to play theatrically? Must have been a thrill. Did you know while you were shooting it, that it was going to play at theaters or did you figure it would be direct to DVD?

JC- Was awesomeness to make history! Especially with The Asylum, my second home. It was a crazy experience, and it turned out to be a pretty cool ass flick! It played in theaters nationwide and that alone is so sick. Everything was a lil hush hush at the time, and nothing certain, so I just set out to make the best film I could make and luckily had some actors and crew that were willing to join me in the trenches of filmmaking. Steve Hanks, who is now a really good friend, played McBride and he kicked ass. The DVD comes out Jan 22nd! Pick it up, was also cool to have it play in NY where some of my east coast family saw it - as I am from New York. Born and raised.

Rob- I must ask and this is a total fanboy question, like so many horror fans who've seen “Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil” I've had a crush on Katrina Bowden. She's a helluva an actress with lots of personality and she really is becoming quite the scream queen with her roles in Tucker, Piranha 3DD and now Hold Your Breath. Was it a fairly simple process of casting her in the film or was she already attached to the project before you came on board to direct?

JC- She is a name so she gets offers. She did not have to audition or anything like that. So, we were really excited when she accepted the part. She did a great job, way cool, she is also from the east coast. She has a cute lil dog she brought to set and it was exciting for the other actors to be around a certified star. And yeah, she is really hot in person.

Rob- Your film “12/12/12” has recently hit store shelves and has been very well received. I love the movie, it's bat shit crazy in a good way and it's certainly not an Asylum mockbuster. How did the film come into being? Was it a long process from story conception to filming or was it fast tracked? From watching the film you can tell a lot of care was put into it. The direction, cinematography, acting and special effects were all top notch.

JC- I love this film. I got it after #HOLDYOURBREATH. It went fairly quickly, I had to write it fast. I basically locked myself in front of my computer and buckled down. I rewrote and rewrote the outline until the producers were satisfied. I am proud of the movie, the actors did great and the DP Ben, shot the hell out of it. I was in a more comfortable state of mind, calm, zen, focused during that show, so I feel that helped make the show go smooth. My team, The Asylum, all worked out smooth. Also it was amazing to have Sara Malakul Lane, a big star in Thailand - who is actually going to be on the cover of FHM next month, play the lead, she was awesome to work with, very talented and hot.

Rob- Without spoiling 12/12/12 for those who haven't seen it, what is one of your favorite scenes?

JC- There were a lot of great scenes, my favorites are the opening 10 mins and the kills... I am proud to say we had some original, cool kills. Also, we pushed the envelope, and did some stuff never before did.

Rob- Now you write, direct and act... out of those three if you were forced to choose just one which would you pick?

JC- Tough question, impossible to answer for me because it all depends on the project. But if I had a gun to my head, I would probably get shot in the head.

Rob- So what's next for you Jared, I'm sure you must have plenty of projects in the works?

JC- I got a few things in the cooker, fingers always crossed that things come together, it's such a tough industry and when a film gets made its almost like a miracle. So many pieces involved, money, art, artists, etc... So, for me just to be working and trying to get things going and act and write, I would lose my sanity if I was idle. Check out - and the Internet always has a ton of posts and stuff, if you want to keep up! Also, I'm on twitter @traplightmedia .
Rob- Last question. What advice would you give to aspiring filmmakers who are looking to get into the industry? Also, anything you want to say to all your fans out there?

JC- I would say work hard!!! It's a hard ass biz to get into, but worth the hard work if you can slay the dragon and bypass the gatekeepers. I wake up everyday and the first thing on my mind is what I can do to get stuff going and keep up with it all. It's a hustle, a fight, a war, all that- lots of mazes and traps and rewards - to the fans THANK YOU!! I love the support, movies are made for the people. For the fans, so for me when they watch and like its a great feeling. It's validating to know it gets seen. For the filmmakers, actors, artists, ... my words would be NEVER GIVE UP!!

A big thank you to Mr. Cohn for taking the time out from his busy schedule to do this interview. His film 12/12/12 is currently out on DVD/Blu-ray and is a must buy for any horror fan. Be sure to mark your calenders because "Hold your Breath" is coming to DVD/Blu-ray January 22nd and is sure to be a blast!

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