FILE UNDER: "ashley gorrell"October 27, 2012
“BAD BLOOD…THE HUNGER IN THEATERS NOW!
ACTOR/DIRECTOR: CONRAD JANIS At twelve, playing ball in Central Park, attending the little Red School House in Manhattan, performing leads in Camp Greylock’s Annual Plays and learning about Modern Art and Photography at his parents’ SIDNEY JANIS GALLERY in N.Y kept Conrad Janis quite busy. But, he had no idea what his thirteenth Birthday would usher in & forever change his life’s direction.
One day, a friend asked him to go to the Lyceum Theatre at 45th St. on Broadway where they were auditioning Juveniles for a play called ‘Junior Miss’ directed by the legendary Moss Hart. On a dare, and without any expectations, he joined his buddy in a line of over
450 professional actors. To say he didn’t know his left foot from his right on Stage would be an understatement, yet despite this minor fact Moss Hart cast Conrad, age 13, as Haskell Cummings Junior and embarked him on a lifetime adventure from which he has yet to recover. Sad to say formal schooling and Conrad were not on the best of terms, but the moment he stepped out onto the Broadway stage he became both a participant and an avid student; reading every play, script, classic literature and countless books on Acting, Directors & the Theater. He strongly believes that whatever acting or directing talents he might possess, were nurtured by the legendary Actors whom he starred with, as well as the directing geniuses with whom he had been privileged to work.
Among them Moss Hart, George S. Kaufman, George Abbott, Garson Kanin, Lee Strassberg, Henry King. And over the past few years such extraordinary film directors as Garry Marshall, Joel Schumacher, Gene Saks, Mel Frank, Walter Hill, Sidney Pollock, Mark Rydell, James Ivory, and of course his friend Billy Crystal who referred to Conrad as ‘The Elvis Presley of my youth’ when he asked Conrad to play the role of a Director in his film “Mr. Saturday Night”. Little did Conrad know that this role would prophesize his own future as a Director in the November Conspiracy, written & produced by wife Maria Janis and MiraCon Pictures. These Giants all contributed to his respect and passion for Cinema in all its forms and ultimately allowed him to dare put on a director’s hat. In fact it’s one of Janis’ pet theories that the person on the set wearing the zaniest or greatest hat is, of course, the Director—naturally he has a limitless supply of hats.
Perhaps in retrospect, all the above traveled roads were but detours on his route to becoming a director. Even at 15, he flirted with the idea by directing a few scenes in his first Movie ‘SNAFU’ with Robert Benchley. Yet not until years later when Starring & directing “The November Conspiracy”, a Political Thriller with Paige Turco, George Segal, Elliott Gould, Maria Grimm, Dirk Benedict & Bo Hopkins did the Challenges he’d faced on T.V., Art, Broadway, Films & Music pale against that of directing ‘Conspiracy’. It was the greatest ‘work-out’ he’d ever undertaken. A director never sits, barely eats & must micro-manage every phase of a film. While in his teens & in the same Frenzy of learning, he became a photographer, & as co-owner of the Sidney Janis Gallery in N.Y. he’d observed his mother “Harriet” & father,”Sidney” cultivate the legendary 20th Century Artists thus learning about composition, style & spatial expression all of which he was able to bring to BAD BLOOD…THE HUNGER.
At 17, in addition to his Broadway, T.V. and Film careers, but still a restless “Young Man with a horn” (A Slide Trombone) & with a head full of Louis Armstrong and Kid Ory, he started his first Jazz Band: Conrad Janis and The Tailgate Five, playing “HOT” Jazz with the originators of this great art form. For years he Led and still leads these Classic ‘Traditional Jazz’ Musicians, which also prepared him for the sometimes thankless, often exhilarating task of coaxing out performances from actors.
He’s convinced this discipline eased his work on BAD BLOOD…THE HUNGER as he was used to taking command on stage & his Directing approach is basically musical. He states: “I mean, scripts have beats, rhythms, movements, crescendos, lulls, arpeggios, and what I call ‘Hallelujah Choruses’, so I just orchestrated our Film till it became a Terror-filled Concert we could all enjoy”.
Still he faced a monumental task venturing into a ‘Genre’ film like BAD BLOOD….THE HUNGER with it’s teen to mid-twenty sensibility & a huge cast of young up and coming Stars. However, he loved writer Maria Janis’ script that elevated Horror to a character-driven, cross-generational level, while satisfying all the Classic Horror dictates. They were also determined to recreate the glamour found in the Golden Age of Cinema. Thus Maria invented a color timing technique called: COLORIQUE that drew out eyelashes, the contraction of a pupil, the lovely film Noir shadows of yesteryear, coupled with a Technicolor-like brilliance and ice-cream rich colors. This was all done in Post and deviates from today’s mono-neutral ‘Uni-tone’ film palette, giving the film an almost “PULP/HORROR” ‘Look’ unrivaled elsewhere. As Critics have said about B.B. The Hunger: You could ‘eat the film with a spoon’, but beware of what you are eating’.
Naturally Hitchcock’s films influenced Janis in making BAD BLOOD…THE HUNGER, from his “39 Steps”, to the incomparable “Psycho” & the Fact that Hitchcock reveled in Character-driven projects. Another homage was lightly touched upon in scenes from Nicholas Roeg’s “Don’t Look Now” but Janis’ approach was mostly that of “an organized JAZZ ‘JAM SESSION’, with the melody set, but the tempo & improvisational Riffs free to occur out of the hard work they did off set.”
Bad Blood…THE HUNGER’S cast of eleven gorgeous young actors with Spirit & talent, & 3-Time Academy Award Nominee Piper Laurie, a beautiful & Powerful iron butterfly, and a dream to work with, helped Conrad create a Sinister Soufflé to please any palette.
Thus the producers held out for a “tasteful” distributor (Rob Foreman of Gravity Arch) whose vision compelled them to fall in love with Janis’ sense of the eerie, and masterful power of the macabre which Conrad’s legerdemain directing brought to the piece. Nine attractive college kids on a vacation Road Trip to Lake Tahoe are “Herded” into a Mysterious enclave that finds them running for their lives as Two Worlds Clash. Parenthetically, Bad Blood…The Hunger’s genesis is derived from actual events that the writer, Maria Janis, personally experienced while living in Casablanca Morocco—thus the terror is all too true.
“What if you were Invited to Dinner…and it turned out YOU were the Main Course?”
“BAD BLOOD…THE HUNGER” is the first of a Trilogy of Future/Retro Chillers that has a stunning ‘LOOK”, is character driven, and though you will henceforth question where your meat course came from, it also offers Chills, Thrills, wit, suspense, plus young romance. This, according to the L.A. and N.Y. Times, are the trends of the future for Horror and Psychological thrillers.
BIO & INFO ON FILM’S STARS, WRITER/PRODUCER & DIRECTOR
Conrad Janis, a veteran actor on Broadway since the age of 13, Television (Mork and Mindy) and starred in over 700 T.V. and features films since he was 13 (visit his website conradjanis.com ) both Stars and Directs this taut Psychological Thriller which is in a class of its own. Bad Blood The Hunger captures the best of Children of the Corn, The Sixth Sense, a hint of Blair Witch as well as Agatha Christie’s Ten little Indians and all of it deftly orchestrated by Conrad in a terrifying sleight of hand tribute to such classics as Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’.
“Piper Laurie” (Academy Award nominated in “Children of a Lesser God”, “Carrie”, and “The Hustler”) Stars in the Mouth-watering role of Millie, the Matriarch of this mysterious enclave.” She lends her class, masterful authority and quirky charm leaving you breathless with dark promises she intends to keep, as she really ‘gets her teeth into this part’.”
“Conrad Janis” in the pivotal role of Lawrence, it’s patriarch, portrays a classically chilling charmer wherein he proves that the Devil can wear a grey suit and a smile and scare the blood right out of your veins.” As the smiling ‘Eminence Grise’ of this secret sect he never misses a beat as he straddles the double role of Director and Star, eliciting a rare bond among our Cast that is reflected in every scene of the film.”
“Both Laurie and Janis have a caressing chemistry that doesn’t warm the screen but chills the spine”.
The cast of our eleven New Hollywood Stars, whose spirit and brains are pitted against the residents of Millie’s and Lawrence’s ritualistic world include:
The statuesque and breathtaking Film and Television Actress and Model Rachelle Wood (Maddie) (‘ The Untitled Onion Movie’, ‘How I Met Your Mother’, ‘Rules of Engagement’, ‘Something Borrowed’ ‘Honey-shed’ Ghosts of Girlfriends Past)), reflects an inner and outer beauty that combines the legendary looks of Ava Gardner and Julia Roberts. She imbues her role with vulnerability yet hidden strength that allows her to come to the aid of both herself and her friends when they discover that they have been lured into a nightmarish world of dark thoughts and darker deeds.
Broadway actress Sofia Karstens in the role of Diana, is a veteran of stage and films since she received her Equity card at the ripe old ago of 6. This glowing Blue-eyed Katherine Hepburnesque Connecticut Yankee has appeared in sundry Feature Films and Television shows, (‘ The Death and Life of Bobby Z’ and most apropos to ‘Bad Blood’ were several horror films and a gory role on ‘Medium’.)
Bret Anthony as ‘Spielberg’ is an American Hugh Grant, with all the comedic skills of Jim Carrey without the Angst, who starred as John Ritter in “Behind the Scenes of the Making of Three’s Company”, “Shade”, “Rain”, “The November Conspiracy” and ‘Christmas Switch’. He plays a complex and demanding role in ‘BAD BLOOD…THE HUNGER’ as both the chorus of the Kid’s journey (he documents this Brechtian Cabal with his ever present filming of the terrifying events he and his peers experience), and through this, all of his Pagliacci personality is eventually replaced by the demands of heroism and gallantry.
Sita Young as ‘Lucy’ despite her youth has a ‘meaty’ resume as an actress, (“Days of our Lives”, “Drive-Thru”, “B-Girl”, “The Last Resort”, ‘Massacre’) & with her long dancer’s legs, plays a spoiled N.Y. Princess with ‘Attitude’ but a heart of gold, literally. She hails from N.Y. and is the epitome of professionalism and raw talent, who ‘intuits’ the subterranean forces at work at Millie’s & Lawrence’s Homestead.
Ashley Gorrell has countless credits both as a child and teen star in various series as well as a ‘Young Artist Award’ to her name. And her other credits include films and television shows such as “One Tree Hill”, “Mail to the Chief”, “Thunder in Paradise”. Ashley is a pocket Venus, collegiate Lolita, with long flowing blonde hair, a piquant personality, talent galore, and a figure that won’t quit, yet whose character of Jess is in reality a virgin in search of a Knight…enter…
Chuck Hittinger was hired out of Carnegie Mellon, for the role of Skip at 3:30 a.m. on the eve of filming and has since gone on to do many major roles in films and TV, (“C.S.I.” “MIAMI”, “Cold Case”, “Without a Trace” ” When Tyrants Kiss” as well as the T.V. version of Beowolf “Grendel”). He portrays a student and the driver of the infamous ‘Red Bus’, who, forced to fight to protect Jess (Ashley Gorrell), discovers his deep attraction to her, and the too real danger they all face during Millie’s and Lawrence’s annual Cherry Pie eating contest and Barbecue.
With the power, authority and stature of a Robert Redford, in the role of ‘Click’, Jilon Ghai of ‘Boo’, ‘Malibu Spring Break’, ‘Alien Abduction’, ‘Brian Loves You’, ‘Death by
Engagement’, ‘Death Tunnel’, ‘L.A. Proper’, ‘Marco Polo’, ‘White Nights’ we have a dark horse whose riches, I.Q. and quirky mind games makes him an enigma in the film till his true self is revealed when too many of his friends go missing.
Another of ConMar Productions’ discoveries Steven Christopher Parker Starred as a popular cast member on ‘E.R’, as well as performing a scene stealing role in the highly acclaimed JUNO, and in ‘Little Miss Sunshine’, ‘Living with Uncle Ray’, ‘Man in the Chair’ (for which he won a ‘Best Ensemble Cast-Method Fest Award’), ‘Rebound’, (for which he won a Young Artist Award for best performance), ‘Section B’, ‘Happiness Runs’, etc. He is as endearing as a giant Basset Hound, as talented as a young Dustin Hoffman, and someone the audiences, and our Kids will wish to protect…but from what? He is the first to ‘Feel’ the wrongness of these beneficent ‘Outlanders’, who, as ‘Millie’ repeats “Don’t believe in the Modern”, and as ‘Lawrence’ reminiscently insists, a-la-Hansel and Gretel…”Have another piece of Cherry Pie”. BUT WHAT IS IN THE CHERRY PIE?
CORI BRIGHT AND DAVID JENKINS
And then there are the two young Romantic Lovers Cori Bright, (‘Postcards from the Future’, ‘Hard Candy’, ‘C.S.I: N.Y’, ‘Dexter’ etc.) as ‘Sandy’, a fresh faced, heart-breakingly vulnerable Meg Ryan type, on her first ‘grown-up’ road trip, with a core of steel and melting blue eyes who meets Millie and Lawrence’s grandson “Jim”, played by Shakespearian Actor, David Thomas Jenkins (‘Lez be Friends’ ‘C.S.I.’, ‘At the Black Cat Cafe’, ‘Dawson’s Creek’, Return to the Hiding Place, After Dark) who has the heroically romantic panache of a young Errol Flynn, or for the more contemporary, a dashing Brad Pitt. Their love is real and magical, yet the rift between their worlds impassable. But as in Romeo and Juliette, they do try to overcome the odds, and we will care deeply about them as we have cared for disparate and desperate lovers in the past.
Maria Janis aka Maria Grimm starred in ‘The Feminine Touch’, ‘The November Conspiracy’, ‘Sherlock Holmes in New York’ Maneater, & over 250 movies & television shows I.E: ‘The Rockford Files’, ‘Barnaby Jones’, ‘Columbo’, KOJAK, Wonder Woman, and a regular on ‘Days of our Lives’ etc. She co-Stars as ‘Eliza’ in Bad Blood…The Hunger as well as scripting, producing, editing and inventing a new color timing technique COLORIQUEtm that combines a PULP Technicolor-like/Film Noir ‘LOOK”. It is fresh and unique and takes us back to a more glamorous time in Cinema.
When Conrad & Maria Janis discovered MAIKA MONROE, originally cast as an extra, her role was expanded as the film progressed and she became one of the scariest and mysterious ‘ORACLE of impending Death’. The Camera loved her and she immediately was launched into a battery of upcoming films, including: “Labor Day,” with professional kiteboarder-turned-actor Maika Monroe the latest addition to its ever-growing cast.
Monroe also joins Josh Brolin, Kate Winslet and Tom Lipinski in the story of an escaped convict who seeks shelter with a depressed single mom and her teen son over a Labor Day weekend. Monroe will appear in flashback sequences with Lipinski (who plays the young version of Brolin’s convict and bears a frightening resemblance to him) as Mandy, a farm girl romanced by Brolin/Lipinski before he left for Vietnam, who will later become his wife and the mother of his child.
MAIKA MONROE Stars in Sofia Coppola‘s ‘Bling Ring’ as Zac Efron‘s love interest in Ramin Bahrani‘s drama. Coppola and Reitman; not a bad duo to kick off your acting career. She is also tagged to Star in an upcoming Janis Film entitled ‘HELLO…GOODBYE’ .
PRESS: FANGORIA ARTICLE
“Writer Producer Maria Janis’ chiller ‘BAD BLOOD…The HUNGER ‘ directed by versatile veteran Actor Conrad Janis (Mork & Mindy, The November Conspiracy, Maneater, The Cable Guy, The Buddy Holly Story, Off Mullholland,) who also stars. The Cast also stars 3 TIME ACADEMY AWARD NOMINEE Piper Laurie of ‘CARRIE’ fame and Argento’s ‘TRAUMA’, as well as Bret Anthony, (Behind the Scene of the making of THREE’S COMPANY) Jilon (‘Boo’) Ghai, Ashley Gorrell, and Cori Bright. The latter plays Sandy…”a 20 year-old college student who, along with eight other kids, goes on a group Holiday to Tahoe and finds love. But then she is subjected to such terror, and ultimately betrayal by her lover (David Jenkins) that she suffers a total mental and emotional schism that separates her soul from her body, leaving her between two worlds…neither of which she can cope with.”
(Further) “The young people are suddenly thrust first into a DUEL-LIKE road rage scenario with two members of a secret clan, and then unsuspectingly ‘herded’ to Millie’s (Piper Laurie) Cherry Pie Inn and Diner—where the seemingly benign, old-fashioned and kindly ‘folks’ don’t care much for the “modern”, and their yearly mysterious rituals become the stuff of nightmares.
“If people were afraid to go near a shower because of Hitchcock’s famous scene, no one will want to visit a roadside bathroom after seeing “BAD BLOOD…THE HUNGER“.