After an impressive history of acting in television and movies, Michael Biehn and partner Jennifer Blanc-Biehn are launching their new film THE VICTIM, which Jennifer produced, Michael wrote and directed and in which they both star as the two leads. HorrorCultFilms talked to them both to find out a bit more about the film and their transition from in front of to behind the camera…
Having performed in front of the camera for decades, what enticed you both into getting behind the camera and directing/producing your own films?
Jennifer: I wanted to be able to have even more input into the roles and projects I am involved in and I have always known Michael should direct. Jim Cameron and Robert Rodriguez both told him he should.
Michael, which directors have inspired your approach to directing films?
Michael: Robert Rodriguez, Xavier Gens, William Friedkin, James Cameron and Quentin Tarantino to name but a few.
Michael, you also wrote the screenplay for THE VICTIM from a story by Reed Lackey. Did you have to change the story much and how did you adapt it to create it into your vision?
Michael:Yes, it’s a complete change. The characters are the same but the story has completely changed in many ways.
THE VICTIM is a very character driven piece of cinema. Do you prefer to shock and thrill through the characters themselves, their emotions and actions, rather than depicting gory scenes to shock audiences?
Michael: Yes, and thanks for noticing this. I do prefer it to be revealed and done in the form of a thriller and this is what we’ve done with The Victim.
You both worked together on THE VICTIM, both on and off-screen. Do you find working together boosts your abilities and approach to the film?
Jennifer: Yes, we both tend to inspire each other at various different times.
Danielle Harris is one of HCF’S Favourite horror queens. What made you pick Danielle for the role of Mary in THE VICTIM?
Michael: She was perfect for it but she is also one of Jennifer’s best friends so Jennifer was asking, “What about Danielle?!” It was just perfect – an absolute perfect fit.
Which bits of THE VICTIM did you enjoy filming most?
Michael: The sex scene! And the interrogation/torture scene.
Do you feel there is a freedom with making an independent low budget film as opposed to a big studio movie? And if given the opportunity, would you direct a big budget studio film?
Michael: Yes, the cool thing about this is I got the Steven Spielberg contract and the control of the film on a Roger Corman budget!
Where did the decision come from to remake Hidden in the Woods so soon?
We were at Fantasia and I was on the jury and when I watched his film I knew I was seeing an awesome new talent. Both of us agreed that he is very special.
You have both starred in and produced Treachery, which is currently in post-production. Can you tell us a bit about it?
Michael: It’s a psychological story about a father who is pretty awful and how his secrets get revealed to his son. It’s also a psychological horror story Travis Romero wrote and directed and we also have Sarah Butler in it from I Spit On Your Grave.
We believe you’re producing a series of grindhouse thriller films, starting with The Farm. Is that the particular style/genre of film you wish to continue with or are you open to branch into other genres? Will we see a comedy from you both anytime soon?
Jennifer: We would love to!
Michael – In Eli Roth’s Grindhouse trailer, Thanksgiving, you featured in the role of Sheriff. Do you know whether there will be a feature length film of this and if so, would you be happy to return as, presumably, the lead role?
Michael: I have heard rumours but I don’t know.
Which are your favourite of all the characters you have played in your film careers?
Jennifer: Working on Dark Angel for Jim Cameron for sure. Also Zanne in Friends ‘Til The End. The Victim of course and most recently working with Quentin Dupieux on Wrong Cops. Also my cameo in The Divide for Xavier Gens!
Michael: Kyle in The Terminator, Hicks in Aliens, Johnny Ringo in Tombstone and most recently Mickey in The Divide.
Michael…one of my favourite films is Tombstone, where you starred as Johnny Ringo opposite Val Kilmer’s Doc Holliday. How many takes did you both need for the gun/cup slinging contest scene?
Michael: I could actually do it straight through when practising but we had to split it up for angles and because it was really hot the gun was slippery! When it came time to do it we were all over the place.
Michael, if you had to pick your favourite film that you worked on, between Aliens and The Terminator, which one would it be and why?
Michael: Wow, probably The Terminator as it started my career and Kyle is such a wonderful character and working with Linda, but that is hard to pick between as Jim gave me two great characters and two great films.
What’s next for Blanc-Biehn productions?
Hidden In The Woods, The Farm and Treachery. We want to keep going and do all kinds of films.
We’d like to thank Michael Biehn and Jennifer Blanc-Biehn for taking the time out for this interview.
You can catch THE VICTIM at this year’s Film4 FrightFest in London on Sunday 26th August 2012 at 9.35pm on the Discovery Screen.
THE VICTIM will be available on DVD in the UK from 24th September 2012 from all good DVD retail outlets.