Filmoria sat down with director Evan Cecil to talk about his latest feature film ‘LASSO’ starring Sean Patrick Flanery of ‘The Boondock Saints’ fame, and Lindsey Morgan from ‘The 100’.
Congratulations on LASSO, where fear is only the beginning!
LASSO is arguably one of the most anticipated horror movies this year – can you tell us about the movie?
In a nutshell, ‘LASSO’ is a horror film in the unique setting of a Rodeo. I have yet to find a rodeo themed horror film that already exists. Yes, there are some deeper themes beneath the surface of the film, but really the main goal was to give the viewer a fun ride and viewing experience. Don’t get me wrong though, there is still a ton of scares and gore…. I think around twenty different types of kills. Anyone that sees ‘LASSO’, especially horror fans, will love it!
How did you become involved with the film?
I had the lucky situation happen, when I met Todd Myers, the executive producer on the film, on set of a local Bay Area TV show that I was directing. He was on camera acting at the time. We became friends and eventually he decided that he wanted to make a film with me, and my team (that I love so much). We were in the completely rare situation of knowing we wanted to make a film but weren’t sure of what that film should be. We bounced around a bunch of ideas, read a ton of existing scripts. Finally, Todd decided a horror film was a great way to go for our first film. I had been kicking around in my head a Rodeo horror idea, and Todd loved it, so we decided to pull the trigger and hired a writer. Off things went from there!
The film stars some notable actors. Can you tell us what it was like working with some of the more veteran actors in the film?
We do have a few stars in ‘LASSO’. I guess Karen Grassle, who plays Lillian, stressed me out a little bit at first, only because I was so nervous. I mean she is “Ma” from Little House on the Prairie, and here I was, about to go down this crazy dark ride into murder, torture and blood everywhere with her!
With Sean Patrick Flanery, my favorite thing about working with him, was his working style while on set. He was incredibly efficient, maybe it is because it was always an all-nighter and he wanted to get his work done since he was exhausted like all of us, but he was always ready immediately. He never wanted, or needed, a rehearsal. He always gave a great performance.
When it came to Lindsey Morgan, because of her incredibly successful show The 100, I worried she might be a little “been there done that” on set. However, almost immediately those concerns went out the window. She was incredibly down to earth. From the get go, it was clear, Lindsey wanted to bond with the crew. She liked a vibe on set that was friendly, playful, collaborative, and respectful to everyone.
Finally, Andrew Jacobs. I had the most fun with Andrew, and am insanely proud of him. I really felt like we started to share a brain the more we worked together. Andrew worked more than everyone else on set, so that makes sense I guess. He had an amazingly mature balance of bringing his own thing to the character, and at the same time having a strong concern for making sure I was getting what I needed. I am really excited to see what his future holds. He was a joy to direct … well they all were!
Can you explain your location choices for the movie and why?
One thing that was really important to me was the rodeo arena. I wanted it to be located in the woods, rather than the dusty plains. The woods felt a little unexpected for a rodeo, offering a different color palette (greens, blues), rather than the sort of rusty amber you often get in westerns. We found the perfect rodeo arena in Hollister, in Northern California. For logistical reasons, we needed to find the remainder of our locations in the Half Moon Bay area, which was challenging because most of that area is coastal, rolling hills etc. Luckily we were able to find amazing forests in little pockets around the area. On a film of this size and budget, the location owners are really some of the unsung heroes of the film. We couldn’t afford larger location fees, and could never have made it happen without some degree of “doing us a favor” from the location owners!
You have worked on many productions from TV to Film. Do you have a particular genre you prefer working on as a director?
Over the years, I have worked on a wide range of TV projects. Basically, you name it, I’ve probably covered the genre – action, drama, comedy, crime, horror, even a little sci-fi. What really excites me is when I am doing something new though – something I can get my directing teeth into. I loved working on ‘LASSO’, and would be thrilled to do more horror films, but I enjoy variety, and so would hope not to be a director that is only seen as doing one kind of genre. I am open to them all!
Do you get to go to the cinema much? Any films you have enjoyed lately?
I have been so dang slammed recently. We have quite recently wrapped ‘LASSO’. I love going to the movies though. I just haven’t had as much time BUT, I did see Get Out, and loved it!
Here is a fun story. I was out at a bar the other day, for trivia night, but was not participating myself. The answer to the question was Get Out. I happened to catch eyes with some people that weren’t sure of the answer and before thinking about it I mouthed the answer to them “get out.” Needless to say, I got the weirdest look back! So embarrassing!
When you aren’t filming what do you enjoy doing?
I am lucky to live in Oakland, in Northern California where life is booming with a huge artistic renaissance at the moment. I have a great group of friends and family that keep be busy. I am a music addict. I am constantly listening to music, singing in the shower and even dancing in my car. Of course, I love to travel and don’t do enough of it. In my line of work, my career opportunities take me to far off lands for big adventures so I welcome those frequently!