I recently had the pleasure of having a chat with the stars of the upcoming zombie film based on the book of the same name by Richard Farsi, End Survival. I read and reviewed the book it’s based on a few months ago and I’m very excited to see it being turned into a movie. Bill, Deborah, and Cordell are all up and coming actors that I’m looking forward to seeing on the big screen. Richard is the author and director who pops in occasionally during the chat.
Would everyone please introduce yourselves and the role you play in the movie?
B: Ok. Well, I guess I’ll go first. I’m Bill. I play Tyler.
D: I’m Deborah. I play Jessica.
C: Hi there! I’m Cordell I play the character of Johansen.
R: I am Richard, the guy who wrote it and directed it
So, let’s start with the easy stuff. How did this project come about?
R: I wrote the book as you know to pay respect to George Romero. Then I just said go for it to make the movie. I have been working with George Cameron Romero every step.
C: I don’t know much about the conception of the book, or the idea to translate it into a movie, but I know it stems from Richards love of the horror genre and a lot of respect for George Romero Sr. Aside from that Writing seems to come naturally to Richard. So, translating his feelings into a book is a naturally good step to take.
B: It started for me when I got a call from a friend saying they thought they had a role I would be interested in. I met up with Richard and we talked about Tyler. I loved the idea of his character and thought it sounded a lot like myself. So, I was on board.
D: Bill got a phone call one day when we were out and about and they ended up bringing me up since they heard me in the background. They ended up bringing me onto this amazing cast and it has been an amazing journey ever since.
I read the book and thoroughly enjoyed it and the way it was written. Had any of you read it before Richard decided to make it into a movie?
C: If I’m being completely honest here, I hadn’t heard of it until I met Richard in person. From there it seemed to become a major part of my life.
D: I honestly had never even heard of End Survival until right before I was brought onto the project.
B: Honestly, no. I first got the book after meeting Richard. I got home that night and started reading lol I thought Tyler sounded a lot like me.
So how are things are going so far? Are you having fun?
D: Things have been amazing so far. We are having loads of fun. We have become one big family throughout all of this.
C: I’m having a great time with the project; Richard is a great director and he knows how to bring out the characters in us. Honestly, I think it’s going really well.
B: I have had more fun in the last couple of months then I have had in years. The filming was very new to me and at first, scared me a little. But after the first full day of filming, I was in love.
Have any of you guys worked together before?
B: Well yes. We knew each other for some time before.
D: Yes, we have.
C: Professionally I hadn’t really worked with them much, but we had known each other for some time beforehand.
So does that make it easier or more difficult to work together?
R: Oh! Pick me! Pick me!
It’s your time to shine Richard!
D: It honestly makes it easier in my opinion. It makes it more comfortable for me already knowing people.
R: Yes, it’s hard to film when they know each other, takes a lot of patience to separate the two.
C: In some ways, it’s easier and it’s harder in others.
When you say to separate the two, do you mean two specific actors or the actor from their characters?
R: Actors separate from friendships. Like any other job.
I can understand that. I fired my best friend once. He understood and we went out for drinks after. He made me pay though since he just lost his job lol.
What’s the hardest part of playing each of your characters?
C: I think the hardest part for me is getting out of character after a scene.
B: My character was very close to who I really am. So, in most ways, it was very easy. But when Tyler would do something that I wouldn’t, it was difficult to make that transition.
D: The hardest part for me is having to snap out of it afterward. It was difficult to be out of character.
Why do you think it might be harder to get out of character than into character? I’ve never acted before (other than pretending to act normal around “professionals”), so I don’t have that experience.
D: Its harder for me to get out of character than it is to get into character just because Jessica is close to who I am. She is very timid and also has that attitude. That is literally me lol.
C: I think for me, the character I played was a part of me that I use when I just want to, I don’t know, be out there, out of control almost. And it’s a very free feeling.
B: I didn’t really have the problem to go into or out of character.
C: Once I’m in that mindset, it’s hard to let go, almost like a vacation.
So your characters are almost like your alter egos?
D: You can say that.
C: Exactly, that’s a good way of putting him for me.
B: I would say so.
C: Though I imagine if you spend enough time as any character, you’d have a hard time jumping between the two.
Deborah, your character, Jessica, is a mom. The scene in the diner with her daughter was probably the hardest in the book for me to accept even though I knew it had to happen. How hard was it for you to do that scene knowing how it was going to turn out?
D: It was pretty hard, but not that difficult at the same time. It was hard losing her, but Jessica is already gone by that point.
R: I think that scene was harder for Bill.
B: It was difficult. Knowing that I had to give up on a person and end them. It was hard. It made for a very good scene I think though. And yes, a very emotional one too.
I loved Tyler’s character but there were definitely times where I wanted to smack him. Bill, is it hard to do a scene where you feel he’s making a choice you wouldn’t?
B: Difference between the two really isn’t much. I like to think I would fight harder in some situations. But he and I are very close.
Cordell, your character is a soldier. Do you have any personal military experience you were able to draw from?
C: No, nothing but what is seen in movies and on television, but in how we expanded on the character, actual lack of experience became almost a good thing.
What’s the coolest experience you guys have had while filming End Survival?
B: I can’t really tell you the scene but. A scene Cordell and I had was so much fun to put together and do. It was a very physical day.
D: I’d like to think it was being able to do it alongside people I’m close with all while getting to have some awesome props to play with.
C: The coolest experience had to be waking up every day and realizing what I was a part of, and going in with the mindset of “holy crap what are we going to be doing today?” It was very exciting for me.
What surprises (that you can tell us about) can we expect to see in the movie?
B: That is a very good question. I would have to say watch the movie.
D: I agree with Bill. Just watch the movie and see for yourself There are plenty of surprises in this film and we are all excited for the world to see it.
R: Oh, skirt the question.
C: I can say that the character of Johansen isn’t quite so timid. Or exactly who he appears to be in the book. But I have to agree with Bill and Deb for details.
R: There will be scenes never before shown in typical zombie movies, plus less drama like the ones on TV. Our FX are old school and no sex.
Yessss. That’s exactly what people like me want!
R: We are embarking on the mother of all scenes in zombie history.
C: Actually, being honest there are whole scenes that I don’t even know about yet, it’s exciting!
B: I have to say that the make-up really does pay homage to George Romero’s style.
What’s it been like working under Richard and Romero? And I want the truth!
R: Uh oh!
B: It has been a ride an amazing ride. I wouldn’t trade any day for anything.
D: It has been a roller coaster ride, but it has been amazing as well. There have been plenty of ups and downs, but with all of us working together and coordinating on things, it’s been awesome. We’re excited to see the final product!
R: Even I have to say that wasn’t real answers lol.
D: Richard and Romero have been rough with us at certain times lol but we straightened up and got what needed to get done, done.
C: Hahaha It depends on the day. There were times when it’s like “This is amazing!” Then there are times when you get a call from Romero and he tells you to do it better. And you feel like “I can’t let these guys down” So there were some stressful scenes but overall it was a good time.
B: It was. Good or bad we have learned so much. And have had some great times along the way. I can’t wait to work with this team in the future.
C: There was one scene where we were in the middle of setting everything up and Romero basically says it has to be perfect! And Richard turns to me and says this scene is on you, no pressure!
R: Melanie it sounds like brown nosing.
Maybe a little lol.
So, is there any TMZ type of excitement I should know about?
R: Oh boy
But you ARE the boss, they’ll wait until after the movie is out to dish the good stuff lol.
R: Oh, ok I see.
D: I’m gonna say yes, but we’ll save those parts for everyone to see when the movie comes out. As far as TMZ drama, I think every production has its fair share of that lol.
R: Melanie we have blooper reels.
B: Pressure is how we grow.
I can’t wait to see them!
I meant to ask this earlier but have any of you acted before and if so what have you been in?
B: Only in high school.
D: I was in a student film back in 2013. I haven’t done any acting aside from that.
C: I had acted in haunted houses and done behind the scenes work in several plays. But the biggest I had done was in 2016 Halloween horror nights. Where I ran around with a chainsaw for a month as a hillbilly.
D: I have also done Halloween Horror Nights back in 2009 and 2010 as well as Mardi Gras in 2010 and Macy’s Holiday parade in 2010.
I’ve never even been to Halloween horror nights lol. My oldest kid has been several times, but I haven’t made it there yet.
R: For shame Melanie.
I know Richard. I want to go; I just haven’t gotten there lol.
Do any of you have acting plans for after End Survival is finished filming?
B: I hope so.
B: This has been a ride an I can’t wait for more.
D: Yes. I plan on trying to get into other projects in the near future.
C: If given the opportunity I would love to continue working with Richard, or in films in general.
Is there anything you all would like to add or that I’ve missed that you think people would like to know?
C: I would hope for a part two I’m not exactly ready to let this project and team go just yet haha.
R: Do I have to answer?
I’m not sure part 2 is an optional thing at this point, Richard! Your actors want it, I want it, there you have it! lol.
R: End Survival Horizons part two.
B: This team has been awesome from the acting, camera, makeup and directing.
C: And as far as other things we would want people to know, I think it’s interesting to get our favorite part of the zombie genre.
D: I think it’s amazing that this film is paying tribute to Romero Sr and we look forward to hopefully continue to work with Richard in the near future/future.
R: I think Richard is amazing. Lol
C: I think Cordell was a pain to work with.
Richard is alright.
D: Richard is an amazing writer and director. He has been phenomenal to work with.
R: Thanks Melanie lol
Is Cordell the worst?
C: The. Worst. But hey I kept things light on set for the most part.
R: Melanie thank you for this opportunity, I am sure you will be hitting me up soon.
D: Yes, thank you for having us, Melanie. It has been a pleasure.