Saturday night Syfy “creature features” are well-known for their humor, high-body count and fun appearances by well-known actors so that fans will flock to their television sets to watch. The latest film to be offered to entice fans of the genre is RAGE OF THE YETI, which was actually starred and was directed by former STARGATE: ATLANTIS actor David Hewlett. In a lively conference call with press, he along with his co-stars Yancy Butler and David Chokachi shared what drew them to the Syfy film RAGE OF THE YETI and what it was like working on such project in the frozen terrain of Bulgaria.
Can you talk about what it is like to work on both sides of the camera as director and starring in this film?
DAVID H.: Insane. I mean everything in Bulgaria is insane basically, as Yancy can tell you. But it’s fairly great. I’d have to say the dates that I had to act and direct were my least favorite days because all of a sudden I remember that I had to learn why and actually be in a scene and remember to sort of yell “Action” and then start talking basically. So it, I wouldn’t advise it. I generally try to avoid that. But, for some reason, every single time I’ve directed so far, I knew what the problem is. The problem is I’m cheap and I’m one less lunch to buy.
YANCY: And now he’s saying that he memorizes his lines.
DAVID H.: The victor always rewrites it.
YANCY: That’s right.
DAVID H.: And we’ll talk about Yancy. Yancy, they love Yancy so much that they kill her in movies and then bring her back. [laughter]
YANCY: Actually I think I’m really – I’m dead now. Is that what’s happening? . . They didn’t just killed me at the end of the film, but in real life. Yancy Butler is dead. Yes, that’s pretty much what happened. It’s a resurrection. I take a deep breath and apparently I didn’t die. Or my character never dies.
DAVID H.: That gives us all hope, Yancy. Even when we’re shot and dead in a movie, I can suddenly wake up and come back.
YANCY: I love it. It’s a chance to play cops-and-robbers again. Are you kidding me?
DAVID H.: Why don’t you do like chasing alligators and shooting them and stuff?
DAVID C.: We’re talking about the wrong movie, aren’t we, Yancy?
YANCY: Yes, we are. We are. I think so. I have yet to see it. Did they draw alligators in this one or what’s happening?
So one of the things with these sci-fi movies is they’re always tend to be a bit campy. Do you ever like start cracking up when you get some of these directions or have to give some of these directions of like, “Oh the Yeti is going to come over and rip your arm off; now I want you to be scared”?
DAVID H.: Yes. The question is: when do you stop laughing? You never stop laughing because you’re laughing all the time, especially when, Yancy, you laugh like that — it just gets everybody going.
YANCY: That’s right. And David giving direction, I mean you just have to laugh. No, it’s really difficult to do that. I think Chokachi can attest to that. You read the script and it reads like this kind of sci-fi novel. And then it’s like, okay, this creature is over here that you don’t know what it looks like, and now it’s under you. And now it’s quite difficult.
DAVID C.: There’s a scene in the thing where we’re on this Snowcat and we’re evading the monster Yeti and Hewlett is outside and the camera is on a big crane, and he’s running around. Like I wish we had a camera of him because he’s running around pretending to be the snow Yeti, and he’s like, “The Yeti is over here.” And I’m bashing in this side of the snowcat. And now the Yeti is over here. And he’s like, “Roar!”
YANCY: They’re going to think we’re crazy.
DAVID H.: The footage of me running around might be scarier than the Yetis we’ve got on this. But let’s see.
DAVID C.: Oh, that’s bad. [laughter]
DAVID H.: We’d never laugh. We just laugh here.
YANCY: Yes, right. That’s right. I hope we didn’t scare you. But it’s a great film. And make sure to watch it, man.
What did you think about the Yeti creatures? What was your take on how they appeared on screen?
DAVID H.: Not my take. I shot the thing and then I was in for three days for editing. That was it. That’s all I got. And the first time I saw the movie was like yesterday.
YANCY: I haven’t seen anything. They don’t show me anything.
DAVID H.: You know what, let’s…
YANCY: I don’t think they have a television in Bulgaria.
DAVID H.: Well, we’re sending ours over, the old one. All the old ones are…
YANCY: That’s right. Right.
DAVID H.: It’s as I like to call it, I call it “Awfully Good.”
YANCY: Oh God, David. [laughter]
Can you seriously talk about kind of how you got involved in working on the movie and how it came about?
DAVID H.: I’ve been dying to do some more directing. And I really felt that if you’re going to do it, trial by fire, director’s boot camp, there is no place on earth and no types of movie that’s harder to make than these sci-fi movies because they’re like tiny budgets and you do everything in them. And they’re shot in such a quick way in a country that nobody understands what you’re talking about, which is normal not to understand what I’m talking about, but Bulgaria specifically. So I thought that was a really good sort of like a good way to sort of polish up on the directing side of stuff. And so I did a movie with these guys called MORLOCKS. And I said great, I’ll do MORLOCKS. And I’ll do MORLOCKS if you let me do the YETI as a director as well. So, it really worked out well. And then I got to work with these guys. I mean, it was incredibly difficult; I’m not going to lie. But it was also just an amazing experience, like there are still Bulgarian stories of Yetis that I tell are still my favorite tales.
DAVID C.: Oh, man.
DAVID H.: Now how did you guys — did you guys get the call or what — because casting was tough on this, like it was dragging people out to Bulgaria.
DAVID C.: Yes. I mean…
YANCY: It’s always a rough one. It’s always a – Chok, go for it.
DAVID C.: Well, for me, I’ve done a few of them over there so I know what it entails, like obviously David and Yancy have done them over there. So you kind of know what you’re getting into when you go to Bulgaria to shoot one of these. But if you can kind of like put your ego aside to understand that you’re going to go a certain kind of studio and you’re going to be in a certain quasi trailer making this kind of action-adventure movie, and you just can’t be going over there with attitude that you’re making some Shakespeare in the park. You’re going over there to do this certain film. And its long hours and you got a very limited amount of time to bang it out. And I don’t know, like I read the script and I was like, oh my – my character is just kind of like this dude with his brother who goes through this thing like going to blow up with these massive guns. I was like, “Oh my God, this is me to a tee.” So I got lucky.
DAVID C.: Luckily I got the offer. I think Hewlett probably had to approve me. And probably, he regretted to this day.
DAVID H.: I approved nothing.
DAVID C.: Okay, there you go. So for me, it was I think I’ve worked for these guys in the past and my last film, I was shooting at bats. And this one I was shooting at Artic snow monsters with a gun called the T-Rex, which when you guys get to see, is pretty hilarious.
DAVID H.: Oh my God. Yes, the introduction to that gun, it’s hilarious.
YANCY: That was hysterical.
DAVID C.: That commercial with the T-Rex was hilarious, David.
DAVID H.: Yes. Yes. I call it gun-form basically.
DAVID C.: Yes, great gun-form.
YANCY: Mine, with a big gun. Yes.
DAVID H.: Exactly.
DAVID C.: How about, Yancy? How did you sign up for RAGE OF THE YETI?
YANCY: Good one, Chok. Pitch it. Basically I got a call. I’m actually in Bulgaria now, doing my fourth film for these guys. And so I got the call and I read the script. And then when I heard that Chok was involved which we worked together ten years ago, that I was just in. I was like, “Sign me up!” And it is difficult. I mean, both Davids will attest to the fact that the great thing about Bulgaria, right – you heard it here first – the great thing about Bulgaria is that the crews are very eager to please. But it’s always very difficult conditions and starting with we’re doing a snow film in the middle of summer. So that in itself would always lend to some difficulties. But basically I got the call and I was on board. And David did an amazing job. That would be flash nerd. David Hewlett did an amazing job directing. And I don’t know how any of the directors, honestly, pull off getting a day; let alone, getting a film in a can here.
DAVID H.: Because we have Yancy Butler.
YANCY: That’s right. They got one Butler with the one Yeren. Because it’s difficult, the script had a lot of action in it and you’re kind of editing as you go along for sake of time. And so you do know what you’re getting into as Chokachi said. But it turned out, apparently, to be a really great film. I’m looking forward to seeing it.
DAVID H.: It’s fun. I mean, these are sci-fi movies. They are what they are. But they’re fun. I mean I grew up with this stuff. I love this stuff. And working with Yancy and Chok – I mean, it requires a certain type of actor who can put up with all of the crap that goes with making these movies and still laugh and still make it enjoyable. And certainly from a director standpoint, I understand how important it is to have an actor with a sense of honor and who’s talented enough to be able to jump in there and do stuff.
YANCY: And vice versa.
DAVID C.: Yes, no.
YANCY: I think that it takes a certain kind of director, truly, to be able to not completely go postal and because of the way that the schedule lends itself. And if they don’t have a sense of honor, I think if everybody doesn’t have a sense of honor involved, we’re kind of screwed on all fronts.
DAVID C.: We’re up the creek.
YANCY: So yes, this is a really.
DAVID C.: This is quite of testament to Hewlett because on the first day of shooting, not only do we almost not make – we’re shooting on the top of Mount Vitosha and it’s a full-arm blizzard. Literally, our transport van almost went off a cliff on the way up. I swear to God.
YANCY: That’s right.
DAVID C.: And so we have to take snow machines to the set. We get up to the set and poor David. First of all, most of the crew – there’s a heavy language barrier. It’s blowing sideways, snowing sideways. No one can hear. And Hewlett is trying to call out like where are these props. And cameras are freezing up. And it’s literally like 20 below and everybody is just kind of standing around with this look in their face like, “What the (blank)?”
YANCY: Yes, and we just get into it. And, yes, and that’s not even part of the film. So we were getting to work.
DAVID C.: So, exactly.
DAVID H.: We couldn’t make it to the parking lot, up the hill because he shot all of the scenes. Everybody thought I was crazy. I said, “Well, we’ll just have to shoot it here.” And they’re like, “We’re in a parking lot.”
YANCY: That’s right.
DAVID H.: I think we had fun. The snow is up there.
DAVID C.: That’s right, man.
So in sci-fi movies there’s been zombies, banshees, hybrids like the sharktopus and so many others, and none of you are really strangers to the world of science fiction and the supernatural. So how would you rate the Yeti in terms of these other monsters?
DAVID H.: Top of it.
YANCY: Well, I didn’t know there was a sharktopus. So I would have no idea. That’s new to me. That’s a cameo that David played.
DAVID H.: Well, I like the Yeti because there’s a nice sort of a legend quality to them. Do you know what I mean? And also, I’m a huge fan of snow movies, like I just think snow looks so fantastic on film. So I’d have to rate our Yetis high. Big teeth, big claws and a snowstorm works for me.
YANCY: And you know what they say about big teeth, big claws, Dave.
DAVID C.: That’s right, Yancy.
YANCY: That’s right. Big snow.
DAVID H.: Yes, I like the Yeti thing. I like the fact that they really played with the history of it, the idea that there’s a ship that was transporting new things. And I am a big fan of Corman stuff and all of the Ed Wood type movies because we’re basically making Ed Wood movies here. I mean we try to do a ton with a little. So I’m a big fan of blood, horror and monsters basically. So if I’m not making them, I’m watching them.
DAVID C.: And the cool thing about the Yeti, I mean, which is good and bad is the thing is camouflaged. So it has this predator ability to kind of go invisible and stalk its prey. So, I’d add at any one point during our shooting, Hewlett would be like, “No, it’s invisible right now,” and then “No, it’s visible. Look out.”
YANCY: Right. Yes.
DAVID H.: Of course, when you actually see the movie, you’ll see how visible it is while it’s invisible. But it’s not very good at being invisible I’d say. Maybe it thinks it’s invisible.
DAVID C.: But it was cool because one thing I think about for us as actors, the Yeti allowed, especially my character kind of who’s not afraid to crack a joke during any kind of stress situation in the film, they’re kind of almost endless one-liners of – basically they have to call the Yeti. And Yeti Burgers and Yeti this and that, and it goes back and forth about this kind of invisible snow monster. And it allows for a bit of levity to kind of come amongst — they called it a group who’s literally in this really difficult situation where we’re cut off from the world and we’re trying to make our escape. So I think the Yeti is scary. But it does allow for quite a bit of great horror amongst the survivors and see if we try and make it out.
DAVID C.: Yes. And none of us can say Yeti. And they kept coming up to me saying, “You look like you’re saying ‘urine’.” Chokachi would you say, Yeti? and I’m like, “I’m saying Yeren. What?”
YANCY: I do like the fact that it’s like this legendary, I like what Hewlett said and David. When you’re dealing with these creatures that are kind of made up, a Sharktopus, if you will, at least the Yeti is somewhat established in Folklore. Yes, I said it. I said it.
DAVID C.: Sharktopus. Yes, Butler.
YANCY: And there’s something that’s sort of real about that.
YANCY: And so I think that you need some levity in these kinds of films because it could go south any second. But I think we have a really good film here. And the situation with these creatures, inevitably in these sci-fi films, always lends itself too. There’s some tension and some drama on how do these people get out of this. And so if there aren’t some one-liner jokes in there, you can kind of sink with all of these. And I think it’s really imperative that we have those. And Chok really delivered those with aplomb and grace, if you will.
DAVID C.: Yes, I actually had…
YANCY: …which I never thought I would use that with…
DAVID C.: …a keyword, Butler.
DAVID H.: I don’t think I can discuss…
YANCY: That’s all right.
Can you tell me, if it’s not too much of a spoiler, how many people actually go up the mountain? Is it just the two of you or is there a bunch of them?
DAVID H.: No, there’s a whole team. Well, there’s two separate teams. And basically one goes in and gets in trouble, and then the new team comes in to help them out and of course then gets in trouble themselves. So it’s kind of fun. You’re following sort of two little teams and then they – but then they meet up and basically – Well, they meet up and then start arguing and then, all sorts of [things happen] as well.
DAVID H.: And nobody gets along.
DAVID C.: There’s a very strong culling aspect to the group.
DAVID H.: Sci-fi movies always do, don’t they? You always have a certain setup. I mean what was nice about this one, and I think, we were very lucky and that we got along with David and Yancy, we got a number of great actors.
YANCY: Yes, for sure.
DAVID H.: Matt playing David’s brother, who’s fantastic, and also fantastically tall.
DAVID H.: All these fantastic British actors as well, like Jonas Armstrong.
DAVID C.: Jonas.
DAVID H.: James Patric Moran, who’s not actually British, but another really great guy to have around.
YANCY: But he could be. He plays a lot on TV.
DAVID H.: He totally could have been British if he needed to. Laura Haddock – you know, great actors. The idea was to bring in actors that you didn’t immediately think, “Oh, they’re dead.”
YANCY: You know, that’s true, David. That’s very true. Because usually, at the opening scene of some actors, in any movies, really, you’ll go like, “Oh that poor guy, he’s out pretty quick.” And you really can’t tell who’s going to survive, nor could we at the beginning of each day.
DAVID H.: But these movies still usually start with a couple of sort of Slavic actors who are difficult to understand.
DAVID C.: Right.
DAVID H.: So we were trying to avoid that. And we did more than that, right? We got – Rosalind Halstead, there’s another one. I’m looking at the IMDB.
YANCY: That’s because you’re good. I was like, damn.
DAVID C.: He’s really attached to the film.
So this is a great legend to work off of, like a whole Yeti, abominable snowman, Big Foot kind of animal is a favorite subject, a crypto zoologist. I was wondering what research did you guys do to kind of prepare yourself to deal with a Yeti?
DAVID H.: Wikipedia.
YANCY: Oh good answer.
DAVID H.: It’s always the first place to go, right. But also we had the right – Craig Engler was – and Brooks were the writers on this. And they just did a really good job I think of integrating some history in with the with the usual monster stuff. I always like when the monsters are based on sort of historical things rather than just science fiction stuff. I find it much easier to get into when you’re grounded in some time of the history. And I think they did a great job with that. But the reality is in films, there isn’t a lot of time to go into the true geeky stuff that I love. We’re getting the other stuff that I love which is all action and effects and there’s running and shooting and being attacked by giant orangutan.
YANCY: It’s easier for somebody like that because as a matter of fact during this film a lot of the characters are learning as the audience is learning really what the capabilities of these creature are about. And we do mention some of the lore in the script and through our lines but I think more as an actor for me I was concentrating more on what a team leader would do in that situation or how that actually goes down. We don’t have many search and rescue New York City although we should but that’s not something I grew up with. . . . That was more what right yes, Central Park search and rescue. That’s more what I was kind of researching but which was good because I didn’t know much about these creatures at all. And my character and David’s character is kind of finding out, what hybrid, if you will, to use, saying and what their capabilities are as the audience is. So we didn’t have to know much. David was the one that had to know much.
DAVID H.: I was going to say David and Yancy are playing like the coolest top hunter types.
DAVID H.: Of course naturally.
YANCY: Right, right.
DAVID H.: I think they weren’t so worried about the creatures and the nature of the creatures. I mean the character that really played on that was my character, the Ted character. There was a great scene where he sits down and he opens up this hook and he reads about these Yeti and all of the cast sort of gathers around and listens to him, you know talk about how these things took out like an army of soldiers back in the day and stuff. That’s one of my favorite scenes and it was shot because we ran out of time and I only had time to do one shot.
YANCY: I remember it is all coming back to me.
DAVID H.: Yes, remember that? It worked out fantastic, it’s great because it such like a bedtime – let me tell you about a bedtime story about a horrific snow monkey monster of some type.
After “Planet of the Apes” movie and the MORLOCKS movie and now the RAGE OF THE YETI. The whole mutant monkey thing really seems to be working out for you. Is this going to be a theme and it looked like it was a pretty difficult shoot.
YANCY: I went in the lake. I got my hand on my heart. You know, I did. I mean repeatedly. And they were looking at me like what a difficult actress, “What’s your problem?” Right, exactly. So I’m like, “Because I’d like to live.” But in any case but we’re up on top of this mountain and I remembered poor David Hewlett, we were trying to get the day and the film wasn’t brought up to the mountain but hot toddies were or something. And he said, “Well, let me turn the camera around” and I said, “Why turn the camera around? Turn us around because you can’t see 10 feet in front of your face.” And it was so cold. It was windy and cold. And then I think it was about I don’t know 82 Fahrenheit when we had the fake snow machines going so — yes, it was good time, good times was had by all.
DAVID C.: I’m not sure which is worse. The fake snow machine or the real snow because in the fake snow machine stuff was literally shooting like these salt crystals like in your mouth, your eyes, and you show up to set the next day and your eyes, are swollen shut from the salt intake. You’d be like what the hell.
DAVID H.: Yes, it would be in your clothes like for days you are finding it – it’s sort of your body sort of spits it out as the day goes on.
YANCY: That is so hot. [laughter]
What did you find memorable about working on this project and was it hard to let it go?
YANCY: Well, I’m playing a character right now that clearly can’t be destroyed. I thought she was destroyed and I pretty much contractually made sure that she was going to die at the end of the last film. But it’s all in the editing and so, yes, you just find out that she was a bit horribly maimed and knocked unconscious. So I’m back and better than ever but anything is possible in the sci-fi realm and thank God for that because we might never work again as a collective whole. And there’s a joke there too but I’m really tired. But yes, I mean you can do anything. We’re talking about snowmen and at the moment Sharktopus and anything is possible. The day is still young.
DAVID C.: When you play these characters I mean obviously you bring a sense of yourself I mean I think all of us do as actors. That’s kind of your thing. There’s no matter what the character is there’s a part of it that’s you and who you are as a person. So in essence and whatever the script is and for this, this happens to tap into an exaggerated version of me which is to a tee like this guy who loves to be in these stupid situations and have a smile on his face. It’s kind of like what I like to do anyway.
YANCY: Sounds like several nights in Toronto, huh, David?
DAVID C.: Exactly. There’s Chokachi. So, that part obviously you don’t shed but maybe you shed, obviously, the part where you are running around with five guns strapped to you and some of that. But I think each one of us brings our own personality to our character and insert a fair amount of that. So I think that stays with you obviously when you go home and you go into your next project and your wife or significant other is like, “Dude you are not on set anymore. Cut the crap, stop talking like that.”
DAVID H.: No my wife gives me 15 minutes. So I would come home and she’d give me 15 minutes to stop acting like whatever character I was supposed to be doing that day. And then it was like, “You want to save the marriage? You’ve got 15 minutes in character then I want my husband back.”
DAVID C.: Is that what she does with you?
DAVID H.: Yes, I’ve got 15 minutes that’s it. I’m allowed to get away with basically anything for 15 minutes and then it’s like okay, all right you are back. With Chok if you get him out of character you just have to take his guns away.
DAVID C.: Exactly!
YANCY: Like a little boy. It’s hard I think because you have to bring some of yourself to a character and especially with something like this where you are having fun on the set and bringing your own personality to it, that’s the part that’s fun. And I think it’s, you don’t have any time to be a method actor on any sci-fi film. You don’t have that kind of time. So, you are bringing yourself to the playground and is it hard to let go of it sometimes? Yes, sure, I think I’m 10 feet tall and bulletproof for 20 years now but it has worked for me. So there you have it. And I don’t have a significant other or a wife or a boyfriend. So hence I don’t know if I can let go of it that easy.
DAVID C.: You can come over my house Butler anytime. We can snuggle and we complain.
YANCY: That’s right.
DAVID H.: Yes, likewise, it will be a crowded bed.
DAVID C.: Yes, that’s all right. Although Hewlett’s character I’m not sure like in this film which I got to screen because I wanted to – yesterday. He plays this billionaire mogul and I love it. He surrounds himself and almost all of his scenes are surrounded by pretty much like the hottest Bulgarian women he could find. And I was just laughing my ass off. I was like, “Oh wow, Hewlett’s loving this.” How many takes did he do of this scene?
YANCY: Yes, right. I can’t wait to see this.
DAVID H.: I definitely should have enjoyed it more. I think you guys hit it. I think in these films it’s such sort of flying by the seat of your pants on a lot of the stuff anyway. You have to use your reactions to stuff. And I think that I always prefer that because I think it makes it more real. I mean silly as these films are there has to be a sense of peril. I think what’s great about David and Yancy and I like to think myself as Well, is that while we laugh at this stuff and we’ll make all sorts of jokes and kill each other cracking up on this stuff. We still know that you got to take it seriously because if you are mugging the camera and if you are pretending that you are better than the material then you just lose the audience. This is about enjoying, it’s about getting lost in something that’s more than just the special effects and the limitations of the movie. It’s about just allowing yourself these sort of like comicful-like adventures.
YANCY: I think yes, to – very Well, said. I think to elaborate on that what David said is that if we don’t believe them especially because we are not seeing them yet nor do they sometimes have an idea of what they are going to actually CGI in there that if we don’t believe them as the characters in the story, nobody is going to believe them.
DAVID H.: Exactly.
YANCY: So you have to play that peril very seriously. Otherwise there has to be conflict and there has to be a sense of danger. For as much as we do laugh and kid around because we enjoy each other’s company and working together because it is like boot camp. If you don’t sell that during the moment, nobody is going to believe it once they are seeing it as a whole. So I think it really tests the skills as both – I know it does actually as both acting and I’m sure for the director to sell this. Something that is not even there for us and to sell it as dangerous as possible is a testament to everybody’s skill because sometimes the director hasn’t even seen a storyboard truly or even a drawing of what things are actually going to look like. So it is quite difficult.
DAVID H.: Yes, it’s definitely an arcane art.
YANCY: Yes, if you will.
Yancy and David, could you talk about what it was like to get to work together again after WITCHBLADE?
YANCY: Oh my God, it was like a dream come true – I mean it has been, what eight years, Chok since we worked together?
DAVID C.: Yes, yes.
YANCY: When they said – I said is anybody attached and they said, “Well, we are talking to David Chokachi” and I was like the minute he says, “Yes, you have to tell me.” And during WITCHBLADE, we were a family. I mean we were really a family and that was a very tough schedule and 16-18 hour days. And here was a movie that did so well, that they turned it into a series, which was unexpected for all of us. And I mean clearly we, David and I and all of the guys on that but we have a special relationship and are quite close and it’s a dream come true really. I mean for such a difficult shoot especially I don’t know if there were some days I could haven’t gotten through it without David’s help.
DAVID C.: Yes, you needed like…
DAVID C.: Like Hewlett would say, when you go and sign up for these movies, you are not going to Vancouver or Toronto to be on some plush set. You are going to Bulgaria which is in itself a very — I mean it is a beautiful country it has its own environment of this kind of harsh ex-Soviet Union kind of feel to it which is kind of scary in a sense. And you want to be surrounded by people who not only are professionals because you can’t be there around and like not getting your lines. You want to be surrounded by people who have been there and done it and also are not going to be just complaining that they are out in the middle of snowstorm which we were for like a week. We were shooting on the top of the mountain and Hewlett looked like he was literally one heartbeat away from being like an ice mass. He never complained.
YANCY: I think he looks like that most days he was just using that as an excuse.
DAVID C.: Yes, and with Yancy, her and I obviously had worked together for three years solid and would have been through every, like she said it becomes a family when you are on a series. And you know everything about the other person and there is that closeness lends itself to also the great work you produce because you are intimate in a sense. Once you get in front of that camera you have this bond. So yes, as soon as that – I had the same response like when they were like Butler will be playing that character. Unfortunately the bummer is, I mean I don’t want to be a spoiler but her character runs – we run kind of parallel story lines for a little while.
YANCY: I know that stinks.
DAVID C.: Yes, we kept saying like when the hell are we shooting together? We kept looking at the call sheet and it was like…
YANCY: I know.
DAVID C.: But…
YANCY: We were two ships passing in the night.
DAVID C.: But, as actors and David has obviously been on a series, anytime you get to work with a fellow castmate again is like a true blessing, so this was just like an absolute bonus. And yes, you know you are going in – it’s like going into battle with someone you’ve done battle with before basically.
YANCY: Yes, that’s very Well, said.
DAVID C.: And it gives you a sense of like no matter what they throw at us we’re going to have a good time and we’re going to do good work. So…
YANCY: And have each other’s backs and absolutely. It’s a camaraderie that is necessary on these things and to have already established that and to be as close as we were was icing on the cake or icing on David’s face.
DAVID C.: Butler and I have this whole superstition before every take on WITCHBLADE like if we were shooting an exterior scene somewhere, I’m sure you are going to love this but her and I would both spit. Would like get a loopy and it was kind of like a good luck charm.
YANCY: And there it is ladies and gentlemen.
DAVID C.: Unfortunately when we spat outside on this one it turned to ice before it hit the ground. So it…
YANCY: And people wonder why I am single. And David just told them why.
DAVID C.: It’s a good like Inside the Actor’s Studio, wouldn’t they love that one? How do you guys get in the moment? We spit.
YANCY: Yes, that’s right we spat. We spat. We had a spitting contest. Yes, that’s when I fell in love with David really.
Did the comedy aspects in the midst of such a drama feel natural for you?
DAVID C.: Well, for me, I kind of think like almost in every scene –I mean I hope it doesn’t get annoying because I got to see the film and I think it actually lends itself to – – I’m the kind of comic relief in a sense. And I think it’s good because if all us were dead serious in these moments that we saw the invisible monsters, people are going to be like, “Come on, really?” I mean like David said there is a fine line about — you can’t be mugging the camera. There has to be a sense of reality that we’re all playing which my character does. But my character also happens to be like a major thrill seeker so he loves the fact that he is surrounded by a bunch of invisible monsters. And so these one-liners when I first read them, I’m like these are kind of hard. They are hard to pull off as an actor because you got to be truthful in the moment. And first they were hard but more and more as we got into it, it found its own rhythm for me and I was like, “Oh my God, these things, these little one-liners, are great.” And then when I actually saw the film I was actually extremely thrilled because they allow everybody else a little bit to go either, shut up you idiot with some sort of a look or it breaks the tension of the moment. And it allows us all to be human beings I think. So I think once I got a few of those one-liners in I kind of felt like this character is kind of – this character is me and I can really run with this and have a lot of fun and also be truthful to the piece. So that was it for me and Jonas.
DAVID H.: You and Matt had a great dynamic together too.
DAVID C.: Yes, and obviously he would say my brother which is perfect played by Matthew Anderson.
YANCY: Oh, it was great.
DAVID C.: Like David said, he’s this tall, lanky, good looking kid and he plays this character Jace, my brother and we’re both kind of adventure kind of guns for hire almost like Indiana Jones kind of guys. And he takes everything so seriously and so literally that we have this banter that goes back and forth about whose like turn it is to go do what and it’s a – I thought it came off fantastic. And David Hewlett was instrumental in like getting us into that rhythm of finding that banter, making it quick and not because you can beat it to death where the audience is like please shut up. And not once when I watched it did I have that reaction. I thought it was really well done. And Hewlett kept that kind of a close eye on whether or not keeping that banter real and fun at the same time and I think it was done beautifully.
DAVID H.: It’s a really nice dynamic. I mean you guys are really fun together. It was a nice – I entirely bought you were brothers, you know?
DAVID C.: Did you? When you saw it? Yes, that’s fantastic. I mean I did too. I was like, “Jesus this is like me and my younger brother.”
DAVID H.: Yes, and it’s neat. It’s really neat.
DAVID C.: Especially since we have so limited time to read through. There is really no rehearsal and luckily Yancy and I worked together before, so that allows us to be like very comfortable on camera right away. But for the rest of us it’s like shaking hands in the read through and then waking up at 5:30 the next morning and going to work and pretending we have either known each other forever. But Matthew who played my brother was awesome and everybody was a pro in the sense that you don’t have the luxury of time on like some other movies where you get to know the other actor. You’ve got to jump in, just jump in full on in the deep end and go for it. And we all did, all of us including Hewlett and obviously Yancy. Because that is the key to getting things to work is there are no buffer days, there are no days to kind of warm up. You’ve got to like be swinging for the fence on, pitch 1 in inning 1. So and I think we all did that.
DAVID H.: Well put.
YANCY: Very well put.
To see this lively bunch in action and to find out who among them survives the brutal encounters, be sure to check out RAGE OF THE YETI on Saturday, November 12th at 9:00 p.m. on Syfy.