This evening we broke the news that Anthony Leonardi III’s Nothing Left to Fear, which was produced by Guns N’ Roses’ Slash, will be getting a limited theatrical release on Friday, October 4, 2013 before arriving on Blu-Ray Combo Pack, DVD, and On Demand Tuesday, October 8, 2013.
While we were writing up the story, Evan Dickson was speaking with legendary guitarist, Slash, about his first production inspired by the legend of Stull, Kansas.
The pic follows Wendy (Anne Heche), her husband Dan (James Tupper) and their kids, all of whom have just moved to the small town of Stull, Kansas, where Dan is the new pastor. But in this sleepy community of friendly neighbors, a horrific series of occurrences awaits them: Their teenage daughter (Rebekah Brandes) is being tormented by grisly visions. Her younger sister (Jennifer Stone) has been marked for a depraved ritual. And deep within the heartland darkness, one of The Seven Gates Of Hell demands the blood of the innocent to unleash the creatures of the damned.
This is your first film, out of many hopefully, as a producer. How did you decide to get involved with all of that? “It was something that was sort of handed to me. I had a conversation with a producer that was actually my partner with this movie. We were at a party talking about horror movies. Horror is something that I’ve been into for a really long time but I don’t have a lot of friends that I can discuss horror movies with. So this conversation gave me a chance to vent about what’s great about the genre, great producers, great actors, great directors. And also to vent about what I didn’t like about the genre. The guy who I was talking to said, ‘you should produce movies.’ I kind of laughed it off but he called be a couple of weeks later to say he would be giving me some scripts to read. This process, which I didn’t take seriously at the time, went on for a few months. But then we picked ‘Nothing Left To Fear.’”
What about that script appealed to you? “It was a great, simple story. And it was also something we could do on a budget that was reasonable. We set off, developed the script a little bit, met with a bunch of directors and met with a bunch of movie houses.”
So with a great script in hand, what was the biggest challenge? Was it finding a director you could get on the same page with? “That’s a good question. I think the hardest part was finding the f*cking money [laughs]. One of the cool things about having a brand is that getting people interested wasn’t so much a problem. But finding people we could afford was an issue. The biggest problem with what I’m doing right now is finding good scripts. All in all, you can look at 1,000 scripts before you find one that’s really good.”
Good horror is really difficult to pull off. “I was raised on horror movies, so there were a lot of great movies from before I was born throughout the late 60’s and 70’s. That sort of changed for me around the mid-80’s. Good horror movies became fewer and further between.”
So would you say you’re a fan of stuff like Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist as opposed to an F13 sequel then? “Actually ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ was a huge influence on ‘Nothing Left To Fear.’ That was the model of a really slow burn film where you could develop the characters before things got really intense. That’s one of my favorite movies. It’s one of Anthony Leonardi’s (director of ‘Nothing Left To Fear’) favorites as well. That was a great movie, a great story that was more focussed on the people involved. I just love the family [in ‘Nothing Left To Fear’]. It’s a young family that’s lured to this town of Stull, Kansas. There’s a lot of folklore about the town and how it’s one of the seven gateways to hell. The father’s a pastor and they’re brought there under the pretense that they’ll be running the church there… and eventually you have a bona fide monster on your hands.”
And how did Leonardi get the directing gig? “We met with a lot of directors, but this guy was the most passionate. When he showed up at the meeting his script was all rolled up, had notes all over it. Coffee stains. And that was how we took to him, and we just followed this concept and made it happen.”
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