Brett Hart is an up-and-coming Hollywood director, and certainly someone to have on your radar. Bone Dry is Brett's debut feature film, following many years of hard graft in advertising. His debut at the helm of Bone Dry brought him praise from such luminaries as director Tom Holland, of Fright Night, Child's Play and Psycho II fame.
For Brett, with his love of the suspense/thriller genre, Bone Dry is his natural stomping ground and is the result of many years of dedication to a singular vision. An example of new-breed, high-quality films which are released straight to DVD, Bone Dry stars two of Hollywood's most interesting offerings, Lance Henriksen (soon to be seen on Zone Horror in Millennium) and Luke Goss. This challenging film alludes to some classic thriller ties whilst wowing with its spectacular settings and chilling plot. CBS Action contacted Brett during a break in his busy schedule to find out a bit more about Bone Dry and also gather some interesting Hollywood-insider news.
CBS: How would you describe Bone Dry to CBS Action viewers?
Brett Hart: Bone Dry is a two-character thriller set against a blistering and desolate desert landscape. Eddie (Goss) finds himself being forced at gunpoint, by an unseen assailant, on a dark and brutal journey through the harsh terrain of the Mojave. His nemesis is Jimmy (Henriksen), a man with an aberrant agenda. Armed with a rifle, scope, walkie-talkies and a truck, Jimmy has organized a series of ambushes and mantraps designed to push Eddie to the limits of his humanity and beyond. Inspired by classics like Spielberg's break out film Duel, Cooper & Shoedesack's The Most Dangerous Game, and even the works of Rod Serling. The storyline has a single-minded purpose... to stalk and menace Eddie all the way to the story's climatic revelation.
CBS: This looks a lot classier than the usual 'first time director' feature.
Brett Hart: Thanks. Though this is my first feature, I've been filming since the age of 11; have won several awards for short films, commercials and even most recently an EMMY for our work with KWTV the number one news station in the country. I did my first short story, story boards, etc. at the age of 7. I guess you could say I come from a visual background and it was very important for me that our picture really showcased the beauty and epic scope of the desert. But unlike the eye candy of music videos, it was even more important to find a cast that could really breathe life into our two main characters. In the end, this film is all about our two main characters Eddie and Jimmy.
CBS: How did you go about getting finance?
Brett Hart: The entire process of bringing this film to life took almost six years. Initially, I was fortunate enough to read an incomplete 20-page script called Mojave by Jeff O'Brien. Quickly we both started collaborating on it and four months later we ended up with Bone Dry. After that I went through the frustrating process of raising financing. The first thing I did was move to Los Angeles and starve! Then I was fortunate enough to meet up with Chad Stalcup. The two of us had a dream. His was to build an advertisement agency; mine was to bring Bone Dry to life. Together we helped each other achieve these goals with the support of wonderful friends, clients, and supporters. Eventually we were fortunate enough to add two partners, Richard Saied and Greg Hughs, who really helped complete the team. We actually tackled running both the agency and production of Bone Dry at the same time. Near the end of post production I was putting in 80-hour work weeks, doing double shift, managing the video department of the agency by day and editing at home by night. The truly amazing thing is that we managed to win our first Emmy and complete a full length feature all in the same year.
CBS: How much use do you make of new media like social networking sites for building interest/researching themes in/for your films?
Brett Hart: I think the internet and advances in technology are an indie filmmaker's best friend. There is no doubt in my mind that we were able to save time and money using both the internet and digital technology during all phases of production. In the beginning stages of pre-production I was the sole PR machine, creating a website to generate interest in the film. By the time we completed it, I had created MySpace pages and similar to really help get the word out there. With the combined efforts of our sales agents and sites like MySpace, we've seen Bone Dry transform from a vision shared by a few partners to a movie gaining global exposure. As for using the internet to research themes and films, I'd say that's usually the second or third place I go after I come up with an idea. The last thing I want to do is put a lot of time and energy into a film that has already been made. That said, the Internet helps streamline time because it's a library of information that I can access without ever leaving my home or office.
CBS: Lance Henriksen, Dee Wallace, these are big names. Any nerves about directing such established actors?
Brett Hart: Lance, Dee, and Luke are absolute pros. The reason I did cast Lance is that he is intense and that's exactly what I needed for our Jimmy. In fact, Jeff and I wrote the part with Lance in mind. So I wouldn't say that I was nervous directing them at all. When I have a vision I become completely focused. There's no time for anything but bringing the vision to life. I think that's why Luke, Lance, Dee and I have all become such close friends. It was my first time working with Hollywood actors. We all believed in each other and I always encouraged them to breathe life into the characters. We spent days tweaking the dialogue to be truthful to their personalities, and at the same time I had to make sure we didn't veer from the story. Considering that we were shooting in 130 degrees Fahrenheit on most days, I'm actually surprised how well we all got along. We have a great deal of respect for one another and I'm working on several projects with them all in mind.
CBS: How did you come to cast Luke Goss? Were you familiar with his 'boy band' pop history here in the UK?
Brett Hart: Our casting directors Donald Pemrick and Dean Fronk had given me an extensive list of actors to consider, in addition to my own list. On that list was Luke. At first I overlooked him; his head shot was honestly just too good looking. But, when I realized that Luke was in Blade II, I became more interested and started doing more research. Ultimately it was Hallmark's Frankenstein that convinced me Luke was my Eddie. Luke is more than a pretty face; he's a major talent. He had all of the qualities I was looking for in our Eddie; intelligence, vulnerability, charm, and a complexity that makes it impossible to stereotype. If there is any major theme to Bone Dry it's that you truly never know what darkness lies behind the facade that people project. As for Luke's background in the band, that had little to no affect on me casting him. Honestly, I wanted an up-and-comer with an ability to really pull an audience in. Luke and I are now like brothers as well. I actually went to visit him in Budapest while he was shooting Hellboy II.
CBS: What is the next Brett Hart project we can look forward to?
Brett Hart: I'm currently working with several wonderful writers. I'm slated to direct Pain Clinic, currently being completed by Dan O'Bannon (Alien and Total Recall), a physiological thriller in the mould of Misery, The Marathon Man, Rosemary's Baby, Seconds and Coma. I am also shopping around Alter Ego, a script written by Emmy Winner Alan Brennert (The 1980's Twilight Zone), an unnerving thriller about the capacity of the human heart for love, betrayal and redemption. In the tradition of Hitchcock's Marnie, and others like Sybil and Basic Instinct. Niall Browne is working on Promised Land, our post 911 tragic love thriller in the vein of The Parallax View; and finally Jeff O'Brien and I are reuniting on several other projects: most notably an untitled script that we are writing specifically for Luke and Lance; chapter two of our Bone Dry trilogy.