CS Interview: Nick Stahl on indie thriller Hunter Hunter
Ahead of the film’s select theatrical and digital debut, ComingSoon.net got the opportunity to chat with star Nick Stahl (Sin City, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines) to discuss his role in the indie thriller Hunter Hunter, in which he stars alongside Devon Sawa (Final Destination) and Camille Sullivan (The Man in the High Castle). You can check out the interview below and order your copy of the movie here!
ComingSoon.net: So Hunter Hunter is such an intense and quietly chilling movie at the same time, but what about it really drew you to want to be a part of it?
Nick Stahl: It was just a solid script, you know? Yeah, it was a fun role to play, very dark, but fun, it was just really well written. You know, Shawn [Linden] did such a great job with the script, so I liked it, it kind of reminded me of kind of a more old school horror movie with really well explored characters and things like that. So those would be the ingredients, man.
CS: Because we don’t know too much about your character, there’s so much mystery around him, what was it like trying to get in that head space?
NS: Man, it’s fun for me. I don’t know. It’s dark and a little creepy, right? But at the same time, that’s part of the fun of it, the challenge and to approach a character like that and try to understand the psychology behind it and bring it to life, make it real. Those are all aspects that I look for in roles I want to play.
CS: Did you and Shawn talk at all in the lead up to filming about developing a back story that only you two would know for the character?
NS: Somewhat, you know, somewhat. I kind of listened and I mean, he had it so well thought out and so well constructed, the story in general. But yeah, he kind of filled me in on a lot of the psychological aspects of serial killers and I guess his father, if I’m not mistaken, was involved in some profession that involved forensic science to some degree when he was a kid. So he was, like, this wealth of information about serial killers, you know? I mean, all of that stuff was very, very helpful, very valuable.
CS: Were you familiar with the sort of living out in the wilderness nature of the story prior? Are you much of a wilderness person?
NS: No, I would say no, I’m not, not particularly, I’m kind of a city guy [chuckles]. Other than a few brief camping trips or something, I mean, it was definitely a world that I had to just kind of imagine because it was pretty foreign to me. But I think that’s one of the really interesting aspects of the story is you know, starting with this family, that is living a life that I would say is hard for most people to imagine. It was all a new world to me and Shawn basically did all the heavy lifting and kind of filled in a lot of those gaps. So yeah, it was fascinating itself, you know, really.
CS: Since you’re more of a city person, what was it like getting to film on that location?
NS: Oh it was great. I mean, it was super cold and it’s kind of like wet and cold all the time and not the best conditions, but great for a story like that, you know? [laughs] I think it helps when you’re making movies like that when it’s filmed in kind of miserable conditions. It seems to just go hand in hand. So we had a good time making it, actually.
CS: So then, even though we’ve seen you play sort of dark and messed up characters in the past, what would you say were some of your creative challenges getting to the heart of Lou for this one?
NS: I thought the kind of transformation I guess that he goes through, you know, this is a guy who kind of shows up as looking like somebody else, and by the end of it, he’s a different person and I thought it was a fun challenge to find that kind of transformation and that change. I liked also the aspect just that people like this, according to Shawn, again I didn’t have a whole lot of knowledge about it, but it made sense that people like this, and nefarious characters in these kinds of situations tend to have certain rituals. And so, we worked on sort of finding that, like what that looked like. I try to find little pockets like that of the character, of things to just show and with a limited amount of free time, basically, so it was a fun challenge. It was fun trying to find that in limited scenes, so yeah.
CS: The music element of your ritual is really quite interesting, did you sort of have your own thoughts about what music he would listen to during those moments? Or did you and Shawn talk about that at all? What was that like?
NS: Yeah, so in the script actually, there are lyrics written, and it was a song. It was like a heavy metal band and there was a song that I hadn’t heard before. So, this character actually has his headphones and he’s singing. He’s singing lyrics ,and he didn’t know if he could get the rights to that song, so he basically had to scrap that. It helped me to pipe in actual music, so I had my own headphones on and I was listening to random music. But it was cool. I tried to find like, moody, ominous music to sort of help me out with the character, that was a cool aspect of the character. I thought the incorporation of music worked very well in the film as people will see.
CS: Do you recall what some of your choices were that you were listening to?
NS: Man, I don’t, I don’t remember. I mean, I have kind of eclectic taste. I like all kinds of different music. So you never know what’s going to pop up if I like shuffled my playlist. It was just something dark. I think at one point I had classical music on. There was just all kinds of stuff playing. But yeah, next time I’m asked that, I’m going to make up a much better answer [chuckles].
CS: How do you feel getting ready for the release in a couple of weeks for it, especially its simultaneous digital and theatrical nature?
NS: I’m excited about it. I think it’s a good film. I was really impressed with what Shawn did and I’m excited for people to see it. I was surprised that it was going to theaters because theaters don’t seem to be widely open right now. So I was like, “Hey, what do you know?” I miss theaters. I’m sure a lot of people feel that way right about now. I just miss the movie going experience. So, you know, I think it’s great. I think it also lends itself well to the experience of I’m really excited that it actually got a theatrical release.
CS: So to look away from the film for a moment, this year marks the 15th anniversary of the finale for Carnivàle, and I mean, there’s been talks over the years about possibly continuing it, so I’m curious, have you heard anything or what are your thoughts about possibly coming back for more?
NS: That’d be great, man. There’s so many possibilities, yeah, where you could go with that story. So I think it would be a blast, you know, and people keep bringing it up. An interview a few minutes ago, somebody else asked about that, so I wonder if you just put it out in the universe enough, if it’ll actually come to fruition, so we’ll see. But yeah, that would be great, if something were to come about with that story again.
CS: Interestingly enough, too, this year also marks the debut of Netflix’s version of Locke & Key, and since you did the pilot that didn’t really get picked up by Fox, what was it like for you seeing this new iteration of the show?
NS: I didn’t see it. I haven’t seen it, but I was glad it finally got some light and was picked up because it was a really cool graphic novel and a cool story. So, yeah, have you seen it?
CS: I’ve actually been watching it this morning a little bit. It’s very interesting so far.
NS: Yeah, nice. Yeah, I’m sure it is. I was surprised it didn’t get picked up, actually, because it was a really, really cool graphic novel, so I’m glad it found the light.
Hunter Hunter follows a family living in the remote wilderness earning a living as fur trappers. Joseph Mersault, his wife Anne and their daughter Renée struggle to make ends meet and think their traps are being hunted by the return of a rogue wolf. Determined to catch the predator in the act, Joseph leaves his family behind to track the wolf. Anne and Renée grow increasingly anxious during Joseph’s prolonged absence and struggle to survive without him. When they hear a strange noise outside their cabin, Anne hopes it is Joseph but instead finds a man named Lou, who has been severely injured and left for dead. The longer Lou stays and Joseph is away, the more paranoid Anne becomes, and the idea of a mysterious predator in the woods slowly becomes a threat much closer to home.
In addition to Sawa and Sullivan, the cast for the film includes Summer H. Howell (Cult of Chucky, Clouds), Nick Stahl (Sin City, The Man Without a Face), Gabriel Daniels (The Ice Road, Goon, Fractured) and Lauren Cochrane (The Pinkertons, Tales From the Loop).
The film is being written and directed by Shawn Linden (Nobody, The Good Lie, The Fixer) with Neil Elman producing the film alongside Linden while Fernando Szew, Tony Vassiliadis, Hannah Pilleer, Jennifer Westin, Peter Bevan, Mariana Sanjurio and Tomás Yankelvich are all attached as executive producers.
Hunter Hunter is now in hit select theaters, digital platforms, and on video-on-demand.