Howdy fiends and ghouls! I recently had the pleasure of chatting with one of the most dynamic director/screenwriters around, the incredible Jason Trost (The FP, All Superheroes Must Die, Wet and Reckless). Read on to discover how Jason draws his influences from everything from 80’s action films to classic video games!
I first became aware of your work through the film The FP, which was an astounding amalgam of 80’s action movie tropes and late 90’s rhythm based video games. The film brought to mind everything from Rocky 4 to the off kilter post-apocalyptic mayhem of films such as Castellari’s 1990: The Bronx Warriors (not to mention Walter Hills The Warriors). When you create a film such as this, how do the films you enjoyed growing up inform the work you create today?
Jason: They inform everything. They’re how I was raised. They’re in my blood. So when you have to make a design choice on the fly it’s easier to just explain it like, “You know like what the Russian dude was wearing in Rambo III” and then since I’m working with close friends and family they immediately get it and go with it.
As we are all huge fans of retro video games here at the site, I would be remiss not to ask you what your favorite classic arcade game is of all time, and while we are on the subject, how did you fare in the Dance Dance Revolution competition you were recently in?
Jason: God that’s tough. I used to play so many arcade games. But there is something great about the simplicity of “Final Fight”. It was always a treat when I’d see that in an arcade. Point Blank was great. As was Mortal Kombat, Area 51, and the X-Men game. So many arcade games now that I’m thinking about them. Ha. As for the recent Dance Dance competition, I got my @** kicked. I hadn’t played in easily a year and I was sick. But man was it still a blast.
You have dabbled in a multitude of genres such as adventure/comedy with Wet and Reckless, comic book action with all Superheroes Must Die, and a conglomerate of these genres with the aforementioned The FP. Is there a genre you haven’t tackled yet that you’ve always wanted to?
Jason: Yeah there’s several. I’d like to do a full out sci-fi movie. A thought provoking post apocalypse movie, which will hopefully be How To Save Us. I’d like to do a kids adventure film like The Goonies. And I’d love to do a romantic comedy, but I have no idea what the hell that’d be about. I dunno, I’d like to just do all genres eventually.
Your newest project, How To Save Us appears to touch upon some of the post-apocalyptic vibe of The FP, but in a darker direction. Please fill us in on the film and how we can help see it to fruition.
Jason: Yeah. This one will only be funny if it turns out really bad… which is always a possibility. Ha. The movie is a super small quiet film with a very small number of characters. It’s going to feel like a weird Twilight Zone episode. It’s almost like I Am Legend meets Paranormal Activity. What if a guy woke up one day and everyone was gone but left behind was a bunch of, “Ghosts”? And talking about video games, I’ve formatted it to really feel like the first Silent Hill and Resident Evil movies. That’s how I’m going to shoot it as well. The creepy locked off angles. As our main characters… survive the horror. If anyone would like to see the movie come to fruition you can hit up the indegogo page, you can leave a tip in the tip jar on the vimeo page, and you can check out my ebay where twice a week I’ll be auctioning off items ranging from original concept drawings, to storyboard pages, to FP memorabilia.
Also of note is your forthcoming comic book series based on All Superheroes Must Die. Have you always wanted to be involved in comic books, or was this just a natural off shoot of the subject matter of the film?
Jason: I love comics. Always have. I always wanted to get into them but never really had a foot in the door before. If this ASMD comic goes well, there are a lot of things I’d like to throw at the comic world. So fingers crossed.
If you could direct one dream film based on a classic property (either film, book, comic or game…or all if you choose!), what would it be and why?
Jason: I would love to do either the REAL Resident Evil movie or the REAL Silent Hill movie. Make them like the games, simple and visceral. Cut the budgets in half and make them what they’re supposed to be. Adapt them like you would a book. And prove to people video games could actually make awesome movies if you just respect the material. Hopefully How To Save Us will be a stepping stone in those directions but who knows. Actually screw it, what am I even talking about? Can I just make Final Fight the movie?!
What can we look forward to from you after How To Save Us is complete?
Jason: After that, I allegedly jump straight into pre-production for the sequel to ASMD, “A World Without Superheroes”. Somewhere in there I’ll be working on finishing a draft of FP2 which will hopefully see the light of day this decade. Other than that, I’m always writing something. I’ve written scripts for director friends as well. No idea what will happen first, but something will. Ha.
Any advice you’d give to aspiring screenwriters or film makers reading this interview?
Jason: Absolutely. One thing I always have to remind aspiring filmmakers… which I still am, is write or plan a movie for what you have, not what you hope you’ll have. On your first movie don’t write a 20 million dollar movie, no one wants to give you there money, write a twenty thousand dollar movie, that’s possible. And go crazy, make the movie you want to make, not the one you think other people want to see. There’s plenty of time to sell out when you get older. Also, did you write a spaceship in your scene? Well if you don’t have a spaceship, one’s not going to appear on the day, unless your Dad has one in his garage, which is generally how a lot of my writing happens, “Hey, Dad what else you got in there? Okay let’s make a movie about that I guess.”
In honor of Mr. Trost granting this interview, I created an illustration of my favorite of his films (so far) the FP! I hope you creeps dig it!