Earlier this week we brought you an exclusive interview with Tom Green, the director of this week’s new release MONSTERS: DARK CONTINENT. The film is a loose sequel to Gareth Edwards’ 2010 movie MONSTERS and stars Irish actor Sam Keeley as lead Michael.
Michael alongside childhood best friend Paulie, and some other guys from his Detriot neighbourhood embarks on his first military mission in monster territory. Lead by veteran sergeant Frater, played by Johnny Harris, the group are trying to rescue some comrades trapped deep in the infected zone.
Sam Keeley gives a stellar turn as the young recruit who finds his world turned upside down by the true impacts of war, and is definitely an actor to keep an eye on. In the next twelve months he will star alongside some of Hollywood’s biggest and brightest, working with Bradley Cooper in ADAM JONES and Chris Hemsworth and Ron Howard in IN THE HEART OF THE SEA. When we spoke to Sam he was in South Africa hard at work filming JADOTVILLE.
How did you come to be involved with MONSTERS: DARK CONTINENT?
I first became involved with Dark Continent after my agent sent me the script. After reading it I knew I wanted to be involved and got the meeting for the part.
Were you a fan of Gareth Edwards’ MONSTERS?
I hadn’t seen the original film at the time but I knew of its acclaim for pulling off an extraordinary feat with such a low budget and how beautiful the story and visuals were.
What qualities about your character Michael did you most admire?
The qualities I most admired in Michael were his compassion for life and his strength to keep pushing on through situations that should have left him broken.
Did you have to have any kind of soldier training, if so, how was that?
We had a weeks training prior to the shoot in Jordan with ex marines. The company was called Mission X and our chief advisor is a gent called CK Redlinger. CK made sure that we were tactility sound for the shoot and was essential for making us look and feel like soldiers. It was an amazing experience and I was honoured that these men were kind enough to pass down their knowledge to us.
How hard was it to perfect the American accent?
I found the accent hard at first but as I studied it more I found interesting parallels to the Irish accent and that helped me, along with dialect coaches Anne Witman prior to leaving for the job and Rick Lipton who was our man on the ground. Their help was essential. Also while on location I stayed in the accent full time for continuity with it.
How was it shooting the scenes with the monsters, as they were added in afterwards I’m guessing you were heavily reliant on imagination?
It was actually easier than I thought filming the scenes with the monsters. Our VFX team made sure that we knew at all times what we were looking at and how the monsters moved. But yes in all theses scenes we were using our imagination. It made it all the sweeter when we saw them on the big screen.
You and the other squad guys had great chemistry together – do you gel as well off screen?
The guys and I enjoyed every second of being together on and off screen. It was really good casting and we all got on so well from the first day. I have made friends for life from that set.
Who coped best and worst with the filming conditions?
We were a team. We all coped very well under the filming conditions.
You’ve been very busy the last few months, what can you tell us about your upcoming movies AFTER DEATH, IN THE HEART OF THE SEA, ADAM JONES and ALLEYCATS?
Yes the last year has been a bit of a mad one but I’m loving it so far. AFTER DEATH is currently in post and is due out sometime this year. IN THE HEART OF THE SEA was a very tough filming experience but amazing to work with such a talented cast including Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy and our amazing director Ron Howard. It’s set to come out December. ADAM JONES was also a pinch me moment. The cast was unbelievable. It was weird to be walking on set and be surrounded by all these faces that you know from massive movies and to be working among them was an honour, that includes our Director John Wells who was such a positive force throughout the filming process and I highly respect him. ALLEYCATS is a world I haven’t seen before and very quickly everybody in the cast bonded to a level that we felt like a little family both on and off screen. It is a raw story with an incredible cast and a exciting first time director called Ian Bonhôte who I have no doubt you will be hearing about in the coming year.
How’s the JADOTVILLE shoot going?
The JADOTVILLE shoot is going great. This one is close to my heart being an Irish story. It’s a story that needs to be told.
And plans to slow down and have a rest?
No plans to slow down or rest. I’m loving telling these stories and I feel like it’s only starting for me. I’ve got a long way to go before I’ll feel happy enough to take a break.
MONSTERS: DARK CONTINENT is in cinemas now.