Friday, May 20, 2011

10 questions with “Jacob” writer and director Larry Wade Carrell

While attending Texas Frightmare Weekend last month I had the pleasure of meeting Larry Wade Carrell, vice president of Odyssee Pictures and writer/director of the dark horror film Jacob, along with one of the films executive producers, Cynthia Ivans Lauer.

I was able to convince Larry to allow me to ask him a few questions about this very powerful and wonderfully executed film.

Here is a synopsis of the film…
Lonely and disturbed, Jacob Kell loved his little sister more than anything on Earth. When she is tragically murdered by their stepfather in a drunken rage, Jacob retaliates the only way he knows how… and all those who cross his path will know his brutal vengeance.

What inspired you to write and direct Jacob?
I would have to say the cast. Over the past couple of

years I have been acting in numerous projects and have been meeting a lot of talented people that I really enjoyed performing with. We all shared a passion and we were willing to do just about anything to stay busy and practice what we love. However I really I kept feeling like we were missing something. I knew that we could come together as a team and really accomplish something wonderful. All we needed was the right story. Something we could embrace that would challenge us and push us to our limits. So I decided to shoot something, I wasn't sure what I wanted to write. It had to be something real, with genuine emotion. Then it hit me. I had already written this story.
I actually wrote the story of Jacob back in 2002 when I was creating my first commercial haunted attraction The Nest Haunted House. Instead of having a bunch of rooms with Freddy in one and Jason in another I wanted to create an interactive horror story that involved the audience. Something they may have heard of that made it seem real. So I came up with the legend of Jacob Kell, based on the Arizona Ripper.
I pulled out my old notes and started the first rewrite, and it just poured out of me, knowing the actors I had in mind I was able to visualize the entire movie in my head. I finished the script and sent it out to my colleagues and they all agreed. I really just had one crucial piece to find to tell my story and that was the role of Sissy, Jacob's little sister. Once I found Grace Powell and made one other cast change we were ready to shoot!

How long was the shoot and where did the principle photography take place?
We shot 21 days in and around Houston Texas. Our interiors were built on a sound stage and to create the town of Melvin Falls from 1975 we shot in Richmond and Rosenberg Texas.

How did you ever get the “Christine” car to be available for the movie?

Jacob actress Roxy Vandiver is friends with the cars current owner and had been planning to do a photo shoot with Christine but had never gotten around to it. We were in pre-production and lining up all the classic cars we needed for Jacob and Roxy suggested using Christine. She said she might be able to kill 2 birds with one stone and make this happen. We were like Hell Yes! Next thing you know we are on set and Christine comes pulling in the Dairy Treat. It was so surreal. I don't think I will ever forget that night. I knew it was going to happen but it didn’t really hit me till I did happen! Epic Win!

What were some of the problems you ran into during production?
COLD! We had one of the coldest winters ever! We began production in January to capture that winter feel for our backdrop. The dead trees and cold steel colored sky’s really set a tone for our story. It was about 5 mins into the first night of shooting I was thinking Jacob would have made a nice summer story! I have never been so cold in my life. Ext. Night + Winter = Blah. But we pushed through and we made it. I think it even gave us an edge performance wise. The only really bad thing was the big freeze that shut everything down for a week. This caused some schedule conflicts and pushed us into wrapping in March. Other than that the cast and crew assembled for Jacob were the finest group of people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Even in the coldest weather the hot chocolate and smiles kept us going, and hugs, lots of hugs.

How hard was it to take on two rolls and direct simultaneously?
It was definitely a challenge! I think the hardest part was getting myself to a very dark and emotional place as an actor to deliver a performance, then having something happen on set that would require me pull me out of that moment where I had to give my attention to other concerns. Then I would have to get back to that moment and keep the energy level consistent. My number one rule on the set is that there are no false moments on camera. Jacob deals with some heavy and dark subject matter and it gets to you. Walking around for hours or days even feeling like your family has been murdered. Good Times!
But looking back I wouldn’t change a thing. My goal was to tell the story of Jacob and Sissy the best way that I could and I felt I needed to do each of these jobs to achieve that goal. It was a lot of hard work but I believe not only did we achieve that goal but we surpassed any expectations I had in my mind.

Give me a couple of funny things that happened during filming?
Well I remember one night when we were on location shooting a murder scene. We are at a private home, with 3 ambulances, 2 fire trucks and several police cars. It is about 2am, we are getting ready to shoot a scene when a car pulls up and a man looking very worried gets out without a clue as to what is going on. It turned out he was the actual owner of the home and the man we had the agreement with was the renter, (who just happened to forget to mention to the owner we were shooting there). Awkward! After a brief conversation he was very excited to be a part of the production and the shoot raged on.
Krystn, Grace and Dylan were a riot. All of them were able to drop in to character, deliver a crazy wicked performance and has soon as cut was called they were cracking jokes that had the crew rolling. My favorite thing Dylan did was call for a line during this one really emotional take. This is really funny because Dylan has no lines. At all.
There is one scene where my character Otis is drunk, getting arrested and vomits. We are watching dailies and Grace sees the scene and says “Gross what is that?” I say “Chocolate Milk, Coke Zero and Cheerios “Grace says “Oooooo! Who chewed the Cheerios for you”?

Where did you find Grace Powell? And what was her favorite part about being the movie I was searching everywhere to find just the right girl to play “Sissy” Jacob's little sister. Without the right girl I just wouldn’t have a movie. Has fate would have it I was working a commercial, big shoot there was 150 extras there. I knew the casting director and was helping her organize the head shots and resumes, when one slipped out of the pile. I went to pick it up and I just knew instantly this was my “Sissy” I searched the crowd and found her. Went over introduced myself to her mother, was able to convince her that I was not a creep or a wacko. I got her email and sent her the script. Within a week we set up a screen test and the rest is history. Grace and her entire family have been there every step of the way and we wouldn’t even be here without them. I am eternally grateful.
Grace told me her favorite part of the movie was the tea party scene. She shares some great moments with Dylan and everything was clicking. Really great stuff.

Dylan Horne is a sheer presence on the screen, what are his plans for the future?
Dylan rocked it out! I met Dylan at the last day job I had. I hired him to sling video games for me at the video game store I ran. Every time he came to work and I saw him I just kept seeing Jacob. I shared my love of acting and film making with him and it turned out he had a background in theater. A few drinks later and he is the 2011 model of Jacob! I must say that is was a combination of meeting him and working with Krystn Caldwell that made me want to dust off this story from 2002 and shoot it! Dylan is a great talent and he has been offered a few other roles already. I know I look forward to working with him again in the future.

Have you had any interest in distribution since you have been hitting the FilmFest circuit? Yes. I cannot really give you any details at this time but Odyssee Pictures enjoys a great working relationship with a few distributors. In fact look for Sweatshop in stores in the fourth quarter of this year. To keep up with the latest news and release dates for all Odyssee Pictures movies stay tuned to the Odyssee Pictures website and our Facebook pages for details.

What is in the future for Odyssee Pictures and yourself?
Odyssee Pictures is looking to build a brand that stands for quality entertainment. We want an audience to know that when you see the Odyssee Mask before a film you are in for a great ride. We really set the bar high with our first two films Stacy Davidson's Domain of the Damned and Sweatshop, Jacob is going to continue this trend and show audiences a different side of Odyssee Pictures. As we continue to evolve and grow there are no limits to the worlds and adventures we can create to deliver on our commitment to the audience, our promise to keep them entertained.
Personally, after Jacob I have to several projects ready to go, one is going to be a 3-D roller coaster ride of blood and carnage in the tradition of Sweatshop, and of course I will be returning to the town of Melvin Fall to tell the rest of the story. Jacob is just the first of three films in the Melvin Falls trilogy.

If you are in Houston on Memorial Day weekend you need to be at Comicpalooza “Texas’ Largest Comic-Con”. Visit the Odyssee Booth to get a free signed poster from members of the cast of Jacob and Sweatshop while supplies last and get your picture with The Beast! You can also make plans on Friday, May 27 at 12:10 AM to attend a screening of Sweatshop and a very special sneak peak from Odyssee Pictures latest thriller Jacob on Saturday, May 28 at 6:45 PM. Both events will be followed by a Q&A so here is your chance to ask them questions.

Go to Odyssee Pictures web site and check out the trailer for Jacob.


  1. Very cool interview. Thanks so much! Glad you had a great time.


  2. Agreed – great interview. Thanks for sharing with us, G.

  3. No problem, glad to put the good word out about this amazing film.