Tommy Stovall is an independent filmmaker who has gained praised for his first two films, 2005’s Hate Crime and 2011’s Sedona. His latest film, Aaron’s Blood, is a vampire film that goes a different route than what most expect from the subgenre of horror films. The film will be coming to select theaters on June 2 from Gravitas Venturas.
World Film Geek had the chance to talk to Stovall about his experiences in filmmaking and this film.
First of all, thank you Tommy for taking the time to talk about your latest film, Aaron’s Blood. I actually got to watch the movie last night and it was a very good film, something different than what’s expected.
Thank you, I’m glad to hear that and I’m happy to talk to you about it.
How did you get involved in filmmaking?
I actually started making horror films as a teenager in the 80’s. I had a VHS Camcorder and it was completely for fun. I was really into horror movies at the time so we just started making them and we would make up stuff as we went along. It was a lot of fun and I never thought I would want to do it for real.
When I was in college, I started to think that maybe this was something I could do as a study. So then I started into video production and I’ve been in that business for a long time and I get involved in that when I’m not involved in filmmaking.
Let’s talk about Aaron’s Blood. Despite the theme of the story, I don’t see it as a horror film but more of a drama film with horror overtones. How did you come up with the idea for the film?
I came up with the idea of the vampire because my son Trevor, who plays Tate, told me a long time ago that he wanted to play a vampire. So, years later and I was coming up with some ideas for a movie, I remembered him mentioning vampire. Then, I thought we can’t do a vampire movie because it’s been done. So I thought, “What kind of vampire movie can we do that’s different?” So I was thinking of how we can make this different.
As I kept writing, it all became about the father-son relationship, which was the most compelling and interesting thing to me. But you’re right. I never saw it as a true horror movie when I was writing it and filming it. And it’s interesting because I would ask people what kind of movie do they think this would be after they saw it. And they never saw it as a horror movie and they really responded well to the story, which was good to hear.
James Martinez did a wonderful job as the titular Aaron, playing a dad who is racked with guilt and in some way, looks for redemption when he must try to save his son. How did you get him involved in the film and what was he like on the set?
James is just a fantastic person. I saw his name on IMDb [The Internet Movie Database] when I was looking for actors to play Trevor’s father. I came across his page and I thought that he could play Trevor’s father. So I called his manager and asked. I do that a lot and a lot of times, you never hear back from people, especially when it’s a small budget movie. You never know what kind of response you’re going to get.
So I called his manager and asked if I can send the script over and have him audition. Two days later, he came in to audition and just nailed it. So I talked to him and he really liked the movie and was willing to do it. So we were all on the same page about everything. I never really expected an actor of his caliber so we were lucky to have him.
It’s interesting because I asked him during the audition if he had kids. The way he auditioned, I imagined he would have kids, but he doesn’t. He saw the movie as a challenge because he had never played a father like that and he thought about his own father. He had a close relationship with his father so a lot of what he did in that film was how his father would react if the child was him.
The chemistry between James and Trevor was really great in the film and I thought Trevor pulled off an impressive performance as the afflicted Tate. Was the role of Tate written for him?
Yes, I did write the role for him, but I made him audition so he can go through the process and double check. That was something that was a total accident. You never know, especially when you’re casting so quickly. The actors usually don’t meet until the day of filming sometimes, so you never know what the chemistry is going to be like.
And we just lucked out because they hit it off right away. They got along very well and would even hang out together in between takes or when we weren’t shooting. So that’s just one of those lucky things that happened and I just have to chalk to up to luck.
This is your third feature film as director. Are there any other ideas that you have that you plan to bring to life in films in the near future?
Actually, I do have quite a few ideas. As a matter of fact, I’m shooting a new movie in a few weeks. It’s also another drama with horror overtones. This one will be about a woman who turns her house into a bed and breakfast and she starts to stalk her guests.
That’s great, I will definitely look out for that one. Well, Aaron’s Blood comes to theaters on June 2 and then on VOD on June 6. I think anyone who loves horror and drama should check this film out. Thank you again Tommy for taking the time to talk about the film.
Thank you so much.
A special Thank You goes to Katrina Wan PR and Tommy Stovall for making this interview possible. If you want to follow Tommy Stovall, go to his Twitter page for his latest news.