We Got This Covered: So there’s The Rat Pack, The Splat Pack – what would you consider your group then?
Calvin Lee Reeder: [Laughs] Oh man, I don’t know. Unsuccessful? That’s what I would say!
We Got This Covered: Getting to how you cast The Rambler, once again you’ve put your girlfriend Lindsay Pulsipher in an incredibly demanding and gory role (as she previously starred in The Oregonian). Does she take these parts willingly, or does it take some coaxing? Especially with the scene in which there’s some brutal work done to her arm?
Calvin Lee Reeder: So far she has, but I don’t know, I might be in trouble now. [Laughs] We might have reached the saturation point. But so far, yes.
It’s one of those things where I describe to her what we’re going to shoot, but neither of us know the kind of effect, and what the weight of that is, what it feels like – we don’t know. It’s such a low budget movie, we just saw that location on the day, when we also didn’t know it was going to be 110 degrees. We can only kind of know what we’re getting into at this budget level, you can’t try on the fake arm and reshape it to her. It’s just “Here you go, honey.” That was a very typical day, and she brought it really hard to make it happen. One of the hardest working actors was on set that day. She was amazing.
We Got This Covered: Does she like the gore? Does she have fun with it?
Calvin Lee Reeder: I don’t think she had fun with it in that scene [Laughs], but I think she does have fun with it for sure. She knows how to bring it. I think she’s into making an eye-popping event for the audience not to forget. That’s really the idea there – let’s put an image in the audience’s mind that they can’t really erase. The stronger the image we know we’re creating, the higher morale is.
We Got This Covered: Absolutely, you really brought the reality in that scene.
Calvin Lee Reeder: And again, isn’t that the job of indie cinema? That’s what I think it is. Not just to create the imagery, but to create something that isn’t easily forgotten.
We Got This Covered: Now how did Dermot Mulroney get involved as The Rambler. Did he approach you, or did you approach him?
Calvin Lee Reeder: I had a buddy who had worked with him before, and he said “This is a great role for Dermot, I’m going to call him.” He did, Dermot and his agent loved it, and that was really what got the ball rolling. He was very easy.
We Got This Covered: Was it hard watching him take over as The Rambler? People may not know, but in your original short, you actually played “The Rambler” yourself.
Calvin Lee Reeder: [Laughs] No. If you saw the short, you know I’m not that good of an actor. I’ll just take it in the face if you know what I mean.
I’m a writer. I spend twenty days out of the year as a director, the rest I’m a writer. It’s a frustrating process for sure, but that’s kind of what I am the most I think.
We Got This Covered: Getting to some of your other acting, you starred in the first V/H/S as one of the men in the interconnecting story. It looks like they’re not going to stop making these for a while, so I was wondering, would you take the directorial gig if you were offered a segment?
Calvin Lee Reeder: Well, they have approached me, and then rejected my idea for the first one. It was interesting though because they approached me about it, and I hated the idea. I’m so uninspired by found-footage, first person, blah blah blah. Then my buddy Adam Wingard said “Hey, you want to come out to Missouri and do this thing? They pay pretty well.” So I was thinking “Alright, cool.” Then when they told me what they were making off of it, they told me it wasn’t too late to submit my idea to them, and I’m just saying “this is so gross, the movie we’re making is so stupid,” but they’re all just telling me “it doesn’t matter, just go give the pitch!” So I pitched it, and I think a couple people like it, but it was just way too weird.
Would I do it again? No, I really think it’s not my premise. I’m not interested in those movies at all.
We Got This Covered: So is it the idea of an anthology film that doesn’t really strike your fancy? What about an anthology like The ABCs Of Death?
Calvin Lee Reeder: Well I think The ABCs Of Death would be kind of cool because you get a little bit more freedom. That’s the thing – they tell you about V/H/S when they sit you down in the room and say “It’s specifically first person, found-footage, now go.” I’m just thinking “Man, you’ve taken my whole aesthetics, completely, but OK, I’ll go.” I tried, but it’s probably better that it didn’t work out for me.
We Got This Covered: So what does the future look like for you? With The Rambler winding down, do you have anything else coming up?
Calvin Lee Reeder: Oh sure. I’ve got an acting gig coming up, but that movie may or may not happen.
I do have three or four scripts out there, but at this point we’ve just got to see what wins. There are projects that are bigger and projects that are smaller, and they’re all going very well – I just don’t know which is going well enough to get made first. It’s a strange place, and I’m sure you’ve talked to other filmmakers about this, but after one film, there’s several ways we can go. We end up going all of the ways, at the same time, until someone throws enough money at us to let us make something again.
We Got This Covered: It’s like you’re stuck in a filmmaking limbo?
Calvin Lee Reeder: It’s just what happens to us guys. You have your moment and then you’ve got to get back in line.
We Got This Covered: Can you give us a taste of the stories you have out there?
Calvin Lee Reeder: Well there’s a story about a ventriloquist, a story about a Satan worshipper, and a story about a rodeo clown. There’s all kinds of stuff. Men of the West I’d say.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Calvin Lee Reeder for this exclusive interview, and be sure to check out his film The Rambler, which you can pick up on DVD/Blu-Ray today!