ED – We are here today with Actor and Producer Holt Boggs (www.holtboggs.com). Holt this is an honor. Our readers love mysteries, thrillers, and stories of ‘things that go bump in the night’. We understand that you starred in The Prodigy and also wrote for the picture and designed the sound. Tell us about the film.
HB – Thanks so much for the great intro by the way. Yeah, The Prodigy is crime drama that plays like a horror movie as one critic put it. The antagonist, known as ‘Rains’, is a sadistic assassin with an almost mythical reputation. In the film, it is said that bullets pass through him, he can walk through walls and no one has ever seen him and lived to tell about it. Blurring the line between hitman and serial killer, Rains believes he’s doing God’s good work. As there can be no good without evil, he sees what he does as a necessity in his eyes.
His time has come to pass the torch so to speak and he searches for someone to continue his ‘work’, he is looking for a prodigy. He searches the city’s underworld through hidden surveillance cameras placed in known crime hot spots and sees something special in my character.
I play Truman Fisher, a small-time thug doing a little bit of whatever for a sleazy night club owner. During a recent job-gone-bad, Truman has a near death experience and loses a close friend. He feels responsible for what happened and this becomes a turning point for Truman. He considers leaving with his girlfriend and starting a ‘normal’ life. Rains has no plans of letting that happen and puts Truman through a painful right of passage, destroying his life bit by bit until they meet in the film’s violent conclusion.
The tone of the film is very dark and noir with rainy wet exteriors. The city is never established as we wanted to make it an ‘any-city USA’ location. It’s set in present time, but most of the cars and locations are older. It has kind of a graphic novel feel to it.
ED – What was your favorite part in the creation of this picture?
HB – As you mentioned, I wore several hats in the production. I wrote it with the film’s director William Kaufman. He’s my best friend and this was the first feature film for both of us, so The Prodigy is and will always by a very personal project for me.
As far as my favorite part of making the film, that’s a tough one. If I had to sum it up, I’d have to say, the journey. I know this is where the eyes start to roll and it sounds cliché, but it’s the truth.
With the action scenes and shooting on actual film versus HD, special effects etc., it was such an ambitious project, we had no business trying to make it for such a small amount of money. There was a group of about seven of us including Mark Rutledge, Russell White, Colby Mitchell, Lawrence Varnado, Jason Mueller, Will and myself that all quit our day jobs to make this happen and could only afford to pay ourselves $112 a week! Most of us were married with kids, so that alone was a HUGE gamble! We were a band of brothers determined to make the film happen no matter what. Because we had such a low budget, we had no money to throw at the problems that came up. Every day, it felt like we were going to get shut down, we’d lose locations on the spot, housing would fall through, and the overall stress level was excruciating. All of that being what it was, I had to perform and this was a very demanding role. I remember putting the bank manager on hold, having someone hold my cell phone off camera while I go shoot a very emotional scene and running back after they called ‘cut’ so I could continue begging him to release enough funds so we could continue shooting. Every completed day was a bitter sweet victory as we had to figure out how to make the next day happen.
Okay, now to my favorite part. We did it! That’s it. We did it. In spite of all the pitfalls, stress and chaos, we made it happen. When I’m at a screening of the film, or see it on the shelves at a Blockbuster or a Wal-Mart, or playing on TV, I think, “Wow!” I think about the journey. I remember being broke and sleeping on the floor in Will’s apartment, taking shifts to write the screenplay. I remember doing rewrites on napkins at a bar I was working, the night before we shot it. I remember getting kicked out of locations and having no where to go, getting injured during stunts, making sound effects in a buddy’s garage, selling stuff off for production money etc. After all that, there it is, my movie sitting on the shelf. We did it! And the audience has no idea. All they see is a movie and that’s exactly what we wanted. I LOVE THAT!!
ED – We understand that there are new projects in the works, including ‘Sinners and Saints’ that is soon to be released. Can you tell us something about them?
HB – Yeah, definitely. ‘Sinners’ was an awesome experience. The film is a cop drama set amongst the mayhem that is post-Katrina New Orleans. The film was directed by my buddy Will Kaufman and we worked with a lot of the same team that made The Prodigy. It was kind of a family reunion of sorts. In ‘Sinners’, I play Det. Tom Wyatt, head of a special task force with the NOPD. The film also stars Johnny Strong, Tom Berenger, Sean Patrick Flannery, Kim Coates and Method Man.
I also have a small part in a horror film called The Cursed I did with my good friend Louis Mandylor. I play a small town deputy trying to help solve a group of mysterious murders. That’s airing soon on the Sci-Fi channel.
A project I’m really excited about is Kevin Can’t Wait which is a buddy comedy set in Florida. I play Gordon Kelly, a failing screenwriter trying to get his crap together while trying to help his friend find love. I’m so stoked because I never get called in for a comedy…ever! I started out doing comedy, so it’s cool getting to get back to it. Oddly enough, the producer contacted me for the film after seeing The Prodigy. I have zero clue what the hell he was thinking, but I’m not questioning it.
ED – What project will be coming over the horizon in 2010-
HB – I’m working with Will Kaufman again on a film titled, The Wicked Garden. I’ve been writing it for about three years and we’re looking to begin production late in the year.
I’m also shooting For the Love of Jade which is an amazing script. The screenplay has won several awards and I’ve got a great role.
ED – Can you also tell us about some of the television work that you’ve been in?
HB – I’m still cutting my teeth in television. I haven’t done a lot, but I’m working with my manager to get on TV more in 2010. I was in the series finale of Jericho and just had a costar role in the new Ray Romano series Men of a Certain Age which airs on TNT.
ED – Holt, The Eerie Digest has launched a program with eight Universities to encourage their students in Writing and the Arts, as a writer and actor can you give them some words of wisdom to guide them in these fields?
HB – Surround yourself with talented, ambitious people. Any field in the arts can be tough and wearing. Nothing can stifle your work more than hanging around a bunch of people complaining about how tough things are. Also, I think it’s really important to know your market. I’m not talking about the grocery store, I’m talking about where you see the end result of your work. Unless you are writing for nothing more than self expression, most of you are hoping to make a living doing what you love to do. Which means you have to accept that your work and you as the creator become a business. In your business, I think it’s crucially important to understand who your audience is, who’s been successful with a similar genre, what makes you different and how to get your product from your head to the retail store, movie theater, art gallery etc. Art is to be experienced and people who’ve been successful have found a way to get a lot of people to experience their art. Learn the business of what it is you want to do.
ED – Holt, The Eerie Digest Magazine and our readers are thrilled by your interview. We’d like you to keep us informed of your upcoming projects so that we can have more interviews with you again in the near future. We thank you again for your time and wish you the best of luck in the future.