Nicholas granted some time for an interview to discuss his latest movie, Union Furnace and the inspiration about the project as well as his thoughts on the future of filmmaking.
BC: What inspired you to make the movie?
NB: We wanted to do something we could shoot right away – it was a series of underground games that would take place at a single location was exciting from a practical standpoint as well as a structural one and it was great. We love it that it was very visual while at a single location.
BC: Some people compare your movie to Saw. How would you respond to that?
NB: Well, I don’t know. I’ve never actually seen Saw. Honestly one of the few films I never have seen. My movie is more about They Shoot Horses, Don’t They (1969) kind of like a horror movie about a dance competition. What’s exciting to us is that opposed to other movies where the characters are trapped in a location and have to compete against each other our characters wanted to be there regardless of what was going to happen so we liked that twist on it for starters. They were there because they wanted to be and not because they had a gun to their head.
BC: I did get that feel that the characters were there by choice and not by force which gave a little bit more realism to the storyline.
BC: How did you entice Keith David to become part of your project?
NB: Well while we were writing the movie I became convinced he had to be that character. I just set it out in getting it to him any way I could and we were only a couple weeks away from principle photography and when we had to start shooting and luckily they really dug it and I got to talk to him saying “You just have to play this role” and he agreed and literally he was onset a couple of weeks later in Ohio and he just so happened to have one week free in his schedule so we were able to get him. It was a dream come true.
BC: What was the most difficult aspect during the filming of your project?
NB: We didn’t have too many problems with the script because it was written to be done for no money. It actually did get a little bigger when Keith David got involved and we were actually able to get a little more money. The hardest part was that we had to shoot the movie in 3 weeks – 22 days technically and it was really, really cold. We shot it in Ohio a couple of Januarys ago and it was 0 or below 0 for the exterior stuff and shooting in the warehouse sometimes they would injure themselves – it was just so cold. The speed we had to do it in was rough – we only could get a couple of takes.
BC: Why did it take 2 years to get it off to the market?
NB: It was really about finding the right home for the film and getting the movie out exactly the way we wanted it from the trailers to the way the DVD cover looks so what Mike & I ended up doing was adding a distribution arm to our production company and figuring out how to distribute it ourselves on DVD, which was like a giant movie production in and of itself but it’s been very rewarding having it coming how now.
BC: Where did you come up with the mask for the principle character?
NB: We got that mask in Italy rather we ordered it from Italy. We looked at a ton of different masks and it just instantly felt right when we saw it and when Seth put that mask on and started dancing in it – it just felt right. It was not a random choice it was very tricky to find the right one. The idea of the mask and the movie in general was from [a friend] and since we knew we were doing the movie cheaply we could double up on extras. I love the lion mask. It’s hanging up on my wall actually.
BC: What film hooked you to go into filmmaking?
NB: Wow – it’s what I’ve always wanted to do so probably Superman (1978) the Richard Donner one I saw that when I was like 3 and thought I wanted to be Superman and make movies like that.
BC: Now as an adult what film really gets to you one that you can’t stop watching:
NB: Chinatown is probably my favorite movie ever made. The Hollywood 70s biopics (I think that’s what he said), Deliverance, The Deer Hunter which was a big influence on this film
BC: Where do you see the cinematic world heading with the explosion of VOD and DVD collections and not as popular in theaters?
NB: Well it’s so easy to make a movie now it will look good with little or no money even if you shoot it on an iphone it will look good. It will be more on filmmakers to get the film done themselves and not have to make any concessions creatively and put it out exactly the way we want.
BC: I agree. I like that the market is now heading without an NPAA rating.
NB: My films never had an NPAA rating on a movie.
BC: We’ve never had an NPAA rating on books why do we need to have our eyes censored on what we see. I mean just look at You Tube none of it is censored.
NB: That’s right…
BC: What are your future projects?
NB: We already finished our next movie which is called Stranger in the Dune and that will be playing at festivals in the fall. It’s more of a Sci-fi thriller of 3 characters at a beach house going crazy
BC: Social or Media contacts?
NB: Union Furnace on Facebook & Instagram & our company website is https://www.metropolpics.com/ and you can also buy the DVDs & Blu-rays on our website too.